5 Ways to Cool Down Your Rabbit

We are meant to be getting a heat wave over the next few days. So I thought it would be a good time for a post on keeping your rabbit cool in hot weather. There are a lot of tip and tricks from cooling down hot rabbits, here are some recommended by Scamp’s twitter from and some Scamp tried out too.

1. Cool Flooring

Rabbits are generally pretty low to the ground (Scamp get down off the table!) which is good because it’s generally a bit cooler down there as heat rises. You might have noticed your rabbit digging/rearranging bedding to sleep on the bare floor – wild rabbits do they same. They dig scrapes, shallow hollows of bare earth, to lay in. These are lovely and cool. You can offer the same opportunity by providing soil in a box or tray if your rabbit doesn’t have access to bare ground.

A ceramic tile (or a paving slab outside) is a bit less messy. You could spray them with water or, for tiles, pop them in the fridge awhile to make them even cooler. Scamp has sorted out his own cool flooring by removing the bottom of his cardboard box so he can sit on the tile underneath. Don’t forget though, this only works if the floor is in the shade. Although they are good at staying cool, they’ll also heat up quickly if left in full sun.

2. Shade

Talking about shade. It’s a really important part of keeping your bunny cool. For outdoors, greenhouse shade netting is great or just a cotton sheet. You can peg or tie them to your rabbit’s run. Check through out the day to see where the shade hits, as you may need to adjust as the sun moves. Provide extra shade with boxes and tunnels. Inside, keep curtains closed when the windows are in direct sun, that will keep the general room temperature down. Open windows (making sure bunnies can’t escape!) whilst the outdoor temperature is lower (early mornings/evenings) but close them again once the temperature outdoors gets higher than inside.

3: Frozen Water Bottle

Some days it’s hot even in the shade, so you need a way to cool things down not just stop them getting hot. A frozen water bottle is  great for cooling down the area around your bunny. Just use a normal plastic bottle filled with water and left in the freezer. Your bunny might decide to sit next to it, but if not it will still cool the area around them. The only draw back is plastic bottles of water and chewing can be a messy combination! If your bun lives in a cage or crate, one solution is to place the ice bottle on top away from bunny teeth and the cool air will sink cooling the cage below.

frozen water bottle rabbit

Scamp licking a frozen water bottle whilst rocking a moult related new hairdo.

  I tested this out by placing a 1L frozen bottle inside Scamp’s cardboard sleeping box. This dropped the temperature 3-4 degrees! Having the frozen bottle inside something like a box or tunnel is more effective, as that way you are only trying to cool the box rather than the whole room. Having several bottles so you can rotate whilst you wait for them to refreeze will help you keep up a constant supply of DIY air con.

4: Ice Lollies

It’s a hot day, what do you want? An ice lolly – I think you call them popsicles in the US? As the things in ice lollies are definitely not bunny suitable, we made our own. Broccoli popsicle or carrot lolly pop, anyone? It’s very easy all you do is freeze your bunnies favourite veggies or herbs. You could also puree them and freeze them into icecubes or on string! Give them a few seconds to loose that stickiness lollies have when they come straight out the freezer and let your bunny nibble.

frozen vegetables

Carrot and Broccoli frozen ‘ice lolly’. Scamp says yumm!

I’m not sure it’s going to have a significant effect on how warm your bunny is, but who cares because it’s a pretty fun enrichment activity. That said, he had quite a cold nose when he tried to lick me afterwards. Laura also suggested ice cubes in the water bowl, which sounds like another good way to cool down a bunny and the general temperature around the bowl.

5. Soggy Ears

Another twitter bun suggested a spritz of cool water for the ears. Humans cool down by sweating – the sweat evaporates cooling the skin. Rabbits don’t sweat and they have very insulated fur, so the only way they have to cool is to divert more blood flow to their ears, where the fur is very thin. That’s why some rabbit’s ears lop in hot weather. When it gets warm, more blood flows through their ears to help with cooling, making them heavier, so they droop.

By making your bunnies ears damp – just run your hand under a tap and then stroke your rabbits ears, don’t tip water over their head! as the water evaporates it will help cool their ears and the blood flowing through them.

Really, was that necessary? I already washed behind my ears today.

Really, was that necessary? I already washed behind my ears today.

Scamp didn’t seem to object to having his ears made soggy, but then he had to spend ages grooming them, plus they dry out quick and you have to reapply. If you’re outside, you could spray water on the floor instead, although then they’ve probably have to clean their tootsies instead.

Just a note on heatstroke: if your rabbit gets too hot e.g. lethargic, rapid breathing etc. then contact your vet and begin cooling them slowly e.g. by laying on a damp towel in the shade. Also don’t forget to check regularly for flystrike.

If you’ve got any more suggestions leave them in the comments below or you can tweet them at me.

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16 Responses to “5 Ways to Cool Down Your Rabbit”

  1. Kerry-Ann says:

    Thanks for some really good tips. Will have to try the bunny ice lolly idea! We find wetting our buns ears works really well like you said and we also have an electric fan for them which they absolutely love – we just make sure it’s not blowing directly in their eyes. Love this site and your blog!

  2. annette says:

    brilliant ideas Tamsin – and everything that I used to do for my 2! except the popsicles 🙂 that’s a grand idea! thank you xx
    ps I’m having a Drive Safe baby Hare give-away with strings attached on my blog 🙂

  3. Chris says:

    Some great ideas here. I like the adding ice cubes to water idea, so simple! Thanks 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing these ways to keep rabbit cool. I have a foster rabbit now and I will try this Frozen Water Bottle. This is a great way to cool down things plus the fact that it does not cost you anything.

  5. shirley says:

    go to your hardware store and buy a two gallon heavy plastic bucket with lid. Fill 2/3 with water and pop in the freezer every night. I’ve been doing that this summer and it has yet to crack and leak (like a frozen water bottle did, what a mess) and the buns like to cuddle up to it during the day. They can’t get a purchase on it to chew either with it being round.

  6. Website says:

    These are such useful tips. The frozen water bottle would seem like a big hit for my rabbit. Thanks for sharing this. – Ryder

  7. Andrea Perry says:

    Would it be useful not having Sawdust in bottom half of hutch outside as rabbits are warm and keep pushing sawdust away and laying down

    • Tamsin says:

      You could certainly remove the sawdust. Do you use a litter tray? I’d suggest using a tray in the corner they use for toileting and leave the rest bare. Some people also line the floor with lino/vinyl flooring to make it wipe clean in case of any accidents.

  8. Cian says:

    My neighbour has covered her rabbit cage in towels thinking this will cool down the rabbit, is this okay to do? The cage is in the shade anyway but I thought this would make the cage too hot

    • Tamsin says:

      Hi Cian,
      Wet towels would be best as the evaporation will cool the air. Dry towels probably won’t make much difference if it’s already in shade – perhaps the sun moves across during the day and it’s ready for later. It shouldn’t make it any hotter though.

      • chelsea says:

        Old comment, but needed to clarify incase people are still reading this like I did. But should absolutely not be covered; with wet towels, muslins or anything else! It creates an oven effect but stopping ventilation.

        • Tamsin says:

          Covering the top of the top of the cage is fine, but yes, there should still be plenty of air circulation, you don’t want to wrap the whole thing obviously.

  9. Roslyn says:

    Hello Tamisn and everyone!

    Thanks for sharing the above tips.

    It’s my first time having a pet bunny, so I’m still learning what is best for him.

    My bunny is a free roam bunny, but his shelter is in the back yard – the whole floor is covered in ceramic tiles, and the area is shady. However, in summer here the temperature can go up to 42° Celsius. So I’m getting concerned about heat stroke. We keep him inside the house most of the day which is cooler than outside. The floor inside the house is also ceramic.

    I like the idea of freezing water bottles. But, what about the condensation outside the frozen water bottle? Would that harm the rabbit in any way? As I’ve been told that direct water can cause chest infection.

    Thanks a real lot for your help.

    Good day to all.


    • Tamsin says:

      Hi Roslyn,

      That is quite hot! Managing the temperature is the area he’s in should help – so aircon if you have it, blocking out the sun to create shady areas and cool tiles are all great. It’s very sensible to keep him inside during the hottest part of the day. The condensation from frozen bottles won’t cause any problems, it’s no different to a water bowl or being in the rain (which we get a lot of here). You may find he licks it off the bottle even.

      The only water related thing you shouldn’t do is bath him in it. Just being around water won’t be a problem.

      I hope that helps 🙂

  10. Uhhm says:

    You do know that broccoli causes a lot of gass for rabbits and also sensitive bunny stomachs have been known to go into stasis over food that’s too cold.

  11. Tamsin says:

    Hi Uhhm,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I would disagree with you on that. I’ve certainly heard hearsay about broccoli and many other vegetables, but when it comes to rabbits there is a lot of bad information mixed with the good. I would urge you to look at a range of reliable sources and then make your own mind up. For example: https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-care-advice/rabbit-diet/gas/

    Whilst broccoli could be a potential source of gas, so can any other foods and the issue is often more down to whether a rabbit is used to being given a wide variety of foods. The amount of broccoli in the picture above is actually a very routine amount for that rabbit, in fact it was routine for me to give him the entire stalk from a broccoli each time I chopped up the florets for the humans of the house. I’ve never experienced any problems with any of my rabbits linked to brassica family vegetables.

    In terms of temperature, again, I’d disagree. By the time a rabbit has nibbled off a small section, it’s been thoroughly chewed, then travelled down to the stomach it’s unlikely to be more than chilled. Certainly rabbits that live outside during the winter months experience as cold/colder food than a rabbit eating something in like that in summer.

    If you have a rabbit that is prone to stasis episodes or has regular problems linked to diet then I would be more cautious over any food related enrichment. Otherwise, I would recommend feeding a very varied diet (introducing new foods gradually) and engaging in plenty of enrichment that encouraged active exercise as having more health benefits than potential detriments.

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