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How to keep your rabbit cool in hot weather

A great read by Nikki, veterinary nurse who runs Crumpets which boards small animals whilst you are away

Make sure your rabbit's area is not in direct sunlight (remember the sun moves around in the day so think ahead), keep your outdoor hutches well shaded and using rechargeable mini fans clipped onto the hutch can help move air around the hutch to reduce hotspots (great for indoor too).

Frozen pop bottles and milk bottles are also an excellent way to help your rabbit or guinea pig cool down and it is safer to use water than freezer packs that contain antifreeze, wrap the frozen bottle in a damp towel to allow your pet to lay against.

With indoor rabbits in this really hot weather consider investing in an air conditioning unit and indoor buns should not be kept in conservatories when it is this hot as they have a greenhouse effect and overheat quickly.

Offer water in both bowls and bottles, you can add ice cubes to bowls to cool them down further.

Using a tile in the hutch can help.

We use a laser thermometer to monitor all our indoor and outdoor hutches as we can check for hotspots throughout the day. If you cannot prevent your rabbit from getting onto a slabbed area in the run when it is this hot place down a mat and soak the mat with a hose, anything around and over 30'c will need your help to keep your pets cool.

Know the signs of heatstroke such as laying out, inappetance, lethargy, fast breathing, and monitor their poo, if it's small and black it can indicate dehydration and early gut stasis.

Remember your small furries lose heat from their paws and ears (it's like wearing a thick winter coat that you cannot take off in this heat) so wetting their feet and ears can help.

Rabbits will be moulting like mad so brush them daily and remove excess hair from the hutch, clean and replenish water bowls twice a day and give lots of fresh hay, removing old furry hay to reduce hair being ingested, if you spot poos that are stuck together like a pearl necklace it is a sign your rabbit is ingesting too much hair. Consult your vet if you are worried

This is a guest blog by one of our many animal community friends. It has not been written by The Finchley Vet staff. We love to showcase other people's work as we think it makes things more interesting for you, our readers, however, it does mean that we have not checked any of the facts and any opinions are those of the author and not of the Finchley Vet, or Local Vet Ltd.

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