Rabbits are fragile creatures. When the temperature rises above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), they are at risk of overheating and suffering from heat exhaustion. According to the House Rabbit Society, rabbits are especially vulnerable when they are overweight, young, old, or have heavy fur.
In Toronto, the temperature only rises above 30 degrees Celsius seven days a year on average. However, there have been recent exceptions, like the year 2016, where there were over a dozen. And 2018 is shaping up to be another particularly hot year.
So what are you to do when you air conditioner dies? You can call for repairs, but it may be a few hours before the technician arrives, especially if there’s a backlog of calls. These measures can help you keep your rabbit cool and comfortable in the meantime.
- Use oscillating fans to create a breeze in the room. Fans cannot actually make the room cooler, but they can create a wind chill effect that makes the air feel cooler on the rabbit’s skin so it can more easily shed its excess body heat.
- If one room is cooler than the other, move your bunny to that cooler part of the house. This is especially important if he or she is penned into one room, or can’t move to other parts of the house because of tile floors.
- Mist your bunny’s ears with cool water. They may not like this much, but it can help. Rabbits regulate body heat through their ears, so the evaporating water will help keep them cool.
- Place a frozen water bottle on the floor so your rabbit can lay next to it. Some pet owners use a ceramic tile for this purpose instead. Either way, it helps to give them something to cool off with.
- Add a bit of ice to your bunny’s water bottle or water dish.
While you’re at it, be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion, which warrant a trip to the emergency vet. The signs include fast, shallow breathing, wet nose, hot ears, lethargy, and panting while tossing its head back.
When the temperature rises, it’s important not to leave your rabbit alone for too long without air conditioning. If you cannot be around to monitor its health, you should try to get your air conditioning fixed as soon as possible. The fastest on-call air conditioner repair company in Toronto is AtlasCare; visit Atlascare.ca for heating and air conditioning repair in an emergency.