Keeping outside rabbits (and other critters) cool in the heat

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Royal Norman with his bunnies. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Royal Norman with his bunnies. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

We have rabbits. Not too many of them. Three. All from the Arizona Humane Society. And we keep them in cages outside. In the winter and early spring, it’s the perfect environment for a rabbit. Even on the coldest nights when, admittedly, we do cover them up with blankets for extra warmth, they don’t even need that. About the only thing you can’t do, ever, even in the winter, is leave a rabbit in direct sunlight without a way to get to shade. They can overheat even on a warm, winter today.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see the photo of Toasty on his adoption day]

So our place on the patio is perfect for the winter but as it gets warmer and the sun moves farther north in the sky, our location is not as good. We’ve added a shade/awning to keep them out of direct sun, but even that wouldn’t be enough when it gets really hot.

[RELATED: MCSO reminds owners to keep pets cool during extreme heat]

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see the photo of my daughter Lizzie and I when we adopted Salt and Pepper]

We used to use those small evaporative coolers which worked pretty good keep them cool. But it always seemed kind of messy and we think a couple times they got colds from them. So we changed strategy and purchased one of those portable air conditioners on wheels. It works perfectly. It blows cool, dry air and even on the hottest days, the rabbit cages stay right around 80-85 degrees. And we can turn them off at night.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

 [MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see the photo of Salt and Pepper getting ready for Easter]

We don’t blow the air right on the rabbits, but past them and we do cover them up enough to keep the cooler air in their cages. We’re not trying to cool down the whole patio. That just wouldn’t work.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see the photo of Salt and Pepper love to get out on the grass]

But even with that being said, when the forecast gets really hot, say around 110 or more, we just bring them and their cages inside for a few days. We just don’t want to worry about it. And we don’t want our bunnies to get heat stroke. 

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click/tap here to see the photo of the rabbits inside]

So play it safe with your dogs, cats, rabbits and other critters this summer. Our heat can get them quickly.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Bunny gif]

[WEATHER INFO: Weather home | Hourly forecast | 7-day forecast | Interactive map | Weather alerts]

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