Hot Weather, Heat Stroke and Your Bunny

Your rabbit is at risk of heat stroke when the temperature is above 85 decrees. This summer may be hot. The National Weather Service already says this March was the hottest on record for Santa Barbara. Untreated, heat stroke can be fatal. So keep you bunny cool on hot days. Check your bunny early and regularly on hot days. Always have your vet’s phone number handy.

Keep Your Bunny Cool:

Here's a few tips on keeping your bunny cool. 

  • Bring (or keep) your pets inside.
  • Keep water bowls and bottles full.
  • Add ice cubes to water bowls.
  • Chill carrots or other foods and serve cold and dripping wet.
  • Provide lots of shade.

See our Keeping Cool in Hot Weather page for more...


Rabbits with heat stroke will not behave normally. Instead they will

  • Have rapid, shallow breathing,
  • Have ears that are hotter and redder than usual,
  • Have wetness around the nose, and
  • Be listless and clumsy.
  • They may also have convulsions.

An video of a rabbit with a bad case of heat stroke is here:


Heat stroke is an emergency. Move the rabbit to the coolest place you have. Wipe his ears with a cool damp cloth or mist the ears with cool water. Offer cool water and cool, fresh crisp vegetables. Place a frozen ice bottle next to your bunny - in a pinch use a bag of frozen peas. Then contact your vet immediately. Continue misting or damp wiping the ears until you get to the vet. In the car, place the bunny near the air conditioning vent.

If you do not have a vet, you can find a list on our rabbit care page. Finding emergency care can take time. So on hot days start checking your rabbit in the early afternoon.

After hours or on a weekend, contact an emergency clinic: CARE (805 899-2273) or AVS (805) 729-4460. Call before you go to either clinic. Confirm that they will see your rabbit before you go. At the emergency clinic, remember the intake staff does not always recognize a rabbit in crisis. So advocate for your rabbit’s needs, nicely but firmly.