Protecting rabbits from the heat: What pet owners need to know

Even if sweating is sometimes not particularly pleasant, it regulates our heat balance and thus protects us from overheating. Many types of pets, on the other hand, do not sweat – which can become very dangerous when the summer heat sets in.

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According to the German Animal Welfare Association, most pets regulate their warmth by drinking and panting. So pet owners and cats know that they have to pay attention to a number of things, especially in the summer months. But mistresses and masters of rabbits, guinea pigs, parrots and fish should also monitor their animals in the summer.

Protect rabbits and guinea pigs from the heat

Small animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs often live in outdoor enclosures. According to the German Animal Welfare Association, pet owners should ensure fresh drinking water is available at all times – and check it frequently, as water evaporates quickly at high temperatures.

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Rabbits and guinea pigs should always be able to retreat into the cool shade. According to the Animal Welfare Association, shaded houses or cool stone slabs can help. At particularly high temperatures, it may also be a good idea for young animals to place a wet towel over the enclosure. Pet owners should also be sure to add green feed more often, as it wilts more quickly in the heat.

Summer heat tales

On some summer days, the thermometer likes to climb above 30 degrees. Here are some practical tips for calming down.

Take heat stroke seriously

Rabbits or guinea pigs that live in cages indoors should always have fresh drinking water and green fodder in summer. It is especially important that the cage is never in the hot sun – according to the Animal Welfare Association, small animal owners should keep in mind that the position of the sun changes throughout the day. Even if the new winds are able to cool you down, the cages should never be placed in a draft, otherwise the animals may get sick. On the other hand, a damp cloth placed over or in the cage can provide cooling.

If your rabbit is breathing more deeply than usual in the middle of summer, panting heavily and panting on the floor, it could be a sign of overheating, according to the vet portal. It is then important to cool the rabbit immediately and consult a veterinarian – heat stroke is almost always an emergency.

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The parrot loves to “bathe”.

Although the parrot originally comes from Australia and has a body temperature of around 41 degrees, temperatures that are too high can also be dangerous for young birds. Unlike humans, budgies do not have sweat glands and begin to pant like a dog when the weather is hot in order to regulate heat balance.

Veterinarian and Federal Association of Practitioner Veterinarians (BPT) spokeswoman Astrid Bear explains in an interview with the Pet Supplies Industry Association that parrots are just as happy with the refreshing calm as people are. Animal owners should put a bowl of water in the cage out of the sun where the animals can bathe. “Regular showering from a spray bottle also cools you down,” says Astrid Beer. It is best to spray the animals with lukewarm water.

Insomnia and difficulty breathing

It is also important that the budgie always has access to clean and fresh drinking water. Veterinarian Astrid Bear recommends placing damp lettuce leaves or a piece of cucumber in the cage to give the birds a break. Owners should also ensure that the cages or cages are not exposed to hot sunlight – light or damp tarps or sheets can be placed over the cages to provide shade. “Regular ventilation and air exchange are important,” says the vet. However, drafts should be avoided, as the parrot can catch a cold.

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According to Pizpon, a private parrot conservation initiative, a parrot can become a danger if it is stuffy and hot in the room for a long time. The impending heat stroke can be recognized by the fact that the animal is very restless despite the high temperatures and has breathing problems. If the parrot falls to the ground, this is a clear sign of overheating. The owner should then immediately put the animal in a cool room, spray it carefully with lukewarm water and contact a veterinarian.

Fish: add cold water

Even if fish live in water and are therefore in a state of constant cooling, especially high temperatures can be dangerous for animals. According to the German Animal Welfare Association, the water in the aquarium can heat up life-threateningly. Central Association of Zoologists H. V. (ZZF) explains that temperatures above 28 degrees can be critical, especially for fish that are not exposed to significant temperature fluctuations in their natural habitat.

“It is important to reduce feeding the fish during hot days and to ensure that they are calm in front of and inside the aquarium,” says Matthias Wiesense, community manager at ZZF’s online portal my-fish. “It might also make sense to reduce the duration of the illumination and thus reduce the activity of the fish.” In order to lower the water temperature, the owners can also remove the cover plates from the aquarium and thus extract energy from the water through targeted evaporation so that it cools. There are also aquarium fans at pet stores.

It becomes dangerous when the fish begin to swim at the surface. Then there may already be a lack of oxygen in the water due to the heat. The German Animal Welfare Association advises carefully filling the aquarium with cold water. However, according to ZZF, it is recommended to make several small water changes to avoid additional stress to the fish.

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