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There are various suggestions I have read on how to keep a rabbit cool in hot and extreme heat conditions, including here.

What none of these seem to address is the suitability of shaving or trimming the rabbit's fur. I have read various opinions on this and they range from "don't do it unless you have special expensive equipment like a vet" or "don't do it because the fur will protect the bunny from the heat" to "it will definitely help to keep the rabbit cooler". There are also differing opinions on how short a cut should be.

I have had experience shaving rabbit fur, but not expressly for the purpose for dealing with being outdoors in hot weather, so I am familiar with the issues doing the actual shaving, but not with the practicality of it.

Will shaving a rabbit help them to better deal with the heat? Will it be helpful in filling gaps in other cooling methods when they aren't possible, for instance those which appear to require frequent presence to refresh cold water or frozen water bottles?

  • Have you considered, that a rabbit who is shaved will get sun burned if exposed to direct sun light? – James Jenkins Apr 29 '16 at 21:04
  • @JamesJenkins Yes. Sun exposure has been eliminated. – Michael Apr 29 '16 at 23:14
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"Does fur protect the rabbit from heat or make it hotter?" Both, actually. Fur is an insulator, which means that it impedes heat exchange in either direction. That is, heat is slower to leave the rabbit's body, in the case that it's cold outside, and outside heat is absorbed into the rabbit more slowly, like in the case of the rabbit being in direct sun in summer.

Even if the outside environment is cooler than their body temperature, a mammal may feel too hot because their body is constantly producing heat, and they're designed to have a certain amount of that heat lost to the outside. If it's warm enough outside, fur could impede the movement of heat too much, making it feel too warm, and removing fur by shaving could help speed it up, making the rabbit feel cooler. There are other benefits to having fur, however, such as protection of the skin from sunburns and injury. Therefore, I would consult with a vet.

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