Seasonal Changes in Rabbit Care (for indoor rabbits)

seasonal rabbit care (simple changes you need to make)

If you have indoor rabbits, caring for their needs is mostly the same year-round. However, there are still some minor seasonal changes in rabbit care and behavior that you’ll want to be ready for. 

In summer, the primary concern is keeping your rabbit cool to prevent heatstroke, a condition to which rabbits are particularly susceptible due to their fur coats. You’ll also need to be prepared for a lot of fur and more grooming than usual during the change of seasons.

You also may see some behavioral changes in the springtime, especially with younger male rabbits. This is a phenomenon I’ve seen referred to as “spring fever” or “March hare madness” and it is a season when some rabbits will be much more hyper, destructive, and aggressive than usual. 

Winter is not a season I worry about much with indoor rabbits. They can feel comfortable in much colder temperatures than us humans. If you’re comfortable, it’s not going to be too cold for your rabbit, so you don’t really need to make any significant changes for the winter season.

Shedding at the change of season

Typically, rabbits will undergo four shedding seasons annually, with two main molting periods and two less noticeable ones. Molting allows rabbits to adjust their coat thickness in response to changes in temperature and the amount of daylight.

Here’s the thing. Those big rabbit shedding seasons can make it look like a fur-storm has gone through your house. It’s a lot of fur! 

To help your rabbit out, you’ll want to spend a little more time grooming your rabbit during their shedding seasons. This will help get rid of some of that excess fur and to keep your rabbit from ingesting all of it. Since rabbit’s can’t vomit to get rid of hairballs (like cats can) ingesting less fur can be a factor in preventing some digestive issues, like GI Stasis.

When will your rabbit have these big shedding seasons? Well, that depends. The timing and intensity of shedding and molting will differ based on geographic location. Climate, temperature, and daylight hours have significant effects on when your rabbit will start shedding.

For reference, I live in the Northeast US and my rabbits tend to have their big molting seasons in late spring (May-June) & late fall (November-December). The smaller shedding seasons are typically around September and March.

Note: It’s normal to see a lot of fur coming off during these times, but be alert for any significant weight changes in your rabbit, as this is not typically associated with seasonal shedding. Your rabbit should maintain a more-or-less consistent weight. If you notice weight loss or gain, consult your vet.

Heat in the summer

During summer, high temperatures pose a significant threat to your rabbit’s health, primarily because rabbits are susceptible to heat stroke at temperatures above 80º. Their thick fur coats provide insulation which can become a liability in the heat, since rabbits have a limited ability to regulate their body temperature when it gets too hot.

To ensure your rabbit stays healthy and comfortable, you need to provide a cool environment. If at all possible, keep your rabbit in an air conditioned room, or have a cool place you can move them to (such as a basement) during heatwaves. 

If temperatures rise in your area, you can also strategically place fans near their living space to promote air circulation (but don’t point the fans directly at your rabbit), and consider freezing water bottles and placing them in the enclosure for the rabbits to lean against and help regulate their body temperature.

In areas not typically plagued by heat, it may still get hot occasionally. On these warmer days, it’s important to be proactive in creating shady and cool areas for your rabbit to retreat. Basements or any tiled areas within your house can offer much-needed relief from the heat. Furthermore, make certain your rabbit has access to cool, fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration.

You might also notice during summer that your rabbit is less active. This is a natural response to the heat, and is generally not a reason to worry unless your rabbit is also showing signs of heat stroke, including:

  • Very hot or red ears
  • Lack of appetite
  • Panting or drooling
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Head thrown back
  • Unbalanced or confused movement

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. For additional tips and strategies to keep your rabbit cool, check out my article on keeping cool in the summer.

Spring fever

During the transition from winter to spring, you might notice some odd changes in your rabbit’s behavior. Young male rabbits, in particular, tend to become hyperactive and overexcited in the early days of spring, around March and April. This is a phenomenon many of us in the rabbit community have dubbed “spring fever.”

While spring fever is much more common among rabbits who have not been fixed, many pet parents have noticed their neutered rabbits still show signs of hyperactivity or even aggression in the early spring months. The rabbits will be bouncing off the walls, and getting into trouble digging and chewing on things they previously ignored.

You may want to provide additional enrichment and exercise opportunities for your rabbit during this time. This could help in managing their energy levels and keep them out of trouble, ensuring they remain happy and healthy through the season. Also, I recommend double checking to make sure everything has been rabbit-proofed, so your troublemaker bunny doesn’t get into anything dangerous.

If you have more than one rabbit living together, you may see them engaging in a lot more chasing or mounting behaviors. Generally, these behaviors do not lead to a broken bond between rabbit pairs, but occasionally it can. Try to be on the lookout for behavior that is too aggressive to make sure your rabbits don’t injure each other. As I mentioned before, this is much more common in young rabbits, so older bonded pairs are unlikely to run into this problem.


  1. “Heatstroke in Rabbits.” PDSA,
  2. “Rabbits For All Seasons: Summer.” Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group, 
  3. “Warm Weather Concerns.” House Rabbit Society, Jul. 10, 2011,

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Amy Pratt

Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.

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