Seasonal Pet Care for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Winter Care Tips for Rabbits & Guinea Pigs Kept Outside
Winter isn't a good time of year for many rabbits and guinea pigs. Sadly, some people don't want to go out in the dark/cold/wet/wind to clean out the hutch, feed the rabbit, and spend some time giving it a cuddle and a quick health check.
So they get neglected, water bottles get iced up making it impossible for the rabbit to get a vital drink, hutches end up stinking and soaking, and rabbits fall ill and could even die.
So if you do choose to house your rabbit or guinea pig out doors, here are some things to think about:
Ideally the hutch should be moved inside or into a shed, outbuilding or unused garage (fumes from cars can easily kill) - a damp hutch can cause serious health issues to your pets.
If you are unable to move inside, please offer them plenty of protection
Make sure you cover up your hutch at night, make it draught and waterproof – think about a waterproof cover for the hutch and run.
Change the bedding frequently as wet bedding can freeze solid.
Get a spare water bottle so that when one gets frozen up, you can swap it over quickly without having to wait until the original bottle defrosts. Always check that the water in the nozzle isn’t frozen as often it does before the water inside the actual bottle does.
Older rabbits can suffer dreadfully from arthritis so make sure they are snug and warm.
During freezing weather, you can use pet safe snuggle pads to keep them warm.
Keep them warm - provide warm, dry hiding places in their run such as wooden boxes, tunnels and cat carriers. Fill all hides with soft hay to allow the guinea pigs areas to retreat to if the temperature is cold.
Put a thick layer of newspaper on the base of the sleeping area, this helps to insulate, then loosely fill the bedding area with more hay and/or straw. This helps to keep the rabbit warm.
Look after your rabbits and guinea pigs this winter!
Find out more about rabbits on the Save a Fluff website. www.saveafluff.co.uk/rabbit-info/winter-care-for-rabbits
Find out more about guinea pigs on the Guinea Piggles website. www.guineapiggles.co.uk/article/how-keep-guinea-pigs-warm-winter