01254 53622(24 hour emergency)

Fun in the snow!

rabbit in snow


Looking forward to some snow this week?

But is your pet?

Many of us, especially our children may well be getting a little excited about the forecast of some snow towards the end of this week. But what about our small mammals, the Guinea pigs and rabbits who are living in our hutches outside – are they and their housing prepared for the drop in temperatures?

rabbit and snowman

As temperatures drop, we wish to advise our clients not to forget about their small pets. Animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs that can naturally live outdoors can still be vulnerable to the cold and damp.

The BVA (British Veterinary Association) President, Gudrun Ravetz said: “Despite their warm furry coats, domestic rabbits and guinea pigs are vulnerable to extremes in weather. That’s why we’re asking owners to make sure that their pets do not suffer in the cold and that their home keeps them protected and comfortable.

“If owners have any concerns about their pet they should consult their local vet for advice.”

So if you have any concerns or you feel you need to have your pet checked over before or during the cold spell, please call us on 01254 53622 to speak to one of our staff members.

Some Helpful Tips:

  • Ensure your pets’ homes are waterproof, draught-proof, dry and ventilated as well as escape-proof and predator-proof. Outdoor hutches may be sold as being waterproof and will provide sufficient shelter for your pet but think to yourself – does this match what a wild rabbit has? A wild rabbit’s burrow goes deep underground away from the damp and cold. We need to supply protection for our rabbits and guinea pigs that can mimic this. Check regularly throughout the winter for water marks or other signs of damage.

rabbit hutch

  • Keep the temperature of your rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ home between 0-20C for rabbits (the lower temperature assumes rabbits are healthy and kept with other rabbits, with lots of bedding for warmth) and 5-20C for guinea pigs.
  • Fluctuating temperature changes can be more dangerous for both rabbits and guinea pigs than a more constant low temperature. It is better to avoid bringing your rabbit indoors for the evening then outdoors the following morning before work, as it can still be very cold 1st thing in the morning.
  • If you think there is going to be a longer, more severe cold spell, think where you can house your pet where these temperature fluctuations can be controlled eg by putting the hutch inside an outside shed. Make sure it is a well ventilated space with light and room to exercise -but never place them inside a garage you are using as vehicle exhaust fumes are harmful to rabbits and guinea pigs.
  • Check your pets’ water bottle or bowl regularly as they can freeze when the temperature drops. This also provides you with information about how cold it is getting inside your pets hutch, and enables you to provide more protection and bedding if required.
  • Place pets’ home in a sheltered position, away from wind, rain and snow at least 10 cm off the ground.
  • Make sure your rabbits and guinea pigs have extra bedding to keep warm during colder weather. Line hutches with plenty of newspaper, provide lots of hay or straw and cover with an old duvet/blanket/tarpaulin.

BVZS President Mark Stidworthy said:

 “The small body size of these animals makes them very susceptible to hypothermia if they get cold or damp. They are powerless to alter the environment provided for them as conditions change, and so they rely on their human carers to make sure that their housing is safe and warm enough.”

If you need any further advice, please do contact the surgery on 01254 53622 and lets all be prepared and enjoy the snowy weather!

cute guinae pig

11th January 2017, 9:36
Page updated 24th Feb 2017, 09:59
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