Rabbits really don’t like the cold – and who can blame them? In the wild they live in warm, draught-free burrows along with lots of snuggle mates, so as winter creeps in it’s important to make sure their environment is weather proofed. Clent Hills Vets’ team has some tips on preparing your bunny for the cold snap, but why not be extra safe and book your pet’s annual winter health check now?
If you have an indoor bunny, keeping warm probably won’t be an issue as you will have the temperature regulated to keep yourself warm. But do double-check that their bed is away from draughts and that they have plenty of hay to burrow into. Another tip is to add a box full of straw to their hutch to give them an extra cosy area.
For outdoor-living rabbits a protected environment is even more important. If you can, it’s best to bring them indoors over the winter, but introduce them to their new environment gradually over a few days and make sure their familiar toys and bedding is with them. If you have a garden shed then that is an ideal alternative. If you don’t, our head nurse, Emma, has some suggestions for insulating your pet from the elements.
- Keep rabbits in pairs or more – they love companionship and body heat.
- Raise the hutch off the floor on bricks or long legs to stop damp getting in.
- Cover the hutch and run with a tarpaulin – rabbits still need exercise even in winter.
- Add a layer of blankets over the hutch and under the tarpaulin for extra warmth.
- Be extra vigilant when it comes to cleaning the hutch – bedding won’t be warm if it’s wet.
- Insulate water bottles. If the temperature gets really low you don’t want water bottles to freeze. Coat them in bubble wrap or pop them in a thick sock.
- Check on your rabbit regularly – at least three times a day in cold weather.
Even though it may be cold, your rabbits still need stimulation, so do try to keep up with their play routine. If you’re after suggestions for suitable toys, the team at Clent Hills Vets will be happy to help when you call on 01527 889810.