With their small body size and increased metabolic rates, small animals like mice rats, guinea pigs and rabbits do get cold, perhaps more than we do! Follow the steps below to keep your small animals warm in winter.
Comfortable and warm bedding
Many pet parents keep their rabbit and guinea pig hutches outdoors, however it is recommended to bring the small members of your family inside during the winter months. Most hutches or holding pens of sufficient size will fit in a laundry or bathroom. Providing thick straw, wood shavings or a cover over the rabbit hutch will help to keep the warmth in. While guinea pigs and rabbits can live outside in winter, these little creatures do not tolerate the cold that well. If they must be outside, ensure their hutch is protected from the wind, rain and elements and is elevated off the ground so water cannot seep in. Consider placing their hutch in the garage or similar and providing them with a heat pad inside or underneath their home. Browse our range of small animal bedding to keep your small animals warm and insulated this winter.
Small animals will usually exercise themselves at their own rate, however exercise outside the hutch is important for guinea pigs and rabbits. While it can be more difficult with the shorter, cooler days in winter, ensure you make the time to exercise your small animals in your backyard or similar to keep them happy and healthy. Book an appointment with your local Greencross Vets for more advice on how to keep your small animals healthy during winter.
Especially if they’re outdoors, feeding your guinea pigs and rabbits more calories during the winter can help them to maintain their body heat and stay warm. Provide your pets with a little extra food in their bowl during the colder months, but be careful not to overfeed them as being overweight will lead to other health complications.
Just like us, small animals can experience arthritis. Watch out for symptoms in your rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice before their joints become too painful. Sometimes we see the skin over the joints wear so much that there are ulcers and pressure sores. As small animals are very good at hiding their aches and pains, it is important to be on the lookout. Should your pet exhibit these symptoms, book an appointment at your local Greencross Vets clinic for a treatment plan.
Don’t forget to regularly brush your small animal throughout winter. Using a good quality brush to remove unwanted fur is important in those that are prone to matting or knots in order to keep them clean and healthy.