Winter care for rabbits and guinea pigs
|Unfortunately like us our poor furry friends are susceptible to illness and problems associated with the weather and temperature changes of winter. In this note I shall try and out line some important points to consider in the care of our pets over the winter months.|
Health care: Before and after the winter it is advisable to have a health check at the vets to make sure they are fit for and after winter. Regular health checks done by you during the winter will help to spot any changes in your pet’s health and demeanour. Make sure that the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and back end are clear, also check the fur as moulting and damp conditions can lead to matting.
Housing: Before and after winter it is advisable to thoroughly check over the cage and run for any signs of damage. The cage should be placed somewhere sheltered, preferably a shed or unused garage. If outside the cage must be raised off the ground as the wood will absorb moisture off the ground.
Bedding: Use extra layers of newspaper and straw to insulate the cage. Change bedding regularly, especially if damp, as this will become cold and frozen.
Feeding: It is important to increase the amount of food over the cold months, particularly provide plenty of hay or foods high in fibre. Also supply foods that take effort to eat as this can help prevent boredom. Make sure guineas also get their regular doses of vit c. Remove any uneaten food as this will be prone to rot with the damp conditions.
Playing/ exercise: If your pet is not used to being handled allow them to exercise in a run during the day, but put back in the hutch at night.
Indoor rabbits: Make sure they have somewhere warm to go just in case the temperature should drop in the house. Avoid putting them outside, as they will not have a sufficient winter coat.