Tips To keep your Furries Warm in Winter.
As the temperature falls we always start to think about keeping our Furry Friends warm. The main thing to do is decide where your pet is going to spend most of their time. If that is outside, then it is really not fair bringing them into a centrally heated house for a few hours in the evening then popping them back outside. An animal that winters out will grow a coat for winter and will acclimatise to the temperature drop. So, if your pet is predominantly indoor and we have already had a frost or the temperature drop below 10 degrees then they need to stay in as they will have not grown the coat or acclimatised so that they can get through the winter happily.
I will split this post into two part so I can discuss Rabbits and Guinea Pigs separately.
Let’s start with Guinea Pigs:
Personally I always give Guinea Pigs extra heat in winter. Our barn has infra red thermostatically controlled heating so our pigs go in the barn in the winter. On dry days over 10 degrees they do go out for some winter sun. Please make sure Piggys get plenty of light in the winter and are not in dark garages, I can’t think of anything more depressing. The best solution is to bring Piggies inside or have a day hutch off wet grass for warmer days and a hutch in a garage or shed at night.
I have wintered young healthy rabbits outside with no issue for years. The emphasis being on young and healthy, as soon as mine start to show age they come in. In fact, as soon as the Christmas rush is over at the hotel my Buns stay in at night and cold wet days until around March.
During the winter we always add more bedding. I prefer hay than straw as both Guinea Pigs and Rabbits enjoy eating it. I would not advise Straw as a bedding for guinea pigs as they do not have a very good blink reflex and can get an eye injury. Once wet Hay is not as good as straw for keeping the wet away from your rabbit but as I clean out every day this is not an issue. Any wet betting needs to be removed daily.
We sell Hay however if you are not local to us try these
Adding additional heat to your Pet’s hutch.
A firm favourite for me is the Snuggle safe heat pad, they are also good for bad backs! They stay warm all night and your pet will not injure themselves on it.Some people like to add items like these beds. This is only a good idea if you know your pet will not chew them.My preference for soft furnishings is Vet Bed.It wicks away any wet from your pet, it’s warm and washes at high temperatures.
Hutch and Bottle Covers:
Covering hutches and Bottles will help keep you pet warm but please ensure there is plenty of ventilation.I find old duvets with a tarp on top work well. Also old horse rugs as they are waterproof on the outside and warm on the inside.
With outdoor water bottles in low temperature I cover them and put warm NOT boiling water in early evening, this slows the freezing process down.
Perspex can be added to the front of the hutch but again please consider the amount of ventilation your pet is getting.
Keep Pets Clean and Groomed.
Urine and wet bedding will freeze it is important to clean out wet bedding daily. This ensures the hutch stays warm and dry.
If your rabbit or Guinea Pig has lots of excess hair around there back end they will stay damp. Damp is never good but it will make the animal colder. If your pet needs grooming drop us an email and we can book your pet in.
If you feel your pet is not getting enough attention over the winter we offer Long Term Boarding. Pets love coming to the hotel so it you do not have to feel guilty about them enjoying an extended stay.
We look forward to see you at the Small Furry Hotel.