Now is a crucial time for you to decide if your rabbit or Guinea Pig is living out this winter.
In my opinion a healthy rabbit can live outside in a UK winter if they are given the appropriate facilities.
Personally my Guinea Pigs always come in when it starts to dip below 5 degrees C. at night. My current rabbits are older so they also come in when the temperature takes a dive.
However, a young fit rabbit in good accommodation will winter out easily.
So why is it important in September to make the decision on what you intend to do this winter?
The simple answer is your rabbit will decide which coat they need this winter.
A healthy rabbit that is out now and stays out will develop a much thinker coat than one that is indoors. As you start shutting the doors in the house and putting the heating on your rabbit will not develop a coat as thick as their friends outside who are experiencing lower temperatures.
We must also remember that especially here in the south coast our outside temperatures do fluctuate. So your pet will need help at theses time. For example if there is a sudden drop in temperature and not a slow decline your pet will need help. It is also good to give them some help on those really cold nights.
I recommend these heat pads as I have used them on my back and they really do stay warm through out the night. They are the safest heating option that has direct contact with your pet.
If your pet is staying with us you can order a heat pad for your pet.
You can also get coverings for your pets accommodation but please make sure your pet has good ventilation. A good cheap way to cover a part of your pets accommodation is to use old horse rugs. These are waterproof and warm and come with straps to attach it. You can find these for sale on second hand site or ask on facebook.
If you want actual heating inside a shed then I recommend infra red heater. They are cheap to run, safe, heat the animal and produce less condensation.
The most important thing not to do is have your Pet outside and bring them in just in the evenings when your house is warm and then put them back outside in the cold. Make sure you make your plans now. If your pet will come in when the temperature really starts to drop then you don't need to be bothered about the above.
If you intend on your being out then plans need to be made now.
Make sure the outside accommodation is big enough and have enough covered space on wet days.
The accommodation is ventilated.
The accommodation is safe! Think Hungry cold foxes !!
The accommodation is protected from driving rain.
You have a comfortable place to spend time with your pet outside so they don't come in an get warmed up then put back out.
A drop in temperature is not an excuse to not groom your animals. I often see matted animals over the winter and I am told they will groom in the summer.
If your pet is matted any time of the year that needs sorting asap.
what you don't want to do is remove excessive coat but you do not want to leave a pet with mats that are pulling every time they move.
You certainly do not want to leave your pet with faeces on them. One mild day and you will still get fly strike in the winter.
We hope this article has given you some food for thought. I currently have a very healthily 12 year old rabbit staying with me who has wintered out. Being in our houses with our heat and chemicals is not always better than fresh air. So I would never pass judgement on some one telling me their pet is inside or out.
We offer inside and outside accommodation. Our accommodation is thermostatically controlled so any pet outside at home needs to be booked outside with us.
I hope you found this post enjoyable.