Vet Lisa Gillett gives advice on vital winter rabbit care
Vet Lisa Gillett has prepared the following advice for rabbit owners in Buckinghamshire on how to keep their hopping house mates happy this winter, including tips for keeping them warm and comfortable.
Share this advice with other rabbit owners by sharing our article on your socials. Don’t hesitate to call us on 01908 397777 if you would like some individual advice tailored to your rabbit from our team.
7 signs your rabbit is feeling the cold
- Shivering: If you notice your rabbit shivering or trembling, it’s a clear sign they are feeling cold. Shivering is a natural response to cold temperatures as the body tries to generate heat.
- Huddling: Rabbits will huddle together or curl up into a ball to conserve body heat when they’re cold. If you see your rabbit doing this frequently, it’s a sign they are trying to stay warm.
- Cold ears and feet: Lisa recommends touching your rabbit’s ears and feet – if they feel cold to the touch, it’s a sign your rabbit is too cold. Cold extremities can indicate poor circulation and discomfort.
- Reduced activity: Cold temperatures can make rabbits lethargic. If your rabbit becomes less active or seems sluggish, it may be because they are cold.
- Seeking warmth: If your rabbit is actively seeking warm spots in their enclosure, such as cuddling next to a heated water bottle or seeking shelter, it’s a clear indication they are trying to stay warm.
- Hunched posture: Rabbits tend to adopt a hunched posture with their body close to the ground when they are feeling cold, advises Lisa. This is another way to minimise heat loss.
- Change in eating and drinking habbits: When rabbits are too cold, they may eat and drink less because their body is conserving energy to stay warm. Lisa stresses that it’s very important to monitor your rabbit’s food and water consumption; eating less or not at all can quickly become a rabbit emergency and dehydration can also affect their digestion. Call us on 01908 397777 if you are concerned.
How to keep your rabbit warm this winter
Lisa advises that there are several ways you can help your rabbit cope with the cold weather including:
- Move your rabbit’s hutch or cage inside your home if possible, or perhaps into a garage or shed to avoid the coldest of the weather in Buckinghamshire.
- Ensure their enclosure is well insulated, especially their sleeping area. You can also wrap your rabbit’s home in blankets or a duvet, ensuring it’s remains well-ventilated.
- Extra straw and hay will help to provide warmth and insulation in your rabbit’s enclosure.
- Microwaveable heat pads and well-wrapped hot water bottles can be useful when the temperature really drops but caution should be taken when using these. You may want to place these on the outside of your rabbit’s housing to avoid them chewing through the casing.
- Limit outdoor play during very cold weather and ensure your rabbit has access to sheltered areas during their limited playtime.
- Your rabbit may need more calories during colder months to help them generate heat – our team can advise on this. Contact us on 01908 397777 to discuss your rabbit’s winter nutritional needs.
It is crucial to strike a healthy balance between providing warmth but also the necessary ventilation. Regularly monitoring your rabbits for signs of cold and making adjustments to their environment as needed will help to keep your rabbit healthy, happy and snuggly warm this winter.
Share this advice with other rabbit owners on your socials and let’s help bunnies across Buckinghamshire have a happy and healthy winter.