In the wild rabbits live in underground burrows, which stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But with us, they spend a lot more time above ground, so it’s important to find ways to help them stay warm. You can make their winter a warm one by following our top tips.
Bring them inside in the worst weather. If temperatures drop, bring them inside. A porch or conservatory is perfect, to avoid them over-heating in our cosy homes. If you’re not able to bring them into your home you could keep them in a car-free shed or garage. Remember: car fumes could be fatal.
Keep their hutch out of rain and snow. Make sure it’s in a sheltered area of your garden where wind, rain and snow can’t get in. You can also use windbreaks to keep the worst of the weather away.
Give them extra warmth. Put an old blanket or tarpaulin over their hutch to help keep it warm. Make sure the hutch still has ventilation, and that your bunnies can’t get to the blanket to nibble it!
Outdoor exercise. Even in cold weather, your pets need natural light and exercise so make sure they have constant access to an outdoor run to use, too. Supply them with plenty of hiding places they can shelter in if they want to.
Extra bedding. Give them plenty of bedding hay or straw to snuggle into. Change it regularly to keep their hutch fresh and dry.
A heat pad. Place an animal-safe heat pad under their bedding for extra warmth.
Wrap up their water bottles. Stop their water bottles freezing by wrapping in bubble wrap or an old sock. Water bowls are better than bottles for rabbits so if you’re rabbit has a water bowl, make sure to check it at least twice daily to ensure it doesn’t freeze over - placing an animal-safe heat pad underneath will help.
Top tip: Keep rabbits with other rabbits. By keeping rabbits in pairs or groups you’ll be giving them the right kind of company they need to be happy. There’s an added bonus in winter months: two snuggling up together will be warmer than one!
Even if your rabbits live indoors, they might need an extra bit of warmth over winter. If you’re thinking of moving your indoor bunnies out in cold water make sure to give them time to adapt and grow a thicker coat to cope with the colder temperatures:
Move them out of drafts. Drafts from windows and doors can give your rabbits chill. Make sure their enclosure is in a secure area where they can stay warm without overheating.
Extra bedding. Give them extra bedding to snuggle into on cold days. Change it regularly to keep their enclosure fresh and dry.
Keep them away from fumes. From non-stick frying pans to wood burning stoves and scented candles – there’s lots of things in our homes that produce fumes. We might not notice them but they could harm small pets.
Festive fun for rabbits
Don’t forget your small pets this festive season! Let them join in the fun by offering them some of their favourite food wrapped in brown paper. Figuring out how to get to the food is a great challenge to occupy their inquisitive minds and stops them getting bored.
Remember, pets aren’t just for Christmas. The festive period may be full of excitement but it isn’t a good time to welcome in a new furry friend. It’s an especially busy time of year and new pets need your time, a calm environment and a routine to settle them in.
Making the decision to get a new pet takes time and you need to be well prepared not just for their arrival, but also for the rest of their life. It’s essential to make sure you choose the right animal for you, and just as important to ensure you are right for them. Take a look at our advice on getting pets for Christmas.