Vet Q&A: Should I keep my rabbits inside or outside?

by PDSA Vets | 23 October #VetQ&As

Our rabbits can happily live indoors or outdoors, but as the weather gets cooler you might have a few questions about moving your furry friends inside to escape the elements.

We might see rabbits as traditionally ‘outdoors’ pets, but just like any other pet they feel the cold and can suffer in bad weather if they don’t have the right home to live in. We’ve answered some of your questions about where it’s best to keep rabbits over the coming months.

Jump to questions:

 

Is it better to keep my rabbits indoors or outdoors?

Both indoor and outdoor rabbits can have happy, healthy lives so it’s up to you and your bunny pals to decide whether inside or outside is best for them (or maybe even a combination of both!). Just remember that having the right setup for your rabbits and making sure you can provide everything they need is much more important than whether you keep your rabbits inside or outside. Whether inside or out, a pair of rabbits will need at least 3 m x 2 m x 1 m (10 ft x 6 ft x 3ft) of space, but the more the better! Want to know more? Read our advice on creating an ideal home for your rabbits.

 

Should I move my outdoor rabbits inside when it gets cold?

Lots of people worry about their outdoor rabbits getting cold in the winter months, so you might be thinking about moving your bunnies to a warmer place as the temperature drops. A great option is moving them into a shed or car free garage, especially if the temperature is dropping below freezing. If you decide to bring your rabbits into your house, remember it can take them a few days to adjust to big temperature changes. Suddenly moving them into a warm room in your house from the chilly outdoors can be hard for them. Try to move them before the temperature outside drops too low or think about moving them somewhere sheltered for a few days first to let them adjust to a slightly higher temperature, for example a shed or porch, before bringing them into the house.

 

How can I keep my outdoor rabbits warm this winter?

There are lots of things you can do to help your rabbits stay warm over the colder months. You should always make sure your rabbits are kept in a sheltered area out of the wind and rain. As it gets colder, give them plenty of extra bedding (such as bedding hay or straw) to keep them warm and make sure they have lots of tunnels or houses to snuggle up in. It’s also a good idea to try covering their hutch with an old blanket or piece of carpet - just make sure they can’t reach it through the bars if they’re prone to chewing thing they shouldn’t! Remember to check their water bowls and bottles every day to make sure they don’t freeze. If the temperature is going below freezing then you can wrap their bottles in a blanket or towel or buy a bottle cosy to stop it from freezing (but don’t forget to check that the spout is still working!).

 

I’ve moved my rabbit inside now it’s colder so he’s spending lots of time with me. Does he still need another rabbit for company?

House rabbits still need the company of another rabbit to keep them happy. Even though lots of us are home more at the moment we sadly can’t be with our rabbits 24/7! As we’re humans and not rabbits, we can’t give them everything they need to be happy. Having a rabbit friend will also give your bunny a companion to snuggle up with this winter. You can find out more in our Vet Q&A on rabbit companionship.

 

Can I still take my indoor rabbits out to the garden in winter?

Indoor rabbits will benefit from time outside so they can get some fresh air and enjoy some fresh grass. However, the sudden change in temperature when going from a warm house to a cold garden can come as a big surprise for them. Try to give them regular access to the outside as the seasons change so they have time to adjust. It’s also really important they have free access to get back indoors if they start to feel cold and lots of houses, hides or tunnels filled with bedding hay or straw so they can stay warm.

If you want to know more about keeping rabbits warm over winter, read our free guide.

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