We’re weather-obsessed in this country, and no more so than when it’s cold and wet. And it’s not just us – our small pets aren’t too keen either, but they can’t tell us about it... and sometimes it’s not obvious, especially with small pets.
Rabbits often struggle when the weather turns cold, so your expert vet team at The Avenue has put together some advice for you.
If you’re still feeling worried or unsure after reading this article, please feel welcome to get in touch and book a winter health check. This will put your mind at rest, as well as giving you some great ideas on how to make the transfer between seasons easier at home – for both your pet and you.
Minimising winter risks for rabbits
The most common problems are:
- Cold temperatures
- Rain and snow
- Short days and long nights
- Lack of grass and grazing
- Respiratory infections
- Overgrown teeth
- Foot sores and pododermatitis
- Lice and mites
You can minimise these problems by:
- Keeping everything clean, dry and free from wind or extreme cold. It may be best to move your housing and run into a more sheltered part of your garden, or inside.
- Providing extra lighting. With the longer nights drawing in, our head nurse Helen recommends this to keep your pet active.
- Always supplying plenty of good-quality hay, which is essential to maintain gut activity and to help grind their teeth.
- Making sure you watch and observe. Check your rabbit at least twice a day for signs of infection or ill health, such as breathing problems or unusual discharge.
- Keeping an eye open for overgrown teeth. If you see abnormally long, twisted front teeth or saliva dribbling, it probably means the teeth need attention.
- Checking bedding, as damp or soiled shavings will cause foot infections. Keep all the floor space, food and water bowls clean.
- Checking for mites and lice–examine the fur of your pet at least once a week checking for any signs of dandruff, scurf or red skin.
If you notice anything that concerns you, consult the vet nurses at our St Peters Avenue practice. They’ll usually be able to give you some quick, useful guidance, or refer you to a vet if they suspect it’s something more serious.