Winter care for your pets
So it's that time of year when it feels like every day there's new loud bangs and noises that may scare your bunnies or guineas aswell as the cold weather creeping in. In alot of circumstances we can't avoid this due to where we may live- so how can we minimise the stress at this time of year and ensure our pets are warm and safe?
Firstly let's look at fireworks night- although as many of us are aware this can often spill over into whole weekends and days of noisy celebrations.
As a first step I would always suggest joining your local areas Facebook pages. Often people will post in advance warning pet owners if they plan to have a display and this can be a good way to identify early any precautions you may need to take.
For outside pets it is best to cover their space with blankets to provide some soundproofing but ensure the animals can still look out. It is also recommended that you provide extra material for them to burrow down in ie hay.
There are a few things that you can buy that can be used to minimise stress- Pet Remedy is a very popular product and is not pheromone based so is suitable for all mammals. It can come as the form of a water based spray which is safe for skin and non toxic if ingested. You can also get it as a diffuser which is great if you have indoor buns (you can also get a battery operated one aswell if you can't plug in).
Here's a link to their site explaining in more detail how it works:
As the cold weather creeps in you might think it's simply easier to bring your pets inside however unfortunately this isn't recommended as a short term solution as outdoor rabbits can have trouble adjusting with such a change in temperature if you do this too quickly. You could also trigger a moult which would then leave them too cold if you put them back outside again so any changes should be made gradually; the RSPCA gives this advice - "You should introduce your rabbits to their new indoor home gradually, by bringing them indoors for increasingly longer periods each day during the summer and autumn so that they can settle in and explore their new surroundings. Place your rabbits’ home in a quiet, calm part of the house where they will not be disturbed. Putting familiar smelling items in the new environment (such as toys, used but unsoiled bedding, water bottle) can help make your rabbits feel at ease".
To protect them from extremes of temperature or if your pet is older or thin it might be better to move them indoors (slowly!!) or into an unused shed or garage (note the word unused as some fumes will be deadly to buns!). This way they are safe and protected. Make sure your shed is clean and has adequate ventilation and is predator proof. As someone who has converted a shed to be bun friendly please get in touch if you would like any tips! Insulation can be added to keep it cosy (and I was able to do this at a reasonable cost). Again make sure everything is bunny proof! Especially if you have a heater in there make sure it's non accessible and cables are hidden- I use an oil filled heater- again please feel free to contact me!
For those remaining outside make sure all housing is facing away from wind and rain (sounds obvious but just double check!).
Another product I recommend to keep pets warm is snuggle safe heat pads. These can be heated up in the microwave and can last up to 10 hours which is great for those colder nights. Have a google and see what you think. These are much safer as a long term solution than blankets especially if your rabbit or guinea is a chewer (aren't they all!). As a general rule plenty of bedding is enough to keep them snuggly and consider any moves inside as a slow process.
Although it may be less tempting to spend time with your outside pet at this time of year it's absolutely vital you do always check on them and their welfare.
...Here's a festive Stampy just because!!
Hope that has been useful and hopefully you will see some more blogs from me soon