As winter approaches people start to buy coats for their dogs and ensure they bring their cats in earlier. But sadly sometimes people forget their smaller furry pets are also affected by the cold weather too. Whether they are indoor or outdoor pets, it is important we help prepare them for the winter season. Here are some hints and tips on looking after your small furries during the winter.
- Check to see if your rodent cage is located next to a draft, often drafts can come in under doors close to where a cage may be.
- Placing a rodent’s cage next to a radiator may do more harm than good so we would not advise this. As long as your room remains at a comfortable standard temperature they will be quite happy.
- Avoid having the cage next to a window or in a conservatory. With the winter well on its way, windows really drop in temperature and can even freeze. This could affect your rodent’s behaviour, eating habits and health.
- One thing that rats, mice and even the odd hamster love are a cosy fleece pouch or hammock. You can pick these up from most pet stores such as Pets at Home.
- Blankets are not recommended as rabbits often chew on them, causing a blockage in the gut. Therefore, provide plenty of extra warm bedding such as newspaper, hay and straw. Ensure this is regularly cleaned and doesn’t become damp.
- If your pet is outdoors, check hutches daily for any water leakage or damp. Consider a sloped roof that allows water to run away from the hutch.
- Rabbits will eat more in winter as they naturally think food will become scarce. The extra food also provides them with more fat insulation, but this alone does not keep them warm enough. Their fur coat will also get a bit thicker, but again this only helps them slightly and they’ll still rely solely on you to keep them safe and warm. Remember rabbits in the wild live underground in dry, draught-free burrows, snuggled up with warm groups of other bunnies.
- During the winter foxes and badgers get even hungrier, which makes them bolder than usual. Make sure your hutch is sturdy enough to survive the attention of a determined predator.
- Check their water bottle regularly because the little ball freezes easily. Press the ball every few hours to keep it moving – you can get specially made bottle covers but you’ll still need to do regular checks