Filham Park Veterinary Clinic 01752892700

The caring compassionate Veterinary practice serving the South Hams

Winter care for rabbits and guinea pigs

Unfortunately like us our poor furry friends are susceptible to illness and problems associated with the weather and temperature changes of winter. In this note I shall try and out line some important points to consider in the care of our pets over the winter months.


Health care: Before and after the winter it is advisable to have a health check at the vets to make sure they are fit for and after winter. Regular health checks done by you during the winter will help to spot any changes in your pet’s health and demeanour. Make sure that the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and back end are clear, also check the fur as moulting and damp conditions can lead to matting.
Be prepared to warm up and dry pets that get wet and cold (keep an old towel spare in case of emergencies).
If purchasing a rabbit or guinea pig from a pet shop do not be tempted to put them outside straight away as they will not be accustomed to the sudden temperature change. Try housing them in a shed or unused garage).

Housing: Before and after winter it is advisable to thoroughly check over the cage and run for any signs of damage. The cage should be placed somewhere sheltered, preferably a shed or unused garage. If outside the cage must be raised off the ground as the wood will absorb moisture off the ground.
It is also advisable to purchase a waterproof/ insulated cover for the hutch to help keep it warm and dry.

Bedding: Use extra layers of newspaper and straw to insulate the cage. Change bedding regularly, especially if damp, as this will become cold and frozen.

Feeding: It is important to increase the amount of food over the cold months, particularly provide plenty of hay or foods high in fibre. Also supply foods that take effort to eat as this can help prevent boredom. Make sure guineas also get their regular doses of vit c. Remove any uneaten food as this will be prone to rot with the damp conditions.
Check the water bottles daily as these can freeze over. It is a good idea to have a spare bottle in the event a bottle should freeze or become damaged. You can also purchase a bottle snug or use a towel to help insulate the bottle and prevent the water freezing.

Playing/ exercise: If your pet is not used to being handled allow them to exercise in a run during the day, but put back in the hutch at night.
If handled regularly avoid bringing your pet indoors for excessive amounts of time, as the sudden changes in temp will upset them.
When returning them to their hutch make sure they are completely dry.

Indoor rabbits: Make sure they have somewhere warm to go just in case the temperature should drop in the house. Avoid putting them outside, as they will not have a sufficient winter coat.



Filham Park Veterinary Clinic is part of CVS (UK) Limited, a company which owns over 200 veterinary practices in th UK. Company Registration Number 03777473. Registered Office CVS House, Owen Road, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4ER

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