While cats and dogs like to play in the snow, many pet owners wonder whether it is safe for their bunnies to play outdoors in the snow.
So if you have a rabbit who loves to play outside during summers and the temperatures where you live are dropping, find out if rabbits can go in the snow.
We will also cover how you can keep rabbits safe from extreme temperatures. So read on.
Can Rabbits Go In Snow?
Rabbits are playful pets that like playing outdoors. It is safe for your rabbits to play in the snow for a short period of time.
However, make sure that your bunnies spend most of their time indoors when there’s snow outside.
Rabbits love digging and burrowing themselves in the snow. You can allow your rabbit to play outdoors in snow for up to 20 minutes.
Any longer than that increases the chances of your bunny developing hypothermia. So make sure you bring them indoors soon.
When you do, make sure they are in a warm and cozy space so that their body temperature gets warm.
Wild rabbits that spend all their lives outdoors develop heavier coats. This allows them to survive through harsh winters.
However, indoor bunnies that are not exposed to extreme temperatures do not have heavy coats. Therefore, they require extra care when being introduced to snow for the first time.
How to Prevent Hypothermia and Frostbite in Rabbits?
You can make sure your bunny is safe while having a good time outdoors in the snow by taking some preventative measures.
If you are planning on letting them out in the snow, make sure to do the following:
Avoid Using Blankets
If your rabbit lives in a hutch, make sure you do not place any blankets inside it. You need to be really careful with their bedding as it can get wet and cause hypothermia in your rabbit.
Get Heat Pads for Bunnies
You can easily find heat pads for bunnies to be placed in their hutch. These heat pads can be microwaved and then kept in their hutches to release heat for some time.
Consider Bringing the Snow In
If your rabbit has not been exposed to snow for most of its life and is an indoor pet, you can consider bringing the snow in. Fill up some snow in a box and bring it inside so your bunny can play while staying warm.
Give Them More Food
Your rabbits need to eat more food to burn more energy and keep themselves warm. Make sure you are giving them plenty of fresh vegetables, pellets, and hay to eat.
Refresh Their Water Bowls Regularly
The water in your rabbit’s hutch will freeze when placed in extreme temperatures in a container. Make sure you replace it regularly with fresh water.
Things to Consider When Letting Your Rabbits Out in the Snow
Make sure to check the outdoor temperature when letting your rabbit out in the snow. For a rabbit that’s a house pet, freezing temperatures can be dangerous.
So if the ambient temperature is less than 32°F, avoid taking them out. Choose a day when the weather is warm, and the wind is not chilly.
Although indoor bunnies also have a good coating of fur, they can’t withstand strong winds that make them feel colder than the ambient temperature.
Being exposed to extremely different temperatures suddenly can be quite dangerous for anyone. You are exposing them to danger when you take your bunny out of a warm house into the cold.
You should let the indoor temperature cool down first. Lower the temperature of the room where your rabbit lives.
This way, they will get accustomed to the cold and won’t feel distressed when exposed to freezing temperatures. The ideal temperature for rabbits is 50°F to 68°F.
Moisture and Wetness
When you bring your bunny indoors from the cold, their fur will be wet from playing in the snow. The first thing you need to do is to dry them off by using a towel.
Once completely dry, ensure they are in a warm and cozy place. Monitor their behavior until the next day and keep an eye out for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
Time Spent in the Cold
In order for your rabbit to stay warm in the snow, it must be active. Make sure they are playing throughout the time they are out in the snow. Keep them engaged in activities.
As soon as they stop moving around and become a little inactive, it’s time to bring them back indoors. Otherwise, their bodies will not generate enough heat to keep them warm.
Frostbite and Hypothermia in Rabbits
Frostbite in rabbits occurs when exposure to extreme temperatures results in frozen tips of their toes, nose, or ears.
Your rabbit can catch frostbite if they are left in the cold for prolonged periods of time without any protection from moisture and wind.
Frostbite is not fatal. However, it can cause hypothermia, which can be life-threatening. By treating frostbite early on, you can save your rabbit.
A few symptoms of frostbite in rabbits include:
- Pale skin
- Icy formations around the affected area
- Pain and swelling in the affected area
- Hot to the touch area
To prevent frostbite from spreading and resulting in hypothermia, take a hot towel and cover your bunny’s affected area with it. If their paws are affected, soak them in warm water.
Make sure that you dry them up completely after warming them up. Do not rub the affected areas. Just gently dab them with a dry and warm cloth. Avoid using a hairdryer to warm them up.
It is also advised to get your bunny checked by the local vet to ensure that they are out of danger.
Hypothermia in rabbits can be a result of extremely low body heat levels.
It occurs after your bunny has been exposed to extreme cold for a long period of time. Or after they have been wet for a long time. It can also be a result of frostbite.
Hypothermia in rabbits is an emergency situation and should be addressed immediately to save their lives. A few symptoms of hypothermia in rabbits include:
- Constant shivering
- Low activity
- Pale gums and lips
- Uncoordinated movement
- Shock and distress
- Weak heartbeat and breathing
If you suspect that your bunny has developed hypothermia, make sure they are warm and take them to the vet immediately.
The normal body temperature in rabbits is 101°F to 103°F. If it is anywhere below 100°F, they start to develop hypothermia.
So, now you know that while you can certainly take your rabbits out in the snow, you must take some necessary precautions to keep them safe and healthy!