Rabbits are some of the cutest, most joyful pets to bring home.
Watching them hop about on their little legs can turn the gloomiest day around and make us feel better.
They also offer loving companionship and teach us empathy and patience.
As with any other pet, your rabbits do require some special treatment and care to live their best lives under your care.
This is especially true during the winters, as the sudden change in temperature can have quite an impact on their delicate, little bodies.
Can Your Rabbits Survive in Cold Weather?
Yes, rabbits can survive in cold weather. In fact, they are more likely to endure and survive harsh cold winters than summers.
Rabbits are cold-weather animals that can fare quite well as the temperatures start to cool down.
That is why they are native to some of the world’s coldest regions, like Russia and Antarctica.
Your rabbits’ insulating fur makes them quite temperature-resistant. They can easily survive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit!
If the temperatures in your city fall to sub-zero conditions, all you need to do is insulate the rabbit hutch, and your bunnies are good to go.
That being said, there are always chances of your rabbit getting sick or being unable to regulate its temperature.
That’s why it is always better to prepare their hutch before winter starts and have the vet’s number ready in case of emergencies.
If your rabbits are living indoors, you hardly have anything to worry about!
Just make sure their hutch isn’t placed right in front of a window to prevent the chilly air from getting inside.
You should also keep them away from any heaters since rabbits cannot tolerate excessive warmth.
Rabbits living outside are at greater risk of getting too cold.
You should ensure your bunnies are in a fully enclosed space, but let them out to bask in the sunlight during the daytime.
Also, remember to closely monitor your bunnies for any signs of sickness.
If you aren’t sure whether your rabbits are cold, measure their body temperature. It should be between 102 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
What to Do If it Gets Too Cold?
So you’ve prepared well and made all the necessary arrangements to keep your bunnies cozy and warm during the winters.
Despite your best efforts, there are always chances that your rabbits end up feeling cold.
Weather conditions are unpredictable, and they will impact your rabbits directly.
If you notice your rabbits becoming lethargic, sleeping all day, and refusing to eat, they’re probably too cold!
Here are some steps you can take to make them comfortable:
Move the Rabbits
Outdoor rabbits have the highest chances of getting too cold as they directly face the elements.
While your rabbits may be accustomed to outdoor life, you should still consider moving them inside until the temperatures rise again.
If your rabbits are too cold, the best thing to do is move them into your garage or a shed. It will keep them safe from any wind or snow.
A common mistake that rabbit owners often make is bringing outdoor bunnies inside their homes.
You need to keep in mind that your rabbits have been acclimatized to the outdoor environment.
Therefore, they can handle cold temperatures much better than your warm, cozy home.
Bringing them inside would be like sitting by the fireplace at home in jackets, hats, and scarves.
Can you imagine how hot and uncomfortable you’d feel? That’s how your rabbits would feel inside too!
Refurbish their Housing
Rabbit hutches are usually made of wood and can easily deteriorate over the years.
Therefore, you should refurbish the hutch and make sure there are no holes or broken parts before winters arrive.
This will help you ensure snow and rain don’t enter the hutch and make your rabbits sick.
Also, keep the hutch above ground to prevent the base from dampening. You can simply do this by adding a layer of bricks under the hutch.
Dry Off of Any Dampness
Dampness is worse for your rabbits than the cold wind. Their bodies are covered by highly insulating fur that can keep them warm.
However, if your rabbits end up wet due to a snowstorm or rain, that will be more likely to make them sick.
The best way to remedy this is by adding plenty of straw to the hutch and replacing it regularly.
Seal off or cover any openings that can let water in and clean the hutch every day.
Get Them Cozy
Your rabbit’s hutch or cage should ideally have a waterproof base and roof.
You should further combine the base with an old blanket or a wooly carpet to keep it warm.
This will keep your rabbits warm and dry and cost you little to nothing.
You can even use any leftover, warm clothes to line the base of their hutch. Waterproof jackets on the roof will further strengthen the rabbit’s home against the cold and wet weather.
Hydration is Important
The last thing to take care of is ensuring there is plenty of room temperature water available for your rabbits.
The cold weather can quickly cool up the water and make it rather harsh for your rabbit’s throat.
It can result in flu and even develop into a cough if not treated properly.
Therefore, you should offer them slightly warmed water as it will cool down over time.
Be sure to replace the water as frequently as possible, so your rabbits aren’t lapping up chilled water all day.
Can it Also Get Too Hot?
If you bring in heating pads or upgrade the insulation of your rabbit’s nest or cage, the conditions could end up being too hot for them.
Rabbits can easily tolerate colder temperatures, but their bodies aren’t built for warm living conditions.
You should be more worried about your rabbits overheating due to thick layers of insulation.
Imagine you’re wearing the thickest coat ever, and then you layer it up with another thick coat.
That is what your bunny’s body is essentially like. Sitting next to a heater with these coats would be an absolute nightmare for you, and it’s no different for your rabbit.
If your rabbit is exposed to temperatures higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it can start to cause problems.
They will feel uncomfortable, overheated, and dehydrated.
You will soon notice lethargy, and your rabbits will clearly display signs of discomfort.
Here are a few tips to ensure your rabbits stay comfortable this coming winter season:
- Ensure they have plenty of shade, even if it’s cloudy outside.
- Use marble or tile flooring as the base of their nest and cover it with a blanket or cushions for comfort.
- Clean their nest at least once a day and ensure it doesn’t get damp.
Diseases Linked with Rabbits in Cold Weather
There are different diseases in rabbits in the winter season which can be dangerous for rabbits to survive in cold weather.
Frostbite in Rabbits
Frostbite is not a fatal one but it can lead to hypothermia if it remains for a long time.
During this condition, blood can’t flow properly. It happens at a specific area and the color of that area turns to a pale blue with a mixture of hues.
Use a warm nylon cloth or towel to stop it from further spreading.
Use only water to warm the area and don’t put directly the wounded area in front of the heater.
Otherwise, blisters will be produced on it.
Hypothermia in Rabbits
When the temperature drops to an extremely low level, then it becomes difficult for a rabbit to avoid wetness.
This wetness happens mostly because of urine or some water splash from the bowl.
Having wet fur in cold conditions can cause the rabbits to be affected by hypothermia.
You will notice a low energy and lethargy body of rabbits in its symptoms. Shivering occurs during its start and stops when it’s at its peak.
Lips color changes to pale and rabbits will not be in the condition to give you early responses.
Hypothermia is an emergency disease and you have to call a vet doctor on an urgent basis.
Clean the cage and warm it before putting the rabbit again into the nesting.
Arthritis is linked with bones or joint pain and can be of any old injury which rises during the winter season.
Rabbits cannot feel any comfortability and sometimes it lasts longer maybe throughout the whole winter season.
A little warmup by doing exercise of the infected joint can help to lower the pain swiftly.
Pain occurs mostly in elderly rabbits and it can be anywhere in the joints of knees, ankles, shoulders, or spine.
Hips joint can also face this issue. The only cure to this problem is to provide them, pain killers, by consulting your doctor.
Put warm blankets over them after giving them enough warm-up. Be careful about their diet as mostly rabbits used to lose their weight in this disease.
Wrapping It Up
Keeping your rabbits warm during winters is an essential part of their care.
As you take all necessary precautions to ensure your bunnies stay nice and cozy all through the chilly season, remember that rabbits are more at risk of overheating.
Hence, the precautions you take to keep them warm can quickly backfire and cause them to be too hot instead.
A rabbit’s body can take cooler temperatures, but warmth isn’t their friend.
The best way to work around this is by doing plenty of research and determining the ideal living conditions for your rabbit during winters.
Make sure that their hutch is well-insulated without bringing in heating pads as they can cause overheating.
You should also offer your rabbits room temperature water at all times.
This means you will probably need to change their water twice or thrice a day during the winters.
But your rabbits are definitely worth it, and their best health is always the priority. Best of luck!
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