Small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs thrive on an indoor lifestyle, which also helps to keep them safe from weather conditions, predators, and insects. Rabbits and guinea pigs are very heat sensitive and can start to suffer from heat stress when temperatures exceed 25°C, so making sure you are monitoring your pet and taking care of their needs is especially vital during the warmer months.
When pets are kept in cages or hutches they’re not always able to seek out cooler places themselves, so it’s essential you ensure that your pet’s hutch remains shaded at all times and is in a well-ventilated area, keeping in mind that shaded spots will change as the sun moves throughout the day. Avoid metal enclosures as these will heat up quickly.
Making sure your pet always has a good supply of fresh drinking water is also key, as this will help them stay hydrated. You can find some chew-proof bottles here.
No matter where our animals live, there are some simple steps we can take to ensure they are kept out of the heat and out of danger.
Offer a wet blanket for DIY air-con
Wetting a tea towel or lightweight cloth with cool water and placing it over their hutch will really take the edge off the heat. But choose the cloth you use carefully, as some towels or rags are too heavy and will stifle the ventilation of the hutch, making the heat even worse for your furry critter. Ensure air can still enter and escape the hutch, allowing the wet cloth to act as an evaporative air conditioner.
Consider a day indoors
Bringing the hutch indoors to cool spot in your house, like the laundry, will guarantee your pocket pets won’t be endangered by the midday sun and will keep your mind at ease. If allowed free run in a laundry or bathroom, they will also benefit from the cool tiles.
Freeze cooling blocks
Just like with cats, freezing a bottle of water overnight then wrapping it in a towel and placing it in your bunny or guinea pigs’ favourite spot will give them a cool resting place to lounge away the day. Do avoid frozen gel packs, though, as the contents can be toxic if eaten.