We are set to be having a few days of warm weather this week. We all know how important it is to keep our dogs and cats cool, but how much thought do you give to your small pets? Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and other rodents all need your care and attention in the warm weather to keep them safe and comfortable.
If your small animals live in a hutch or run in the garden, you must provide them with plenty of shade at all points of the day. Being in direct sunlight can be very dangerous for your pet. Humans get sunstroke, and so can animals. Remember that throughout the day, the amount of sunlight and shade will differ, so make sure you carefully monitor this.
Did you know that grass can reach a surface temperature of 31°C?
Ventilate The Area
In the UK, our homes are not built for the heat and can get uncomfortably warm when it’s hot outside. A great way to keep your small pets cool, is to make sure that there is plenty of fresh air circulating around the room that they live in. Keeping windows open and fans going is a great way to do this – just make sure that the fan isn’t directly pointing towards them.
Warm weather is a great time to introduce new enrichment activities and accessories to your pet. Added a tile or piece of slate to their cage or hutch with provide them with something cool to lie down on. Adding cold fruit and veg to their regular food will give them a nice cooling treat alongside their usual diet. If your pet likes spending time in the water, why not set them up with a little paddling pool in a shaded area of your garden?
Keep Them Hydrated
Just like humans, the most important thing to do during hot weather is to keep your pets hydrated. It is crucial that they always have fresh, cool water available. If their water is kept in a bottle on the side of their hutch, cover it in a thin towel to keep it as shaded as possible. To keep their water cooler for longer, you can add ice cubes to their water bowl. They may even enjoy playing with them.
Clean Their Home Regularly
In the warmer weather, you need to be cleaning out your pet’s home more regularly. Remove uneaten food, clean water bowls, and remove any feces to keep files away. Rabbits and guinea pigs are at risk of getting flystrike which can be a fatal condition. Check your pet’s fur every day to make sure there is no signs of damp or dirty fur which may attract flies. Contact your vet if you notice anything that concerns you.