When the temperatures drops, most rabbit owners know the importance of checking that their pet’s hutch is winter ready.
However, did you know it’s just as important to consider your rabbit’s emotional needs as well?
Brave the cold to give your bunny a cuddle!
An often overlooked problem for rabbits in winter is that they have reduced playtime with their owner. When the weather’s nice, you’ll often be outside even if you’re not specifically going out to see your rabbit. You and your pet will benefit from lots of regular visibility. However, in the winter when you’re not going outside as much, you and your rabbit will also be missing out on regular contact and this will have a significant impact on your rabbits’ health. Even if kept with other rabbits, they can still miss you and feel lonely. Brave the cold and get outside to maintain as much of their normal routine as possible. And remember rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn so even when it’s dark you can still pop out to see them, it’s unlikely you’ll disturb their sleep.
As well as less playtime with their owner, less exercise is also an unhealthy side effect of the winter months. It is incredibly important you do all you can to avoid this affecting your rabbits’ health.
Consider a hutch with a run attached so that your rabbits have access to space for exercise during the day. A large walk in run also makes it easier for you to play with your rabbit, as there is space inside for you to join them, and you and your rabbits can be protected from the elements by covers over the top and around the sides of the run.
If your rabbits’ hutch is not attached to a run, the Zippi Tunnel System is an excellent solution to link these two together, and provide rabbits with easy access to a larger area for exercise when they choose. You can also open the run in the morning and close in the evening by using the door on the Zippi Tunnel entrance.
Provide lots of dry bedding in their hutch and if your rabbit’s get really wet then you can dry your rabbits with a towel after outdoor activity. Check there is food and water available in the run, as well as a shelter and toys. You can even place some bedding in the run to encourage exercise when it is cold.
Your rabbits’ home
In winter, ensure that your rabbits’ home is waterproof, dry and ventilated. A common problem with standard wooden hutches is that they can become damp and cold from leaks and drafts. If you do have a wooden hutch, it is important to check the home for damp patches regularly. You will also need to remove any wet bedding promptly as this can freeze.
Consider moving your hutch closer to your house, in a sheltered area to protect it from wind and rain and make it easier for you to check on your bunnies regularly.
Provide your rabbits with extra bedding to keep them warmer during these colder months, and you may also want to purchase a safe microwavable heat pad to place underneath bedding if temperatures drop below freezing.
Ensure your rabbits have access to clean drinking water at all times, as they will likely drink more in winter, and check this is not frozen on particularly cold days. As well as hay, provide your rabbits with some leafy greens as these may be in short supply for them in your garden at this time of year.
Some owners bring their rabbits indoors for winter. This can be a great way to keep pets warm and healthy in the colder months, however, the process needs to be carefully managed. Moving your rabbits into a different habitat can be a stressful change, which should be done gradually. Remove all hazards and cables from ground level in the rooms which your rabbits will have access to, provide a dark sleeping spot, and place familiar items from the outside hutch into the home.
We recommend seeking further advice from animal welfare experts or your vet if moving your rabbits indoors.
If this is not an option for you, or if your wooden hutch is looking a little worse for wear, and not providing your rabbits with the warm, dry shelter, they require, consider upgrading to a insulated waterproof hutch, such as the Eglu Go, which offers complete protection against the elements.
The Eglu Go Hutch has a unique twin wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing to keep your rabbit’s home well insulated, while the draught-free ventilation system allows fresh air in without blowing cold air over the bedding area. The removable bedding tray can be slid out and cleaned quickly making it easier for you to meet your rabbits’ needs and maintain their dry living conditions.
Hay fever is a type of inflammation which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Hay fever (or Allergic rhinitis) is typically triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, pet hair, dust or mold. The condition can make feel people who are prone to it feel really miserable. But did you know dogs (and cats) can suffer from hay fever too? However, their immune systems are not the same as ours, so sneezing and runny noses aren’t usually the presenting symptoms. Pets with hay fever are often very itchy all over their bodies. The most commonly affected areas of the skin include the armpits, the groin, the base of the tail, the feet and the sides of the face. Signs of canine hay fever involve:
• Itching and scratching
• Bold spots
• Rash on the face and paws
• Ear infections
• Scabs and lumps in the skin
Hay fever is a seasonal allergy, so the greatest problems will be during the summer and early fall. Some dog breeds seem to be particularly prone to hay fever, including terriers, poodles, schnauzers and the Dalmatian. Like humans, dogs can develop hay fever at any age although symptoms often begin when dogs are 1 to 3 years old. It can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your dog’s allergies, since the symptoms of hay fever are similar to many other things. Your vet can do allergy testing to identify if hay fever is indeed causing the problem.
CAN CANINE HAY FEVER BE TREATED?
With hay fever it’s not possible to remove the source of the allergy and unfortunately there is no cure for it. But there are a few things you can do for your dog to make him feel better:
• Keep your dog indoors as much as possible on days when pollen counts are high, especially on windy days.
• Wash your dog’s bedding weekly with hot water and vacuum regularly to remove the pollen your dog picked up during walks.
• Choose the areas where you walk your dog carefully, keeping him away from longer grass and vegetation.
• Wipe your dog’s coat over with a damp towel immediately after a walk to remove any pollen. Start with the face and end with the legs and paws (your dog may have been running on grass, coming into direct contact with pollen).
• Boost your dog’s immune system. By improving the general health of your dog allergic reactions can be helped. Make sure your dog has a healthy weight and a balanced diet.
• Give your dog oatmeal baths frequently to sooth the skin and remove pollen. Oatmeal can give your dog temporarily relief from dry and itchy skin. Just poor one cup crushed whole oatmeal in a tub and stir. You can also use an oatmeal shampoo for dogs or other shampoo’s designed to reduce skin problems (although not so frequently that it dries out the skin).
• For the rare cases where pollen allergy does provoke sneezing and runny eyes, eye and nose drops supplied by the vet can be effective.
If none of the mentioned treatments prove effective, your dog might be a candidate for hay fever medication or allergy shots. Consult your vet for further information.
We’re very excited to announce that Omlet USA are heading out on the road to show our products at a variety of County Fairs and Agricultural Shows. Please see below a list of the shows we will be appearing at and for tickets or more info about each show please click on the links. We’ll have a variety of different products on display at each show and maybe even a few special discounts…..
Avoid arguments between children by color coding the hunt, give each child one color that they need to search for. Alternatively if you have a broad range of ages playing, why not color code the hunt based on ages, younger children can look for the large gold eggs whereas the older children need to look for the pink eggs which you will have made harder to find.
Provide alternatives to chocolate
Think ahead about who will be participating in your Easter Egg Hunt? Are any of the children diabetic? Are they allergic to dairy, gluten, cocoa or nuts? You could always use plastic decorative eggs for them to find then have prizes such as coloring books or toys instead of the sugary treats.
Remember the baskets!
The children will need something to carry their eggs in, lots of craft stores have cute baskets you can use or alternatively you make them as an activity before the hunt. See here for a guide on how to weave your own basket.
Think of fun clues
If you want to add another fun element to your hunt, you could think about providing the kids with clues as to where the eggs are hidden, such as “Somewhere that’s cold (fridge)” “What shall we have for breakfast? (cereal box)”, “It’s raining outside, what shall we take with us? (umbrella stand).
Keep track of your hiding places
It’s worth making a note of the hiding places and the number of eggs hidden for your own reference.
Check the weather forecast
Firstly so you’re not planning to commence the hunt when it’s due to rain, also if you are hiding chocolate, double check the temperature forecasted as you might need to make sure they’re all hidden in shaded areas, or you don’t put them out too early before it kicks off. Noone wants a melted Easter egg! If the weather is going to be stormy, plan a backup hunt for inside the house.
Let the kids know where the searching area is, it’s important to make sure everyone has fun but in a safe environment. Show the children where the start and end of the hunting zone is.