Claygate Vets’ team answers common questions on winter rabbit care

November 21, 2021

Are poinsettias poisonous to rabbits? Should you fatten your bunny up to cope with winter weather? The veterinary team at Claygate Vets have answered some common questions below for rabbit owners in Esher.

If after reading our article you still have questions about rabbit care in winter, feel free to email our Claygate team and we’ll be happy to advise you.

Email us your rabbit questions

Wild rabbits are used to burrowing into the earth to make themselves warm homes during the freezing weather. They expend lots of energy doing this, as well as foraging for food and evading predators, all of which keeps them lean. Rabbits kept as pets rely mostly on their owners to make sensible choices for them in winter.

We hope our veterinary team’s essential winter advice will help you make those choices.

Rabbit hutch – outdoors or indoors?

We recommend bringing your rabbit’s hutch indoors over the winter to avoid them struggling in freezing temperatures. Young, unwell, and older rabbits are most at risk of problems if left outdoors. If you can’t bring them inside your home, do you have a garage or shed instead?

Extra blankets & bedding?

Yes, and yes. Wrapping your rabbit’s hutch in a duvet or a blanket will add extra warmth if they’re in a garage or shed – make sure there is ample ventilation though. Rabbits will also appreciate some extra bedding to make their sleeping quarters even cosier.

Do rabbits need ‘fattening up’ over winter?

Your rabbit will naturally eat more food over the winter months when they think food will be scarce. This helps them add a layer of fat for extra warmth and their coat will thicken too. Try to keep their diet pretty much the same all year round, but give them unlimited access to Timothy Hay over winter. Rabbits shouldn’t become noticeably overweight though, as this will have an impact on their health.

Water bottle or bowl?

Either is fine, so long as you check it daily to ensure the water hasn’t frozen and your rabbit is drinking it. If they are not drinking (or eating), book a Vet check straight away.

Are poinsettias poisonous to rabbits?

Some plants that are popular at Christmas time could seriously harm your rabbit, such as the Christmas rose and holly. Poinsettias shouldn’t kill your rabbit, but will give it a belly ache.

Rabbit care is about more than just keeping them healthy. Happiness and mental stimulation are important too. If you’re wondering how to keep your bunny happy and their mind healthy over winter, or you have other rabbit related questions, please do get in touch.

Email us your rabbit questions

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