Rabbits and Christmas – avoid these common mistakes
With the inevitable hustle & bustle that surrounds the run-up to Christmas, it’s important to carve out some time now to think about how your Christmas plans will impact your small pets. The vet nurses at our Devizes practice have these top tips for bunny-proofing your home and keeping them happy and safe.
How to ensure a happy and rabbit-safe Christmas
As humans, we recognise the change in seasons and the events that traditionally come with Christmas; we understand why the house looks like Santa’s grotto, why there’s an outdoor tree indoors, and why we’re always out, busy wrapping gifts, or entertaining guests with mulled wine…
Rabbits, however, do not recognise these changes, or understand why their regular routine has been disrupted. If you’re the proud keeper of rabbits in Wiltshire, our vet nurses recommend you consider the below changes as things that need addressing for your bunnies:
- New decorations around the house
- Wires trailing for fairy lights and other plug-in decorations
- Christmas tree pine needles dropping on the floor
- More visitors in the home
- Change in daily routine with the change in weather and daylight
- Less interaction with you if you are busy
Let’s look at these in more detail.
For rabbits kept indoors, they will be used to their surroundings and how that looks. At Christmas we naturally change that environment and add decorations – these can not only cause some distress but can also introduce potential new things your rabbits may take an interest in and chew. This could lead to choking or other gut problems, so it is important to ensure any new decorations and the tree are placed well away from where they are able to reach. The same goes for trailing wires for fairy lights and other decorations – use cable tidies and try to keep wires off the floor and your rabbits away. Call us if you have a Christmas decoration-related rabbit emergency on 01380 723687.
Visitors are often more frequent in the winter months as we spend more time indoors. Pets can find it stressful having people coming in and out of the home. Plus, they may not like being handled more often or by strangers, as some visitors tend to make a beeline for pets. Our Devizes nurses advise that you should make sure your rabbits have a secure and quiet place away from all the activity, so they can feel safe and calm.
Winter seasonal changes
Rabbits are a naturally sensitive species and whether you have indoor or outdoor rabbits these changes will be noticed and may impact how they are feeling. Many Wiltshire rabbit owners may want to consider bringing outdoor rabbits indoors during the colder and wetter months. Whilst this seems like a sensible thing to do, rabbits are not used to the activity that goes on in the home. So, try to find the quietest place at home for your rabbits’ winter retreat.
Spotting stress in rabbits
Stress in pet rabbits can be very harmful to their health. If you make any changes in the home that will affect them, or to their routine, it is important to monitor them for these signs of stress:
- Changes in behaviour, in particular, aggression
- Running away
- Not eating very much
- Changes in grooming habits
- Changes in pooing habits
If you are concerned about your rabbits’ health and potential stresses, you can book an appointment with one of our Devizes nursing team. They can discuss ways in which you can help to limit stress for your rabbits at home.
If your rabbit is stressed or you have an emergency, contact us right away on 01380 723687.< Back to articles