Hot weather advice for owners of small furry pets
July 21, 2022
The hottest days of summer can pose a significant health risk for most small pets, whose ideal temperature range tops-out at 23-25°C. Anything above this can quickly become life-threatening. Some bunnies can tolerate temperatures as high as 30°C but it’s a risk not worth taking.
As rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters cannot sweat like humans do, and have limited options to cool themselves down, it’s up to their owners to help them survive summer heatwaves.
If you have questions after reading our article or concerns about your pet’s health, get in touch with our Cambridge team.
Symptoms of heatstroke in small furry pets
If your rabbit, guinea pig, or hamster starts to exhibit any of the following symptoms you should move them somewhere cool and call us on 01223 359021 for emergency advice.
- Shallow, accelerated breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Hot ears
- Wet nose
- Bright red or blue tongue and gums
- Reduced urine output
- Lethargy and weakness
- Cardiac arrest
How to help small furries cope in summer
When the temperature is rising, there are some steps you should take to make sure your small furry pets stay safe.
- Rabbits regulate their temperature through their ears so one way to boost their natural cooling system is to spray their ears with water – it will evaporate as it warms up. However, avoid soaking your bunnies as this could put them at risk of respiratory illnesses.
- During hot weather in Cambridgeshire, move their hutch or cage out of direct sunlight and into the coolest spot that is practical.
- Keep water bottles and bowls topped up and if there is access to power nearby, think about setting up a fan to keep the air moving (not pointed directly at the cage.)
- Make a ‘cold water bottle’ and wrap it in a cloth for your pets to lounge against or set up frozen water bottles around their housing.
- Place a cooling mat or pop some cold tiles in the cage or hutch for your pets to lie on.
- Rabbits and guinea pigs can be more prone to flystrike in warm weather so make sure your pets are clean and dry (check for urine stains) and keep their bedding and housing especially clean.
All these little tricks should ensure your small furry pets do not succumb to the heat. Remember, our Cambridge Vets are here to help if you are concerned about your pet’s health.