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Heat Stress in Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

With a hot summer on the horizon it's important to start making a plan for your small and squeaky pet.

Rabbits and guinea pigs are at great risk of heat stroke in the summer months. In a wild situation they would regulate their body temperature through avoidance. Simply put, they disappear underground to a level that provides them with an appropriate temperature. When they cannot escape the heat they very quickly start to struggle. They do not sweat or pant as other animals do, and all too swiftly can develop a life threatening and even fatal level of hyperthermia.

A rabbit or guinea pig in a standard hutch, in a small hide on a 30 degree day is just TOO HOT! And it's going to get a lot hotter than 30 degrees this summer!

So what to do?

- Make sure your pet has access to deep shade. The shade provided by the hutch is not enough. The hutch needs to be under deep shade in the coolest spot in the garden.

- Provide ice bottle - a large 2L plastic bottle filled with water and then frozen provides a good source of cool air

- Ensure they have plenty of water. Place extra dishes out on hot days in case one dish is tipped over or they drink more than normal.

- On really hot days these small pets are best brought indoors and kept in the coolest environment. The bathroom with their ice bottles and lots of water can be a good option.

Keep these small and squeaky friends cool and safe this summer!

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