This time of year can be stressful for humans and even more so for our smallest pets. Rabbits and guinea pigs can become agitated and anxious due to the sudden bangs and flashes of lights from fireworks and bonfires. There are signs of distress to be aware of:
- Bangs coming from the hutch, an indicator that your rabbit is stamping his hind feet. You may also witness this if you are able to see your rabbit.
- Staying perfectly still.
- Trying to make an escape from the hutch or run, or from the home or garden.
There are things you can do to ease the stress and keep them calm during this time.
- Bring your rabbit indoors, either in the hutch, a temporary indoor hutch or letting him roam free in a rabbit proofed room.
- If you’re unable to bring your pet indoors, move the cage into a safe outhouse or shed.
- Cover the hutch with blankets or carpeting if the only option is to leave the hutch and the rabbit outdoors. Do make sure there is good ventilation.
- Turn the hutch around so they are facing the wall during the fireworks.
- Do your best to soundproof the home if you bring the rabbits or guinea pigs into the home. Close the curtains, windows and doors and put on some quiet background noise such as the television or radio.
- Create a bedding area that is full of lots of bedding so your pet can hide and burrow in deeply, helping them to feel safe and secure. This could be in the hutch or in a big enough cardboard box.
- Keeping rabbits in pairs is a good way of reducing stress; consider this if you’re in the process of buying a rabbit.
If you’re holding your own bonfire or firework display, consider asking a friend or family member to take care of your rabbit at their home or in their garden during the event. If that’s not possible, take the rabbit indoors and house them in a room that is furthest away from your garden while following the additional tips above.