What You Should Know About Taking Care of Your Small Pet in the Cold

hamsteres cozy in cage

Many areas of the planet are still feeling the chill of winter even though spring will be here in a month. This might become an issue if some tiny pets, including rabbits, hamsters, birds, lizards, and other creatures that can live in a cage, stay home for an extended period of time while their owners are away.

What are the best procedures to follow to guarantee that even in the worst weather, your pet can keep warm and secure in your home? Continue reading to learn crucial tips for raising such animals in chilly locations.

Treat Your Pet With Care


Dr. Crystal Matt, an avian medicine resident at the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of Indianapolis, stated that if the temperature becomes too cold, otherwise healthy animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs might get frightened and have GI stasis (a digestive problem).

If your pets have GI stasis, having their critical care feeding formula on-hand is important. 

The majority of other pets, notably reptiles, are not designed to live in the same settings as people, unlike cats and dogs, which have been tamed for thousands of years. They require certain environmental conditions, and some of them are quite resistant to change. Prior to the onset of the cold winter, Matt underlined the importance of your pet's health.

Routine wellness exams can help prevent worsening of hidden diseases. Pets are just as able to catch illness as humans, as many of our small friends are much more sensitive to heat.

Keep Heat Accessible


Make sure your pet has a backup heat source accessible, Matt advises tiny pet owners. Consult your veterinarian to find out what types of heat are suitable for your animals (birds are particularly susceptible to airborne pollutants).

She advises to be sure to have heating options that are battery-powered in case the power goes out, and save water bottles in case pipes freeze. 

Matt added that air-activated hand warmers also make excellent heat sources for tiny animals. To ensure the pet's safety, she advised adding a layer of cloth between them and the heat source. When sending their animals to the vet, some folks even utilize a hot water bottle or a warmed potato in a travel cage for heat!

Prepare in Advance 


This time of year, snowstorms are still frequent, so Matt urges pet owners to make sure they have enough carriers and heating alternatives for all of their animals. The best way to keep your dogs safe, according to her, is to identify problems early or plan ahead because a lot of mishaps (including those caused by malfunctioning heaters) may happen while you're away.

If there are storms or power outages, inquire with a friend, neighbor, or boarding facility about if you may bring your dogs there. It's crucial to have a backup plan in place to monitor their wellbeing.

Overall, it is a good practice to make sure your pets have someone to monitor them if you are gone for long periods of time.

“Even if your pet (such as a large reptile) only needs to eat occasionally, you should ask a friend or neighbor to check in on them regularly,” Matt said.

Be Cautious of Overheating


While supplemental heat is very important, we can also overheat our animals, which can be just as dangerous.

Make sure your pet has a chance to leave any additional heat sources if they get too hot. Some tiny animals, like chinchillas, are significantly more cold-tolerant than others yet are more vulnerable to the hazards of overheating.

Additionally, pets at home may frequently experience problems with humidity. According to Matt, our exotic tiny pets can also experience health issues from low ambient humidity, much like our human skin does when it becomes chilly.

Most reptile species need much higher humidity levels than average room air provides and become severely ill when spending long periods in low humidity. 

Talk to Your Vet


It may seem like an obvious answer, but Matt advises all small pet owners to talk to their vet about the best humidity ranges for your pet. 

When in doubt, your veterinarian is the finest resource to help you understand the health concerns associated with the particular breed of pet you own. Veterinarians are always delighted to assist owners in providing advice on how to properly care for their dogs.