(Bloomberg) -- Rabbits, guinea pigs and rats may be small but they are causing a big problem for Pets at Home Group Plc’s rising energy bills.

The little creatures live in some of the pet retailer’s stores until they find a permanent home. The company can’t turn off heating in its shops overnight as the animals require warmth during the winter months.

At a time when every business is looking for ways to save money on soaring energy bills, Pets at Home said it’s considering putting heat pads in animal enclosures to avoid having to warm their entire shops every night. The same would apply with cooling pads in summer, as heat waves become more common.

“It’s actually a little harder for us than for other retailers because we have pets in most of our pet care centers,” Lyssa McGowan, chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. “We’re unable to vary the temperature too much because we need to keep them safe and comfortable.”

Pets at Home has already found other methods to save on its bills such as replacing the tumble dryers -- used for laundry in its grooming rooms -- with more efficient models.

The chain said Wednesday that customer levels are at a record and pet owners are continuing to prioritize spending on their furry companions even as the cost of living rises. Still, the shares dropped as much as 9% Wednesday as adjusted pretax profit fell compared with a year earlier.

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