In this article, you’ll learn useful tips on what to do and how to your guinea pigs cool in hot weather at all times.
As proud owners of potato-shaped furballs, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our furry friends are comfortable and healthy. And with summer temperatures soaring, it’s crucial to keep our guinea pigs cool to prevent heat stroke and other health issues.
But why is keeping our guinea pigs cool in hot weather so important? Let’s find out.
What is the Best Temperature Range For Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs are very sensitive to both heat and cold. They live best at 17°C – 22°C / 62°F – 72°F.
Anything below 16°C /61°F is too cold for your guinea pigs, and anything above 22°C / 72°F is too hot.
Your guinea pig’s comfort temperature may vary slightly too. Also, keep in mind that direct sunlight and wind can change their comfort as well.
Why is it so important to keep your guinea pigs cool?
Guinea pigs are very prone to heat strokes. They take cooler temperatures better than in hot weather.
Since guinea pigs don’t have sweat glands and are therefore unable to regulate their body temperature through sweating, the summer months can pose serious health dangers for these critters.
Overheating is unfortunately not uncommon in guinea pigs. They can suffer from heat stroke very quickly and die from it within a few minutes.
What are some signs of heat stroke in guinea pigs?
Some signs that your guinea pig is overheating include:
- Lack of energy
- Body weakness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Hot to the touch.
- Agitated or restless.
- Heavy breathing or panting.
- Drooling or salivating.
How to keep your guinea pigs cool in summer
With climate change and extreme heat waves all around the globe, it’s important to know what to do and be prepared when the temperature rises. Here are some helpful and effective ways to cool down your guinea pig and prevent heat stroke.
1. Move them away from the Heat
If you’re not taking your guinea pigs away from the heat source, all the other tips will not nearly help as much.
If you house your guinea pigs outside, please take them indoors and in a safe cage. This is what I mean by being prepared at all times.
I do that all the time too, my guinea pigs have their room, but it tends to be more stuffy in the summer than in the living room.
So, in the summer, we take our guinea pigs to the playpen in the living room where they temporarily live for a month or two until the temperatures drop.
…But what if I can’t?
I understand that sometimes maybe your entire home is heated, or you don’t have the space to temperately relocate your piggies. Even though that is the best choice, here is what you can do to dial down the heat source.
- If your guinea pigs are housed near sunlight, cover the blinds up with cardboard or cloths.
- create as many airways as possible. This can be done by opening the door to a cooler room, or…
- placing pet-safe air purifiers near their habitats. (Bonus: It removes most of their smelly odours too!)
2. Encourage them to drink more water
I can’t stress this enough.
Your guinea pigs should be drinking more water than in usual hot weather. H2O is extremely crucial to keep your piggies hydrated.
I’m not going to go into detail on how to do that, because wrote another article specifically on tips to effectively and easily encourage your guinea pig to naturally drink more water here. But constant cleaning and refilling of their water bottles as well as placing multiple bottles for them is essential.
When the weather’s hot, I like to add a couple of mini ice cubes or two in their water to cool them down as well.
Choosing the best water bottles for your guinea pig is very important too because a lot of them leak constantly and are of bad quality. Here are the 5 best no-drip water bottles for guinea pigs.
3. Give them COLD treats
There’s nothing compared to enjoying some cool drinks or treats in the heat. And guinea pigs are no different.
If you are storing pre-chopped vegetables in the fridge for your piggies, feed the veggies to them directly out from the fridge instead of letting them sit for a few minutes.
Another great tip is to wash the veggies through cold water again right before feeding your piggies.
I created some healthy and delicious recipes for guinea pigs and you should try making your homemade ice cream for guinea pigs. Don’t worry, it’s very healthy and low in calcium!
Other veggies such as cucumbers also have lots of water content and are lower in sugar, and make a great summer treat compared to other foods with high water content, like watermelon.
4. Change their flooring and bedding
What do you have as bedding for your guinea pigs right now?
Thick fleece and thick layers of paper bedding or wood shavings tend to be more warm. You’d probably rather be walking on a smooth wooden/concrete floor than shuffling through a thick fluffy carpet when you’re sweating.
You might think it doesn’t make much of a difference, but I promise you, it does.
When we let the guinea pigs to their playpens in the living room as a temporary habitat for the summer, we used two large pet-safe waterproof thin fleece liners. Underneath that were the house’s ceramic tiles, and they tend to be even cooler.
One of my guinea pigs, Coffee, purposefully moved a part of the fleece away and slept on the ceramic tiles.
6. Use the fan
Of course, air conditioning and ceiling fans are the best, because they can distribute the wind evenly at a distance.
The next best thing is a safe bedroom fan. I like this one the best because not only is it a pet-safe 3-in-1 air cooler, air purifier and fan, but it’s also a treat for owners whose guinea pig’s cages are on top of a table. It’s a great tool to invest in.
However, if you don’t want to do that and already have a small portable fan like this one, it might work too. Keep in mind that every guinea pig is different, and many are afraid of wind blowing straight to their faces. And that’s why I encourage you to get the air cooler.
That being said, make sure to turn the fan on to a low to medium setting, and don’t place the fan too close to your guinea pig’s cage. If they are avoiding that area for some time, you may want to take it away or move the fan farther.
7. Add Ice Packs
Adding ice packs to your guinea pigs’ habitat helps cool them down. To do this, you’ll need ice packs or freezer-friendly water bottles, and a towel.
Adding a towel is important because you don’t want your frozen icepack or water bottle to be in direct contact with your piggies’ skin, as it’s way too cold.
- make sure your ice pack or water bottle has water frozen in it
- wrap a towel around it
- place the entire thing in its habitat on the floor, preferably somewhere flat
If you’re more of a visual person, please see the video version of this article.
My guinea pigs loved it – they would not leave the ice packs for hours. If your guinea pig is skeptical about the ice packs covered with the towel, try sprinkling some veggies on top and around it to encourage them to explore.
8. Use shady, cool hideouts
Shade means blocking the sunlight, which translates to less heat.
Now what do I mean by shady, cool hideouts?
You see, there are thousands of hides and beds for guinea pigs, but some can make your guinea pig a little too warm. For example, cuddle beds are made of thick fleece.
Hideouts with more space and don’t have bottoms are better at cooling heat than cuddle beds, which are great for cold temperatures. And I’m not telling you that you need to go buy one right now. In fact, you can simply make one by yourself using things around your house, like cardboard boxes.
9. Monitor your guinea pigs constantly
As I said earlier, guinea pigs are prone to overheating and that can happen in just a matter of a couple minutes.
Checking up on your guinea pigs constantly and looking for signs of overheating is vital when the weather is hot.
Another thing that helped me a lot and will also benefit you is keeping a thermometer near your guinea pig’s habitat. Because every room’s temperature is different, and the temperature indoors and outdoors differ too.
Moreover, checking the weather forecast daily to prepare for changes in the weather can help you get ready and organize things for upcoming heat waves. That way it can save you from a lot of stress when the weather it hot and your guinea pigs are starting to melt.
What do I do when my guinea pig is overheating?
If your guinea pig is overheating, remove them from the heat and into a shady area immediately, and do all the tips listed above. Put a light cool, not cold or freezing, wet towel around your guinea pig’s body to cool it down, and give it more cold water to drink.
If your guinea pig’s condition does not get better, please take it to the vet as soon as possible because they can die from heat stroke.
Conclusion – how to keep your guinea pigs cool
In conclusion, keeping your guinea pigs cool in hot weather is very important for their health and well-being. You can do this by providing them with plenty of fresh water, fluid-rich treats, and a cool, well-ventilated environment.
You can also use fans, ice packs, tiles, or cooling pads to lower the temperature of their cage. Avoid exposing your guinea pig to direct sunlight, sheds, garages, or cars. Check on your guinea pig regularly and look out for signs of heat stress or heat stroke.
If you notice any symptoms, contact your vet immediately. By following these tips, you can help your guinea pig enjoy the summer safely and comfortably.