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Summer and Winter Care for Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs Wandering

Guinea pigs won’t survive much in colder regions. They are native to South America and will survive only when the temperature is above 60°F. They will survive only in the warmer regions like forests, savannas, or foothills, among others. When there is rainfall, guinea pigs will settle inside a cozy, warmer burrow in the wild.

During the Winter

How cold is too cold for Guinea Pigs?

Guinea Pigs won’t be able to survive when the temperature falls below 60°F. They get easily affected by hypothermia. Hypothermia symptoms include:

  • Reluctance to move
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing has become fast and shallow
  • Loss of appetite

Never try to treat them on your own. Take them to their veterinarian immediately.

Identifying Cold Guinea Pigs

When your guinea pigs shiver or curl up like a ball, then they are extremely cold. You can also check their body temperature by keeping the thermometer below their ears.

Can Guinea Pigs Freeze to Death?

Yes, they do. Keep them indoors during the winter season so they can stay warm and survive.

Beautiful Guinea Pig

Protecting Your Guinea Pigs from the Cold

Guinea pigs can’t stand the winter season. If you want to protect your guinea pigs, keep them indoors. As the temperature of your house also decreases during the winter season, make sure to not place their enclosure near windows, doors, or the air conditioning.

Place them in a warm and quiet area in your house. Remember to consider that they like socializing and watching. You may use blankets or heating pads to monitor their cage’s temperature during this season.

Guinea Pigs easily develop a respiratory infection when the temperature drops below 60°F.

The Necessity of Bedding

It is highly recommended to have any kind of substrate in their cage (like aspen wood shavings and paper) so that your guinea pigs get the required warmth from them. Beddings ensure they get the right temperature, especially during the winter.

Keeping Guinea Pigs Warm During the Nights

You can keep their cage at a certain height so that the heat will be trapped inside. Make sure the bedding is 2-3 inches high to retain the temperature in the hutch. Always make sure the hutch is dry during the nights. Adding heat pads is the best solution to keeping the hutch warm.

Cute Guinea Pig

What is a guinea pig’s food intake in winter?

Guinea pigs eat more in winter compared to the summer season. They have to burn more calories to maintain their body temperature, so feed them a little extra during the winter months. You have to check the water bottles of the Guinea Pigs regularly to make sure they aren’t frozen.

The Sleep Cycle

Guinea Pigs sleep more during the winter season. This is to conserve energy and warmth during cold times.

Do Guinea Pigs hibernate?

No, they don’t. They will be active all day, but they tend to sleep a couple of hours more during winter.

During the Summer

Protect Guinea Pigs from High-Temperature Sunlight

Never place your guinea pigs’ hutch where there is direct sunlight. Guinea Pigs are very sensitive to extremely high temperatures that may even kill them.

You can use an air conditioner or fan to cool them off. Place their hutch in a shady spot. You can also use frozen water bottles in their enclosure to reduce the hutch temperature.

If the cage temperature is high, try to cover the enclosure using a damp cloth. Have a thermometer attached to their cage and monitor the temperature changes.

During the summertime, groom them by trimming their hair to reduce their body temperature. A thick coat of hair heightens the chances of your guinea pig suffering from a heatstroke. If they have many hairs, then they can easily suffer from heatstroke.

The water source for them should be available all the time. Providing Heavy watered foods to your Guinea Pigs will make them hydrated.

Guinea Pig

How hot is too hot for the Guinea Pigs?

Temperatures exceeding 76°F may kill your guinea pig. Guinea pigs do not sweat, so they cannot regulate their body temperatures using that method

Play time during summer

You can’t keep your pet indoors or in the hutch all the time. Guinea pigs love to socialize and to play: allocate at least 3 hours’ worth of playtime so that they can stretch out their body and can remain healthy.

Ensure the outdoor area is free from predators. Your garden is a safe place, but remember to set up an area similar to the contents of their hutch (accessible hiding spots, hay, and play pipes). Make sure they stay within that area to exercise.

Heat Stroke

Temperatures above 78°F will make your guinea pig suffer a heatstroke. Heatstroke is fatal to guinea pigs; this may lead to their death.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Salivating
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions

Treatment

Don’t try to treat your Guinea pigs on your own. Take them out to their veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, use a damp cloth to place over them to cool off their body.

Final Thoughts

Extreme heat is dangerous to guinea pigs since they are very sensitive. No matter what season, make sure that they eat, sleep, and play regularly. If they do, they will be happy and healthy.