Warm weather may be been perfect for us, but some Guinea Pigs suffer.
Guinea Pigs can quickly overheat during the summer leading to heatstroke, which in severe cases can be fatal. Unlike humans, Guinea Pigs cannot sweat – so this handy way of cooling down in humans, isn’t available for them. And if the temperature is very warm with a high humidity level (over 70%) the chances of heatstroke are even higher.
To keep your Guinea Pig cool this summer ExoticDirect have compiled this handy guide:
- Guinea Pigs like temperatures of around 18 – 23 degrees Celsius. If the temperature goes above 26 degrees Celsius your Guinea Pig could be at risk of heatstroke. Anything below 15 degrees can lead to chills.
- If your Guinea Pig is outside the hutch and run should not be in direct sunlight, a shady part of the garden is best.
- North (South in Southern Hemisphere) or east facing gardens are best for Guinea Pigs as these don’t get the sun all day. We’re not suggesting you move house because of your Guinea Pig, just if you have the option to move your piggy’s house, then do.
Ensure plenty of cold water is available. You can place a couple of ice cubes in it to cool it down further. Don’t overdo it though, as the shock of the ice also isn’t good for your Guinea Pig.
Wrap ice packs or frozen bottles of water in a cloth or a towel for your Guinea Pig to sit next to in his hutch.
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- Place a pan filled with ice cubes near your Guinea Pig – he or she will lie next to it to cool down. Make sure the pan is covered, to avoid your nosey Guinea Pig from taking a look and falling in!
Provide an old tile for your Guinea Pig to lie on. You can put this in the freezer beforehand to cool it down.
Give your Guinea Pig vegetables that are high in water content such as cucumber or berries. You should still make sure that your piggy’s diet is varied, with plenty of grass and hay and other vegetables. You should also still make sure that you provide your piggy with a source of Vitamin C.
Brush your Guinea Pig’s fur regularly to remove excess fur. If you’ve got a long haired guinea pig you could trim his coat so that it’s not so heavy, trapping heat. Imagine how you would feel wearing a heavy winter coat in the hot weather.
If your Guinea Pig is indoors, close the curtains – this keeps the bright sunlight out, and helps to reduce the room temperature. You’ll find this helpful for yourself too!
Use a fan or air conditioning making sure the draught is pointed away from your Guinea Pig. If your piggy is in a draught it could make him ill.
Don’t keep your Guinea Pig in sheds, garages or “Pigloo’s”. These don’t allow for air circulation or adequate ventilation, so warm air gets trapped. They can get really hot and humid.
Signs of heatstroke in a Guinea Pig
If your Guinea Pig is suffering from heatstroke, then he may well be:
- Reluctant to move
- Begin to have convulsions
If your Guinea Pig is showing signs of heatstroke you should cool them down by wetting their fur, ears and feet. Don’t go overboard with trying to cool them down, as if their body temperature drops too quickly, or too low, this can cause other health problems.
You should take them to the vet immediately, who’ll monitor their condition and check for other complications that heat stroke can cause. It’s important you get your guinea pig checked over, as heat stroke can be fatal.
ExoticDirect pet insurance can insure your Guinea Pig against unexpected vet fees, meaning that you can focus on your Guinea Pig when he’s poorly, not the cost of treatment. This can offer you real peace of mind, when you’re trying to decide the best course of action for your Guinea Pig.
As long as you keep an eye on your Guinea Pig in the hot weather, and follow these measures, the threat of heatstroke should be minimal.
Just like any other family member, your Guinea Pig just needs you to look out for him when the weather gets a bit too hot.
By Tamara Labelle of ExoticDirect pet insurance