If the sun is shining, temperatures are rising, which is great news if you're a fan of Summer weather! But if you’re a guinea pig, warm weather can be quite uncomfortable and potentially dangerous if not careful. Many pet owners are often concerned on how to keep their guinea pigs cool with no air conditioning. That’s why we’ve put together these 10 important tips on how to beat the summer heat. Read on for more details!
What temperature is ideal for guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs are most comfortable in temperatures between 18 C - 23 C (65 F - 75 F). Anything outside of this range can be quite uncomfortable for them and potentially dangerous. During the summer months, temperatures often increase way beyond this safe range. When temperatures are 26 C (78 F) and above, it places your guinea pigs at risk for heatstroke which when experienced, is a medical emergency.
Guinea pigs are unable to sweat which is an important bodily function that keeps our bodies cool. The lack of sweat glands makes it difficult for many animals to keep their bodies at a comfortable temp.
Always keep an eye on temperatures, especially if your local authority has issued heat warnings. Remember that if you find the weather hot, your guinea pigs or other pets will likely find the heat much hotter due to their full-body of fur.
So, how do you keep guinea pigs cool in the heat?
Here are 10 simple ways to help keep them nice and cool!
10 ways to keep your guinea pigs cool during the Summer
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #1: Use Cold Tiles
An easy way to help your guinea pigs cool off when needed is by chilling a ceramic tile in your freezer. The tile’s cold surface will provide your guinea pigs with a nice cool place to rest on top of. Before placing the cold tile into their home, be sure to wrap it in a tea towel to prevent them from coming into direct content with it. Otherwise it may be too cold - brrr!
Quick tip! Have at least two tiles so that you can swap them out throughout the day. Ceramic often cools down quite quickly when taken out of the freezer, so be sure you have other cooling options on standby to help keep your guinea pigs comfortable.
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #2: Feed Hydrating Foods
There are many guinea pig safe fruits and veggies out there that have a high water content which can help aid hydration. A popular choice to help keep piggies hydrated is cucumber which are made up of 96% of water. Now that’s a juicy veg! Try cutting up a few slices and watch your piggies happily munch away when the weather is warm.
As a rule of thumb, it is generally better to opt for veggies first when considering water holding foods. Some fruits can also have high water content, such as melons, however, these foods are packed with natural sugars so moderation is key! For an extra tasty treat, you can provide your guinea pigs with some watermelon slices as it has a water content of 92% but, also 100% tasty. Yum!
For more safe fruits and vegetables for guinea pigs, be sure to check out our free printable care sheets!
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #3: Chilled Fleece
If you don’t have ceramic tiles available, another simple way to help your guinea pigs beat the heat is chilled fleece pee pads or liners. Try chilling some clean fleece in the freezer to provide your piggies with a cool place to snuggle. If you are chilling the entire fleece liner, be sure to only do so for a few minutes to prevent your guinea pigs from getting too cold.
As an alternative, you can also use clean tea towels or washcloths. Just be sure to avoid any materials that have loose bobbles or fixings attached to them. Small buttons or embellishments can be a choking hazard if left for piggies to chew on. Safety first!
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #4: Make Frozen Water Bottles
Another summer cooling trick is to fill an empty bottle with water and then freeze it in your freezer. Be sure not to fill it all the way as this can cause the bottle to break! Try filling it up about 2/3 of the way. Once frozen, wrap your bottle in a towel and place it into your guinea pig’s home for them to rest next to. Super easy right?
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #5: Provide Fresh Water
Fresh water is key for your guinea pigs to stay well hydrated in the summer heat! Be sure to frequently check their water bottle levels and top up when needed. Water bottles can become dirty fast. Check out our guinea pig cleaning hacks to help scrub them clean!
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #6: Setup a Room Fan
Now that we have some cooling tips inside of your guinea pigs cage, there are also things you can do to keep their environment cooler too! If you have a spare fan available, try setting it up in the room your piggies are in to help circulate the air. Be careful to not point the fan at your guinea pigs or directly at their cage as this can have the opposite effect and make things too cold!
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #7: Avoid Direct Sunlight
For a similar reason to fans, avoid having your guinea pigs in an area with direct sunlight to prevent them from overheating. Sunny areas include windows or conservatoires. If your guinea pigs’ cage is set up near a window, consider setting them up in an alternative area.
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #8: Create Shaded Areas
If you are unable to move your piggies away from windows or, if your guinea pigs are enjoying some outdoor floortime time outside, be sure to provide plenty of shaded areas for them to take cover under. You can place a blanket or fleece liner to cover half of their cage or playpen to provide a quick area of shade. Do not cover the entire top of your guinea pig's cage in order to allow proper air circulation and ventilation.
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #9: Consider Location
Where do you keep your guinea pigs? Rooms located in the upper part of your home are often warmer than lower parts of the house. This is because heat rises! If you have a basement, you’ve probably noticed that the room is one of the coolest places in the house. Consider moving your guinea pigs to a cooler spot in your home. A couple degrees cooler makes all the difference to guinea pigs. They’ll thank you for it!
Guinea Pig Summer Tip #10: Trim back excess hair
We love guinea pig hairdos especially when it comes to long-haired guinea pig breeds. If you happen to have a guinea pig with long hair, you’ll know how important it is to stay on top of those luscious locks to prevent matting. As pretty as it is, the summer heat can quickly turn all that hair into one hot mess, making your guinea pig uncomfortable quickly. Instead, carefully trim back excess hair with routine grooming.
We hope you find our 10 summer tips helpful to keep your guinea pigs cool in the heat! Make sure to keep a close eye on temperatures when they start to creep up past 23 C (75 F) as hotter temperatures can become fatal if not careful.
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