Can Guinea Pigs Die From Heat? (Find Out Now)

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It’s summer again and the heat is affecting your guinea pigs. Sadly, they look even more lethargic than usual. You start feeling uneasy and curious about their well-being. And your big question is “can guinea pigs die from heat?”

Yes, guinea pigs can die from heat – too much heat, that is. When left in a hot place, piggies drool excessively and become limp. They get dehydrated and have heat strokes. Because they can’t sweat to regulate their body temperature, they can easily overheat. Within a short time, heat stroke can lead to a guinea pig’s death.

a guinea pig wondering if he can die from heat

Heat isn’t good for your guinea pigs and can be fatal to them. Relax, I’ll explain why. Plus, You will learn about the effects of heat on piggies and how to keep your fur babies cool. 

Let’s answer the main question in a bit more detail first.

Can Guinea Pigs Die From Heat? 

a tip about whether guinea pigs can die from heat
Always be mindful of the temperature around (and in) your little friend enclosure.

Yes, guinea pigs can die from prolonged exposure to heat. Guinea pigs have bad reactions to any extreme temperature change – whether it’s heat or cold. That’s why it’s best to maintain a stable temperature for your guinea pigs.

Other ways guinea pigs can die from heat are being exposed to:

  • heat vents
  • wood stoves
  • direct sunlight near a window
  • heat from being inside a car on a hot day
  • dry heat in an unventilated room/enclosure
  • other heat sources

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are sadly very common for piggies in warm weather. Guinea pigs that live in warmer climates are also at risk.

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During this phase, they become very weak and can’t stand. Then, they become unresponsive to you and start shaking violently. 

A guinea pig with heat stroke (or heat exhaustion) can die any minute.

At this level, it’s dehydrated and has a very low sugar level. So, if you don’t act fast, your little friend will die.

Don’t keep your guinea pig in your car without the air conditioner on. Actually, don’t even have them in the car UNLESS you’re in there with them to closely monitor the temperature.

And while they’re indoors, keep the house temperature below 65°F – 75°F ( 18°C – 23°C).

And if your little friends live outdoors, make sure their hutch is in a shady and well-ventilated spot.

How Hot Is Too Hot For Guinea Pigs? 

Anything above 75°F is too hot for your piggy. The best temperature range for your furry friend is between 65°F and 75°F.

Once the temperature goes over 75°F, the piggy is vulnerable to overheating. 

The ways of cooling down these little creatures are limited. So, it’s best to not let them overheat. Piggies can get overheated in minutes.

Now, there are some places you shouldn’t dream of keeping your cavy in. One such place is your garage or sun room. Buildings like that can absorb heat and trigger heat stroke symptoms.

Also, giving them access to a shade will help regulate their surrounding temperature.

In all you do, keep your cavies’ houses away from heat sources. You know what I mean, don’t you?. Your fireplace, wood stoves, heating vents, etc. are all red flags for your cavies.

At What High Temperature Do Guinea Pigs Die? 

At any temperature above 75°F, cavies can get heat stroke. If the temperature is about 85°F or above, the guinea pigs can die from the heat. 

If you live in a very hot environment, your cavies shouldn’t be houses outside. Within a few minutes of heat exposure, they can have breathing problems. Piggies can’t survive for long If they have heat stroke without immediate treatment.

Truth be told, any temperature that exposes the piggy to too much heat can be fatal.

Any uncomfortable temperature is a red flag for your guinea pigs’ health.

How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is Overheated? 

A guinea pig that’s overheating will be very sluggish, even unresponsive to your tough. You’ll also notice that your guinea pig will have difficulty breathing and have very red ears and feet. Depending on how overheated the guinea pig is you’ll see seizures.

It’s good to be observant and recognize unusual behavior in your litt. By doing this, you’ll  know when to check if your cavy is overheating. When your piggie is overheating, there are some signs you will see.

Often, piggies owners don’t recognize these symptoms until their fur babies drop dead. 

So when it’s summertime (or if you live in a really hot climate), you need to extra careful with your piggies. They can overheat within a short period and that’s why constant checking is necessary.

You just might meet them in a critical condition within a few hours. Don’t dismiss any mild symptoms you notice and take action ASAP.

The sudden death of piggies’ is most commonly caused by heat stroke. It’s known as the silent killer. So when next your piggy is drooling or acting strangely (especially in warm weather), take action.

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Do Guinea Pigs Sweat? 

No, guinea pigs don’t sweat. Guinea pigs don’t have sweat glands, and they’re biologically designed to cool themselves down other ways.

Now, you’re saying “no wonder they get overheated quickly”.

Yes, you got that right, that’s exactly why.  Guinea pigs don’t have an efficient way to cool themselves down and regulate their body temperature. 

How do they regulate their body temperature then?

Well, they lose heat from their ears (yep, not the best biological method) and try to move away from the heat source.

But, if they’re caged and not outdoors, there’s little to nothing they can do. 

That’s when they develop hyperthermia. When they drool and wet their chins, they’re making an effort to cool down.

Their thick furs can make them overheat faster. So, give your furry friend a trim since you now know they can’t sweat.

How To Cool Down A Guinea Pig

popular ways to make sure guinea pigs do not die from heat

Piggie owners use lots of ways clever methods to cool down their pets. It centers on constant hydration and the use of various cooling tools. This to keep piggies’ body temperature regulated.

I know you’re curious to find out many clever ideas for cooling down your piggy. So, I conducted a manual survey of 98 piggie owners (that’s a lot right? I know). I wanted to figure out the most popular ways for cooling down cavies.

I have many piggy-cooling methods to share with you, so keep reading. Here’s some highlights of my manual survey:

  • Several piggie owners said they keep frozen water bottles in their piggies’ hutches.
  • Some owners put desktop fans pointing near (but not directly at) their piggies’ cagesNOTE: This only works if the air in the room is cool. If it isn’t, then you’re just blowing around hot air.
  • Many owners usually remove the piggies’ plastic houses during summer. This is because the plastic hutches DANGEROUSLY overheat in the sun.
  • Some owners occasionally drop little ice cubes in the piggies’ water.
  • Others suggested using ice packs (wrapped in towels) and chillled, ceramic tiles in their hutches.
  • Others dip towels in cool water, wring them out and place them in the piggies’ cages.
  • Numerous owners trim their piggies hair regularly to reduce the excess hair.
  • The most common method piggy owners use is wrapping a damp towel around their piggy’s fur.
  • A constant supply of cool fresh water for the cavies during summer is vital.

83% (82 piggie owners) use frozen water bottles wrapped in socks. This is placed in their piggies’ cages during summer. This group also uses small fans and ice packs.

17%(16 piggie owners) use ceramic tiles and air conditioners in summer.

I picked up a few tips from my survey on how piggie owners cool down their piggies. Here’s some helpful tips:

  • If you don’t have frozen water bottles handy, wrap anything frozen in a towel and use it. For example, use an ice pack rolled in a towel. 
  • Put a sock around the frozen water bottles before keeping them with the piggies. This is to stop them from chewing the plastic or from getting freeze burns
  • Cover their hutch partially with a wrung-out, damp towel and let a fan blow on the towel.
  • Rub your little friend’s fur with a cool, damp cloth.

You want to know the perfect environment and climate for your piggy, don’t you?. Well, let’s discuss that.

What Is The Best Climate For a Guinea Pig? 

Your guinea pig loves a cool and well-ventilated environment. They’re uncomfortable in too hot or too cold places.  It should

Piggies love a dry, cool (not cold), and non-stuffy environment. Living in the wrong type of environment can be deadly to a guinea pig.

Keep a thermometer close to your piggies’ enclosure (indoors and outdoors) and monitor it well. Also, watch your fur babies’ body language.

Do they seem active and happy?

Or are they sluggish and barely moving?

These clues can help you figure out if the temperature is working well for your guinea pigs (or not).

If your piggie’s room temperature is high, take action to cool it and your furry friend down (air conditioning, ice pack wrapped in a sock, etc.)

What Are Signs Of A Guinea Pig Dying? 

Guinea pigs try to hide signs of weakness or an illness. So, when you start seeing obvious signs, they may already be dying. That can be a scary thought. But, being observant can help you stay ahead of this

 Some of the piggy behaviors you need to be wary of include:

  • Sluggishness/reduced activities and weakness.
  • Drooling/slobbering 
  • Refusal to eat or unable to swallow
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding
  • Body temperature is too cold or hot

Now, these signs are a result of different illnesses in your piggies.

Scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) can result in the death of your cavy. Guinea pigs, like humans, can’t generate their own vitamin C. 

So when you don’t include enough vitamin C in your piggies’ diet, they lack collagen. Untreated, scurvy eventually lead to weakness, loss of appetite, and death.

Inflammation of the lungs in cavies (pneumonia) is one common cause of piggies’ death. 

Sounds bad, huh? 

Well, it gets worse.

It can break out among groups of your cavies at the same time. They sneeze and have nose discharges while being unable to eat. You’ll agree with me that this will definitely kill them.

All of these are tell-tales that can mean your piggy is dying. If your little friend is acting strangely and you see a concerning combination of symptoms, see the vet immediately.

Final Thoughts 

Guinea pigs feel dehydrated and suffer from heat stroke when they’re in hot places.

Ideally, they should be kept in hutches with temperatures between 60-75°F.

Always keep a thermometer handy around their enclosure to closely monitor the temperature. This will help you take take adequate steps to keep your piggies safe when the temperature gets too hot or too cold.

They must be kept indoors on hot summer days in air-conditioned rooms or rooms that are kept cool by other methods.

Keep their hutch safe from sunlight by draping it with a damp cloth. Make sure your little friends always have access to it. I mean clean, cool, and freshwater.

Thanks for sticking with me till the end, I hope you’ll use the new methods you’ve learned.

Wanna Give Your Piggies
the 5 STAR Treatment?

Stop getting dirty looks from your piggies, because you forgot to do something for them...AGAIN. These colorful, chore charts will help you keep track of when to feed your fuzz butts, clean their cages, and much more. 

FREE

Caring for Guinea pigs. (n.d.). PETA. https://www.peta.org/living/animal-companions/caring-animal-companions/caring-guinea-pigs/

Creating a good home for Guinea pigs. (n.d.). The Largest Animal Welfare Charity in the UK | RSPCA. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/guineapigs/environment

Guinea pig housing. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-housing

Guinea pigs- Temperature. (n.d.). USDA APHIS Landing Page. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/guinea-pig/acaid-guinea-pig-temp.pdf

How to keep Guinea pigs cool in summer. (n.d.). Blue Cross. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/guinea-pig/how-to-keep-guinea-pigs-cool-in-the-heat

The ideal home for your Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Saving pets, Changing lives – PDSA. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/small-pets/the-ideal-home-for-your-guinea-pig

Protect Guinea pigs from summer heat! (2019, August 13). FOUR PAWS International – Animal Welfare Organisation. https://www.four-paws.org/our-stories/publications-guides/protect-guinea-pigs-from-summer-heat

Small mammals. (2019, October 28). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/small-mammals/index.html

Summer heat management. (n.d.). Guinea Pigs Australia. https://guineapigsaustralia.com.au/keeping%20cool.htm

What do I need to know about my Guinea pigs’ health? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-my-guinea-pigs-health/

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