It’s summertime again, which means hot weather is on its way. When temperatures soar and the days lengthen, pet parents need to prepare to keep their guinea pigs cool in the heat.
Planning ahead can help you keep your furry friend safe and happy this summer! But, what should you do? How should you plan?
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. There are a number of ways that you can reduce the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in your guinea pigs when it’s too hot.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss 12 cooling solutions that’ll be safe for your guinea pig, easy to do, and most of all – works effectively for your little friends.
1. Water, Water Everywhere
Guinea pigs need lots of clean, fresh water. It’s critical on hot days that pet parents ensure that their guinea pigs have plenty of water. The water shouldn’t be too cold because that can shock the system of your little guinea pig.
It’s best practice to provide your guinea pigs with at least two water bottles – especially on hot summer days. The more water, the better.
On average, guinea pigs will drink about 100ml of water per pound of body weight each day. Drinking water for pet guinea pigs can change with the seasons depending on how hot it is outside. This will also depend on air conditioning and indoor heating turning on or off, etcetera.
2. Offer Fluid Rich Treats
Add a few fluid-rich, fresh vegetables to the hay pile for some added hydration and nutrition! Piggie safe veggies (with extra hydration) include:
- red leaf lettuce
Remember, these veggies provide needed relief on hot days because they are high in water content and low in sugar content. Just slice and plop in a shallow dish – sprinkle with water if you like. And watch your guinea pigs enjoy their refreshing treat!
3. Water Bottles and Ice Packs
If you want to keep your guinea pigs cool, freeze a water bottle or two, stuff them in an old sock, and place them in the cage – you can even use an old T-shirt. Using an ice pack will have the same effect.
Then place the frozen water bottles in your guinea pigs’ cage. They’ll snuggle up to it and chill out!
4. Avoid Direct Sunlight
To keep your guinea pigs cool in the summer, never put them in direct sunlight.
In fact, avoid it like the plague whether it’s summertime or not – it’s bad for your pets!
When the sun shines directly on their enclosure, even for a short time each day, it can make them very hot, dehydrated or worse.
You can accomplish this two ways:
- Place their cage in a shaded area when they’re outdoors – under a tree or some sort of well-ventilated enclosure
- Keep your guinea pig’s enclosure away from windows
5. Take A Little Trip…Inside
One of the best ways to avoid the heat is by keeping your guinea pigs inside. Move your guinea pigs inside when in get too hot outside – especially if your guinea pigs are housed in an outdoor hutch.
(But, make sure the hutch is weather-proof and predator-proof, okay?)
Sadly, it’s not always possible for some of us to keep our little friends permanently indoors during hot weather.
So, if you can’t keep your little friends inside your home or the entire summer, then plan to bring them inside during the hottest parts of the day.
The sun is highest in the sky at noon – but that’s not when the temperature is hottest for us and our guinea pigs.
The heat doesn’t usually get to be its most intense until later on – typically around 3 or 4 p.m. By this time, a lot of heat has built up since midday and more heat on Earth than leaving it.
Keep your little friends out of the heat between 12pm and 4pm – when it’s likely to have the most damaging (or deadly) effects on your fur babies.
Sometimes pet parents house their piggies outside due to space issues inside the house. If you need to bring your guinea pigs inside to protect them from the heat (but are lacking space), consider these options:
- a large, collapsible play pen or puppy pen
- let your guinea pigs hang out in the bathtub or shower area for a time
- using vinyl sheet (or blanket) surrounded by C&C grids is a great alternative, too
6. Try Stones To Cool Their Bones (In A Good Way)
Tiles, bricks, or some other stone material feel colder than bedding and will help keep your guinea pigs wonderfully cool in the heat.
My advice? Go with tiles.
Either ceramic, marble, or granite will work quite well at holding a cool temperature for guinea pigs (and other pets) to enjoy.
The ones at home improvement stores are pretty cheap, but they’re 12 inches by 12 so they’re going to take up some space.
- You can store the tiles (or bricks) in a colder place the night before such as the basement or garage- if it’s cooler than outside.
- You can also put an ice pack on the tiles or (if the tiles are small enough) pop them in the freezer – for half an hour or so.
Place the tiles in your guinea pig’s cage as away for them to cool down. Then let your little friends snuggle up on all that relaxing coolness!
7. Ditch the Plastic Hideaways
Plastic hideaways can become death traps for guinea pigs in hot weather. The temperature inside of plastic hideaways is often significantly hotter than outside because of the sunlight and the ventilation is poor.
If you’ve got one and plan on taking your piggies outside during the summer months, now is the time for a change!
Wooden hideaways (particularly the arched willow ones) can potentially offer better circulation and lower the risk of heatstroke for guinea pigs – they don’t absorb and retain heat quite like plastic. So, if you’re concerned about your pet’s health, you should consider buying one as an alternative.
To up the coolness factor for your piggies, place a cold, damp towel over the hideaway. It’ll keep the area under the bridge cooler and a bit darker – which your fur babies will love!
8. Spa Day For The Win!
Your guinea pig’s coat can hold a lot of shed hair, which can make your little friend extra hot. Use a curry comb or brush to get all of that extra hair off of them – especially if you have a long-haired piggie. It’ll help them cool off from the heat.
You can also dampen their coat with water (using a moist-not drenched-wash cloth). Or lightly spray your little friend with an atomizer or mist if they are too hot. Avoid your piggie’s face – you don’t want the water going up their nose.
If you’re feeling adventurous, give your little piggie a hair cut. And no worries. It’ll grow back in time to help keep your fur baby warm and cozy during the fall and winter.
The video below will help you with the process:
Trimming the fur of a long-haired piggies is just as helpful for keeping her clean as it is for keeping her cool. Snip the hair around her buttocks area to keep her from soiling her hair when she uses the bathroom.
9. Keep Your House Cool
One of the best ways to keep guinea pigs cool during hot weather is to keep them indoors. This is easier said than done, however, when your house is sweltering!
A lack of air-conditioning can be incredibly frustrating for small animals and humans alike–especially during the summer heat.
Making some simple small adjustments in the home can go a long way during hot weather, especially when it comes to keeping rooms cool. To keep your house cool and comfortable for you and your pets, try these tips:
Know When To Close & Open Your Windows
At night, it’s all about making the switch to cool air. You need to open the windows of your house and turn off the air conditioning. The cool night breezes will flow through your home – swapping the warm air inside for cooler air outside, bringing a welcome relief to everyone inside – and keep your guinea pig cool!
During the day, it’s important to make sure that your windows are shut so you’re not losing out on any cool air you need to keep your guinea pigs nice and comfortable.
Try to block out direct sunlight by drawing your curtains (black out curtains, if possible) and putting up blinds. This will keep your home cool during the hottest hours of the day, while also allowing some light in to prevent it from feeling like a dungeon inside.
The idea is that you want to close out as much heat and sunlight as possible so that your guinea pigs are not being exposed to any more heat than necessary.
Make Your Own A/C
We all know that the invention of A.C. has made summers so much more bearable, but why should we have to turn it on when a simple hack can take care of business? Who needs air-con when you have ice?
A strategically placed bowl of ice is all you need to turn your fan into a doozy of an icy breeze. Place the shallow pan or bowl in front so it faces the spinning blades and get ready for that cool gust without breaking your wallet!
Avoid Cooking Inside
It’s not something that people often then about. But, using your oven and stove in the summer make your house even hotter! After all, who would wants their home to feel like a sauna with an added 350 degree oven radiating heat everywhere?
Instead, in the summer months, think outside-the-box by investing some time into making dinners over grills or experimenting with no cook recipes like chicken salads or submarine sandwiches. Your home will stay cooler and your guinea pigs’ will thank you!
10. Water Bottles Need Protection, Too
Please do not leave a water bottle out where the sun can shine on it; your guinea pigs don’t want to drink boiling hot water when they’re desperately thirsty.
Install a holder inside the hutch or switch to bowls in the shade. And on very hot days days, make sure you do the following:
- Chill the water for your piggies with some water from the fridge and a little ice.
- Insulate the water with a sock or two (DIY option) or with a purchased insulator to keep it colder longer.
- Examine your piggies’ water bottles daily to make sure that they’re in good working condition
Take a look at this video to see what I mean.
11. Use The Best Times For Playtime
If you’re looking to give your guinea pigs a change in scenery, consider taking them outside during the wee hours of dawn or dusk. The early morning before the sunrise is usually the coolest part of the day – followed by evening after sunset.
Your guinea pigs will be more much comfortable in the cooler temperatures – their body temperature will stay nice and chill. It’s also when your guinea pigs will be most active (they’re crepuscular), so consider taking them out for a bit during those times – twilight is best!
12. Get Some Help From A Thermometer
You won’t have a true idea of how hot it really is to your piggies unless you whip out a thermometer and monitor the temperature around them.
The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is from 65 to 75 degrees. And guinea pigs have a much harder time managing in the hotter weather.
Guinea pigs can’t sweat and don’t have an efficient way of cooling themselves down.
Place the thermometer wherever you have your guinea pigs located. This’ll give you a helpful visual to see if you need to take extra steps to increase the coolness in your guinea pig’s area.
Rule of thumb is if you’re not comfortable, then your guinea pig is most likely not comfortable either. If you’re feeling hot, your piggies are probably toasty too.
But, a little extra help never hurts.
13. Watch Out For Those Cars
You want to make sure that your piggies stay cool throughout the duration of their hot summer sojourn – especially when you’re driving in the sun with them.
Careful driving is required when transporting guinea pigs in the hot summer sun. Try to think about what direction you’ll be traveling from and towards specific locations, so that your precious cargo can avoid too much exposure to direct sunlight.
Remember cavies can’t move their carrying cases on their own; they need help with positioning themselves into shade if there’s going to be a bright, hot day!
Frequently Asked Questions About Guinea Pigs And Heat
What Temperature Can a Guinea Pig Tolerate?
Guinea pigs can tolerate temperatures from 65 to 75 degree Fahrenheit (or 18.3 to 23.8 Celsius) without much difficulty.
Anything out of that range puts their health at risk.
Guinea pigs should never be outside when temperatures are too hot – or too cold. If you house your guinea pigs outdoors, make sure the structure is protected from rain and wind – and is never in direct sunlight.
How Do I Know My Guinea Pig Is Overheated?
All pet guinea pigs take cues from their owner to gauge how they are doing. Your guinea pigs are overheated if your pets show symptoms like:
- behaving sluggishly
- unable to move
- heavy panting
- rapid heart beat
If you notice changes in behavior like this, it’s time to act quickly. Being overheated can easily slide into heat exhaustion or heat stroke, so it is important to try and cool your guinea pig down as soon as possible.
How Do You Cool Down A Hot Guinea Pig?
There are a number of ways to cool down an overheated guinea pig, but you have to act quickly to prevent the situation from becoming worse.
- If they’re in the sun (or near any other heat source), immediately take them to a cooler environment.
- Wrap a cool, wet towel around their body for quick relief. You can also put them in cool water –just be careful not to use cold water. The extreme coldness will shock your guinea pig and might make her worse.
- Carefully spritz your guinea pig with a cool mist – avoiding her face.
- Offer your guinea pig cool water to drink. Let your guinea pig rest and rebound in a cool, dark place – the quieter the better, so your piggie can relax and destress.
If you do notice any signs of continued distress, take your pet to the vet right away for treatment. Extreme heat can kill a guinea pig.
Things To Remember About Keeping Your Guinea Pigs Cool In The Summer
So, there you have it.
Some helpful and creative ways you can keep your guinea pig cool during a heat wave.
Don’t use all these techniques at once – that’s not necessary.
Choose one or two to implement at first…
Feel free to switch it up and use the most effective method for your current situation. Consider the following questions:
- Will you be home?
- Will you be gone? If you’ll be gone, how long will you be away?
- Which strategy makes the most sense to try?
Modify these methods based on your needs as well, so just pick the one that’s best for you and you’re piggies.
Do you know of other ways do you know of to keep your guinea pig cool?
Please share them in the comments below.