Guinea pigs do not feel well if they are not kept in temperatures that are ideal for their existence. Mostly acclimated to warm and dry conditions due to the circumstances of their origination in Peru, they mostly thrive in temperatures that range from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit following the guidelines provided by the Animal Welfare League. This alludes to the conclusion that they do not do very well if kept in colder climates. However, they can also suffer if they are kept in places where the temperatures are high. Hence, keeping them warm does not mean sitting them right next to a 1000 degree furnace and expect it to be doing well. Hence you need to do a few things to keep your guinea pig warm, especially in these cold, harsh winters.
what happens to guinea pigs that are not provided an optimal temperature:
When a guinea pig does not receive the optimal temperature conditions, it can develop fatal respiratory problems like pneumonia and hypothermia. They can be prone to skin diseases, as well. Hence you must give a good warm environment for your guinea pig.
They can also catch colds and have respiratory infections just like humans have; however, unlike humans, these problems can prove fatal for them and may often result in their death. So look for the following symptoms in your guinea pigs.
- They may be coughing.
- They have trouble breathing.
- They have runny noses and eyes.
- They are sneezing.
- They are wheezing
- They have changing appetites.
- They might be too lazy to do anything.
- They are experiencing changes in their toilet routines.
If you see one or more than one of the above symptoms, call your vet to book an urgent appointment so that your guinea pig can get the required treatment to save its life.
SOLUTION#1: You should move the cage or your guinea pig’s hutch inside to a warmer environment.
If your guinea pig is living inside, then great, you have done most of the job already as the temperature indoors is already warm enough for the guinea pig to be okay. However, there might be times that might not be an option due to various issues like household members having certain allergies. You should keep it in some shed or a housed environment with some hearing installed, preferably an electric heater. Two places where we will not recommend you keep your guinea pig are the garage, which has a car that’s driven regularly, or a greenhouse. The fumes from the car can harm your pet, while greenhouse glass is responsible for a rise in humidity, which is known to cause skin problems.
SOLUTION#2: Providing some insulation to the cage:
If you have a cage that is preinstalled in your lawn, then the best move for you is to purchase some cage insulators that will not only keep your guinea pig warm on these cold winter nights but also keep it from rains that might pour from time to time. However, if you do not want to or do not have the time to purchase a specialized cage insulator, a quick solution can cover the cages with some blankets. These blankets should be thick to provide the same protection from cold and rain as the specialized options. Just be sure to add some gaps to allow for ventilation and oxygen as you do not want your guinea pig to run out of air.
SOLUTION#3: Do not keep them in the way of draughts and winds:
Keep your guinea pig in an environment that is free from all sorts of rain and wind. If you have a hutch or a cage fixed to a surface, add barriers to stop the wind and rain from coming in with some small gaps to allow for oxygen.
SOLUTION#4: Fill their cage with some newspaper and straws to be used as bedding:
Putting in some newspaper and straws to provide an extra layer of bedding as they can be used as agents for not only keeping the heat in for a long time but also as a blanket for your guinea pig to bury themselves in during the cold weather.
SOLUTION#5: Using a heating pad to keep them warm:
A heating pad is a small disc-shaped thing that can give your guinea pig or other pets some warmth. They are activated by keeping them in a microwave oven for a few minutes, and then you just put them in your guinea pig’s cage. This heating pad will work as a heater to keep your guinea pig warm. They are also constructed from materials that make it hard for your guinea pig to chew them as well, so you are covered.
SOLUTION#6: You can also add hay for insulation:
Hay is an excellent way to insulate your guinea pig’s hutch. They also make for warm and comfortable bedding for your guinea pig to rest on. Just make sure that the hay is soft and fresh; otherwise, it might backfire on your guinea pig in the form of an uncomfortable hutch filled with hay that pokes. You should also replace the hay at regular intervals as damp and soiled hay can injure your guinea pig.
SOLUTION#7: Two guinea pigs are better than one:
You can also opt in to have two guinea pigs instead of one. They will not only keep each other company by socializing through the winter but will also keep each other warm thanks to their body heat. However, this does not take you off the hook for providing a warmer place for them as there is so much body heat can do, and they both can catch a cold and die.
Guinea pigs need an optimal condition for their survival. They are highly susceptible to the climate; hence it is your responsibility as a pet owner to give it to them. The above solutions will help you in your quest for housing healthy and warm guinea pigs.