It’s easy to think that coming from a hot continent such as South America, that guinea pigs would like the sun.
Actually, the opposite is true in that they don’t like it at all.
They much prefer to be in the shade and if they are caught in a patch of sunlight will look to shelter in the shade.
Where they actually come from in the Andes mountains of South America is quite a cool place.
The temperature is quite variable and it can actually get quite cold up there.
They live at altitude when in the wild and so are used to keep trying to keep themselves as warm as possible in cold weather.
They do not feel comfortable in the sun at all.
This is why if you are keeping your guinea pigs outside or if they are just out in their run, then there must be some shade shelter for them.
If there is not, they will look to make something for themselves to shelter under.
For instance, when we got our first guinea pig ‘Rocket’, I didn’t realize this fact.
I left him in his run without any shade on a particularly sunny day.
When I returned to him, he had buried himself in the grass which was about 2-3 inches long in a patch.
At this point, I realized that I should have been much kinder to him and given him to shelter.
This is why I always leave somewhere where my piggies can shelter under from the sun.
They will always take refuge on a hot day in the shade and try and stay as cool as possible.
When the temperatures get over 75 degrees Fahrenheit they tend to start to overheat.
They can’t cool down like we can and are trapped in their fur coats which are naturally designed to keep them warm.
In extreme cases, they can even suffer from heat exhaustion and maybe death if they don’t find respite from it.
So if it is hot and you need to find some respite for your guinea pig then there are some good tips here;
Consider extra shading for the run and hutch.
If they are outside then considering putting extra shading up such as a parasol or panels over the run or hutch to keep out the sun’s rays.
This will help give them a place to retreat to and will be able to walk around without getting exposed to the sun
Bring them inside.
Of you can bring your guinea pigs inside and it is safe to do so then this is the best option.
They will enjoy the cooler option of being inside the home more and the provision of air conditioning if you have it.
Have more shelters that they can hide away in.
Again if they are outside then giving them smaller hidey homes to retreat to.
They love to hide out in places and will enjoy finding new places to go.
What about keeping them cool?
Frozen water bottles.
One thing you can do to cool them down is to freeze some bottles of water.
Then lay them down in their run for them to brush up against.
Although this doesn’t solve the issue of being exposed to sunlight.
Ensure they have constant access to water.
Having constant access to water is vital for a guinea pig.
It is reassuring for them to know that their water bottle is full when they need to drink from it so top it up daily with fresh water.
It will help.
Damp towels or blanket.
Towels or blankets which have been soaked in cold water can also provide a good respite in hot conditions.
Just lay them down on the run floor for a short time and let the guinea pigs walk over them.
Don’t leave them there for too long though as they will start to smell.