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can guinea pigs tolerate cold weather

Can Guinea Pigs Tolerate Cold Weather?

When it gets cold outside, it is always preferable to bring your guinea pigs inside the home to keep warm.

They much prefer being in stable temperatures of between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit so that they feel comfortable and don’t end up being too cold or even freezing outside.

So what happens when there is not an option to bring your guinea pigs inside?

Sometimes there just isn’t the room to have your guinea pigs inside the home, however much you want to create a good home for them.

Can guinea pigs tolerate the cold weather?

With this being the case, can guinea pigs tolerate the cold weather at all?

It is not an ideal situation for a guinea pig to find themselves in.

They are hardy creatures and very good at surviving cold temperatures.

They find ways of surviving and keeping themselves alive.

However, this shouldn’t be put to the test and guinea pigs have been known to freeze to death when left in extreme temperatures.

So if you do have to leave them outside during cold weather, then make sure you take extra care of them during these seasons.

Taking precautions in cold weather seasons

First of all, make sure they are provided with extra hay to keep themselves warm.

Give them plenty of food and water so they can keep themselves hydrated and sustained. Put a waterproof cover over their hutch so that it keeps out rain and snow.

Think about keeping a blanket on top of the hutch and underneath the waterproof cover to try and insulate the hutch.

Ensure that they are not alone during this time. Guinea pigs find warmth from snuggling up from each other.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to have more than one guinea pig as they draw from each other’s body heat.

This can be a lifesaver for a guinea pig and the difference between whether they stay alive during the cold winter months.

Guinea pigs and extreme temperatures

Keeping guinea pigs outside though in countries where the temperature regularly falls below freezing is not advised.

Guinea pigs will easily suffer from hypothermia and will die as a result.

If you live in countries such as this then keeping them inside is the only option.

Even keeping them in an outhouse is not good for them unless you have the outhouse properly insulated and heated for them to comfortably.

Born survivors

So think carefully whether having guinea pigs is a beneficial thing for them before you purchase them or take on ownership.

There are pets that handle the extreme cold better than guinea pigs that you can get.

Guinea pigs are born survivors but they will only survive so far before their bodies are not able to protect them any further.

It is not worth taking the risk.

keep a guinea pig warm

18 Ways To Keep a Guinea Pig Warm

We in the northern hemisphere are waving goodbye to summer and although it is fairly warm over here in the UK at the moment, the nights are starting to draw in and you can feel a change in the temperature.

At times like these, guinea pigs start to feel the cold as well sand are not quite as happy in the cold.

So what can we do to keep them warm and in their optimum temperature?

Here are some ways we can keep a guinea pig warm during these months ahead.

  1. Bring the guinea pig inside. Pretty obvious right? But not everyone does it. If you are cold outside then they will be too. They will be much happier in the temperature you are happier in.
  2. Purchase a snuggle safe disk which looks like a Frisbee and can be heated in a microwave in a few minutes and then gives heat to a guinea pig for up to 8 hours.
  3. Put a small blanket in their cage. I have also used old t shirts and other clothing to make caves for them. Anything like this can help keep them warm and snug.
  4. Put lots of shredded paper in the cage which they can crawl under and hold their body heat in. Held in a box of some kind that they can crawl into would be best.
  5. Get a shoe box and cut a hole large enough for the guinea pig to crawl through and put bedding inside. The enclosed space inside will help to conserve their own body heat.
  6. Purchase a pigloo which can do a similar job.
  7. Put a blanket over the cage during the night and then take half of it off during the day time.
  8. Purchase a cozie or a cuddle cup. They’re a big hit with guinea pigs as they love to snuggle up inside them.
  9. Move the cage away from windows and any drafts. These can make the guinea pig very uncomfortable.
  10. Make sure they have another guinea pig to snuggle up to. They are naturally very good at keeping each other warm. If you only have one guinea pig, consider getting another to keep it company. If you have two consider getting three, and so on. The more of them there are, the more they can snuggle up to each other and keep warm.
  11. keep a guinea pig warmHave a rice sock. This is an alternative to the heat pad which is basically taking an old sock and filling it with rice. Put it in the microwave for one minute. The rice will warm making it very comfortable for the guinea pig to snuggle up to.
  12. Hot water bottles offer a terrific source of heat during the night. Just put hot water on it, put a cover on it and ensure the lid is tightly shut. Test it out before hand to ensure that it isn’t too hot and maybe add some extra layers of blanket to protect the guinea pig. Make sure that it is covered all the way round it to ensure that the guinea pig doesn’t chew it.
  13. Block any drafts from doors and windows with blankets.
  14. Create a cozy by taking a small box and lining it with fleece that are held by binder clips. Your guinea pig will love hopping into it to keep warm
  15. Create tunnels for them to hide in. These can be purchased or made and guinea pigs love to run in tunnels and will even stay in them and sleep.
  16. If your cage is against a wall then put a blanket between the wall and the cage. The wall is keeping in the heat but will be naturally quite cold if they are right close to it. The extra layer of insulation will help conserve heat.
  17. Consider having a heater in the room to give the piggies warmth. Do keep in mind safety and that it doesn’t get too hot though. Make sure they are also kept well away from it as well.
  18. Guinea pig sleeping bags can be purchased. These are fabulous inventions that can give the guinea pig warmth. They can also made like this below in the video

Keeping a guinea pig warm will ensure that they are happy and contented. You will notice the difference in their behaviour if you keep them in the temperature that they are happiest to be in which is 18-22 celcius/65-75 farenheit.

Hope you found this helpful.

There are probably some i’ve missed off.

Do you have any other useful tips that you could share? Drop them in the comments if you do 🙂


Guinea Pigs and Cold Weather

With August drawing to a close, I’m starting to think about the coming fall and winter time drawing in.

This brings new challenges as the owner of a guinea pig.

One of my concerns is how guinea pigs feel the cold.

Its good to be aware of this so I know when to bring my guinea pig inside as the hutch is currently sitting out in the garden.

Do guinea pigs feel the cold?

guinea pigs and cold weatherDue to its compact, body guinea pigs can tolerate the cold more than we think they can.

It can certainly tolerate the cold more than the heat.

It has a normal body temperature of 38-40 degrees Celsius and so has a very similar air temperature to humans which is between 18-24 degrees Celsius. This means that they feel the cold in a similar way to what we as humans do.

top image flickr mike scott

above image: flickr darren johnson

One thing they do not like is if they are exposed to drafts or wind and do not respond well to any kind of conditions like this.

So as guinea pig’s owners, its important we keep track of the conditions our guinea pig’s are living in. Especially if they are kept outside.

Here’s an interesting quote I found on the subject at this site

“Sutherland and Festing (1987) recommend the following conditions: Temperature 18-22C, 8-20 air changes/h, relative humidity 45-70%, 12-16h light/day cycle. Group- housed guinea pigs provided with bedding withstand colder conditions, but neonates have reduced survival at temperatures below 17C. Temperatures over 30C are not tolerated well, particularly by pregnant sows.” (The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Australia).

Guinea pigs and cold weather don’t go well together.

Because they have a similar feel of the climate to us, a good guide to how they are feeling with the climate is how you are feeling. If you are too cold to be outside, then your guinea pig is probably too cold.

If you are fine being outside without a jacket, then its a good sign that your guinea pig is fine being outside as well.

When should I bring my guinea pig inside the home?

At the moment we are in the heart of summer time here in the United Kingdom.

The weather is pretty good and I haven’t worn a coat in 4 months.

I feel pretty comfortable about leaving my guinea pig outside as I like being outside and we are averaging temperatures above 23 degrees Celsius.

When it starts to get colder, I will start to think about moving my guinea pig inside and into the warm.

Some owners feel that outbuildings are sufficient for a guinea pig in winter with some extra insulation being put on the hutch to help keep out the cold. Others disagree, and recommend bringing the guinea pigs inside the home.

I guess it depends on how severe your winter’s are and how insulated your outhouses are. Some owners always keep their guinea pig in outbuildings and have got on fine with this situation.

One thing that does need to be considered is when they are outside, that they really shouldn’t be in temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius even if they have bedding and other warm paper or cloth around them.

If the temperature falls below that marker, then its time to bring them inside, either inside your home or an outbuilding.

This is why its good to keep an eye on the weather temperature to make sure a guinea pig isn’t suffering in silence!