Tag Archives: cold

Do guinea pigs cough

Do Guinea Pigs Cough?

Coughing is usually a sign that our body needs to get rid of something that is blocking our airwaves.

Ever had a coughing fit like when you can’t stop coughing?

Your body is desperately trying to get rid of whatever is blocking or irritating your throat.

It is helpfully described here

A cough, also known as tussis, is a sudden reflex that humans and many animals have. Its purpose is to clear the throat and breathing passage of foreign particles, microbes, irritants, fluids, and mucus – it is a rapid expulsion of air from the lungs. Coughing can be done deliberately or involuntarily.   source


Do Guinea pigs cough?

So yes guinea pigs do cough as well and it is for the same reason as us.

However when a guinea pig coughs it’s a sign that all is not well and they have something that needs addressing quickly by a veterinarian.

It’s a sign of a respiratory infection in a cough or cold and if it is left untreated it can kill a guinea pig.

As humans in the developed world, we are fortunate that a cough can easily be treated and medicated.

Guinea pigs and respiratory issues

Back when there wasn’t much knowledge of how to medicate respiratory issues a cough or cold could kill a human as well.

With guinea pigs, there will be other symptoms to look out for such as crusty eyes, runny nose, loss of appetite and breathing that is not regular.

When you go up close to them you may hear wet breath sounds or clicking.

Your guinea pig is more than capable of getting a respiratory infection.

However, they can’t get the cold or flu as they can’t get viral infections.

A good veterinary surgeon will be able to mediate this issue as long as it is dealt with quickly.

As long as it goes on unmedicated it will get worse for the guinea pig and their health will deteriorate.

Guinea pigs are good at not showing they are ill

Guinea pigs are very good at hiding when they are not well.

It may not be noticeable at first when they are sick.

Coupled with their poor immune system will make it more difficult to treat if the symptoms are not recognized as soon as possible by you.

This is why it’s important to keep a close check on your pet on a daily basis and handle them regularly to make sure everything is as it should be.

In no circumstances is advisable to self-medicate a guinea pig.

There are many sites out there which suggest treatments for such a problem.

But this could prove a fatal exercise and it is worth bearing the cost of taking them to a veterinary surgeon in the long run.

Once seen by a veterinary surgeon they should see improvement following a course of their prescribed medication.

Coughing is something that is best addressed immediately and if it isn’t it could be the start of something fatal for a guinea pig.

should guinea pigs go outside

Should Guinea pigs go outside?

Having space for guinea pigs is a must for any owner.

There are many guinea pigs who live in very cramped conditions where they just don’t have the space to run around and explore.

This can cause problems for a guinea pig and severely affect their quality of life.

There are many owners who are very opposed to keeping guinea pigs outside because of the conditions they will experience.

They consider it cruel and not something that should be imposed on a piggie.

I can see their point.

Why keeping a guinea pig outside is not a good idea

There are many places on earth where keeping a guinea pig outside which would harm their quality of life.

The sheer temperature range that they would experience would mean that they would not experience a comfortable experience outside.

The perfect temperature range for guinea pigs

The temperature range that guinea pigs are comfortable in ranges from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

So if it gets colder or hotter than this then your guinea pig will likely be feeling uncomfortable in that environment.

This is why certain owners are not comfortable with their guinea pigs outside.

The temperature where they live can be too inconsistent or it may just be unbearable for a guinea pig to live in.

Whether too hot or too cold.

Beware of predators trying to get at your guinea pigs

There are also things they might experience outside such as predators which may scare them or attempt to kill them.

Guinea pigs are attractive prey for animals such as birds of prey, cats, dogs, foxes, snakes who will do their best to get into their home.

Keeping guinea pigs inside is the ideal situation

Because of this, keeping your guinea pig inside is the preferable option.

The temperature will be consistent inside and they will be free from the attention of certain predators who will be looking to attack them.

There is also the great opportunity for them to spend time with you and your family.

Guinea pigs love to spend time with people.

They are social creatures and enjoy the company of others either of their own species or humans.

They will become tamer and more trusting the more time they spend with you.

Why many owners consider ‘outside’ the only option

But for some owners, I understand that this is just not possible.

Although it is not preferable to have them outside there is nothing stopping them from doing so.

There isn’t the space inside a home or you may have a partner who does not like them inside the house.

This is a problem that many face around the world.

Keeping your guinea pig in an out-house

The next best option is to keep them in an outhouse where is is at least dry.

Guinea pigs do not handle getting wet well as they can’t dry their coats very well.

Damp can also cause a lot of problems for a guinea pig and is a big killer for many piggies.

Keeping them in an outhouse like a shed or barn will at least keep them dry and mean that they can keep out of the elements such as rain, sleet, and snow.

They also don’t like direct sun rays and will hide away from the heat when it gets too hot for them.

What if there is no other option but to keep them outside?

However, if the only option is to keep them outside then this is possible and something many owners do due to space restrictions they may have in their home or even if their partner doesn’t approve of such a thing.

Keeping a guinea pig outside is possible but there are certain things it is recommended that you do when you keep them outside.

This will ensure that they live a good a life as you can provide for them.

Keep their run secure.

Make sure their run is secure and is safe for them to run about and not be at risk from being attacked by predators.

This may mean getting a run that is totally covered so that nothing else can get in.

Have many guinea pigs.

Having two or more guinea pigs together means that they can keep each other warm.

They do this by warming themselves against each other and the warmth that comes from the blood flowing through their bodies.

Keep them well sheltered.

Keeping them out of the wind and rain is important.

They are not good at drying each other and dealing with being wet and damp.

It is likely to make them ill as their fur merely absorbs the water.

Put a waterproof covering over their home to ensure it is well covered so that any snow, sleet or rain has no chance of getting in and their home stays nice and cosy.

Spend lots of time with them.

Spending time with your guinea pigs means that they get to know you, they get to understand your voice and what you are like as an

owner. You will also get to understand them better as well.

This can only improve their quality of life as a result.

Keep them well fed and watered.

Keeping their food stocked up and their water bottle consistently refilled means that they will never go hungry or thirsty.

Keep their hay pile filled up as well so that they always have hay to chew on.

That won’t stop them wheeking at you, whenever you walk by them.

Keep their housing insulated

Their housing can be kept waterproof from the elements, as stated above.

But underneath the waterproof covering, you could put some extra layers on the roof such as an extra blanket which will keep some of the heat that they generate in.

Make sure the blanket is kept totally covered though so it does not get damp.

An extra layer will make quite a difference to them as well.

For more ideas about keeping guinea pigs warm, check out this 18 ways to keep a guinea pig warm

can guinea pigs catch flu

Can guinea pigs catch flu from humans?

Can guinea pigs catch flu from humans?

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu”, is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus.

 Symptoms can be mild to severe.

The most common symptoms include: a high feverrunny nosesore throatmuscle painsheadachecoughing, and feeling tired  (source)

So can this affect a guinea pig?

Yes if you do have a respiritory infection such as the flu or a chest infection, you can pass it on to a guinea pig.

So if you are suffering from one of these afflictions, then make sure you do practice good hygiene. Make sure you wash your hands and limit handling your guinea pigs whilst you are sick.

Make sure you don’t kiss them at all or snuggle them as you may pass something on.

In fact, it is worth keeping away from them altogether if you have a respiratory disease and getting someone else to look after them during your recovery time.

If you don’t want to pass it on to your cavy and want to prolong their life, then this is worth considering



can guinea pigs eat kleenex

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kleenex?

If you have a guinea pig then you will know that they love to chew through as many things as possible. Anything placed into their path, they are likely to have a sniff or a nibble at.

So if you have some Kleenex tissues and place it in their cage, for example, to help with bedding.

Is it ok for them to eat it?

Can guinea pigs eat kleenex?

It won’t do them any harm at all.

Although they probably won’t take to it and start having a meal of it.

They may chew It though and you may find it torn up on your return to their cage.

Its the same as having newspaper in their cage.

They do damage to that as well.

But it is fine for them to chew.

For more foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat, check out our guinea pig food list

should guinea pigs be kept inside or outside

Should Guinea Pigs Be Kept Inside or Outside?

When guinea pigs are kept by an owner in the UK and other western countries, they are left outside in their hutches.

This is because often people don’t like them inside the home or just don’t have room for them. But is this right?

image flickr johan larsson

Well the answer to the question is it depends what the temperature is outside.

What temperatures do guinea pigs enjoy the most?

If the temperature goes below 15 degrees Celsius it’s time to bring them inside. If it goes below 10 degrees Celsius, then they should definitely be inside. Similarly, if the temperature goes above 25 degrees Celsius then it’s time time to think about bringing them inside. However they can deal with the hot better than the cold in my experience and will always seek out cool, and shaded areas.

Guinea pigs are creatures who like dry environments with a cool temperature.

They are very hardy creatures who can handle what comes there way as they have very good survival instincts.

They can survive most environments, but do like extreme colds or hot weather. With this in mind a A stable temperature is much better for guinea pigs that a nice cool temperature is much more preferable to them.

Depending on where you live this can mean that you have the right temperature that enables them to live outside most of the time, or in fact you may have to have them permanently inside as it would just be cruel to keep them outside shivering their little paws off.

So do consider whether the home you have for them is in the right place for them before you set up  a place for them there.

It certainly took us a while to get this right.

An ideal guinea pig home set up

So the ideal situation is to have a place inside a home or an outhouse that is large enough for a pen/cage that they will enjoy living in.

But also if you have the facilities to do this, when the temperature is right that they can live outside as well in a pen/cage that protects them when it gets wet.

They do love to explore so giving them the variety is great for them

Keep guinea pigs out of the rain

Guinea pigs should never live in damp or wet conditions as they can be exposed to fungal conditions and the damp is bad for their insides. If they are exposed to damp and wet conditions, guinea pigs can develop fungai on their feet which can be very painful for them. So if you are having a lot of rain it is also not good for them to be outside as well

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!