Someone thinking about getting one or more guinea pigs has a lot to learn about these cute creatures. A potential owner should know what food these pets need to stay healthy and what sort of cage to purchase along with the type of grooming attention they require. In addition to those things, a guinea pig owner must be aware of this pet’s sensitivity to extreme heat.
Discover what temperature is too hot for a guinea pig to live in. Also, learn the signs of heatstroke as well as what you can do to keep your guinea pig from overheating.
What Temperature is Too Hot for Guinea Pigs?
An environment with a temperature of more than 75 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for a guinea pig. The ideal temperature range for this pet is between 60 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why is it Important to Monitor the Temperature of a Guinea Pig’s Cage?
It’s important to monitor the temperature of this pet’s cage because they have very few ways of cooling down. This small mammal doesn’t sweat so it is unable to release heat from its furry body. Unfortunately, a guinea pig can overheat in just a matter of minutes. Once this happens, a guinea pig can die from heart failure. That’s why it’s so important to control and monitor the temperature of its cage.
How Do Wild Guinea Pigs Regulate Body Temperature?
There are a few ways wild guinea pigs regulate their body temperature, so they don’t overheat. One way is to retire into their burrow during the hottest part of the day.
Guinea pigs live in burrows abandoned by other types of animals. The temperature in a burrow is cooler because it is underground. Furthermore, a burrow provides a wild guinea pig with shade from the sun.
A second way wild guinea pigs regulate their body temperature to prevent heat stroke is to drink lots of water. This helps to keep their body cool.
In addition, a wild guinea pig is active during the coolest parts of the day. Specifically, they are out exploring at dawn and in the evening when the sun is going down. Not only is the temperature cooler during these periods of the day, there’s also less sunlight. Furthermore, predators of wild guinea pigs have trouble seeing their prey in the low light.
What Are Some Signs That a Guinea Pig is Overheated?
If the temperature in a room goes over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important for an owner to look for signs their pet may be overheating. Of course, the first thing to do is to get the guinea pig into a cooler environment.
One sign of an overheated guinea pig is panting. When a guinea pig is panting, it has its mouth hanging open and it’s breathing in a labored way. The animal opens its mouth in an effort to release the excess heat inside its body.
Lethargy is another sign of an overheated guinea pig. The pet may lay down on its side on the floor of the cage. This means the guinea pig’s body is succumbing to the heat. Remember, it’s rare for this pet to lie down in its cage even when it’s just sleeping.
Drooling is another indication that a guinea pig is overheated. This is a sign that the pet is at serious risk of death from heatstroke.
Ways to Keep a Guinea Pig’s Cage Cool
One of the easiest ways an owner can prevent overheating and heatstroke is to put a thermometer near the guinea pig’s cage. So, an owner will be able to see right away if the room temperature is rising and take action.
An owner should ensure their pet has enough cool water to drink at all times. Guinea pigs are notorious for dumping over their water bowls so it’s wise to put up a water bottle as an alternative. If an owner prefers to have a water bowl for their guinea pig, choose one that is too heavy for this pet to tip over.
During the summer months, a guinea pig’s cage should be kept in an air-conditioned room. Setting up a portable fan is another option for an owner. A fan would keep the air circulating in a room. But make sure the portable fan is not pointing directly at the guinea pigs in a cage. The constant blowing air can be stressful to these small pets.
When trying to keep this pet cool, the location of its cage in a room can make all the difference. Place the cage away from any window that lets in a large supply of sunlight. If there are windows in the room, pulling the shades down during the hottest part of the day can reduce room temperature. Also, put the cage in an area away from heating vents located on the wall or the floor. The heat flowing out of these vents can create a lot of heat around a cage.
If there’s a heat lamp in the room, make sure it doesn’t make the space too hot for this pet. If the heat lamp does make the area too hot, move either the cage or the heat lamp to another room.
Radiators can release a lot of heat. So, position the guinea pig’s cage far away from a radiator in the room.
Before getting a guinea pig, check the average temperature in each of the rooms in your home. This is an easy way to determine which room would be the best location for your pet’s cage. As a note, take the temperature in various places around a room. Temperature can vary within the walls of a large room.
An owner who allows their guinea pig to exercise in an outdoor area should be concerned with temperature as well. The outdoor exercise area should have a shaded place where a guinea pig can go to keep cool.
Some owners put small wooden shelters and tunnels in a guinea pig’s outdoor area. This allows them a shady place to rest where there is adequate airflow. Of course, if the temperature outside gets up above 75 degrees or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the guinea pig should remain indoors. Remember, it takes just minutes for a guinea pig to overheat and die from heatstroke.
What Should You Do if a Guinea Pig Becomes Overheated?
An overheated guinea pig needs to be taken to the veterinarian for treatment as quickly as possible. But there are a few things an owner can do until the guinea pig gets to a vet’s office.
Try to give the guinea pig cool water to drink. A guinea pig that’s lying on the floor of its cage may be able to take small amounts of water through an eyedropper.
Place the guinea pig’s feet in cool water. This can help to bring down the pet’s body temperature. In addition, fill a spray bottle with cool water and mist the guinea pig in an effort to lower its body temperature.
It’s helpful to wrap an overheated guinea pig in a towel moistened with cool water. The towel should be moist, not sopping wet. Also, the towel should be wrapped around its body and not the pet’s head.
Are Young Guinea Pigs More Vulnerable Than Adults to Overheating?
Yes, young guinea pigs are even more at risk for heatstroke than adult guinea pigs. Their systems are not as strong as adult guinea pigs so even more care should be taken with them.
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