If you are an owner of a guinea pig, then one of your primary responsibilities is in keeping them safe and comfortable. But what about temperature? Can it get too cold for a guinea pig and if so what needs to be considered and what can an owner do? Requiring such information, I decided to conduct some research. I would like to present this information here to you today.
So, do Guinea pigs get cold? Guinea pigs can get cold when the temperature falls below 15 Degrees Celsius. This is the minimum temperature that they should be exposed to. Instead, guinea pigs do best at a temperature between 18-22 degrees Celsius. This can be achieved through manipulating their habitat and other techniques to provide a consistent climate.
When the temperature falls below 15 degrees Celsius, Guinea pigs get chilled, and their blood flow reduces, allowing them to conserve energy. Its a natural response to help them to overcome the conditions. However, if they remain in an environment that is too cold for too long they can encounter health issues and even death.
For this reason, as an owner you need to proactively monitor the temperature and climate where you live.
If you happen to keep your guinea pig outside and the temperature drops, you’ll need to look to provide heat in their habitat or bring them inside to warm up.
Let us now take a closer look at the minimum temperature that a guinea pig can be exposed to before looking at some signs your guinea pig may be too cold.
What Is The Minimum Temperature For Guinea Pigs?
As mentioned above, Guinea pigs do not like or do well in temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius.
So, 15 degrees should be the absolute minimum temperature for Guinea pigs.
With that said, the optimum temperature for Guinea pigs is between 18 to 22 degrees Celsius.
Aside from temperature, you must meet their needs through the right environmental conditions and with an optimal setup.
Guinea pigs need stable temperatures and living conditions. These rodents are quite vulnerable and very susceptible to stress. If there is any change at all in temperature, cavies get very stressed out, which often leads to other health issues.
Guinea pigs need a dry environment; they cannot handle humid conditions.
For this reason, you cannot keep their cage in a bathroom or any other damp area in your home. All sorts of bacteria thrive in moist, humid environments. Humidity increases the likelihood of your cavi getting ill. So be sure to place their cage in a dry location.
Additionally, guinea pigs need their cage placed in a wind or draft-free location.
For this reason, you should not place the cage next to a window that is often open, as the Guinea pig can catch a cold. Guinea pigs, like any animal, require some exposure to natural sunlight as it helps to absorb vitamin D. However, you should never place a Guinea pigs cage in direct sunlight and they will require shade to prevent them from overheating and developing heat stroke. Its a fine balance, just like it is with us humans.
The optimum environment for a Guinea pig is to be in a stable temperature between 18 to 22 degrees Celsius, in a draft, wind-free room, and not in direct sunlight, but some brightness is necessary.
How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is Cold?
Generally speaking, if you are indoors and feeling cold, chances are your Guinea pig is also feeling cold.
You may notice your little cavie tremble and shiver; they may try to burrow and hide in their hay.
Other signs to look out for are: limited movement, curling up and moving to particular locations in the cage.
Much like humans, Guinea pigs can experience hypothermia if left in intolerable temperatures for too long.
Make sure to block any drafts with a draft excluder; towels also work well. If you live in an old house, you will be aware that drafts can make rooms colder than usual.
You may want to add draft excluders to your windows too.
If at all possible, keep your Guinea pigs in a central location of your home, it is crucial to keep your Guinea pig’s cage away from exterior doors and windows.
Make sure to add covers, towels and blankets to your cavies cage; this gives them something to snuggle into and provides much-needed warmth and comfort. The smaller the blanket, the better, but fleece is an excellent fabric.
Guinea pigs need bedding in their cage; this encourages innate burrowing behavior; it also provides warmth to their environment.
Hay is an ideal choice for bedding as it absorbs moisture well, and it maintains body heat. Put a thick layer of hay at the bottom of the cage. Avoid materials like shaved wood because it can contain harmful chemicals. Soft cotton wool must also be avoided as a Guinea pig could eat the shredded pieces.
Timothy Hay is the best type of bedding used by the majority of guinea pig owners. Our guide here will help you to purchase the right one.
You should add small hiding places inside the cage, where your Guinea pig can retreat and get cozy. You can easily purchase small plastic hideaways on Amazon, or you could make your own out of an old shoebox.
If necessary, you might consider getting a pet-safe heating pad.
You can heat these pads in the microwave, and they keep warm for up to eight hours. They’re very safe, practical and cost effective in the long run too.
You can also put a hot water bottle into the cage, making sure that it is well wrapped up in a towel.
- Safe and soothing warmth
- Non-electrical; simply heat up in your microwave
- Plate-size pad easily fits under your pet's bed
- Provides up to 10 hours of safe and soothing warmth
- Non-toxic thermapol compound
Can Guinea Pigs Die From Cold?
Yes, Guinea pigs can die from the cold. Unfortunately, many die every year in cold weather. This usually happens with new owners who are not informed about the required temperatures, or those who have not prepared appropriately in advance.
Sudden changes in temperature and the natural transition in temperature from day to night are some of the most common risks.
For these reasons, guinea pigs should be kept indoors if at all possible. Guinea pigs cannot tolerate the cold very well if not at all. The longer a guinea pig experiences temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius, the higher the risks of them developing an illness. Death can occur with prolonged exposure to low temperatures, or even short periods in very cold climates.
A thermometer can help you check how cold your cavi’s environment is. These are especially important if you do house them outdoors.
If your cavies live inside your home, you can use an indoor visual thermometer to pick up any sudden changes.
If you want your cavi to go outside and get some fresh air in the summer, that’s absolutely fine, as long as you don’t leave them out for too long.Be careful of the sunlight, and of course any potential predators.
Its a good idea to stay close and remain vigilant at all times that you let your guinea pig out to roam outside. Its also a good idea to invest in a good play pen to keep their movement confined to a particular area or space. One with a roof will also protect them from potential predators.
Also, be careful not to let them have access to, or be placed on grass that has been treated with herbicides or any other toxic compound.
Guinea pigs are a domesticated type of rodent that originally came from South America. It naturally follows that they evolved in warm and dry climates. As an owner, it makes sense to do all you can to replicate their natural environment.
Guinea pigs can get cold – and they can do so very quickly. Cavies are very vulnerable, and they need stable temperatures between 18 to 22 degrees Celsius to thrive.
Any lower than 15 degrees Celsius is stressful, and it is putting your pet in danger of illness and even death. You must monitor the temperature consistently to detect any sudden changes.
Aside from having stable temperatures, Guinea pigs need to live in a dry, draft-free environment.
Guinea pigs are excellent pets, but they are very sensitive to change and unable to defend themselves from the elements. You must make sure that you are proactive and can provide the stable living conditions these creatures need to live healthily.
Cavies are sociable creatures and require the companionship of at least one other cavie; companionship helps them deal with stress better and provides comfort. It also helps them huddle together for heat if and when required.
If for some reason, you are unable to bring your Guinea pigs indoors during the cold months, you must optimize their habitat and living conditions while living outdoors during this time.
If housed indoors, the optimum location for them is in the center of a dry room, away from exterior doors and windows.
As an adorable and friendly animal, it is little wonder why the Guinea pig is such a popular choice of pet in the US, and the world over.
These cavies live anywhere between 4 to 8 years if looked after and taken care of. But they are fragile and need proper care and maintenance to live their expected lifespan.
Should I cover my guinea pig cage at night? Covering your guinea pigs cage at night can cause problems for your guinea pigs and stop them from being able to breathe. It can cause suffocation. For this reason, its important only to cover a section of the cage at night. This provides your guinea pigs with access to fresh air and ensures they get access to some natural light.
Do guinea pigs like blankets? Yes, guinea pigs do like blankets. Blankets can provide an area for your guinea pigs to snuggle up to and under. This helps them to retain heat and also provides them with a sense of security and safety. Smaller fleece blankets are generally the best type to purchase.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.