Do you wonder how to keep guinea pigs warm in winter? Or just warm in general?
Whether you keep them indoors or outdoors, its very important that you keep your guinea pigs warm.
But how exactly do you do that?
The aim of this article is to give you some tips and ideas on how to keep your guinea pigs warm.
When I first got Guinea Pigs, I was so stressed about getting the temperature just right for them. Even though they are susceptible to cold, you don’t need to worry about it until the temperature is below 16°C(60°F).
If it does get below this then you might want to make a couple of changes to keep them warm.
Depending on where you are, you might need to learn how to keep guinea pigs warm in the winter months more.
Since it can get very cold during these winter months it’s really important. We don’t want them to be getting hypothermia.
Before we look into how to keep guinea pigs warm. It’s important to first understand what temperature they should be.
How Warm Do Guinea Pigs Need To Be?
Its very important to try and keep your guinea pig between 16°C(60°F) and 24°C( 75°F ). If they’re indoors then this is usually much easier to do.
You may want to look at ways of keeping them within this temperature, if you keep them outside and have cold winters.
NOTE: Although just because they are kept inside, you should still keep an eye on their temperature. It’s very easy for them to get too hot and therefore risk overheating.
The risk of them getting a disease or even dying from the cold is high if their temperature gets below 16°C(60°F).
Should you move your guinea pigs indoors for winter?
If you usually have your guinea pig outside, you might be wondering if its worth moving them indoors.
Yes if possible, it would make it easier to keep guinea pigs warm if you brought them inside.
Unless you take a lot of steps to keep them warm, they can get very cold in the winter and even at night when the temperature drops.
Just bear in mind that unless you can move your outside cage inside, you may need to get another cage.
If there is no way you can bring them in, its no big deal. There are ways to keep your guinea pig warm outside.
Ways To Keep Your Guinea Pig Warm Outside
Knowing how to keep guinea pigs warm in winter is very important if you keep them outside. Although it’s not just important to keep them warm at winter….
In autumn it can also get very cold in the evenings and at night.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to keep them nice and cosy in their outside hutch. Which means your guinea pig can enjoy living outside all year round.
1. Have more Guinea Pigs
You should never just have one guinea pig as they are very social-able. They need to be around other guinea pigs to be happy and content.
If you do have the space, it would be worth getting a few more guinea pigs. You see when they start to get cold, they cuddle up together.
Not only does this look cute but it allows them to use one another as a heat source, warming each other up.
2. Insulate Their Hutch
One option would be to insulate their hutch. This would make it harder for the cold to get inside.
It’s not an easy job or one that could be done in a day but it can help them stay warmer at night and during winter.
You can insulate your guinea pigs hutch at a very low cost. Just use an old blanket or something similar and place it over the hutches roof and the external walls.
NOTE: Make sure that the hutch still has decent ventilation.
3. Lift the hutch off the ground
To also help keep them warm at night, you can lift the guinea pigs hutch off the ground slightly.
If they’re only an inch or two from the floor, this stops the damp rising up into the hutch.
This will also help your hutch last longer, since the moisture wont rot the wood.
4. Keep the hutch dry
In the cold its important to keep the hutch dry. This will stop the damp from making your guinea pigs cold and could even cause them to get sick.
You can keep the hutch dry by lining the bottom of the cage with newspaper. That way any water that gets in the hutch will get soaked up by the paper and not make their home wet.
To also keep it dry you want to change soiled bedding and any areas that might get wet. I.E near bowls and bottles.
5. Use heating pads
Now when I mention heating pads, I don’t mean those pads that you need to plugin or microwave. These are self-heating pads that warm up when your guinea pig is laying on it.
This will help keep them warm but prevent them from burning themselves.
NOTE – You should always make sure there is an area in the hutch that is not covered by the heat pad. This allows your guinea pig to get away from the heat if they’re getting too hot.
6. Keep the food and water topped up
To help keep guinea pigs warm, keep an eye on their food and water. You want to make sure there is always plenty of food and drink.
This is because they tend to burn more calories to help them keep warm.
7. Provide your guinea pigs with space to run
Have you ever been cold and gone for a run and felt hot? Exercise is a great way of getting warm when out side. This is because exercising helps to increase blood flow around the body which helps to keep you warm.
The same thing happens to guinea pigs, so you may see them running around when cold. You therefore need to make sure they have plenty of space to run around and exercise.
8. Move the hutch
Finally as well as moving the hutch off the ground or indoors. You want to try and move it into a garage or shed. If you cannot do this due to the size, try and move it away from weather conditions.
If it’s raining, you don’t want the rain to get into the door. The same is said if it’s really windy, try and keep the wind out of the hutch.
5 Ways To Keep Guinea Pigs Warm Indoors
What if you keep your guinea pigs indoors, you still need to make sure they are warm enough. This is important at night when the temperature drops and we might not realise since we’re covered in a warm duvet.
1. Position the cage in the right place
Just like outside, you need to think about the location of their cage. You want to keep the temperature as consistent as possible, as fluctuations could cause your guinea pig to get sick.
Don’t put the cage near windows that are open or opened often. You might also not want to put it near locations that can get drafts.
NOTE: Don’t put the cage near radiators as this could cause your guinea pigs to get too warm.
2. Add some heating areas
Even indoors you might want to consider using a self heating pad. This will help them get that little extra warmer, just make sure they have an area that doesn’t have the pad so they can get cool if they need to.
You could use a heater but I personally wouldn’t recommend it, as it makes it harder for them to find a cool area.
3. Insulate the cage with layers
If you only need to increase their temperature a little bit, adding some insulation is the best way.
Just adding a layer of blankets or even shredded paper on the bottom will help give that little extra heat. Helping your guinea pig to feel nice and cosy.
4. Create snuggles areas inside the cage
It’s possible that your guinea pigs can actually keep themselves warm enough, if you give them areas to do it.
Guinea Pigs love to cosy up to each other and cuddle, as this helps them to keep each other warm.
To help encourage this get some nesting boxes or boxed areas and fill them with hay. They will then huddle inside of these to cosy up and keep warm.
5. Ensure your guinea pigs have plenty of food and water
I mentioned above when outside to keep the food and water topped up, the same should be done inside as well. Remember Guinea Pigs are awake for 20 hours a day, so they burn a lot of calories. Even more so when trying to keep warm.
So keeping these full will help give them the calories they need.
Don’t forget to give them plenty of hay, pellets and even fruit and vegetables to help give them additional nutrients. This is going to improve their immune system, which can help prevent them from getting sick if cold.
Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Guinea Pigs Warm in Winter
Guinea Pigs make for a great pet whether its your first pet or you’ve had other pets in the past. They are incredibly hardy and pretty easy to look after when you compare them with other pets.
There are just a few things you need to watch and making sure they are warm enough is one of them. Below are some of the most common questions I had and i’ve been asked when looking to learn how to keep guinea pigs warm.
How do I know if my guinea pig is cold?
Its not always easy to know whether or not your guinea pig is cold. Although if your feeling cold then there is a good chance that they are as well.
There are a couple of ways to tell if they are cold, those are;
If you see your guinea pig shaking, there is a good chance that they are too cold and need warming up. Guinea Pigs (and humans) shake or shiver when cold, its the bodies way of trying to generate more heat.
An area on your guinea pig that is sensitive to the cold is their ears. If these are cold to the touch and have been for an hour or so, they are likely to be too cold. If this is the case, try and find a way to warm them up.
Does hay keep guinea pigs warm?
Guinea Pigs like to burrow into hay, its like a nice warm duvet to them. So if its getting cold, add some extra to help them stay warm and cosy.
Do guinea pigs get hypothermia?
Yes, guinea pigs can get hypothermia if they get too cold. The ideal temperature for them is 16-24°C/60.8-75.2°F. If they go below 10°C/50°F, their body is too cold to maintain their warmth and risk suffering from hypothermia.
How do I know if my guinea pig has hypothermia?
If they are struggling with hypothermia you may see them resting on the abdomens or their side. They will then start to develop convulsions and the heart rate will begin too slow. You will notice them shivering due to not being able to stay warm.
What should I do if my guinea pig has hypothermia?
It’s very important that you call your vet right away if you believe your guinea pig has hypothermia. It’s incredibly serious, if it’s out of hours then finding an out of hours vet is vital. You should not wait until the next day.
Can my guinea pig die if it gets too cold?
Yes guinea pigs can get ill and die from the cold, typically brought on by hypothermia. It can take as little as 24-36 hours for your guinea pig to die from the cold.
Some animals can tolerate the cold, guinea pigs cannot.
Although guinea pigs cannot tolerate the cold as well as other animals, with a few simple precautions you can help keep them warm and healthy all winter long. By following the tips we’ve outlined in this post, you can ensure your furry friend stays cozy and content while the snow swirls outside.
I hope these tips have taught you how to keep guinea pigs warm in winter, whether indoors or outdoors. Let me know in the comments below what you do to keep your piggies warm.