Guinea pigs are among the most beloved pet rodents and, in order to take care of them in the best possible way, it is important to be aware of a few fundamental things, such as, for example, the fact that they suffer from the cold, especially if they are used to living indoors with us. How can we protect guinea pigs from the cold during autumn and winter?
The guinea pig’s temperature
The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is between 18 and 25°C. These animals have a compact body structure, which allows them to retain sufficient body heat. In fact, it isn’t the cold temperature itself that becomes dangerous, but rapid changes and draughts, which can cause them respiratory problems and colds.
Guinea pigs in the house when the weather is cold
Those who decide to adopt a guinea pig will almost certainly have him living inside the house, where the temperatures are usually ideal, neither too high nor too low. To protect the little rodent, it is a good idea to place his cage far away from external windows and doors, to avoid cold draughts. It is also necessary to avoid placing them too close to a source of heat such as a heater or a radiator, because the air is too dry and it is harmful to the guinea pig’s air passages.
Even if a guinea pig lives indoors, where the climate is optimal, he still needs a suitable shelter, equipped with every possible form of comfort. A small wooden or plastic house should be placed in his cage, which must be very spacious, especially in the cold season, with plenty of straw, hay or a plush bed, to create a warm and welcoming environment.
Guinea pig outdoors in the winter
Guinea pigs that live outdoors all year round can get used to the lower temperatures and live outdoors without any problems. If you really can’t accommodate the little animal indoors, it is essential that he has a house, in which he can hide away: it should be a dry den, with no damp, with straw and hay to keep him warm. Guinea pigs should never be exposed to rain and bad weather. For these reasons, we strongly believe that they are better off indoors, especially at night, when temperatures drop and it gets really cold.
What to do with a sick guinea pig
If you accidentally forget to turn on the heating, leaving your guinea pig in the cold, and when you come home you find him trembling, unconscious and his paws are a purplish-blue colour, it means he is suffering from hypothermia. In this case, take the animal to a warm and dry place, wrap him in a warm cloth or blanket and contact the vet immediately.