So, can guinea pigs stay outside? Guinea pigs, or cavies, are a member of the rodent family. And, have been domesticated for more than 3,000 years. These adorable pets were originally native to South America. But, are now entirely domesticated.
If you’re considering getting one of these as a pet, you might be wondering about what’s involved in their care. Some people prefer to keep their cavies outside because they feel the guinea pig has an odor.
Guinea pigs are very tidy so unless you allow the waste to build up, you should not notice any odor with your pet.
So, here’s the answer to can guinea pigs stay outside?
Can Guinea Pigs Live Outdoors? The climate where you live will play a part in your decision to keep a Guinea Pig outdoors. You’ll also need to provide safe shelter from the elements and predatory other animals. So, Yes you can keep Guinea pigs outdoors but with some precautions.
Can Guinea Pigs Stay Outside?
When considering whether or not your guinea pig can stay outside, a lot will depend on where you live. Whether or not your pet can live outside or not depends on the temperature extremes in your area.
Do you have frigid winters with temperatures below zero? Or do you have hot summers with temperatures above 100?
Or, do you live in a mild, temperate area with cool temperatures year-round?
Before answering the question of can guinea pigs stay outside, you first need to consider the type of home they’ll live in.
They will need to be protected from predators like birds of prey, snakes, rats or dogs. They also need to have a home with a constant comfortable temperature.
Cavies are social animals
Guinea pigs are happier when they are with other animals or people. While they don’t like sudden loud noises, they will be happier if they receive attention and interaction from either people or other guinea pigs.
So, if possible, keep your guinea pig inside so they have a more constant temperature and attention.
However, if your home has lots of loud noises from loud music or television all day, they may be happier outside in a temperature-controlled area like a garage. Loud noises can cause stress which isn’t healthy for them.
Can guinea pigs stay outside in the summer?
Cavies can live outside in the summer but they don’t do well with temperature extremes of either very hot or very cold. It’s important that your guinea pig has a sturdy shelter in the shade to avoid being out in the direct sunlight all day.
You will also want to make sure that it’s protected from the rain and wind.
Guinea pigs should not be outside if the temperature will be very hot. They can tolerate temperatures of 65F to 75F. They may be able to tolerate slightly higher temperatures for short periods of time if you keep them well hydrated and trim their hair.
And, you absolutely must keep them in the shade. Even 30 minutes of direct sunlight can be too much.
Remember that it will be much warmer inside your guinea pig’s hutch than the temperature on the thermometer says it is. If you’re wondering if guinea pigs can stay outside, keep this in mind.
What feels comfortable to you may be too hot for your cavy.
Can guinea pigs stay outside in the winter?
Guinea pigs cannot stay outside unprotected in the winter if you have very cold winters. They can tolerate some cold temperatures if you take precautions to ensure they stay warm.
If you’re wondering if guinea pigs can stay outside, be sure that they have a well-insulated hutch with high-quality bedding.
Be sure that the hutch you use is watertight. This will prevent water from leaking into the hutch which can turn to ice. A weatherproof hutch will keep your guinea pig safe and dry even on cold days.
The hutch should be kept in an area that doesn’t allow snow or sleet to penetrate their living space.
Make sure to keep the guinea pig’s sleeping area off the ground. This will help to insulate it from the cold. And, it prevents predators from burrowing up into your guinea pig’s living area.
Use a portable cage for added flexibility
If it is simply too cold at night for your guinea pig to stay warm, you may need to bring them inside. You can use a portable guinea pig cage indoors until the weather warms up.
Or, you can keep them indoors all the time and set them in a portable cage outside when the weather allows.
When choosing a cage for your guinea pig, make sure that it is at least 30″ x 36″ to allow for enough bedding material to keep them warm.
How can I keep my guinea pigs warm outside?
Move the hutch to an area where wind, rain, and snow cannot get in. This could be a garage or even a greenhouse. Insulate their hutch to help stabilize the temperature.
You can inexpensively insulate the hutch with blankets and thick rugs to keep the wind out.
You can also nestle a smaller hedgehog hutch inside your guinea pigs hutch and insulate between the two to provide added protection. Sweet hay offers better insulation than wood chips so keep that in mind when buying bedding for your guinea pig.
And, remember that they will need more bedding in the colder winter months than they will in the summer when it’s warm.
Extra options for added warmth
If you’re in an area that has truly cold winters, you might want to consider getting a pet heating pad called a snuggle safe. These heated pads allow your guinea pig to stay warm in much colder temperatures.
You heat them by placing them in the microwave so it’s not necessary to have electricity near your guinea pig’s cage.
Should I cover my guinea pigs cage at night?
Can guinea pigs stay outside if you cover their cage? Covering your guinea pig’s cage at night can help provide extra insulation. However, it’s very important that the cover allows for enough air circulation.
If the cage or the bedding material becomes too damp, they can get moldy. And, mold can be very dangerous to the health of your guinea pig.
Final thoughts: Can guinea pigs stay outside?
Guinea pigs do not tolerate extreme heat or extreme cold. With a high-quality guinea pig hutch that is properly insulated along with a heating pad, your guinea pig may be able to tolerate colder temperatures.
It’s very important that your hutch is well insulated with adequate bedding. And, it must allow for proper air circulation while protecting your pet from predators, wind, and rain.