COLD GUINEA PIG

Do Guinea Pigs Get Cold? How Cold Is Too Cold?

Have you ever wondered, do guinea pigs get cold? They do. These animals can act pretty tough sometimes, despite the fact they are so small. Their attitude is deceptive!

Actually, guinea pigs get cold about as easily as you or I. If you are cold, your guinea pig is probably a bit chilly as well. For their health and comfort, your guinea pig should not reside in temperatures below 60 F. 

What Climate Do Guinea Pigs Naturally Live In

Guinea pigs are native to South America, though they do not exist in the wild any longer. This means that, physiologically, they are accustomed to a warm environment. They lived in forests, savannas, bushlands, and mountain foothills… all areas with temperatures above 60 F! This means they are not used to colder climates and do feel the cold just like you and me.

At times when it became rainy, or a chill did happen to come in, the guinea pig would retreat to a cozy, dry burrow.

If the unfortunate guinea pig were caught in a drizzle, or out on an unusually cold day, hypothermia would become a risk. In fact, hypothermia can still be a real threat to guinea pigs now!

wild guinea pig
Wild Guinea Pigs use grass and foliage as bedding

What Does Hypothermia In Guinea Pigs Look Like

When a guinea pig develops hypothermia, the first thing that you may notice is a reluctance to move. Along with this apparent lethargy, you will probably find that their breathing has become fast and shallow. They are unlikely to show interest in food and their hair may stand on end. Make sure to keep your guinea pig nice and warm, to avoid this sad scene altogether. 

If you think your guinea pig may have hypothermia, take them for prompt veterinary care! This can be a lifesaver.

Keeping Your Guinea Pig Warm

Let us take a cool at some of the reasons why Guinea pigs feel the cold and what you can do to help they stay warm and live a happy life in cooler climates.

Do Guinea Pigs Get Cold Indoors

If you are serious about keeping your guinea pig warm, having them inside will give you the best luck. This will largely protect your guinea pig from rapidly-dropping temperatures and inclement weather. Not to mention, predators will not be such a risk!

Do guinea pigs get cold indoors? Keeping your guinea pig indoors is no guarantee that they will be warm. You will also want to be sure to place the cage away from any windows or doors. Avoid any air conditioning vents as well! These cool drafts can really give your guinea pig a chill.

Instead, nestle their cage into an area that is quiet, but public and warm… Perhaps a sitting room (without a noisy TV). Guinea pigs like to watch household goings-on and to socialize, too, as long as the atmosphere is nice and peaceful. For guinea pigs, a snug, central location is ideal.

Guinea pig in snow

Do Guinea Pigs Get Cold Outdoors?

Keeping your guinea pigs indoors is best. You can keep guinea pigs outdoors, though.

First off, your guinea pig should probably have a hutch. This is a cage alternative that is considerably more weather-proof. 

Next, ensure that the cage is out of the weather and sun. You may wish to invest in a waterproof cover. Also, make sure that predators cannot break-in!

Do guinea pigs get cold outside? Unfortunately, in some seasons and weather.

In cold weather, provide your guinea pigs with heating pads, blankets, and anything that can keep them warm. Place a thermometer in the hutch, and bring your guinea pigs inside right away if the temperature drops very much below 60 F. 

For the temperature-sensitive guinea pig, overheating is also a risk. Ideally, the temperature should not exceed 80 F!

Best Indoor Guinea pig cage review here!

Quality Bedding Will Insulate Your Guinea Pig’s Home

Do guinea pigs get cold? Without bedding, absolutely. Guinea pigs need bedding not just for comfort and hygiene, but for warmth as well. The proper bedding can provide much-needed insulation, and your guinea pig will love to use it to burrow. 

Some bedding materials are better than others, however. Two of the best are aspen wood shavings and paper. 

Aspen Wood Shavings

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Available on Amazon here

Aspen wood shavings are one of the top bedding materials for guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and more. This is because aspen-wood is an extraordinarily soft and toxin-free wood (unlike pine or cedar).

Just keep in mind, shavings from the local lumberyard and shavings made for pets are very different. Lumberyard wood has not been sanitized yet. This means that it still contains mites and other nasties that you will certainly not want to introduce to your pet! Shavings from the pet store, on the other hand, are clean, and sliver-free as well. 

Paper

Perhaps the most affordable guinea pig bedding material is paper. Just use any white computer sheets or brown papers that are ink-free and blank. To make guinea pig bedding out of paper, simply tear it into shreds.

Or, you can create paper pulp. This is super easy and creates a paper bedding that is extra absorbent overall. Or simply use some pre-made paper bedding that has the benefit of being really absorbent and easy to keep clean. We use carefresh from Amazon which is one of the most popular Guinea pig beddings used around the world.

Fleece

Another great way to keep your Guinea pig warm is to use fleece. We use Rabbit fleeces for our Guinea pigs as they are easy to take out, shake clean then wash. We do this every week so we have two fleeces that we interchange. This ensures we always have a clean fleece in case of mishaps.

Like a water bowl spills or they go to the toilet in the wrong area of the hutch. We use the Luciphia blankets which a very pretty, soft, and cozy for your Guinea pig. They also come in some lovely patterns and colors.

Animals Stay Warmer When They Are Able To Move

This is a unique one, but most warm-blooded animals stay warmer when they are able to move. For guinea pigs, an excellent choice is to create a ruin or play area. This will allow them to get some good exercise and get their energy levels going. When it comes to warming them up, this can prove rather helpful.

Make this area as fun as possible. Indoors if possible, if not create a safe area outside where they are protected from predators. You can buy fully covered play areas from Amazon if you don’t have room to make or build one yourself.

This one below by Pawhut is perfect and available from Amazon with free and fast delivery.

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Give Your Guinea Pig Limitless Hay So They Can Stay Warm And Full

Guinea pigs should always have plenty of hay! This is for their digestive and dental health above all. It will boot up their metabolism whenever they snack. 

When it comes to warming the body, this can be very effective!

Give Your Guinea Pig A Tiny House To Warm Up In

You can either make or buy your guinea pig a tiny home. This will look like an igloo, dome, or box. Your guinea pig will enjoy hiding in this little home-inside-a-home and can warm up inside it as well.

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Available on Amazon

Bring Your Guinea Pig Inside In The Winter

Do guinea pigs get cold in the winter? Far too easily. Your guinea pig must be well out of the elements and wind in the winter. The temperature inside of their cage should never be allowed to drop below 60 F. 

Insulate the sides of your guinea pig cage with blankets, towels, carpet, and more. We advise that you place your guinea pig cage in a shed or an enclosure that is similar! This can go a long way when it comes to providing warmth and shelter. Do not keep your guinea pig cage in the fume-filled garage, however.

When keeping your guinea pig outside, you will probably want to invest in a hutch. This is a cage that is made specifically for outside, and water-proof. Try to find one with an enclosed nesting box. This will give your guinea pig somewhere to retreat to, away from the chill (plus, they love spots like this in general).

How do guinea pigs get cold? Wet bedding is one culprit. Keep their bedding dry, so that in lower temperatures, it does not make them any colder.

Even outdoor guinea pigs should never be allowed to linger in temperatures below 60 F. Otherwise, your guinea pig will quickly develop respiratory troubles and become ill. Temperatures that are much too low can rapidly become fatal. There are times where you will need to bring your guinea pig inside no matter what… especially in the winter!

Final Thoughts

So, there’s your answer. Do guinea pigs get cold? Yes, and rather easily, too. They cannot handle temperatures much below 60 F. They also overheat, and cannot tolerate temperatures that exceed 80 F, either. Luckily, there are things that you can do to prevent your pet from catching a chill.

Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.