Its the time of the year when it gets pretty hot in Orange County. For our guinea pig parents we want to share some tips on keeping your guinea pigs cool over the summer. To start things out we have this great graphic by When Guinea Pigs Fly.
The list above does a great job sharing all the different things you can do. We also want to take this time to review why this is so important for guinea pigs.
Heat Stroke is a Common Health Issue for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. They can catch a cold when its too cold and develop heat stroke when its too hot. Remember too that it isn’t just outside where guinea pigs can develop heat stroke.
They can also become dehydrated and overheated indoors. If your guinea pig is in direct sunlight they are in danger of heat stroke.
Unlike humans where heat stroke can happen over a long period of time, guinea pigs do not have the same luxury. When its too hot, guinea pigs only need 10 – 15 minutes before they start suffering from heat stroke.
Temperatures above 80 degrees Farenheit can cause heat stress or heat stroke
In Anaheim, the average summer temperature in Anaheim can go from 78 to 89°F. This means that heat stroke is something our local community members need to look out for.
How to Spot the Symptoms
Signs of heatstroke include:
- Laying in a stretch out position or on their side
- Rapid breathing, panting and drooling
- Lack of energy and inability to move
- Seizures, convulsions and increased heart beat
Keys to keeping your guinea pig safe is to remove their cage/aquarium away from direct sunlight or any other heat sources.
What You Can Do to Prevent Heat Stroke
When temperatures are hot, the most important things to remember is to remove the guinea pigs from any environment that is too hot. If the guinea pigs are outside, take them inside.
If you cannot immediately take them inside, make sure the guinea pigs stay in a cool, shady area. Ensure that they stay hydrated as well.
When your guinea pigs are in their cage or acquariam is near a fan or anything that is providing cool air circulation. However, it is extremely important not to point fans directly at guinea pigs as this can cause Upper Respiratory Infection.
In addition, you can use ice packs or anything frozen to help cool down the guinea pig. Wrap the ice pack, or whatever you choose, in a cloth or newspaper. Guinea pigs can then lay down on the surface and cool their bodies down.
And just like humans, when it is hot for us we drink more water. Same thing for guinea pigs. Ensure that there is ample, cool and clean water for guinea pigs to drink.
What to Do If You Think Your Guinea Pig is Suffering from Heat Stroke
If your guinea pig is already exhibiting signs of heat stroke, your guinea pig is probably already in critical condition. It is important to act fast.
Your number 1 priority is to cool your guinea pig down. If they are outside or in direct sunlight, immediately take them inside away from the source of heat.
To cool down your guinea pig, put a cold wet towel around their body. Other options include putting the guinea pig in cool water. It is important to not put them in ice cold water. That can shock the guinea pig and cause a cold or worse.
You can also get a spray bottle and spray am mist of cool water and also give the guinea pig cold water to drink.
Once you’ve cooled them down, you want to make sure to allow them to relax and recover. Put them in a quiet, dark and cool place. Preferably you want to place them in an area where they are use to and comfortable with. This way the guinea pig’s stress is minimized and they have time to get themselves together from the ordeal.
If your guinea pig becomes unresponsive that is when it is important to take your guinea pig in for medical attention.
How to Know When to take your Guinea Pig in for Veterinary Attention
If your concerned about heat stroke, its best to take your cavy in immediately. Like we mentioned earlier, guinea pigs have a much smaller body that us. Their bodies can react to extreme temperatures immediately.
Without cooling down your guinea pig, they are susceptible to continual seizure and other violent symptoms. So when transporting the guinea pig to the vet, its also important to keep the guinea pig cool during the car ride.
As we all know, cars get hot. You should not under any circumstance leave your guinea pig in the car on a hot day. Make sure the A/C is on and that the car is cooled down.