Keep your guinea pigs and rabbits cool this summer
August 9, 2022
Keeping our pets cool and safe this summer is essential for their health and wellbeing. We’ve already seen some extreme temperatures here in the UK and we bet that won’t be the last of it.
Did you know guinea pigs don’t sweat?! Therefore, it’s essential in extreme heat that we help them moderate their temperature and stop them from overheating. Guinea Pigs and rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk, which are often cooler times during the day in the hotter weather. Allowing them out to graze during this time of day is safer and more enjoyable.
Read our top tips from our Southfields specialists on how to keep your guinea pigs and rabbits cool this summer.
Clean, fresh water
Make sure your pet always has access to clean, fresh water. This can help keep them cool and hydrated. To keep the water cool you can get a water bottle cover. This will also stop the water from freezing in the winter months.
When preparing your pet’s fresh fruit and vegetables why not freeze a bit and give it to them throughout the day? This can help keep their temperature down whilst also giving them something they enjoy. Place the chopped fruit or veg in an ice tray with some water and freeze until ready.
Ensure your pet has shade throughout the day and isn’t in direct sunlight. If you move your guinea pigs or rabbits inside during extreme heat, make sure they’re in a cool space that hasn’t got sunlight shining on them. If you cannot move them indoors to a cool space, you can cover their run with a blanket, towel, or shade cover to keep the sun off them.
Just like humans feeling a breeze can benefit our guinea pigs and rabbits. When providing shade ensure there is enough ventilation in the cage or run to allow a breeze to flow through. Tunnels are also great for this instead of using houses and igloos.
If temperatures are extreme, you can add an ice pack to their hutch or run. Make sure you’ve wrapped the ice pack or frozen water bottle in a towel. Your pet can then cosy up next to this whilst cooling them down.
During the summer months make sure you remove your guinea pigs’ and rabbits’ excess hair by regularly grooming them. This will help keep them cool during the summer months before regrowing to keep them warm in winter.
If you cannot access air conditioning, you can set up your own. Place a cold wet towel over the cage or run and have a fan blowing on it. This will block out sunlight, and the direct breeze from the fan while still allowing cool air to flow through their hutch.
Heatstroke in Guinea Pigs
Recognising the signs of heatstroke in your guinea pigs is essential to keeping them safe.
- Excessive salivating
- Increased heart rate
- Discoloured gums
Guinea Pigs at risks of heatstroke:
Just like humans, some guinea gigs are more at risk than others. Could your guinea pig be one of those?
- Very young
- Long hair breeds
Signs of heatstroke in your rabbit include:
- Rapid breathing
- Hot and/or red ears
- Wet fur below the nose
- Open mouth
- Flared nostrils
If you suspect your guinea pig or rabbit has heat stroke don’t bathe them in cold water. This will send them into shock. If your guinea pig or rabbit shows any symptoms of heat stroke, contact your vet immediately.
For more tips on how to keep pets cool this summer click here