Caring for your guinea pigs in the Winter months

The popularity of guinea pigs has seen a significant rise in recent years, with their population more than doubling to 900,000 by the end of 2022 (that’s more than the population of Leeds!) and we think this trend is likely to continue as our furry little companions become more popular.



Just like us humans, guinea pigs are sensitive to changes in temperature and much prefer temperatures between 17 – 20°C. Anything below 15°C and it’s very likely that they’ll start to get chilly.

As we’re in the thick of winter, it’s important to ensure piggies are kept warm and comfortable during these colder months, so we’ve put together a few top tips for caring for your guinea pigs during this time…

SHOULD I MOVE MY GUINEA PIGS INDOORS FOR THE WINTER?

 

Your piggies would LOVE to be your house guests for the winter! Bringing them indoors can provide them with a safe, warm and comfortable environment. This move is particularly beneficial for your older piggies who have the most difficulty coping with the colder temperatures.

It's important that the temperature isn’t fluctuating too much, so please make the decision to do one thing and stick to it. Outdoors during the day and indoors at night could cause their temperature to yo-yo too much so please be a bit careful.

For your indoor guinea pig set-up:

- A C&C cage is a great option for your guinea pigs, providing them with ample space for play without the risk of them getting under each other’s paws.
- Provide your guinea pigs with plenty of hiding spots in their wintertime playground and treat them to plenty of forage, hay, and some snuggly lap time.

CAN I KEEP MY GUINEA PIGS OUTDOORS IN THE WINTER?

If you choose to keep your guinea pigs outdoors, please relocate their hutch to a shed, garage, or outhouse to protect them from harsh winter weather. Make sure the hutch is weatherproof, sturdy, and well-insulated to keep your guinea pigs nice and warm.

Guinea pigs are not able to tolerate the damp and soggy weather that is common here in the UK, and those that are exposed to wet and draughty living spaces are much more likely to suffer from health issues, including upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, and fungal skin conditions, amongst others.


Here are a few tips for keeping your guinea pigs safe and warm in the colder months:

- Insulate your guinea pigs’ hutch with tarpaulin, fleece blankets or a thermal hutch hugger.

- Provide your piggies with plenty of extra hay during the winter months for them to burrow into to keep nice and warm.

- Retreat, retreat! Keep your guinea pigs warm and give them a sense of security with plenty of dry and warm hiding spaces in their run. These can include wooden boxes, tunnels, or cosy fleece tunnels that are elevated off the cold ground.

- Consider adding a heat lamp to your guinea pig’s space and microwave heat pads.

- Make sure your guinea pigs have plenty of fresh hay and bedding. Complete daily spot checks to ensure their sleeping spaces are dry and clean.

And remember, indoors or out, pair your guinea pig with a companion. Guinea pigs love a friend and a snuggle to keep them warm… <3

For more advice on keeping your guinea pigs outdoors and a shed tour , check out these other top HayPigs! blogs:

Tips for keeping guinea pigs outdoors in winter

YouTube video: Winter Shed Tour

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