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Can Guinea Pigs Freeze to Death? (Plus Tips to Keep Warm)

Can guinea pigs freeze to death? What if it gets really, really cold outside when you are sleeping, and the temperature drops below freezing – would your guinea pigs be okay?

After all, we know that they can handle quite a bit of fluctuation in temperature and survive things like hailstorms and hurricanes. But what about cold temperatures? Would your guinea pig be okay if it froze to death?

I’ll go ahead and tell you that yes – yes, guinea pigs can die from exposure to harsh winter weather! If your little piggie goes outside for an extended period of time in sub-zero weather, there’s a chance that she might not come back alive.

Can Guinea Pigs Freeze to Death? What Temperature Is Too Cold for Guinea Pigs?

A Guinea pig too cold
A Guinea pig too cold | Credit: Ngoc Phuong / FChuot lang-Bo u-Guinea pigs (Bo toc Dui Beo)

The ideal guinea pig room temperature celsius is between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius. Anything above or below this range can cause health problems for your pet. If the temperature in your home is outside of this range, you will need to take steps to adjust it.

I have to confirm again that guinea pig setup is one of the most important factors when it comes to caring for your piggies in the winter.

The temperatures in some areas can reach -12°F and stay below freezing for most of the day. Even if owners kept their guinea pigs inside, guinea pig houses were still cold because they have poor little heaters that couldn’t keep up with such low temperatures outside (some actually had to go buy another heater).

If the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your guinea pig can develop hypothermia, which can be fatal. There is a good chance that your guinea pigs might freeze to death if facing hard winter conditions.

Indoor piggies always get better conditions when the temperature goes down, but you have to think about what would happen to the guinea pigs that be kept outside.

Keeping them warm in winter no matter indoors or outdoors is important. Some owners don’t realize guinea pigs’ abnormal behaviors until the situation becomes critical.

Guinea pigs huddled together and lay under light heater
Guinea pigs huddled together and lay under light heater | Credit: Thuy Nguyen / Chuot lang-Bo u-Guinea pigs (Bo toc Dui Beo)

If you are not an experienced owner, below are a few options to help you create a warm environment for your guinea pigs:

  1. Get a quality heating pad and put it inside the guinea pig’s hutch
  2. Place the hutch in a well-insulated room
  3. Get a heat lamp and place it over the hutch
  4. Use straw or hay to insulate the hutch
  5. Get a guinea pig sweater or coat for your pet
  6. Place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel inside the hutch
  7. Give your guinea pigs extra bedding to burrow into
  8. Make sure the room where the hutch is located is draft-free
  9. Keep the door to the room closed to keep the heat in
  10. Add additional sources of heat if necessary

How Do You Know if Your Guinea Pig is Too Cold

Signs that guinea pig is too cold
Signs that guinea pig is too cold

There are a few signs that you can look for to see if your guinea pig is too cold:

  1. They are shivering
  2. They have slower than normal breathing
  3. They are lethargic or inactive
  4. They are huddled together in a small space
  5. They are not eating or drinking as much as normal
  6. They seem withdrawn or uninterested in their surroundings

The rule of thumb is if it feels too cold for you, then your cavy needs some warmer clothes. You can use an enclosure thermometer to see how warm or cool their environment actually allows them be at any given time; just make sure that the pigs’ temperature doesn’t fall below 65°F (18 °C) and 75 º F(24 ℉).

If you notice your cavy’s ears, nose or feet are cold to the touch then their body temperature is too low.

Shivering: They’ll also shiver and huddle together (if you have more than one). Guinea Pigs are clever little creatures who can sense when their friends and family members feel cold. They’ll huddle together for warmth, or even curl up into a tiny ball!

If you notice that your piggie is acting lethargic, sleeping too much or simply not moving around as much during the day then it might be an indication they’re feeling cold. They are conserving energy by taking care of their body’s needs instead of staying active and maintaining heat.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to take action to warm up your guinea pig immediately.

02 TIPs to Keep Your Guinea Pig Warm During Winter

A guinea pig lies in a warm bed.
A guinea pig lies in a warm bed | Credit: Mun Kandy / Chuot lang-Bo u-Guinea pigs (Bo toc Dui Beo)

If you are going to take your guinea pig outside, make sure that they are wearing a coat! You can find special coats made for guinea pigs at most pet stores, or even make your own from a piece of cloth and some Velcro straps.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always keep an eye on your piggie and bring them inside if the weather starts to get bad.

It’s also important to make sure that your guinea pig’s house is well insulated and has a good heating source. You can buy insulation for outdoor sheds at most hardware stores, and there are many different types of heaters available that would be perfect for a guinea pig home.

Final Thoughts

So, can guinea pigs freeze to death? The answer is yes – but with a little bit of preparation, you can help keep your furry friend safe and warm during the winter months.

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