Can Guinea Pigs Live Outside? Facts to Consider
Due to harsh climatic changes and predator’s threat, it is not always the wisest decision to keep your guinea pig outside. Yet, there are situations where that is the only option left.
For example, if one has an allergic reaction to fur, keeping guinea pigs in the house complicates things more. Likewise, inadequate space in the house forces most animal lovers to keep their pets outdoors.
Whatever the reason, there is a high probability of your little friends freezing up if it becomes exceptionally cold outside. Therefore, ensure that the enclosure protects them from the wind, rain, and cold. Remember that guinea pigs also react to extremely high temperatures.
On that account, an outdoor cage should shelter them from sunshine to prevent heatstroke. In this piece, we will mention the most comfortable temperature for guinea pigs and how to keep them safe from harsh conditions.
Best Temperature for Guinea Pigs
Just like humans, guinea pigs prefer modest temperatures. The most suitable temperature for guinea pigs ranges between 65 °F and 74 °F (18 °C and 23 °C). Naturally, cavies bodies can self-regulate during extreme weather conditions.
This means that they can adjust to alternating temperatures. For instance, if it gets tremendously hot, the body pumps lots of blood around the skin to cool down. Equally, your pet’s blood flow to the skin declines during winter. This helps to retain heat within the body and keep your pet warm.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs thrive in cooler temperatures compared to hot weather. This is because cavies do not have sweat glands and cannot produce sweat. Thus, the bodies cannot cool down on their own. As the pet owner, you must keep them comfortable and cool when the heat ascends.
Minimum Temperature for Guinea Pigs
Although guinea pigs prefer a cold environment, temperatures below 59 °F (15 °C) will negatively affect their health. When sick from cold exposure, the first indicators you should notice include poor appetite and reduced movement.
It should be noted that these are common symptoms of various animal illnesses. Other common symptoms are red eyes, wet nose, and stuffed sound. If left untreated, these signs may lead to complicated situations.
Either way, lack of proper feeding is not a good thing with guinea pigs. For guinea pigs to thrive, they require several meals within a day. For this reason, it may lead to deficiencies of some nutrients which can lead to death.
Respiratory diseases remain among the top causes of death in guinea pigs. Also, cavies are more susceptible to both bacterial and viral infections in the respiratory system. While there are available antibiotic treatments for bacterial infections, it is difficult to handle viral ones.
To control the situation, contact a qualified pet to rightly diagnose and treat your piggy. As a way of strengthening their immune system, keep your pet hydrated and encourage them to feed. This is the best time to unleash that favorite treat to coerce them.
Keeping Guinea Pigs Outside in Summer
One effective preventive measure is to place the cage under the shade. A shed or garden umbrella would make ideal shelter options from the sunbeams. Inside the cage ensure that your pet has several shaded locations.
It is not always the safest decision to keep guinea pigs outside if you have predators around. Common guinea pig attackers include dogs, cats, rats, birds, foxes, and young children. Even if the predators fail to get hold of your pet, the sight of a vicious attacker can kill a guinea pig with fright.
Some predators like foxes are expert diggers. As a result, they may burrow themselves into a cage. Thus, avoid putting the hunch directly on the ground and put strong locks on the cage doors. Keep the hunch covered to prevent attacks from carnivorous birds like eagles.
Similarly, avoid installing wooden floors since rats can easily eat their way inside. Also, supervise small kids to avert them from opening the cages.
Always ensure that you provide them with enough freshwater during summer. Bear in mind that piggies do not like lukewarm water. Hence, keep the water bottles under the shade or cover them with snug covers.
When it becomes really hot, cool your pets with ice packs. Simply, you can freeze a water bottle and enfold it with a towel. Then, place it in the coolest location within the cage.
Additionally, you can provide them with cooling treats like watermelons and strawberries. Regularly, keep the cage dry and clean. Due to the increased need to drink water, your pets may wee more.
This is a hazardous environment for guinea pigs to live in because of the ammonia smell from urine. The situation becomes more complicated if you have a pregnant sow in the cage. If a guinea delivers her pups in an ammonia-filled cage, there is a higher chance of them developing respiratory complications.
Do not forget to give your fuzzy friends a trim. Not only does excess fur keep them hot, but also acts as a suitable breeding spot for flies. Usually, this results in a life-threatening condition known as flystrike.
Note that if you are struggling to remain cool, mostly your pets are having it rough too. On that excessively hot day, consider bringing your guinea pig indoors during the day.
If you are not in a position to, regularly sponge your guinea pigs with a wet towel. However, avoid making them wet in the process. It should be pointed out that wet coat provide a fitting breeding space for fungi and parasites like mites. As a cooling alternative, you can use a fan.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Outside?
Guinea pigs are born grazers. Sometimes, you can allow your cavy to run around the yard munching some green grass. The good thing is that their digestive tracts manage to accommodate plenty of forage. Given that grass is a rich source of nourishment, let your guinea pig explore their natural trait more often.
Nonetheless, incorporating grass into the diet should be done in a slow transition. Allow them to experiment with the new delicacy a couple of times a day. This leads to a safe changeover with minimal or no stomach upsets.
Be wary of intestinal parasites and pesticides on the grass. It is common for grass grazers to pick up parasite eggs from grass blades and soil.
On the other hand, pesticides contain poisonous elements that can easily kill a guinea pig. For safety purposes, allow your piggies to graze after three or four mows. By all means, avoid feeding them with wet grass.
If guinea pigs become exposed to wet grass for a long time, it leads to hypothermia. This is a condition where wetness or cold causes the body temperature to drop. In such a situation, vital organs like the nervous system, heart, and kidneys fail to perform normally.
If it happens over a considerable time, hypothermia results in complete failure of the body system and eventually leads to premature death.
Moreover, grass clippings should not be included in cavies’ diet. As a matter of fact, they potentially expose piggies to severe health perils. In the yard, you can find poisonous weeds like ivy, intertwined with the grass clippings.
What’s more, frequent mowing leaves an unhealthy pollutant on the grass. Then, there is the dog’s urine and bird’s droppings menace. If blended in the grass, it exposes your pet to transmittable diseases.
What about the mushroom menace? Lethal mushrooms easily camouflage in the grass clippings. Some are so tiny and not easily noticeable. Then, there is the risk of quick glass clippings fermentation.
Since guinea pigs do not release gas, clippings leave them bloated. Due to the shredded nature of grass clippings, some guinea pigs swallow them without chewing. This strains the digestive system causing blockage or death.
All in all, if you allow your little friends to graze outside, be on the lookout for predators prowling on them. If possible, you can put a spacious enclosure around their feeding area.
When Can Baby Guinea Pigs Go Outside?
The best time to transfer baby piggies is when they are big enough. Wait till they hit six to eight weeks and weigh above 400g. By then, the body has developed a better immune system.
The move should happen during the warmer night season to prevent them from freezing. Furthermore, ensure that the temperatures are not too high.
Keep the hutch away from direct sunlight since the pups are more likely to get a heat stroke. Likewise, cover all the spaces that the little ones can wiggle out.
When it comes to keeping the pups outside, observe the weather first. If it gets too hot or cold outside, keep them indoors.
A healthy guinea pig life resonates around a balanced diet and ideal accommodation within suitable temperatures. Although your little friends would trade anything to gallop outsiders, consider the temperature first.
With no capability to cool their bodies, extra warmth would put them down. Contrarily, wetness and cold in winter expose them to hypothermia and early death. To prevent this, rush your pet to a dependable vet immediately when you notice any warning indicators.