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How to keep guinea pigs happy during the UK winter

We’ve been guinea pig owners for 10 months so this is our first experience of winter. The plunging temperatures have been worrying but we managed to keep our little ones warm during the coldest days and nights.
Guinea pigs thrive in temperatures that suit us humans too so if you have indoor pigs then little needs to be done if you’ve got the heating on!

Hay, hay, more hay, keep going with that hay!

As well as making up most of their diet, hay is essential for keeping warm in whatever enclosure your guinea pigs live in, indoors or outdoors. They will snuggle down and hide in it but make sure you replenish frequently and remove any that is wet and soiled.

Buy or make extra shelters

We use a variety of plastic and wooden shelters and we added cardboard boxes as well, stuffed with hay.

Reduce drafts.

This could be done through shelter or thermal covers. We moved our guinea pigs into our new shed which is insulated. But simply moving the hutch closer to the house can provide additional shelter from the elements.

Protect from rain.

Damp can permeate so raise hutches off the ground and use covers.

Be careful of having fabrics outside.

It may be tempting to add blankets or fleecy beds but be vigilant as they can get damp and cold easily which negates the early warmth they provide.

Use heat pads.

Make sure the heat pads have a cover to avoid burning your poor little guys and gals. Try to add them as the coldest part of the night approaches otherwise their heat will have gone when they need it most.

Do NOT move indoor guinea pigs outside or vice versa.

This can be very dangerous. Their coats are an excellent insulators so the change of temperature could make them unwell as they struggle to adjust.

Give extra food and water.

Load up on calories rich veggies and top up pellets. Check water hasn’t frozen and replenish often.
So I hope this helps reassure you with some top tips for happy, safe, and warm guinea pigs during the coldest months!

1 comment

  1. This was so interesting to read. I just assumed you would move outdoor guinea pigs inside if it was cold outside with them being so little. I should have knows you shouldn’t. When I was a child we had horses and ponies which lived outside all year round and their coats would keep them warm enough. I suppose it’s the same principle. x

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