Many new guinea pig owners question the impact wet grass will have on their furry companions. Guinea pigs love dry grass as a snack or meal, but wet grass is a different situation.
Can guinea pigs go outside on wet grass?
It is recommended to avoid wet grass. Guinea pigs can physically go outside on wet grass; however, they can become discomforted when left on wet grass all day. Additionally, certain health complications that can occur from going out on the wet surface.
When their fur gets wet, it is especially difficult and can take a long period of time to dry.
So avoiding wet surfaces is the best-case scenario to keep your little critter happy and healthy. They can suffer from respiratory infections and common colds if they get cold from being wet.
Wet Grass and Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs love grass, especially to dine on, and they can also get great exercise taking strolls in grassing patches. However, it is advised to make sure the grass is completely dry before allowing them to go outside.
There is caution from some people who believe that dampness can make them ill. Therefore, wet grass could be detrimental to the health of your guinea. On the other side of the spectrum, some guinea rescuers say the issue of them walking on wet grass is unnecessary.
Upon all other research, April Lodge Guinea Pig Rescue was the only place I have found that suggested wet grass is okay.
They believe it could be bad when they are on wet grass for long periods of time, just as we would be uncomfortable damp or wet.
If provided with a warm cozy, properly bedded nest, you should leave the decision up to the guinea pig if they would like to leave the nest to travel into a wet grassy area.
As a guinea pig owner, use your discretion as to what you think is best. Personally, I would not let my little piggy out in wet grass since their fur is vital to them and takes a good bit of time to dry. I would not want to have my critter uncomfortable and damp and risk a cold.
1. The Underlying Issue: Skin Sensitivity
The underlying issue is that guinea pigs skin is super sensitive. When their fur gets wet, it does not dry too quickly. The only way for their fur to dry is by letting the air dry it for them.
Their fur is essential, and they need it to survive. They can suffer from hypothermia if they are cold for long periods of time. Being wet can start this process, and since the fur does not dry quickly, they can become ill once chilled.
Blow drying their wet hair is something you absolutely do not want to do because of their skin sensitivity. This could burn them easily.
2. Guinea Pigs That Live Out in the Elements
You may be wondering about those guinea pigs that live outdoors and experience all types of weather. As guinea pig owners, it is our responsibility to make sure they have the proper home not just indoors, but especially for those animals living primarily outdoors.
Guinea pigs sometimes live outdoors in hutches, so they experience all climates. So you want to be sure you have the proper shelter for your guinea pig to stay dry and safe during all weather events.
Also, guinea pigs can survive outdoors all year around but are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Just know that if you are keeping your guinea pig outdoors during the winter that they need to be protected in their hutch from wind, rain, and the cold in general.
If you’re looking for a solid outdoor hutch I recommend checking out this post to learn more.
Face the cage, so the direction of the winds blows, so the back of the cage takes the brunt of the wind that is blowing.
Just as wet grass can make them prone to colds, rain and cold conditions can also impact their health similarly. However, ensuring the proper bedding and hutch with a solid roof can provide the shelter they need to stay dry.
Some guinea pigs may not seem bothered by rain or being wet, but they will feel it on their fur and skin. They find this to be unpleasant. That is one thing about guinea’s sometimes; it is too late before you notice they are ill.
3. Ideal Temperatures for Comfortable Piggies
Likewise, hot temperatures are unsafe to guinea pigs. They cannot sweat. They do not have eccrine sweat glands, so they do not have a way of cooling off their bodies. You want to make sure they do not take in too much sun, especially on hot days.
Ideal temperatures guinea pigs can withstand comfortably is between 18 to 23 degrees Celsius. If the temperature drops about 15 degrees, that is when your little piggy can get cold. Once the guinea pig gets cold, the blood flow turns cold and reduces the conserved heat.
Temperatures below 15 degrees can be harmful to guinea pigs as well as other animals, but for those animals living outdoors, it is important to have proper shelter for them.
Proper Shelter for Guinea Pigs
Since we now know extreme temperatures are dangerous for guinea pigs, it is important to understand what shelter is best. In different seasons, the shelters will need to be adjusted to accommodate the needs for your guinea pig dependent on the temperature.
You wouldn’t want your securely insulated hutch for winter to be the same in the summer.
If your guinea pig is going to be outside for most of the winter, consider a hutch that is well insulated and out of high winds. To insulate the hutch, you can use a blanket or carpet to cover the roof and exterior walls. Keep an area for ventilation.
If you have the ability, move the guinea pigs home into an exterior building like a shed to reduce exposure to extreme temperatures. However, make sure it is not a garage or areas sharing space with vehicles since fumes can be deadly to guinea pigs.
Provide extra bedding and hay to insulate the area and give them extra material to cuddle in.
In the summertime, you want to make sure the guinea pigs have enough shade in their hutch and are not exposed to direct sunlight. Facing the hutches on the north or east side of your yard is ideal.
You can even provide an area in their pen with ice packs, but keep them wrapped to prevent your piggy from getting soaked or wet. This will give them an area to sit if they are feeling hot. Make sure your pet is plenty hydrated. Providing fruits and vegetables with high water content is a good source of hydration.
During the summer time, when the ground is dry and warm, you can let your piggy roam and get some exercise away from the hutch.
Other Care Tips
Just a few other care tips to consider when keeping your guinea pig outdoors during colder conditions. You should make sure the water supply is not frozen so your piggy can get water at all times.
Seems like common sense, but avoid putting your guinea down on concrete or any cold, damp area, just like wet grass. Once your little pet gets chilled and wet, it could take some time to reverse it.
Also, make sure to change the bedding and any wet areas in the hutch as quickly as possible. Just like the wet grass, conditions that can make the guinea pig damp can create health complications over time. Or sooner if they stay wet for too long.
For more health and proper care for your guinea pig, please check out this Beginners Guide to Guinea Pigs Care.