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May 30, 2006

Comments

Hannah Kopshina

My pig usually drinks a full bottle of water every day and now for the past three days she has drank very little but she is acting fine should I be concerned?

Whitney

Our sincerest condolences on your loss. Losing a pet always brings profound grief and sadness and haunting self-doubt. The doubt is as hard to deal with as the grief.

Not having seen your guinea pig today, or in previous days, and not being veterinarians, we're not in a position to diagnose what happened with her. We can give you some possibilities to consider.

If your pig was completely in the shade, wasn't directly in the path of breezes, and had easy access to water the entire time she was out, she should have been okay.

Guinea pigs are most comfortable in the 65 to 75 degree (Fahrenheit) temperature range. 76 degrees -- the temp you describe having today -- is only a degree above that range. In the abstract, 76 should not be warm enough to cause problems. But there are so many variables at play, one being humidity. If the humidity was high, that could have made things uncomfortable.

If your pig had an as-yet-undetected health problem, a weakened physical state combined with warm weather might have made a bad combination. Guinea pigs hide illness as long as they can -- it's part of their survival instinct. In the wild, if members of a colony sense illness, the sick pig will be abandoned. This instinct makes our job difficult because we have to read subtle changes in their behavior, which isn't always easy. By the time they DO show actual pronounced symptoms, a problem has been brewing for days or weeks.

Right now, you need to work through the grieving process and remember the good times you had with your girl. We learn much from each animal we bond with, and we take those things into subsequent bonds with other animals. Just remember and reflect on your time with her and, maybe, sometime down the road when your heart is ready, you'll find another guinea pig who will claim your heart.

Again, our condolences. We know how hard it is to lose these little ones.

Natalie

Our 2 yr old guinea pig died this morning and I held her for her last hour of troubled breathing... My question: This morning I had her outside in the shade 76 degrees (70 degrees in our house) from 8am-11am... do you think the temp difference gave her a heart attack? I am soo sad and hope this wannt my fault... Natalie

alyssa

I'm just wondering, it's very hot out, and my guinea pigs are not eating as much as they usually do. They drink a lot of water, and eat their pellets, hay, but not all of the veggies we put in for them. They are not eating all of their carrots, as they usually do, and not finishing their food bowls.

Do guinea pigs sometimes not eat as much in hot weather?

My guinea pigs' also have quite wet feces, is this because they are drinking a lot of water?

Please answer my questions via email if you get this ASAP.

Whitney

Mike -- You're right about not using ice directly from the freezer...which is why I included in my remark that I let the ice get "melty" first so that guinea pigs' tongues wouldn't get stuck.

But it IS important to stress that ice should NEVER go directly from the freezer to an animal -- I once saw someone get in a short-lived-but-difficult incident with a cat and an ice cube.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing!

Mike

Some good tips! But its worth remembering that ice taken straight from the freezer can actually burn lips and cause more problems.

Here's a link to my website pge of advice for keepin guinea pigs cool during these extremely hot spells, along with tips on how to help those suffering from heatstroke.

Ellen

I second the comment about making sure the ball bearing on the water bottle is allowing water to pass through. My daughter was worried that her guinea pig was not drinking water or peeing and was becoming lethargic. Sure enough, it was because she put cold water (from the fridge) into the water bottle, and the ball bearing "froze" in place. Thankfully the piggy recovered quickly once the problem was solved.

Whitney

Actually, one time I did give the pigs some small pieces of ice -- "melty" so they could lick at the ice without any risk of their little tongues sticking to it -- they sniffed at it and walked away. Not even sure how advisable the offer even was but it was an impossibly warm day, the air conditioners hadn't yet been installed, and I was trying to offer them some kind of cool-down. Inevitably, animals of any species are abundantly clear about their likes and dislikes.

We gave ice cubes to our family dogs on hot days and they loved them. (Of course, you have to not mind that the floor gets a little wet.) A friend gives her cats ice cubes on hot days -- they, too, enjoy them.

So while melty ice probably isn't a good idea for guinea pigs, you raise a good reminder for those readers of ours who have dogs and cats!

Gretchen

Our golden retriever, Cosmo, used to love an ice chunk on a hot day. Do guinea pigs like ice?

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