The warm weather rolled into the Northeast this weekend, and the Weather Channel is reporting that temperatures are going to stay high for a big chunk of the U.S. for this whole week. It was so warm and humid here in Connecticut this weekend that we were told all the animals at the Middlesex Livestock Auction -- which unfortunately included small animals like guinea pigs -- were suffering in the heat.
It's usually July before I have to do my annual reminder of "warm weather care" tips, but this is the second bout of hot weather we've had -- hot enough to require air conditioning -- and it's only May 31! So I guess I'll do this early.
- Guinea pigs' ideal temperature range is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Middle-aged and senior pigs often start "wilting" around 72 degrees.
- The farther the thermometer climbs past 75 degrees, the greater the likelihood that a guinea pig will suffer from heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke (which is frequently fatal).
- Hydration is critical. In addition to fresh water in the water bottle, treats like cucumber, seedless watermelon, and cantaloupe or honeydew can provide additional water. Cucumber is particularly good because it isn't sweet.
- Cool, climate-controlled rooms provide maximum comfort for your critters and peace of mind for you. Using window blinds to filter the incoming sunlight, or block it on extremely hot days, can help maintain a room's climate.
Summer is always challenging for those of us with pets, and even moreso when you have aging or ailing pets (of any species) who are less tolerant of heat and humidity. Our efforts are hampered by the fact that actual temperatures often exceed forecasted temps, making us feel like we're playing guessing games while teetering on a tightrope. Regardless of what species pet(s) you have, knowing the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke will help you keep your companions healthy.
Brace yourselves...it's shaping up to be a looooong, hot summer.