Have you noticed your guinea pig shivering frequently or burrowing in hay to hide under when it’s cold? Do not take this lightly.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(RSPCA) advises that degrees below 15 degrees celsius are too cold for guinea pigs. Actually, if they are outdoors it would be wise to bring them indoors.
Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory diseases and even death if left in the cold for too long. For this very reason, some guinea pig owners tend to cover their guinea pig cages at night.
Do you cover guinea pig cage at night?
You can cover your guinea pig’s cage at night. It’s not mandatory but various reasons could drive you to cover the cage which is okay. Whether it’s from the cold or you’re trying to keep out predators, it’s always good to take cautionary measures for the safety of your pet and your peace of mind.
Reasons to cover your pet’s cage
There are various reasons that can prompt you to cover your guinea pig’s cage. Whether it’s something you have been doing since getting your pet or an idea you’ve been thinking of accomplishing, we’re going to look at -these reasons and determine if it’s a safe practice.
Separate males from females
The night brings with it a lot of adventure and a rise in hormones too. You can cover your cage to prevent male guinea pigs from crossing over to visit their female counterparts.
This is really essential if you are avoiding ‘unplanned pregnancies’ or ‘accidents’ more-so if a litter of guinea pigs wasn’t in your budget. Covering the cage will prevent this and make everyone happy in the long run.
Separate fighting males
Fighting of guinea pig males is a norm that could get out of hand at times. The males are always trying to outdo each other and showing the other who is boss.
It is common for two male guinea pigs to have teeth chattering bouts every now and then. It gets dangerous when actual fights happen and blood is shed.
You can come between them during the day and separate them, but at night when you’re sound asleep, the guinea pigs could fight to the extent of one killing the other.
It is therefore wise for you to keep them away from each other in your absence. Covering their cage will keep things calm for the night.
Kids have a hard time keeping their hands from these tiny adorable fellows. Your kids may even sneak away when you are not watching to just touch them.
Generally, it’s advised not to leave kids alone with the delicate animals as they could easily drop them or hold them the wrong way. Covering the cage at night will keep them hidden and away from your kid’s reach which will give the guinea pig peace to sleep.
Not only will kids be curious to explore your new pet, but also your other pets. If you have other pets like cats and dogs, keep the cage covered.
Your other pets will naturally be curious about the new addition. Guinea pigs are small and delicate. They depend on you for protection so do protect them.
This is very rare. Guinea pigs know their homes and once they adjust they have no problems staying there.
Hyperactive guinea pigs though may try to jump out of the cage. They may run off leaving you pet-less.
I’m not trying to scare you. This happens in very rare cases but if it does, always ensure doors and windows are closed. There’ll be nowhere to go even if they escape.
Guinea pigs are known to be active at all times and maybe even more at night. Your guinea pig may keep you awake at night with endless noises.
You can begin covering the cage to train it that night time is sleep time. Guinea pigs love schedules and they’ll easily get the memo.
Give it a treat and cover it up well. In the morning, uncover it to show it that it’s daytime.
Guinea pigs enjoy the dark because it makes them feel protected from predators. They will sleep better and feel safer.
What to avoid when covering the cage
When covering your guinea pig’s cage, you should ensure safety at all times.
It’s not hard for a well-meaning guinea pet owner to cause more harm than good when trying to give their pet the best care. Suffocation can happen if a cage is not covered properly.
Do not be overly conscious of the cold to forget that your pet needs to breathe too. Covering the full cage while not leaving any spaces for air can be really dangerous.
Your guinea pig may have trouble breathing and suffocate. It could even have panic attacks.
Always ensure that you leave spaces for fresh air to get in. If not, you can leave a part of the cage uncovered to allow air to get in.
Introducing a cage cover when your pet is used to having no cover may make it stressed. It will wonder what is wrong and why it’s being covered leading to stress and worry.
With time though, your pet will get used to it because guinea pigs adjust fast. Other times though, a guinea pig may never get used to the cover.
It’s good to observe your pet so as to notice any changes in behavior after introducing the cover. If it seems to be disturbed by it, stop using it.
When covering the cage, make sure the material is:
- Strong enough for warmth.
- Easy to clean.
- Not chewable or tearable.
- Has ventilation e.g. some bought material have zippers for ventilation.
Covering your pet’s cage at night can be advantageous but if there’s no threat to the pet, then it’s not required. It will help a cage retain its warmth but there are other things you can do.
To stop your pet from the cold you can insulate the cage, give it blankets to snuggle with, use pet-safe heating pads, and keep all windows and doors closed.