|Photo via Rifca Peters|
The inspiration for this post comes from a couple of different places. First, the guinea pigs over at Hutch a Good Life wrote about something similar on their blog regarding guinea pigs and heat exhaustion. Also, my passion for exotic pets and their health and care is very high. I'm sure many of you have already noticed that though.
Lastly, during my working interview at the emergency animal hospital the subject of overheated guinea pigs came up. One technician asked "Why would anyone take their guinea pig outside anyways?". I tried to explain that it's actually good for them to go outside and many guinea pig owners have hutches for their pets to enjoy the outdoors in.
Besides guinea pigs, there are many small mammals that are prone to becoming overheated easily. Here's a list of pets that overheat quickly:
- Guinea Pigs
In general, most small mammals are very sensitive to temperature whether it be cold or hot. I think that rabbits and guinea pigs are the two main types of pets people like to take outside for some fresh air every now and then. This is great exercise for them and is encouraged. When I had a ferret many years ago, he had an outdoor cage as well as his indoor one. He also went out on his harness and leash sometimes.
Here's a list of tips you can follow to make sure your small exotic pets keep cool during the summer months!
- Don't place your pet's cage or enclosure in direct sunlight. If your pet is outdoors, make sure they aren't kept out in the heat for too long and always provide an area of shade for them.
- Don't let your small pet walk on hot concrete. Some small pets, such as ferrets, will actually walk on harnesses. Don't allow your small pet to walk on very hot surfaces! Also, try to place their outdoor playpen or hutch in an area where it's grassy or cool.
|Photo via su.bo|
- Go swimming for peas! This tip may only apply to rats. One thing I do for my own rat is fill a bowl or pan up with cool water and add a couple of peas to it. Is there anything a rat doesn't love more than peas? Your rat should go swimming and diving for the peas, cooling them off in the process.
- Place a frozen water bottle in their cage. Freeze a water bottle and wrap it in some sort of fabric. Place it in your pet's cage. This should help cool things down in there. And your pet can lay next to it if they are feeling warm.
- Use a fan. This can be especially helpful if you don't have air conditioning in your home. Placing a fan in front of your small pet's enclosure can help with the heat.
- Provide a cool surface to lay on. Surfaces like tile tend to stay cooler than bedding materials. Just like dogs like to lay on tile surfaces to stay cool, small animals may enjoy the same thing. You can even place these surfaces in the freezer so that they'll be even cooler for your pet to lay on.
- Always provide fresh water! Of course, always make sure your little friends have plenty of nice fresh clean water to stay hydrated.
|Photo via bclinesmith|
Remember - small pets overheat too! If you suspect your small pet may be overheating, you should seek veterinary medical attention quickly. These types of animals are extremely sensitive and will require quick medical attention when they overheat. Heat exhaustion can be fatal, unfortunately.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? I'd love to hear them!