Guinea pig sitting in straw

Looking after your guinea pig in winter

Wondering if your guinea pigs can live outside in the cold? Wintertime can be lots of fun for all the family but remember your guinea pigs can really struggle with the cold. Read our advice to help keep your guinea pig warm, happy and safe from danger during the cold spell.

  • Keeping your guinea pigs warm outside in winter is very important. Their hutches should be protected so the wind, rain, snow or sleet can’t blow in. If possible, the guinea pig hutch should be moved inside a shed, conservatory or unused garage during the winter or if the weather’s particularly bad. Invest in some weatherproof tarp or a robust waterproof cover to put over the hutch, but make sure there's enough airflow for your guinea pigs.
  • Your guinea pig will need a lot of extra bedding to keep them warm in winter. Cardboard is very insulating, so makes a good liner for hutches in the winter months. Add newspaper and then plenty of hay for them to snuggle and tunnel in, but change the bedding regularly so it does not stay damp for long.
  • You can also use pet-safe heating pads such as a SnuggleSafe. These last several hours and will help to keep your guinea pig warm but make sure it has the cover on it and is buried under some bedding so that the heat isn't directly on their skin.
  • Guinea pigs struggle with high and low temperatures, so if you do bring them inside for the winter, wait until the weather is consistently warm to reintroduce them back outside.
  • Check their water bottle regularly because the little ball freezes easily. Press the ball every few hours to keep it moving – you can get specially-made bottle covers but you’ll still need to do regular checks.
  • On damp, cold days, avoid putting your guinea pigs out on the grass. As they are low to the ground, they'll get cold easily. Your guinea pigs still need to exercise, so consider making space for their run in an unused garage or shed.
  • Cold guinea pigs need more calories to stay warm so give them lots of good quality hay to nibble on.
  • During the winter, foxes and badgers get even hungrier, which makes them bolder than usual. Make sure your hutch is predator-proof and sturdy enough to survive the attention of a determined animal.


— Page last updated 27/01/2023