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The summer months are upon us and we all know too well how miserable the heat can be. But what about our cavies that rely entirely on us for their total care and comfort?

Their humane welfare is our responsibility and we should all make an effort to make sure they live in acceptable conditions at home, at shows, traveling and in the sales area. Our animals need to be respected and valued while they are under our care and we need to put their comfort at the top of our list as responsible breeders.

Here are some things we can do to help with heat stress at the show and sales room. Always provide each carrier hole with a water bottle.  Lettuce and other veggies help provide moisture while traveling, but how many of us are satisfied with a salad on a hot thirsty day? Wouldn’t a nice sip of water be more refreshing and in some cases, life saving? Once we get to the show or sales room, water bottles or bowls should be provided for them. Our little friends are trapped in cages with no options and need us to think of these things for them. Be sure not to put too many animals in one hole or carrier. On an especially warm day, one animal per hole would certainly make the animal more comfortable.  Also available are lunch box coolers that are small and can be kept in the freezer till needed. Just stick one in an extra sock and tuck in the carrier for the cavy to cuddle next to keep cool. They just love them – frozen pop bottles with water can work the same way. Be sure to keep the direct sun off your carriers when traveling, either by covering windows or carriers.  It is risky to travel on extremely hot days, unless air conditioning is available – sometimes open windows just aren’t enough.

 At home in the summer months, clean cages will help keep our cavies healthy and happy.  The extra humidity in the air combined with ammonia from “over ripe” cages can cause respiratory and fertility problems in our herds.  We all can’t provide air conditioning for our animals, but an air exchange fan can greatly help to keep the air moving and bring in fresh air from outside.  Even just a fan operating with some open windows can provide helpful relief for our little critters.  Extra effort should also be provided to protect them from summer insects: flies, fleas, lice and mites.

Any suggestions to making our cavy’s short lives more comfortable are welcomed. They are charming animals that enrich our lives, and we should return the favor. Have a safe and happy summer with your “cool” cavies!

Susan Lybolt

Mission Statement: We recognize the fundamental right of cavies (guinea pigs,) to be respected, valued, and for them to enjoy moral considerations and moral treatment. We believe that each of them should be treated as an individual; regardless of breed purity, temperament, state of health, or relationship to humans. Their humane welfare is the primary consideration,and it is our human responsibility that cavies be cared for in a manner appropriate to their individual needs.