Scientific research on the anatomy of guinea pigs is not as extensive as other popular pets like dogs and cats. Thus, there is no concrete evidence of guinea pigs sweat gland present out there. So, I decided to do some research and consult some experts to learn about do guinea pigs have sweat glands? How do they keep themselves cool?
Sweat glands are found inside the mouth of guinea pigs. But these glands cannot use them as they breathe through their nose. Thus these glands are useless. Guinea pigs don’t have any external sweat glands; therefore, they are incapable of cooling themselves off, even if they are boiling hot.
It would be best if you made sure the environment around the cage of your guinea pig is cool.
As they cannot sweat, they are entirely dependent on you for their body-temperature management.
Do guinea pigs sweat?
It is incorrect to say that guinea pigs do not sweat. Although it is hard for them to do so. Only one set of sweat glands is present inside the mouth of guinea pigs. But this is of no use as guinea pigs breathe from the nose only.
Guinea pigs find it hard to manage body temperature during hot weather. Guinea pigs are unable to pant. They are in some stress when they pant.
Summer is not easy for guinea pigs. They should shed their fur at the beginning of spring to adjust to changing weather conditions.
What about a guinea pig that does not shed its fur during summers. One can imagine wearing a fur jacket during summer as if it is a part of the body, and they are unable to sweat to cool it.
It would help if you took extra care of your guinea pig, always keep watch on it. If you see their mouth is wet, try to make them feel better, as she cannot bear the heat.
How do guinea pigs regulate body temperature?
Guinea pigs use their ears to keep themselves cool is an everyday activity. The blood flow to the ear increases so that more heat is given out. That results in the expansion of the blood vessels of the ears.
You will observe that the ears of your guinea pig are not covered with much fur compared to other body parts. That facilitates the escape of heat from the ears.
Your guinea pig uses this ability to keep oneself cool. Your pet also needs your assistance.
Keep guinea pigs cool in hot weather
The ways to keep guinea pig cool during hot weather:
- Check whether your guinea pig enclosure is not exposed to direct sunlight. If yes, shift it to a more relaxed place.
- Placing a small fan near your guinea pig is a good idea. The fan’s direction should not be towards the guinea pig’s face as they dislike the flow of air.
- Make sure your guinea pig is provided cold water regularly. They also enjoy chewing ice cubes so that you can keep some ice cubes in their bottle.
- Provide a cooling mat or a ceramic tile to sit.
- Grooming your pet is also advised. Excess fur should be removed by running a brush two times daily. That helps to keep the body temperature cool.
- Put a damp cloth on your guinea pig’s ear. You can also spray water droplets around them if she is comfortable.
You may wonder to see guinea pigs digging during the summer. That is in nature for wild guinea pigs, to keep themselves away from the sun. They come out when it is cold.
Some guinea pigs also burrow inside the pile of hay to keep themselves cool.
You can provide them with upside-down cardboard. It will serve the same way for them. Even if she tries to make a burrow in the cage, it will not be enough.
Do guinea pigs overheat?
A common problem with guinea pigs is that they get overheated very quickly. They can adjust themselves more easily to cold weather than hot weather.
They cannot release heat from the body in an efficient manner, which results in a rise in body temperature. That needs to be attended immediately, or else it can be fatal too.
One should always take care of the environmental changes. If the temperature outside is hot, you should consider bringing your pet indoors, keep it in a more relaxed place.
Guinea pigs get heated very fast, so if they are in a playpen or some activity cage, take them out of it before they are overheated. Avoid such activities in summers.
Do not put guinea pigs in a water tub, if they are overheated. They cannot adjust fast to a sudden change so quickly.
How do I know if my guinea pig is too hot?
Prevention is better than cure. So it is better to prevent guinea pigs from getting too hot. You should be aware of the symptoms.
Ask for medical advice if needed. The condition can lead to the death of your guinea pig. The common signs are:
- 103 degrees Fahrenheit and above body temperature.
- Ears are turning bright red.
- Guinea pig is trying hard to pant. It appears they are gasping air.
- Mouth and lips are becoming wet due to excessive sweating. It may lead to salivation.
- Your pet seems tired and has some irregular movements.
- Convulsions and unconsciousness.
The guinea pigs are always more comfortable in winter. Please don’t compare yourself with your guinea pig, as she is unable to keep themselves cool by sweating.
Do guinea pigs sweat through their feet?
The sweat glands are located inside the mouth of a guinea pig. Guinea pigs do not have any sweat glands through their feet.
Incomplete or false information about guinea pigs is widespread. Few claim that guinea pigs have sweat glands located in their paws. Be Careful of such wrong information.
Your guinea pig licks their feet to keep themselves fresh. So if you notice that their paws are wet, it’s because of the saliva, as it works as a natural coolant.
My guinea pigs smell sweaty
Guinea pigs keep themselves clean and do not smell foul. The characteristic smell of the cage is of ammonia present in their urine. A sweat like smell is current on their fur as if it is their body odor.
A pungent odor is found around the guinea pig if its scent glands are choked. Still, it should be confused as the smell of sweat as they do not have sweat glands on the body.
A brown wax is produced if the grease glands near the genitals are blocked, resulting in the foul smell. You will not feel comfortable to stay with a guinea pig; neither will she take care of it.
Guinea pigs groom their scent glands to keep them clean. Sometimes, it may not be possible for your pet to do so. The inability to groom is frequent among older ones as they lack mobility. Due to being overweight, also your pet may be unable to clean.
In such cases, you need to clean the scent glands by your hands. The sweaty smell will become pungent if scent glands are not cleaned. It may also expose your pet to infections.
When your pet has such a sweaty smell, you need to do genital cleaning routinely. You can do it once a month. If the smell persists, then look for the cause of it. A change in food habits or some other lifestyle is recommended.
How to clean a guinea pig scent gland
To clean the scent glands is not an easy task. Your guinea pig is more uncomfortable with the sweaty smell than you. To clean the sweat glands:
- Hold your guinea pig in a manner so that you can clean their genitals. Giving some snacks to distract their attention is a good idea. Try to make them comfortable by talking with them.
- Take control of their hind legs to prevent kicking out, help them to get support. You should avoid applying much pressure as their bones are fragile and may break easily.
- With the help of a wet cotton swab, separate the skin around the genitals and the snus. Using a lubricate is also advisable. Vaseline has been found safe for guinea pigs.
- Wipe the area gently till all the wax is removed. This wax is blocking the scent glands.
- Set your pet free after you clean the area with water. It would help if you did not put any perfume to cover the smell, as it is very harmful to guinea pigs’ soft skin.
When you see your guinea pig painting, please do not assume that it is trying to cool themselves. You should take extra care during the hot weather conditions and avoid overheating of your pet.