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What Hot Red Ears on Guinea Pigs Mean

If you spend a lot of time with your guinea pig, there may have been times when their ears have felt very hot. 

What could cause this? 

As a caring pet owner, it’s perfectly normal to feel concerned about the change in your cavy’s ear temperature. 

There are a few reasons why you feel red hot ears on guinea pigs, but what does it mean? 

Guinea pigs get red hot ears when they get too warm. This is usually from running around and raising their body temperature. Luckily, this tends to go away once the cavy slows down. If there is any crustiness or discharge, it might be an infection and should get treated quickly.

Finding red hot ears on your guinea pig is alarming if you’ve never encountered it before. 

Often, it makes our cavy’s a little irritable as well. 

Have no fear; we’ll tell you all about what hot red ears on guinea pigs means and what to do about it. 

guinea pig ears are red

What Does It Mean When Your Guinea Pig Has Hot Ears?

If you pet your guinea pig and find their ears are very hot, it is worth looking into. 

A few different things cause red hot ears. 

For this reason, it is important to address the issue to make sure your beloved cavy is healthy and well taken care of. 

Guinea pigs are originally from South America. 

Despite this, our little furry friends don’t put up with excessive heat very well. 

They tend to overheat and suffer from heatstroke fairly easily. 

Since they don’t sweat like you and me, much of their body heat goes to their ears until they cool down. 

If this is the case, make sure you have an adequate temperature in the house and plenty of water for them to drink and cool down. 

If they seem to overheat, put them in tepid water to bring down their temperature and contact your veterinarian. 

Another reason your guinea pigs feel warm is their naturally higher body temperature. 

We tend to be around 98° degrees (37° C), so they feel warmer when we touch our guinea pigs. 

Warm ears are not a cause for concern, but it’s important to address the issue if the temperature difference seems beyond this. 

If there is any crustiness, pain, or discharge associated with the redness, it could be an ear infection and require veterinary attention. 

Why Are My Guinea Pig’s Ears Hot?

When it comes to getting too hot, guinea pigs are susceptible animals. 

Despite originating in South America, cavies won’t tolerate much excessive heat. 

It is important to keep them comfortable and at adequate temperatures. 

Feeling heat off the ear of guinea pigs isn’t only caused by overheating. 

Here are some other reasons for hot ears. 

Temperature Regulation

Unlike humans, guinea pigs don’t sweat. 

We sweat to regulate our temperature when it gets hot to cool ourselves down. 

There are blood cells in the ear of guinea pigs primarily used to regulate their body temperatures. 

When this happens, there is often a change in ear color. 

Many owners report changing from light pink to dark pink or even red when their pets are cooling off. 

Sometimes this takes hours after guinea pigs are out of the heat or down running around. 

Adult guinea pigs have lots of energy and love to run around, and they need to regulate their temperature through their ears. 

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke is a serious concern for adult guinea pigs. 

An active guinea pig will want to run around and play, but they are susceptible to heatstroke if it’s hot. 

Signs of heat stroke include the following:

  • Staggering and collapse. 
  • Rapid breathing. 
  • Excessive drooling from the mouth. 
  • Ears extremely hot to the touch. 

If you notice any signs in your adult guinea pig, put them in tepid water to cool their temperature while you contact a veterinary professional. 

The risk of heatstroke is significantly higher for aged guinea pigs. 

It is important to keep guinea pigs inside if temperatures exceed 80° degrees (27° C). 

This is especially true for albino guinea pigs. 

They are more sensitive to the sun and may burn easier. 

Black guinea pigs are also susceptible animals. 

Their fur tends to get much hotter in the sun. 

We recommend keeping them inside if it is too hot out and providing adequate drinking water at all times to make sure they stay hydrated. 

Related: When is it too hot for guinea pigs?

Pets suffering from other conditions like fungus, bacterial skin infections, or excessive weight loss are also more susceptible to heatstroke. 

Keep them cool until they are healed up. 

Animal studies show an increased risk of overheating in cases of ringworm in guinea pigs. 

If your pet is ill or has a bacterial infection, keep them out of the heat as they are more likely to overheat. 

Natural Body Temperature

Guinea pigs have a natural body temperature that is higher than ours. 

This often makes them feel warm to the touch. 

Whether you have a male or female guinea pig, you will notice how warm they are. 

This is just a natural difference between our temperatures and is no cause for concern. 

If it feels extremely hot, we recommend a physical examination and contact your vet with your concerns. 

Ear Infection

Ear infections also cause red hot ears. 

There is a presumed association with infection when we feel a hot and red part of the body. 

Ear infections do not cause hot ears, but if there is any discharge or pain, there is reason to believe there may be a bacterial infection. 

What To Do If My Guinea Pig Is Overheating?

guinea pig overheating

If your guinea pig is overheating, there are a few crucial steps to take to make sure they will cool themselves back down. 

Step One: Assess For Signs Of Heat Stroke

The first step is to determine whether or not they have heat stroke. 

The most common signs are: 

  • Excessive drooling 
  • Rapid breathing
  • Hot ears
  • Staggering 
  • Shaking 
  • Collapse 

Step Two: Put Cavy In Tepid Water

Put your poor cavy in tepid water. 

Make sure it is not too cold. 

Going from heat to cold may cause shock, so it’s better to be cautious and use cool or tepid water. 

It also helps to dab the water behind their ears to help cool them down. 

Just don’t wash them with something like dawn dish soap.

Read our post on using dawn dish soap on guinea pigs to learn more.

Step Three: Contact Veterinarian

Contact your vet to see if a further physical examination is required. 

Tips For Preventing Heat Stroke

There are many ways to prevent heatstroke. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Avoid temperatures over 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).
  • Provide ice packs and drinking water whenever they are playing. 
  • Keep a fan blowing on the cage if it is hot in your room. 

How Can You Tell If A Guinea Pig Has An Ear Infection?

We all want our guinea pigs to be as happy and healthy as possible. 

Ear infections are as uncomfortable for our cavy as they are for us. 

Knowing the signs of an ear infection helps get treatment from an animal care expert early on to catch the infection early. 

Head Tilting Or Rolling Around

Guinea pigs will tilt their head or roll around their cage. 

This is often because their ear is uncomfortable, and they want to scratch it. 

If you see your cavy doing this, they may have an ear infection. 

Discharge Or Puss

If you see discharge or puss coming out of the ear of guinea pigs, there is a significant chance of infection. 

If you see any discharge or puss, we highly recommend contacting an animal care expert or veterinarian to treat the infection. 

Pain Or Irritability 

Anyone who has had an ear infection knows how painful they are. 

We tend to get irritable when we are sick or have an ear infection too. 

Our beloved guinea pigs often act the same way with an ear infection. 

If your pet normally loves to get stroked or picked up, they may turn irritable and bite at you if you attempt to touch them. 

This is usually true if you attempt to touch the infected ear. 

Unusual actions of irritability are a sign of your guinea pig being in pain. 

This means it’s time to get your sweet cavy to the vet for antibiotics and other treatments to get them back to their happy and content selves. 

Less Vocal

You likely love to hear them chattering about if you have a vocal guinea pig. 

Many cavies get very vocal around feeding time. 

This is usually because they are excited to munch and eat tasty feed. 

When our pet gets an ear infection, they often have trouble hearing. 

Many piggies will become significantly less vocal when they have an ear infection. 

The reasoning behind this is due to their loss of hearing. 

Since they don’t hear as well, they make less noise. 

If you find your usual chatty cavy suddenly going quiet, there is a good chance they have an ear infection and should get some love and care to get back to their normal selves. 

Related: Are guinea pigs noisy at night?

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