Whether for guinea pigs, degus, pet rats, or hamsters – the location of the cage should be carefully considered. Because both direct sunlight and drafts pose a life-threatening risk. Here you will find tips for the perfect cage arrangement and practical protection against heat and cold.
Heatstroke is Also Possible in the Living Area
The high number of dogs dying in overheated cars each summer shows that some pet owners underestimate the risk of heatstroke. However, it is not only four-legged friends that are at risk in the outdoor area.
Dangerously high temperatures can also arise in the home. While dogs, cats, or free-running rabbits that are not kept in cages can find a cooler place on their own if it gets too hot at one point in the living area, classic cage dwellers have no way of avoiding direct sunlight. If the temperatures then rise to over 30 degrees, this quickly leads to heatstroke with fatal outcomes, not only in older rodents but also in very young rodents.
According to the recommendations of the German Animal Welfare Association, the cage location must therefore always be away from the blazing sun. It is also ideal if a slightly cooler room is selected in the living area – for example, a room facing north. The room temperatures here are often much more pleasant in summer than in rooms facing south or west.
Use Heat Protection for Windows in Warm Rooms
However, not everyone has a large living space. Sometimes there is nothing left but to place the animal housing in the only free corner in a south-facing room or in an attic apartment – both living areas that get particularly hot in the warmer months of the year. There is no need to do without animal husbandry here, provided that there is heat-repellent sun protection in front of the window pane. Specially-equipped thermal curtains are suitable for this, such as reflective Perlex pleated blinds with a mother-of-pearl coating or roller blinds with heat protection, which automatically regulate the temperature down on warm days in spring, summer and autumn. In summer, it is also important to ensure that the room is only ventilated in the milder evening or morning hours.
Drafts are Also a Threat
Another underestimated danger is cooler air currents in the living space, which the pet owner often does not even consciously notice. Inflamed eyes and runny nose at Meeri & Co. are the first warning signs that the small animal house would have to be repositioned and always require an immediate clarification with the veterinarian. In the worst case, a constant supply of drafts leads to pneumonia with a severe to a fatal outcome.
With a lighted candle, you can quickly determine whether the cage is set up with a little draft. If the flame begins to flicker near the cage, urgent action is required.
Prevent Air Currents
The most common cause of cold air is usually leaky windows, which can also be sealed with insulating sun protection. Doors are other loopholes. If a cage is on the floor, for example, care should be taken to ensure that door slots that are leaking are covered, for example with adhesive seals or door rugs.
Caution is also advised when ventilating. Of course, a blanket can be placed on the cage during the daily ventilation phases. However, this is an unnecessary stress factor that should be avoided – especially with nocturnal hamsters or rodents that are very stress-prone. It is, therefore, better if the place in the cage in the apartment is chosen from the outset so that it is outside of the airflow.
In addition, care must be taken when using air conditioning devices, which are also triggers for colds. Accordingly, fans and air conditioning systems should not be located in the vicinity of the cage.
All cage tips at a glance:
- Place animal domicile as free from heat and draft as possible
- Seal the door slots when installing on the floor
- In living areas with heat build-up or with leaky windows: Use insulating sun protection such as
- Perlex pleated blinds
- Reposition air conditioners