Too hot for Chinzia?

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ARS3358

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I got Chinzia in January. The weather stays cool and everything was good. Now the weather can go up and make the room (the only one we can keep her in) go up to the 80's during the day. Is there anything I can put in her cage to keep her cool enough?

Thanks.
 

Amethyst

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Chins can't sweat so the only way to keep them cool is to make sure the room temp is kept cool, below about 70F, anything over that they start to suffer heat stress which can lead to heat exhaustion, and above 75F can cause heat stroke and even death. An air conditioner is required for the room if you you can't keep the temp cool enough. Some other things you can do until you get an AC unit to help (this is really for temporary situation, normally like if the power goes out or the AC dies) would be to cover the windows so no sunlight comes in that can heat up the room (windshield reflector material works well) and use cold tiles and frozen bottles of water. Put several cooling tiles ( like these https://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-Chinchilla-Chiller-Granite-Stone/dp/B000A7707O ) in the fridge and have a couple in the cage, and change them out every hour or so throughout the day as they warm up, until the temp is back down below 70, assuming she will sit on them (not all chins do even if hot) that can help. You can also use several fleece covered frozen bottles of water around the cage to cool the air in the cage, make sure you keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't chew them or get wet and change them out as they thaws. Again though the frozen water bottles only help at all if the chin will sit near enough to them, not all chins will.

Just keep in mind that just because she has survived the heat so far does not mean it hasn't done any harm (every time she is in hot temps she is literally cooking, which causes organ damage) or that she will even survive the next time. Chins have died in temps as low as 72F, especially if active at all, that is why I recommend below 70, I keep my room around 68F.
 

Jawramik

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Unfortunately, if your home gets above 75F or so, there's really no way around the fact that an air conditioner is a life-saving necessity for chins. I know it's a considerable expense, but it's just like making sure you have a safe, properly-sized cage and the right kind of food. It's a necessary investment to give them the care they need to survive.

The cheapest option is probably a small window unit, followed by those portable units that look like plastic boxes on wheels. Those tend to be pretty energy-efficient, so they shouldn't jack up your power bill too much if you only turn them on when necessary. I have one of the portable units (my chin's in the living room, so the room is too large to be cooled by a cheaper window unit) and I've found it to be easy to install and use, and easy to uninstall and store away when I don't need it. I'm fortunate that the room where I keep my chin stays unusually cool even when it's hot outside (recently I panicked a bit when it got into the mid 90s while I was at work, and I hadn't turned on the AC that morning because it wasn't predicted to get that warm, but when I got home, I fortunately found that it hadn't gotten above 72F in the room where my chin lives). Even so, I'm glad I have the AC, because when summer hits and it's not cooling off as much at night, even that room will likely get too warm for her without AC.

If your chin is in a smaller room like a bedroom, a window unit would probably be the most cost-effective option. They're cheaper than the portables and don't take up as much space. If Chinzia is in larger room like a living room, then a portable is probably your best bet. They're a little more bulky and expensive, but they're usually more powerful than window units. They're also easier to install and uninstall, so you could store it in a closet or something in the winter if you didn't want it taking up space when you're not using it.
 

Chinmin

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She never did seem too hot. But, since I got the a/c it has been cold and we haven't needed it yet.
That's great, hope she stays that way and is able to adapt to temperature changes. Thanks for the reply.
 

NoobPetDad

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If I can ask a follow-up... we are considering adopting one/two chins... the room where we would put them is the coolest room in the house and in the summer, for about 2/3 hours it can get up to about 75 in that room. The AC kicks in because when it is 75 in that room, it is 78 at the thermostat. If we adjust it to keep the thermostat to about 77 (which would really keep that room lower than 75), is that safe?

I read mixed things. Most sites and vet things say 75. A couple have the figure higher. Then, I see videos or posts that say to keep at 70. It feels a little like a moving target.

Either way, we can keep rotating things like cold stones/tiles multiple times a day.

Anyway, totally new to chins. And need to make sure we can care for them before we take the plunge.
 

ARS3358

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My new A/C is pointed right in the cage and it never gets above 75, plus she is right in the cool air flow if she wants to be. It has worked fine for two months. Of course, my electric bill went up $200 a month!
 

Amethyst

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If I can ask a follow-up... we are considering adopting one/two chins... the room where we would put them is the coolest room in the house and in the summer, for about 2/3 hours it can get up to about 75 in that room. The AC kicks in because when it is 75 in that room, it is 78 at the thermostat. If we adjust it to keep the thermostat to about 77 (which would really keep that room lower than 75), is that safe?

I read mixed things. Most sites and vet things say 75. A couple have the figure higher. Then, I see videos or posts that say to keep at 70. It feels a little like a moving target.

Either way, we can keep rotating things like cold stones/tiles multiple times a day.

Anyway, totally new to chins. And need to make sure we can care for them before we take the plunge.
75 is really the max safe limit and that is assuming the humidity is low (below 50%) and the chin is not being active, is in good health, and not old or a young kit. 70 is really a better temp (I aim for 68-70 year round) since it's well within the safe limit for all chins and allows for the temp to go up a little should the power go out or the AC dies. If the temp is already 75 then you are immediately at risk of your chin overheating and dying if the AC or power goes out and the temp goes up at all. It's also best not to allow playtime if the temp is above 70, playing increases their body temp so you need to factor that in to the temp.

A lot of people with central air (if that is what you mean by the thermostat says a different temp then the room) still end up needing a window or portable AC unit in the room with the chin to keep it at safe levels. It's a good idea to get a thermometer and humidity meter for by the cage (I have mine on a shelf just above the cage) so you know what the actual temp is were the cage is in the room since the temp can often vary around the room (for example cooler by the AC/AC vent and warmer the farther you get from it). Just make sure the air is not blowing directly at/into the cage though, a draft into the cage can cause an URI which turn fatal quickly in chins.

Things like cooling tiles are great for additional cooling like for cooling off after playing, or for temporary cooling if the power goes out or AC dies, assuming your chin will sit on them. Not all chins will sit on the cooling stones even if feeling hot and since they don't cool the air they don't replace an AC kept at a low temp.
 

Pixie66

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I am using a higher set point. I have an old note of a simple formula for the allowed heat load envalope for Chinchillas: Keep the sum of Temperature in F and relative humidity in % less than 150. This means that if the room is at 75°F it is safe as long as the relative humidity is under 75% (because 75+75=150); 70°F can be OK with 80% humidity. On hot summers in the past, I was forced to test it and reached almost 90°F (32°C) with relatively low humidity (adding frozen water bottels in the cage for comfort). Last year's heat dome forced me to temporarily move the cage to the basement when the temperature in the house exceeded ~90°F (32°C). We have since installed central A/C (what a change for all of us!). I set its thermostat at 75-77°F (24-25°C), but than the humidity is low because of the A/C.
 

Amethyst

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I am using a higher set point. I have an old note of a simple formula for the allowed heat load envalope for Chinchillas: Keep the sum of Temperature in F and relative humidity in % less than 150. This means that if the room is at 75°F it is safe as long as the relative humidity is under 75% (because 75+75=150); 70°F can be OK with 80% humidity. On hot summers in the past, I was forced to test it and reached almost 90°F (32°C) with relatively low humidity (adding frozen water bottels in the cage for comfort). Last year's heat dome forced me to temporarily move the cage to the basement when the temperature in the house exceeded ~90°F (32°C). We have since installed central A/C (what a change for all of us!). I set its thermostat at 75-77°F (24-25°C), but than the humidity is low because of the A/C.
The formula doesn't really works other then to figure out max humidity level for temps of under 75F. Otherwise you are saying a chin would be perfectly fine in high temps of 100F or more so long as the humidity is no higher then 50%? For example looking online, in Phoenix Arizona today it will be 104F but since the humidity is going to be 30%, and 134 is less then 150, so according to that formula you are saying a chin will be perfectly ok right? No, I can pretty much guarantee the chin would suffer and die.

I do agree that so long as you keep the humidity low, 75-77F is pushing it (think about it, at that temp are you wearing winter clothes? likely not) but most healthy chins in their prime can survive that, again assuming they aren't too active when it's that warm. However can you guarantee the AC is never going to go out when it's hot outside and already 75-77 in the room or have a generator and a back up AC on hand just in case? Otherwise since you are already at the max safe temp that gives you zero room for the temp to safely go up. I mean it's your chin and you can risk it if you want, but overheating, even if it doesn't kill them causes them to suffer and can cause seizures, as well as brain and organ damage which you can't see just by looking at them. The effects of overheating are cumulative, so every time the chin overheats either from the temp going up too high or being allowed to run around when it's above 70F, it's doing a little more damage each time likely shortening their life. I would prefer to have a bit of wiggle room so the AC is set to 68F/20C, sometimes a bit lower, just in case I'm not home and the AC dies (meaning I can't move them to a cooler room or put a different AC in) or the power is out for awhile since even if I am home I don't currently have an generator.
 

Ernie G.

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Jul 8, 2020
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I keep the temp at 73 and have no problems. The AC went out the other day and it started approaching 80 which is when I got a portable AC unit until my central AC got fixed. There is nothing wrong with 70 or 68 for chins but it's too cold for me! It's easier to err on the side of being a little cold vs being too hot as their fur is designed to keep them warm in the high mountains of the Andes.
 
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