How Long Can Guinea Pigs Survive Without Water?

You’re planning to be away from home for a day or two and won’t be able to take care of your pet as usual. Naturally, you’re wondering how long guinea pigs can go without water.

Water is crucial for the survival of all living beings, including guinea pigs. Like other animals, guinea pigs cannot go without water for long.

According to estimates, guinea pigs can survive anywhere from 24 to 48 hours without water. However, they will start showing signs of dehydration within 12 hours, and within 24 hours, they may experience organ damage and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your guinea pig always has access to clean and fresh water.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Need Constant Access to Fresh Water?

Water is essential for life, so it’s no surprise that it’s the best beverage for your pet. Just like most animals, guinea pigs are composed mostly of water. The body needs water for various functions and must continually replenish it.

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Water serves several important purposes, according to the CDC:

  • It regulates body temperature.
  • It lubricates and cushions joints, protecting the spinal cord.
  • It eliminates waste from the body.

Just as you wouldn’t want to deprive yourself of water, make sure your guinea pigs aren’t deprived either.

How Much Water Do Guinea Pigs Need Daily?

On average, guinea pigs require about 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water each day. Female guinea pigs can weigh up to 2 pounds, while males can reach up to 2.6 pounds. This means that guinea pigs can consume up to 20% of their body weight in water in a single day.

Don’t worry if your guinea pig drinks a bit less or more. These small creatures can consume as much as 300 mL per day. The amount of water guinea pigs drink can vary from one individual to another. Pregnant and lactating sows may require more water. Additionally, factors such as temperature, humidity, and activity level may affect water intake.

If your guinea pig starts drinking significantly more or less without an apparent reason, it’s time to visit the vet. Guinea pigs cannot survive for long without water, and excessive drinking might indicate a health issue. Your vet can determine the cause of sudden changes in your guinea pig’s drinking habits.

When it comes to providing water, inverted glass water bottles with a metal or Pyrex glass cannula are best for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs tend to chew on and block sipper-tube waterers. Also, remember to place the water and food dishes away from the bedding to prevent contamination.

In hot weather, keep a close eye on outdoor pens and change your guinea pigs’ water frequently to ensure that it remains fresh and not too warm. Guinea pigs require a constant supply of clean and fresh water.

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What Type of Water Should My Guinea Pig Drink?

The best choice is to provide your guinea pigs with plain drinking water that you would consume yourself. Bottled water is acceptable, as is well water if you drink it. However, never let your guinea pigs drink puddle water or any other dirty water. If you wouldn’t drink it yourself, don’t allow them to consume it either.

Guinea pigs only need room temperature water. They have different tastes, so during hot summer weather, you may try adding a couple of ice cubes to see if they enjoy it. Always observe your guinea pig’s reactions when introducing changes, especially when it comes to new foods or bedding. If they don’t like something, it’s best to stop offering it.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Anything Besides Water?

Guinea pigs should only consume freshly drawn and clean water. High-sugar, high-salt, or high-fat beverages can be harmful to their health. Avoid giving soda, juice, dairy products, sports drinks, or any other drinks to your guinea pig. Caffeine, chocolate, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine, and beer are strictly forbidden for guinea pigs as well. The most you can add is a couple of drops of fresh lemon or orange juice that you’ve just squeezed. Never mix their water with industrial sodas, sweeteners, or flavors.

How Often Should I Change My Guinea Pig’s Water?

Guinea pigs need fresh water available to them at all times. How often you change their water depends on the number of guinea pigs you have and how quickly they drink it. As a general rule, change their water at least once a day, or more frequently if they drink from a water bowl. Changing the water in a water bottle is a daily must. Additionally, change the water in their water bowl several times a day to prevent them from drinking contaminated water.

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Should My Guinea Pig Drink from a Water Bowl or a Water Bottle?

Guinea pigs can be messy with their food and water. Moreover, their feces can end up in their food and water bowls. While guinea pigs may prefer water bowls because they require less effort than drinking from a water bottle, these bowls can get contaminated.

If you decide to use water bowls for your guinea pigs, choose a style that won’t tip easily since some guinea pigs like to lean against or walk over them. If you opt for water bottles, keep in mind that guinea pigs enjoy chewing on things, including water bottle tips.

Ultimately, whether you offer water through bottles or bowls is entirely up to you and your guinea pigs. Test both options to see which one they prefer. Water bottles can save cage space when mounted on the sides, but some guinea pigs may drink from both the bottle and the bowl, while others may stick to one. Guinea pigs, like friends, have different preferences.

Keeping Water Bowls and Bottles Clean

You wouldn’t eat from the same unwashed plate or glass for weeks, right? The same applies to your guinea pig’s water bowl and bottles. Guinea pigs require unlimited access to fresh and clean water.

As long as you clean your pet’s water bowl and bottles daily with warm, soapy water, you’re doing a great job. If they are dishwasher-safe, you can clean them in the dishwasher. Check for any wear-and-tear on the bowls or bottles and replace them if necessary. Keep up the good work!

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How Do I Know if My Guinea Pig is Dehydrated?

To determine if your guinea pig is dehydrated, watch for these key signs and symptoms:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry and tacky gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

If you suspect that your guinea pig may be dehydrated, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. Dehydration can lead to serious health complications, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Is It Normal for Guinea Pigs to Drink Little Water?

No, it is not normal for guinea pigs to drink very little water. However, if you feed your guinea pigs excessive watery vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, or celery, they may drink less water. If your guinea pig is not drinking any water at all, it could be a sign of a health problem, and you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. Dehydration can be dangerous and lead to serious health issues. If you notice that your guinea pig isn’t drinking water, contact a veterinarian right away.

How Can I Encourage My Guinea Pig to Drink More Water?

There are a few things you can do to encourage your guinea pig to drink more water. Firstly, ensure that they have easy access to fresh and clean water at all times. Place their water bottle in a location that is easily accessible, and regularly check to ensure the water remains fresh and clean. Secondly, try adding some flavor to their water, such as a small amount of fruit juice or vegetable broth. This might make the water more appealing and encourage them to drink more. Lastly, make sure they are getting enough hay in their diet, as it helps keep them hydrated. Offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well, as they contain high water content.

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Can Guinea Pigs Drink Too Much Water?

Guinea pigs are like little sponges. On average, they consume between 100 and 200 milliliters (3 to 6 ounces) of water each day. Lactating and pregnant guinea pigs may drink slightly more, but excessive drinking should be a cause for concern. It’s not healthy for a guinea pig to drink excessive amounts of water non-stop. Being constantly thirsty, especially if it happens suddenly and without a clear reason, is never a good sign. If you can’t identify the cause, it’s important to see a vet as soon as possible.

Why Would a Guinea Pig Drink Excessively?

There are a few reasons why guinea pigs might drink more water than they should.

1. Diabetes

Excessive drinking may indicate diabetes in guinea pigs. A guinea pig with diabetes tends to drink more water and urinates more frequently. These symptoms are often accompanied by weight loss, increased hunger, and increased appetite.

2. Heat

If the temperature in your guinea pig’s cage rises above normal, they may drink more water than usual. Just like you feel thirsty during hot summer days to stay hydrated and cool down, your guinea pig will also drink more. In this case, there’s no need to worry because you know they’re drinking to beat the heat.

3. Kidney Failure

Guinea pigs can experience kidney failure, which occurs when their kidneys stop functioning and are unable to eliminate toxic waste from their bodies. Increased urination, weight loss, lethargy, and vomiting are signs of kidney failure in guinea pigs, just like in humans.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs need water to stay hydrated and healthy, just like all living beings. They cannot survive without water for long, and signs of dehydration can appear within 12 hours. As you already know, dehydration can be fatal. Therefore, make sure your guinea pigs always have access to fresh and clean water, as they require between 100 and 200 mL of water every day. Remember to provide unlimited fresh water and keep an eye on their water intake to ensure their well-being. For more detailed information on guinea pigs and other topics, visit 5 WS.

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