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How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?

As a guinea pig owner, you want to make sure that they are living their best lives as much as possible. You will buy them toys and make their space as comfortable as you can, you will ensure they have a mate, and provide enough food and water for them. 

How much water do guinea pigs need though, and how long can they go without it? 

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?

Healthy guinea pigs can go without water for up to 24 hours. Dehydration will start to set in long before this though, so you want to make sure they always have fresh water at their disposal.

If a guinea pig is old or ill, pregnant or nursing, this time will most likely be much shorter. The same is true when a guinea pig is exposed to high temperatures. 

While there has obviously been no precise scientific research into the exact amount of time a guinea pig can go without water, owners have reported that their piggies have gone up to 12 hours without water and been fine. These are of course isolated incidents, and no one has harmed their guinea pig on purpose. 

As a species, guineas are susceptible to dehydration, so any prolonged period of time without water will exact some sort of damage to their health. 

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Need Water?

Guinea pigs need no less than 100 milliliters of water every day. Some piggies will drink more often than others, but will on average consume at least this amount. Some guineas drink up to 300 milliliters a day. 

Your pet piggy will need fresh water every day, ideally several times a day. Refresh their water every couple of hours, especially on a hot day. This will encourage them to drink more. Also make sure their water bowl or bottle is washed daily too. 

How Much Water Does a Guinea Pig Need in a Day?

An average guinea pig will drink around 100 milliliters of water per day. When pregnant or nursing, this number will be higher. Some guinea pigs will even drink up to 300 milliliter  per day.

Most of this intake will come from actually drinking water, but guinea pigs also satisfy their hydration needs by eating fruits and veggies high in water. Guinea pigs can eat apples, for example, which have a high water content. 

Each individual animal is of course different, so don’t worry if you notice your pet is drinking a bit more or a bit less than what the average estimate is. There may be cause for concern however if your guinea starts drinking significantly more or significantly less water than is usual for them. If this is the case, take them to see a vet to determine what is causing this behavior. 

What Type of Water Should My Guinea Pig Drink?

Guinea pigs should drink fresh, clean, plain water. Whichever water you would pour yourself is fine for your piggie too. Both bottled and tap work, as long as it’s cool and still, not sparkling. 

Most guinea pigs are fine with room temperature water, but on a hot day, you may want to serve them slightly colder drinks. Make sure they are not too cold though, and definitely prevent the water in their cage from getting too hot, as they will refuse to drink it. 

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Anything Else Apart from Water?

Guinea pigs should only drink water and nothing else. You can add a couple of drops of freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice to it, but that’s the extent to which you should vary their drink.

Guinea pigs should never drink beverages that are high in sugar, salt or fat, that contain caffeine or alcohol, or that are in any way artificial. 

Fresh, cool, clean water is what they really need, and this is what you should regularly supply. 

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

You should change your guinea pig’s water several times a day, especially on a hot day. The exact frequency will of course depend on the number of cavies you have and their drinking habits.

Guinea pigs need access to fresh water at all times. On a hot day, they will drink it faster than usual, so make sure you carefully monitor the amount of water left in their bowl or bottle, and refresh it as often as appropriate. 

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

Whether your guinea pig drinks from a bowl or bottle will depend on their own preference. Water bowls may get contaminated, but it’s easier to drink from them, while water bottles will get chewed on. 

Guinea pigs are not the cleanest of animals. When they poop, they tend to spray in quite a wide area, so their food and water bowls may get contaminated. Water bowls can also get tipped over, creating quite the mess. 

If you do choose a water bowl, check in on the state of it more often, and replace the water if there is any poop or food in it. Get the kind that is difficult to tip over, to prevent your guinea from walking over it or leaning against it and spilling their water. 

On the other hand, water bottles are not as easy to drink from, and guinea pigs love to chew their tips too, so you will need to keep replacing them. 

The best course of action is to offer your guinea both options and see which they prefer. Don’t forget that you need to wash the bowl or bottle at least once a day with warm soapy water, to get rid of any bacteria and dirt. 

Can Guinea Pigs Get Water From Food?

Yes, guinea pigs can get water from their food. When you give them a fruit or vegetable that is high in water, you may notice they are drinking a bit less than usual.

Apples, pears and peaches, as well as strawberries or watermelon are all a good choice for your guinea pig. Cucumbers work well too. 

How Can I Tell If My Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated?

You will be able to tell your guinea pig is dehydrated by their lethargy, loss of appetite, dry gums and sunken eyes. 

If your guinea appears less energetic and is showing signs of dehydration, or if you haven’t seen them drink for a while and they seem off, take them to the vet to determine what the cause is. 

What Happens If a Guinea Pig is Dehydrated? 

Dehydration can lead to bladder or kidney stones, urinary tract infections or intestinal issues, all of which can be fatal for a guinea pig. 

While guinea pigs may theoretically be able to survive for 24 hours without water, they would start to get severely dehydrated and their health would consequently suffer. They may survive, but could end up with severe organ damage. 

How Do I Rehydrate My Guinea Pig?

Offer your guinea pig fresh water or a fruit or vegetable that has a high water content. You can also try giving them water with a medicine dropper if they aren’t able to drink themselves. 

If your guinea pig is dehydrated, your best course of action is to take them to the vet. Offer them a drink and try to get some water in them with a dropper, but don’t skip the vet visit. 

Factors That Affect How Long a Guinea Pig Can Go Without Water

Several factors will affect how long a guinea pig can go without water:

  • If they have access to vegetables or fruits that are rich in water, they may be able to go without a drink for longer
  • If they are sick, especially if they have renal or kidney disease, they will need to drink more often
  • Older guinea pigs can also go without water for shorter periods of time than younger, healthy guinea pigs
  • Pregnant or nursing guinea pigs need more water and they need it more often, as they are sharing their nutrients with their babies. 
  • If the weather is warm or hot, guinea pigs will need to drink more often, so take that into consideration. They can easily suffer a heatstroke when they don’t get enough to drink.

Wrapping It Up 

Guinea pigs are very susceptible to dehydration. Cavies can’t go without food for very long, and they can go without water for even less. To make sure your pet piggies stay healthy and happy, always leave them plenty of water when you are away, ideally from a couple of sources.

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