All living things need water. Water is a simple thing that keeps people, animals, and plants alive. Humans need about 64 ounces of water a day.
Chances are you can easily find and drink water when you need it. But how much water do guinea pigs need to stay healthy and what is the best way to provide them with water? They can’t tell us themselves, so we have to research it to find out.
How much water should a guinea pig drink?
Your cavy needs a constant supply of freshwater to stay healthy and hydrated. The exact number of ounces they need depends on their size, activity level, and diet.
They eat a lot of water-rich vegetables and fruits throughout the day, which helps with their hydration levels. This does not supply enough water for them alone, though.
Some estimate that guinea pigs need about 100ml of water each day. Your pet might drink more or less than this depending on their unique needs.
Monitor the amount of water that seems normal for them to drink on a daily basis and consult your vet if they seem to be drinking significantly more or less than usual.
When giving your piggy water, there are a few important rules to follow. These tips will keep them safe, I do this also for more than 7 years:
- Do not put sugar or salt into their water
- Do not give them distilled water
- Do not give them alcohol or alcohol mixed with water
- They do not need vitamin water or water with other supplements
On average, guinea pigs can drink about 20% of their body weight in water each day. This may not seem like much to a person, but it is a lot to them! I’ve owned a lot of piggies over the years and this is a great resource when you have questions.
Do guinea pigs drink a lot of water?
There are some times when your cavy might drink a lot of water. Excessive drinking or increased thirst is something you should pay attention to.
If it is just a hot day outside, drinking extra water is normal. However, it can also be a sign of something serious if there is not a logical explanation.
You can find a step by step guide we wrote all about why guinea pigs feel hot and what you should do is easy.
Here are some concerns if your piggy is drinking a lot of water:
- They could have diabetes, which causes them to urinate more frequently. They will drink more water and eat more food than usual. You might notice that you have to change out their bedding more often. Check out this guide about when you should visit a guinea pigs vet.
- Their cage could be too hot. If your pet is in direct sunlight or a particularly hot spot in your house, this could cause them to overheat. They will try to prevent this by upping how much water they drink.
- If they are experiencing kidney failure, they will drink a lot of water to flush out their system. Like in humans, the kidneys excrete toxic waste from the body to keep it healthy. If the kidneys are not working properly, your pet will try to drink more.
Can guinea pigs drink tap water?
Guinea pigs should drink tap water. Tap water is any type of water that comes from a piped supply. This includes water from your sink faucet or refrigerator.
If you can drink the water, it is likely your cavy can too. If the tap water at your house is not clean or causes other health issues, do not give it to your pet.
You can give them bottled water as well. However, you should never give them distilled water. Distilled water has been transformed from a liquid to a vapor by boiling it, then turned back into a liquid by condensing it. This is a great little book to read before or after getting guinea pigs.
This helps to remove impurities from the water, but that does not make it safe for your pet.
It may seem obvious, but you should not let your pet drink puddle water or contaminated water. There are a lot of other drinks you should never give them as well.
Even if some of these liquids are safe for humans, they are not ok for guinea pigs:
- Energy drinks
How long can guinea pigs go without water?
Guinea pigs should never be without fresh water. According to the ASPCA, they need access to clean drinking water all day, every day.
Be sure to check their water on a regular basis so you can fill it up throughout the day. As a good rule of thumb, change out the water in their crate every morning even if it is full. If they get dehydrated they can get very sick.
What does it mean when your guinea pig doesn’t drink water?
There are a lot of possible reasons that your guinea pig isn’t drinking water. Check their water bottle first. It may not be dispensing water properly.
If that is the case, you can try to repair the water bottle or replace it. This is a cheap and nice water bottle from Amazon.
If your pet just ate fruits or vegetables and they do not seem interested in water, do not worry. Their food contains a high volume of water, so they probably won’t be thirsty for a while. Also, if your pet is older, they may need less water throughout the day.
However, if your pet is not eating or drinking, this could be a sign of a serious issue. They will act much differently when they are sick than they do when they are healthy.
If they seem sleepy all the time and do not move around as much as usual, they may be ill. You can also check their coat to see if it is rougher. If any of these things are wrong with your pet, take them to the vet for an examination.
Do guinea pigs need a water bottle?
Yes, guinea pigs need water bottles to drink. While they technically can drink out of a bowl, it is not the best solution. You’ve probably noticed that your cavy makes a big mess when it eats, and the same can be true when they drink.
Bowls collect bacteria more quickly than water bottles and they do not have lids.
Your pet can get into the bowl and spill water in their crate. They could also put their food or bedding in the water.
Water bottles dispense the right amount of water to your pet. You do not have to clean the bottle as often as a bowl. Once a week should be fine to keep bacteria away.
It is easy to buy a water bottle that provides as much water as your pet needs. You could even attach two bottles to their crate if they like to drink a lot or you will be away for a longer period of time.
Sometimes the dispenser gets stuck in the metal straw, so check your water bottle regularly to ensure it is working.
How do I get my guinea pig to drink from a water bottle?
Make sure you attach the water bottle to the crate at head-level. This keeps your guinea pig from having to stretch their neck too far or bend down too low to reach the water.
They will be most comfortable drinking from a water bottle if it is at the right height. You may have to try a few options to find what works best for them.
It may take a while for them to recognize the water bottle and realize what it is there for. You can try dripping some water on your fingers and offering it to your pet. Also, you can try to put the water bottle up to their mouth to show them that water comes out of it.
Why do guinea pigs bite their water bottles?
Guinea pigs may bite their water bottles if they want attention or something to play with. It is likely that the bottle moves a little or makes a noise when they bite it.
If you play with them or speak to them after they do this, it will reinforce the behavior. They could also be bored and looking for something to do.
To solve this, consider putting mirrored toys, balls, or other items that are safe for guinea pigs in their crate.
I wrote that includes a guide about guinea pigs bite Behavior training.
Water is essential for guinea pigs, including freshwater and vegetables that are rich in water. Use a water bottle to provide a constant supply of water for your pet by attaching it to their crate.
Only give them tap water, and never any other type of beverage. If you notice significant changes in their drinking habits, it may be time to talk to the vet for a solution.