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Can Guinea Pigs Drink From A Bowl? (Water Requirements)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: September 19, 2021

You might be wondering: can guinea pigs drink from a bowl or you will need to purchase one of the many types of water bottles designed for small animals.

In this post, you can learn more about guinea pigs’ needs, water requirements, and whether water bottles are more practical compared to water bowls, especially if your guinea pig herd prefers one over the other.

The first and most important thing to know is that guinea pigs drink water only unless we’re talking about a baby guinea pig that relies on its mother’s milk for sustenance.

Furthermore, we also discuss the importance of using water containers and the need to keep them clean.

Let’s dive right in.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink From A Bowl?

Yes, guinea pigs can drink from a bowl.

This is especially true if a guinea pig is used to drinking from a bowl since their early years.

However, if a guinea pig is used to drinking from a water bottle, most likely it will be difficult for them to switch to a bowl later on.

Let’s go ahead and get into more details.

Before we continue, check out these top guinea pig drinking bowls:

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Last update on 2023-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Importance of Water Containers

For guinea pigs (and other mammals) milk is vital right after birth because it provides sustenance to babies and aids their development.

However, water is essential to the life of all living beings.

How much water a guinea pig will drink depends on the weather conditions such as temperature and humidity as well as on its level of activity and overall health.

Guinea pigs drink water throughout the day in small sips; on average, guinea pigs drink around 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water a day.

Nonetheless, your pet might be drinking more or less.

To find out how much water your guinea pig is drinking, it is best to use a bowl or a water bottle with measurement levels.

Whether guinea pigs drink from a bowl or a water container, they need to have easily accessible clean drinking water all the time.

Besides, you should take care of the hygiene of your pets and regularly replace their wet bedding, clean your cavies cage, provide them with healthy food, always have clean water in their water containers, and make sure that they have a sufficient amount of timothy hay.

Let’s go through the most important information regarding your pets’ water requirements.

What Are Guinea Pigs Water Requirements?

Although guinea pigs do not drink as much water as other pets, they need to have clean drinking water available all the time.

If you’re wondering whether your guinea pigs can drink tap water or you need to provide them with bottled water, the answer is simple: guinea pigs can drink the same water you are drinking every day.

So, if you consume tap water and it’s safe for you, it is also safe for your guinea pigs.

However, if you need to buy filtered water because tap water is unsafe for you, then tap water will be unsafe for your guinea pigs as well.

In other words, your guinea pig drink water has to be safe for humans.

1. Dehydration

Guinea pigs need easy access to water; lack of it can cause dehydration.

Dehydration is as bad for guinea pigs as it is for humans; it increases the risk of diseases and malnutrition and creates disbalance in your pet’s body, which triggers many serious health problems.

2. Fresh Water

You need to change your guinea pigs’ water regularly, a few times a day because guinea pigs are messy eaters and pieces of guinea pig food may end up in the bowl.

Thus, you need to replace the contaminated water as soon as possible.

Even if the water appears clean, if it’s in the bowl for longer, replace it.

You wouldn’t want to drink stale water, and your pets don’t like it as well!

3. Water and Room Temperature

Just like people, guinea pigs drink a lot of water on a hot day, and cool water refreshes them.

Therefore, fresh and cool water will refresh them and help them deal with higher temperatures.

However, never give your guinea pigs water that’s too cold or icy on a hot summer day.

Likewise, as guinea pigs function the best in room temperatures, during cold days, make sure that the water is at room temperature.

Again, the same rule applies: the temperature of air that’s pleasant for you is safe for your guinea pigs as well.

4. Keep track of the amount of water your guinea pigs drink every day

As already said, an average guinea pig drinks around 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water every day.

However, the exact amount of drink water guinea pigs need depends on many factors such as humidity, temperature, level of activity, and etc.

Thus, your guinea pigs may drink more or less at different times.

Still, when you notice that your guinea pigs’ water intake varies significantly compared to their average intake, check the water container for leakage.

Replace it, if required.

If not, you should visit a veterinarian because an unbalanced water intake can be the first sign of any disease.

5. Add medicine and additives to the water

There are many medicines and vitamin supplements available that you can dissolve in water to make it easier to feed your guinea pigs.

This looks like a good idea, and it is if you own one pig.

However, if you have more than one guinea pig, be very careful.

If your guinea pigs share the same bowl, it is difficult to stop them from drinking it.

On the other hand, medicines and vitamin supplements can change the taste of water, so your pets might refuse to drink it.

Different water taste can prevent them from drinking it at all, which will lead to further health problems.

Besides, guinea pigs drink water in different amounts, which makes it difficult or impossible to make sure that each guinea pig receives the same amount of vitamins.

6. Other water sources

Guinea pigs also get water naturally from certain foods.

For this reason, you should give your pets a lot of fresh food, and not just feed them dry or mixed feed.

Watery foods such as cucumber can also be very refreshing in warmer weather and help guinea pigs to cope with the heat.

Will My Guinea Pig Drink From a Bowl?

If you are just planning to become a proud owner of a cute guinea pig, you should know that guinea pigs drink water only, unless they are just babies that still need their mother’s milk.

Drinking water comes naturally to all living creatures and so is to your guinea pig.

If you plan to place a bowl in your pet’s cage, make sure it’s you’re buying a heavy ceramic bowl that your pet cannot turn over and spill the contents.

Guinea pigs can be messy eaters and don’t pay much attention to anything when they play around or chew (wet bedding also doesn’t bother them)!

Besides, one of the best reasons why you should buy a heavy ceramic bowl instead of a plastic water bottle is that you can properly and regularly wash it in soapy water.

Water bottles are much harder to clean, so they can become a source of bacteria.

Actually, food and water containers that you cannot properly wash easily breed bacteria that can cause certain diseases and damage your guinea pig’s organs.

Nonetheless, we admit that water bottles are more practical as your pets cannot tip them over and wet their cage.

Once your guinea pig becomes used to drinking from a water bottle, it becomes difficult to adjust to the water bowl.

If your guinea pigs already drink from a bottle and you want to switch to a water bowl for better hygiene, make the transition easier for them by letting them used to the bowl before you eliminate the water bottle.

They might have a hard time adjusting to a new water vessel.

When giving water to your piggy, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Do not add sugar or salt to their water
  • They do not need refined water
  • Never give them alcohol or alcohol mixed with water
  • They do not need vitamin water
  • Never give them iced water

On average, guinea pigs can consume about 20% of their body weight in water every day.

This may not seem like much to a person, but it is a lot to them!

What Are the Benefits of a Water Bowl?

The first advantage of a water bowl is that the container is at the bottom of the pen, which means that guinea pigs do not have to raise their head to drink water, so drinking is easy for older and sick guinea pigs.

Likewise, as water bowls are placed on the bottom of the case, this allows baby guinea pigs to drink water without obstacles.

The second advantage of water bowls is that they are much easier to maintain.

You can easily and regularly wash them in soapy water, which you cannot do properly with water bottles.

Also, don’t forget you should change the water frequently for your guinea pig to drink fresh water.

Never leave your guinea pigs without water!

What Are the Cons of a Water Bowl?

The biggest drawback of water bowls is that, when guinea pigs drink water, they may want to jump into them and lie in them.

Thus, when guinea pigs drink from a water bowl, their fur can stick to the sides, which can be a source of bacteria that can cause harm to your pets’ wellbeing.

Besides, your guinea pig may contaminate the water with hay, food, urine, and poop, and that also breeds bacteria.

To keep your guinea pigs healthy, you should often wash the bowl and give your guinea pig to drink fresh and clean water.

Likewise, your guinea pigs may tip it over and wet the cage, which may require frequent cleaning of your guinea pig’s cage.

A wet cage requires immediate attention.

Change your guinea pigs’ bedding and make sure that they have enough timothy hay, and enough fresh water to drink.

Overall, water bowls require more cleaning, but a steady and firm ceramic bowl is the best option as your pets cannot spill the content.

Water Bowls Vs Water Bottles

Guinea pigs are intelligent and adaptive cute little creatures.

Some people prefer water bowls over water bottles.

However, some will always rather opt for a water bottle to prevent sanitation problems and maintenance issues.

Besides, water bottles are easy to fix on the sides of the cage, which leaves more room for your pets in their habitat.

Likewise, your pet cannot contaminate the water in the bottle in the same way it can contaminate the water in a bowl.

These are just some of the benefits of bottles that make people choose them over other water containers.

Let’s take a quick look at water bottles.

Guinea Pig Water Bottles

Water bottles do not take up space in the pen and are easy to fill without opening your pet’s cage, which you have to do if you are refilling/replacing the water in your pet’s water bowl.

It would be best to change the water a few times a day (especially during a hot day), or at least once a day if you’re too busy.

If you have a busy life and your guinea pig’s water bottle is empty when you get home, try to find a bigger one or have two water bottles.

Occasionally, check the bottle for its functionality.

One drawback to water bottles is that they are prone to leakage, so check your pet’s water bottle regularly to make sure it’s working properly.

Cleaning a water bottle at least once a week is a very important step in keeping your guinea pig’s water bottle free from germs.

If you do not wash the bottle often enough, water in it can contain unsafe algae, which is dangerous for your pet’s wellbeing.

Always pay attention to how often you wash their bottle because regular washing is a must.

Which is Better For My Guinea Pig (Water Bottle Vs Water Bowl)?

Never leave your guinea pigs alone without easy access to fresh drinking water.

Guinea pigs cannot survive long without water, so they can die of thirst.

Besides, they can spill their container into the cage.

If this happens when no one is there, they are in danger of dehydration.

Please consider all the details to decide if you want to get a container or water bottle for your guinea pig.

If you choose a bowl, make sure it is a heavy vessel that your pet cannot turn over.

Another option is to provide your guinea pigs fresh water to drink from a water bottle.

Since water bottles are harder to properly clean, you should buy a new one occasionally.

In any case, always use detergent and wash the water bowl/water bottle thoroughly with soapy water.

If you do this regularly, at least once or twice a week, you will remove germs formed on the inner lining (or water surface) of your guinea pigs’ bottles and bowls.

Why People Prefer Water Bottles to Bowls for Their Guinea Pigs?

Most guinea pig owners prefer water bottles for several reasons.

The main reason is that guinea pigs are famous for nibbling their feed close to or in their water bowls.

They may contaminate the water, and there’s a high chance that they might spill it, or even break a bowl or chew it through if it’s a plastic one.

If you place a water bottle in your pet’s cage, your guinea pig won’t be able to do any of those things because water bottles can be attached to the sides of the cage, both from the inside and the outside.

Third, although water bottles are better than water bowls, they are imperfect.

One drawback to water bottles is that they can leak and empty the contents in a short time.

Similarly, they might not release enough water for your guinea pigs to drink.

So, check them regularly to make sure the water bottle is working properly make sure that your pet has enough fresh and clean water to drink.

Another option you might consider is

Which Water Containers Are Best for Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs are relatively large compared to other small pets.

Therefore, certain types of water vessels are better for them.

You need to consider three things when looking for the right container:

Weight: Ceramic vessels work very well as they take more effort to get pushed around.

Height: Your guinea pig should have easy access to the container.

Water level measurement: This allows you to track your consumption of guinea pigs.

Light bowls made of plastic and aluminum are easily moved and this can cause water to spill from the bowl.

The high edge of the container makes it difficult for guinea pigs to drink water, especially the ones that are young and sick.

Another great option for your guinea pig is the so-called chicken nipples.

Chicken nipples: Chicken nipples are easily moveable from a water source with aquarium tubing.

As the gravity-powered system is activated, you will have water ready for delivery.

It is very similar to the bottle system, but with less backlash and less contamination.

Just wipe the chicken nipple every morning and you are good to go.

Side Bars: Sidebars were originally used for birds!

And works effectively for guinea pigs too.

These tubes are attached to small plastic or metal outlets.

Just stick it between the fenced bars and the guinea pig can drink to the delight of his heart.

As the delivery machine is very small, it eliminates any chance of drowning.

Pyrex glass bottle: Pyrex glass bottles are way better than regular plastic bottles as there is less chance of leakage or cracking.

Here are the top 5 guinea pig products:

Last update on 2023-06-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

In this article, we revealed that yes, guinea pigs can drink from a bowl, which has its advantages compared to water bottles.

On the other hand, there are benefits to water bottles as well.

Guinea pigs drink water in small sips and, on average, drink about 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water every day.

Yet, the general water consumption may vary and depends on several factors such as warm weather, guinea pigs’ level of activity, etc.

Just like humans, guinea pigs need to drink more water during warm weather.

However, never give them vitamin or iced water; make sure that their water is always at room temperature.

Guinea pigs can drink from a bowl, but if you want to introduce a container (or bottle, as it may be), just make sure you do it when you have time to check yourself.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Check out these most popular guinea pig products on the market:

Last update on 2023-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API