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Can Guinea Pigs Swim? Is Water Dangerous For Guinea Pigs?

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: February 23, 2022

Can guinea pigs swim?

Well, that’s exactly what this article will tell you.

The first thing that comes to your mind when you see the word “guinea pigs” is a sweet, pocket-sized pet that you love to cuddle with.

Guinea pigs are not domestic pigs; they are just rodents.

Also, they don’t originate in Guinea but come from South America.

Can Guinea Pigs Swim?

Small-sized guinea pigs require a lot of care and attention especially when they are near water.

Wild guinea pigs are natural swimmers but only when they fight for their survival.

They do not live over water nor have any contact with the water because they usually live in shallow places, where they spent most of their life, so for them, water is something unusual.

Even though guinea pigs can swim, they only do so for their survival.

They are too small to be put directly in the water for swimming, instead, a convenient trick has to be followed to make them swim.

These small creatures are brilliant, and they quickly respond to their environment, which is a good point for the pet owners who want to train them for swimming.

Is Swimming Dangerous For Guinea Pigs?

To tell you the truth, swimming is dangerous for them but usually only if they are exposed to large pools.

Guinea pigs are not born for swimming.

Instead, they are rodents who can run and chase.

Because of their size, guinea pigs find it difficult to swim and keep up with their stamina.

The good thing is that if you follow proper precautions and training, you can actually train them to swim properly and it will also not be dangerous for them.

But how does one train a guinea pig to swim?

How to Train Guinea Pigs to Swim?

So, you have decided to train your guinea pig to swim.

It’s only good if you do it properly while always carefully supervising the training session.

The good thing is that you don’t need to purchase expensive equipment and gadgets to train your pet to swim.

Another thing you need to keep in your mind when training them is not to use a large pool to train them.

Nor should you put them in the water for a long period.

You also need to be quite patient and not directly expose them to water in the beginning.

To train guinea pigs, you need to follow these steps:

  1. First, you need a small tub which you will be filling with a small quantity of water which should be enough to immerse half of your pet’s body
  2. Then you should gently grab hold of your guinea pig and slowly place them in water
  3. While placing them in water, you should keep hold of it firmly and don’t leave them until it’s comfortable in the water
  4. Once it’s comfortable grab it gently, take it out, and towel it down
  5. Then you should give a small treat to your guinea pig to encourage it for its performance
  6. After some time, perform this procedure again until the pet guinea pig is quite comfortable and does not fear being in the water
  7. After performing this, your pet will feel quite comfortable and it will be able to swim without fear

Keep in mind that you should never expose your pet to too large swimming pools at the beginning of its training.

It’s very dangerous for them

How To Keep Guinea Pigs Safe When Teaching Them To Swim?

Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures.

You have to keep track of the piggy’s diet, health, and everything in between.

Guinea pigs are not born for swimming and they live all of their life on land.

Can a guinea pig swim?

Yes, you can give your pet swimming lessons and teach it how to swim, but that’s a not good idea.

If you want to enjoy your time with your pet, you should use other alternatives rather than swimming.

Provide toys, make a sand track, or give small boxes with mazes to make your piggy happy.

However, if you want to teach your guinea pig to swim, you should know that most guinea pigs don’t like water.

Besides, making your guinea pig swim in a bathtub is not safe for your pet, and a chlorine pool is even worse because it removes the natural oil from their skin.

They can experience serious health issues.

Physical Damage 

If guinea pigs are in large amounts of water, the water can enter their ears, nose, or through their mouth.

Guinea pig’s skin is prone to infections, and water removes their natural oil.

Besides, your guinea pigs can cope with ear infections if you are trying to teach them to swim both in deep and shallow water.

Chlorinated water is especially dangerous for them.


The major cause of death in guinea pigs is pneumonia, which is very dangerous for them.

Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory infections, so you have to be careful while placing them in water.

If they stay in the water for a long time, they will get pneumonia.


Swimming for a long time will cause a guinea pig to get strained and may end up getting sick.

You don’t have to make guinea pigs work out so hard as they are not made out for it.

These are some of the dangers which can be seen while you place them in danger.

How To Take Care Of Guinea Pigs?

Even though guinea pigs are pocket-sized pets, guinea pigs require a lot of care.

You should be keeping strict control of your pet’s diet and keeping it safe from predators because they are the favorite prey of many.

Guinea pigs are easily hunted down by cats or any other predators.

Because they are easily stressed out, guinea pigs need special care because they are more likely to die of excessive stress.

You should not make them feel lonely because guinea pigs require a lot of affection and special attention to keep them happy.

That is also why it’s preferred if they are kept in breeding pairs or same-sex pairs.

Why Not Teach Guinea Pigs To Swim?

As you already know, guinea pigs are not created to swim in water so you should avoid making them swim in the first place.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive to large volumes of water.

Here’s why you shouldn’t make them swim.

The Water Can Enter Their Lungs

When you force them to be in large volumes of water, guinea pigs usually get scared and breathe out quickly.

When any creature breaths out quickly in water; the water can enter their lungs and it can cause organ damage which may lead to death.

Guinea Pigs Are Fragile

Another thing you should be keeping in mind is that guinea pigs are sensitive creatures.

They are prone to be infections, irritations, or other complications that may lead to their death.

Guinea Pigs Are Sensitive to Temperature

As you know that guinea pigs are quite sensitive, and a slight change in anything that goes against their nature can harm them, so the same goes when you place them in water.

If the water temperature is not suitable for them, it can lead to pneumonia which is a major cause of death for guinea pigs.

Guinea Pigs May Find it Difficult to Breathe

When guinea pigs are underwater for a long time, they find it difficult to breathe because they are not created for doing it.

This will stress them out and it will also cause them difficulty in breathing.

Guinea Pigs Might Drown

The worst thing which can happen to these little creatures is that can drown because they cannot survive in large pools.

You may have seen many videos on the internet where they are forced to swim in large pools, but you are not shown how many of them have drowned while performing the stunt.

Teaching a Guinea Pig to Swim Is Against Animal Rights

Forcing guinea pigs who hate water to swim is a very cruel act.

It’s the same as forcing them to perform like the animals are forcibly trained in the circus.

How to Bathe a Guinea Pig in the Right Way?

Giving a shower to your pet is the best experience, but it should be done in the right way or you might hurt your cute little buddy without even knowing it.

To bathe your guinea pigs, you should follow a safety-controlled method.

  1. You should use warm water which is neither too warm nor too cold
  2. The next thing you should do is, place a utensil in the sink and with slightly warm water in it, add the showering shampoo which is specially made for the pet
  3. After you have added the shampoo, now you should gently grab your pet and slowly and comfortably place it in the sink
  4. After you have placed it in the sink, you should smoothly rub the pet’s body with water without hurting it or making it afraid
  5. You should also avoid adding soapy water to its eyes or its nose because it will get hurt
  6. Now scrub its body and make sure you scrub every part gently with your hands
  7. After scrubbing, rinse it with fresh warm water and gently place it out in the towel
  8. When you place it in the towel, warm it up and gently scrub it with the towel to dry it out
  9. The next thing you can do is use a hairdryer to blow-dry its body
  10. Apply the conditioner to its body and comb it gently and it’s ready

Looking After Your Guinea Pigs

Some guinea pigs seem to love water and will play in it or even take baths, while others seem to avoid it at all costs.

There are a few things to consider when answering this question.

The first is that guinea pigs are not natural swimmers, and they can easily drown if they fall into water that is too deep for them.

This means that you need to be especially careful when bathing your guinea pig or letting it play near water.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the water.

Guinea pigs can tolerate cool temperatures better than hot ones, so if you are bathing your guinea pig, make sure the water is not too hot.

Lukewarm water is the best for them.

So, do guinea pigs like water?

It depends on the individual guinea pig.

Some love it, while others are not quite as enthusiastic about it.

However, as a guinea pig owner, you will bathe guinea pigs once in a while, so make sure to be cautious.

Besides, if you want to check whether your guinea pig likes water, try to place in a cage a small plate with just enough water to get its feet wet.

Also, make sure that your piggy can get off the plate, out of the water, whenever it feels like it, without getting stuck in it. 

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are small and sensitive animals.

As a guinea pig owner, you should know that guinea pigs hate loneliness and don’t like water.

You should not keep guinea pigs alone; owning more than one guinea pig is a good idea as guinea pigs love company.

Try to keep your guinea pigs with friendly partners, other guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs swim in the water?

Yes, guinea pigs can swim, but most guinea pigs don’t like it.

While your pet cavy can be a great swimmer in its natural habitat when, as a prey animal, tries to escape its pursuer, guinea pigs swimming in captivity is not a common sight.

Besides, a guinea pig can get an ear infection, skin infection, or pneumonia, which is extremely dangerous for this small animal.

You should also not keep your guinea pigs in contact with water for a long time especially if you are teaching them to swim.

As you can see, we are against teaching your guinea pig to swim.


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