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Why My Guinea Pig Isn’t Drinking Water? (Top Causes & Cures)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: December 5, 2021

Guinea pig not drinking water?

Do you think your guinea pig should drink much more than it does?

Many factors affect the water consumption rate of your pet guinea pig.

If your guinea pig is drinking too much, that can also be a cause of concern.

Some include the amount of succulent feed and the presence of grass, the presence and amount of dry food in the diet, or the temperature in the apartment.

Others include the age and activity of the guinea pig, the presence of sugar feeds, and delicacies in the diet which is highly prohibited.

In nature, guinea pigs drink little – they replenish the body’s fluid supply with the moisture of feed (herbs, plants, leaves).

So what could be the major reason for your guinea pig not drinking good portions of water?

Why a Guinea Pig Doesn’t Drink Water?

If you notice that your guinea pig has stopped drinking water, but he is in a great mood, and nothing has changed in his behavior, then you should not worry about his condition.

He most likely doesn’t suffer from dehydration.

If he has become lethargic, behaves strangely, and refuses food along with water, then perhaps he is sick and needs treatment.

Possible reasons for not using water:

  • Water quality
  • Something wrong with the drinker
  • Change in feeding
  • Stressful situations
  • Some disease conditions

What Do You Do if the Purchased Pig is the Only One Not Drinking?

If you recently bought a guinea pig, brought it home, and the pig is still sitting in place and does not move, eat or drink, there must be a problem.

So what do you do?

The answer is simple: do nothing as this is a normal reaction of a new guinea pig when introduced to a new environment.

Animals under stress do not drink or eat.

However, you can put ahead of hay next to the drinker so that the pig, buried in it, is not afraid to drink.

At the same time, the drinker should be well fixed and hanging at an accessible height.

Many guinea pigs on a natural diet (no feed in the diet) do not drink water at all.

Their body does not need additional fluid – they replenish the moisture supply with juicy food.

But even then, the drinker must not be removed.

A drinking bowl with clean water, which needs to be changed daily, should always be in the cage, whether your pig is drinking or not.

There is a misconception among novice pig breeders that their pigs cannot learn how to use the drinker – they torment themselves and the animal with various manipulations.

A guinea pig at any age knows how to drink and what to do with a drinker.

Among rodents, they (one of the few in this order) are born with the most developed brain so don’t underestimate them.

No pigs will die from dehydration if the cage has a full and serviceable drinking bowl with water.

And in no case should you be forced to drink, or pour water through a syringe.

The pig will decide for itself when it needs water.

The drinking bowl with water should be at such a height that the pig can easily reach it, that is, at the level of the muzzle.

Also, make sure that the drinking bowl is in good working order, does not get clogged and that water always flows out of it.

Some animals prefer to drink from a bowl rather than from a drinking bowl, so you should offer your guinea pigs this option as well.

It also doesn’t matter whether the animal drinks water or not, pure water should be constantly present in its home.

It’s inconceivable that a healthy guinea pig would die of dehydration if there is water in the cage.

It’s therefore important to know that the guinea pig cannot be forcefully fed or syringed.

The pig herself knows whether she needs to drink water or not.

Don’t underestimate the little rodent.

Also, we must not forget that if the pig is pregnant or is feeding babies, then she drinks water much more than usual.

What if a Guinea Pig Doesn’t Drink Normal Amounts of Water?

The optimal daily volume of fluid that a rodent should drink is about 200 ml.

The animal should always have plenty of water, therefore it’s recommended to install drinking bowls with a capacity of 250 ml or more in the guinea pig cage.

The amount of water provided with a reserve will allow the animal to consume as much water as it wants during the day.

If the pig stops drinking water, this does not necessarily mean that it has an illness.

Sometimes the animal consumes little water or does not drink any at all, without experiencing health problems.

There are several reasons why guinea pigs neglect drinking that is not related to diseases.

The main one is poor water quality.

Drinks can be stale, dirty, stale, or have an unpleasant odor and taste.

An unwashed drinker can even contribute to this – a dirty container will ruin even the cleanest water.

In order not to deprive the animal of the necessary drink, it’s important to regularly wash the drinker and update its contents.

Why Does a Guinea Pig Become Lethargic?

Guinea pigs have a good appetite and are always in a good mood.

A healthy animal always chews something, happily rushes to the offered treat and the hands of its beloved owner.

If the guinea pig does not eat or drink, it becomes drowsy and lethargic, and finally becomes sick.

While awake, he does not move, and he also refuses delicacies and funny games with a person.

Lack of appetite and lethargy are symptoms of many infectious and non-infectious diseases in rodents.

If the guinea pig does not eat, you need to contact a specialist as soon as possible who will diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Sometimes a cunning animal refuses to eat in the hope of getting its favorite treats, but most often a lack of appetite signals the presence of pathologies in the body of a little friend.

Diet change

A change in a guinea pig’s diet can affect its need to drink.

For example, if you increase the amount of dry roughage (hay and pellets), the animal will drink more.

Also, if he eats mainly juicy foods (vegetables and fruits), then the need for water decreases since he receives a lot of liquid from food.

At the same time, the pig may not drink water or drink little and still does not suffer from thirst.

When deciding what to feed an indoor rodent, you need to think about what is better and more useful for him.

Its digestive system is designed to digest coarse fiber, that is, fiber, so foods that contain it (hay and grass) must form the basis of your guinea pig daily diet.

Dental problems

Diseases of the teeth in guinea pigs are a result of poor feeding and hereditary anomalies.

They are also one of the most common reasons for an animal to refuse to eat.

With dental pathologies, there is an excessive regrowth of the anterior incisors, crowns or roots of cheek teeth, chips, or fractures of the teeth, which injure the mucous membrane of the gums, tongue, eye, and nasal structures.

Guinea pigs:

  • Becomes lethargic and eat poorly
  • Takes the feed for a long time and scatters it
  • When chewing, part of the food falls out of the mouth
  • Profuse saliva often
  • Develops digestive disorders
  • has blood streaks in saliva
  • develops ulcers and fistulas on the cheeks
  • Has purulent discharge from the nose and eyes

Treatment Plans

Treatment of dental diseases is carried out in a veterinary clinic.

After physical and x-ray examination, the specialist grinds the incisors, trims the hooks, polishes the teeth, and irrigates the oral cavity with antiseptic solutions in case of stomatitis and gingivitis.

Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract in guinea pigs occur when there is a violation in feeding guinea pigs.

It could also be the result of infectious diseases and the most often in domestic rodents are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating


Diarrhea is caused by the use of low-quality feed in the diet.

These can be rotten fruits, poisonous, or chemically treated herbs.

Illegal treats, stale water, infectious diseases, and stress can also cause diarrhea.

In case of illness, the fluffy rodent eats little or completely refuses food.

He becomes lethargic and has frequent, fetid, liquid stools mixed with foam and blood.

If the guinea pig does not drink and has lost a lot of weight, dehydration and death may occur.

How to Cope With Guinea Pig Diarrhea?

At home, during the first day of the disease, you can give the sick guinea pig the following:

  • Decoction of rice
  • Oak bark

If diarrhea persists, you need to urgently call a specialist.

Therapeutic measures include drip infusion of saline solutions and a course of antibacterial drugs.


Constipation in small rodents develops as a result of:

  • Lack of coarse, juicy feed and water in the animal’s diet
  • Inflammation of the stomach and intestines
  • The formation of neoplasms, cysts, and adhesions in the intestine

Pathology is dangerous as it can cause the development of intestinal cancer, the intoxication of the body with fecal poisons, and the death of a beloved pet guinea pig.

In this condition;

  • The guinea pig eats nothing
  • There is no stool in the cage
  • Feces can be fine and very dry
  • Vomiting occurs
  • There’s an anal fissure
  • Prolapse of the rectum

The sick animal is very lethargic and reacts painfully to touch.

Through the abdominal wall, you can feel the stagnation of feces in the intestines.

What to Do with Constipation in a Guinea Pig?

The first aid is Vaseline oil, which must be given to the fluffy guinea pig patient every three hours.

After that, you need to massage the stomach.

You can give a small pet a Mikrolax micro enema.

Injecting 2 ml of a laxative into the animal’s rectum should help the pet.

It’s imperative to feed your constipated guinea pigs with fractionally milled hay.

It’s also necessary for your guinea pig to drink water with probiotics.


Bloating of the stomach and intestines in guinea pigs occurs as a result of the fermentation processes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pathology is dangerous by rupture of the wall of the stomach or intestines with accumulated gases with the development of peritonitis and instant death.

The disease occurs when guinea pigs are fed a large amount of moist green grass or root crops.

Fermentation can be caused by:

  • Spoiled hay
  • Poisonous plants
  • Poor quality water

Sometimes bloating is a symptom of an infectious disease in guinea pigs.

The sick guinea pig completely refuses food and water.

It becomes depressed and inactive, sits or lies in one position, and breathes heavily.

It also has enlarged eyeballs.

What to Do with Bloating in a Guinea Pig?

To save the life of your pet guinea pig, you can give it any child carminative to drink, followed by a massage to the abdomen.

It’s also advisable to make the beloved guinea pig move about for better gas discharge.

It’s advised you place the guinea pig on a starvation diet for the first day.

Until complete recovery, you must exclude green grass, fruits, and vegetables from the animal’s diet.

After recovery, this can be gradually introduced in a very limited amount.

Other reasons include the following:


When the environment changes, sharp cries, intrusive attention of a person and pets, or fear, guinea pigs completely refuses to eat and water, lethargy, depression, and hair loss are observed.

Severe fright is fraught with the development of a heart attack or stroke in an emotional animal, which may die on the spot.

Is your guinea pig not drinking water and has lost weight?

Then stress is likely the cause of the condition.

This is especially true for animals that have just been bought.

Change of environment, moving to a new place of residence negatively affects the psychological state of your guinea pigs.

He gets nervous in anticipation of something new, which is a strong stressor.

To return the guinea pig’s psyche to normal, it should be given as much attention as possible.

Try to caress it and feed it with something tasty.

After a while, the guinea pig will adapt and start drinking water.

If several guinea pigs live in the same cage at the same time, the death of one of the neighbors can become a stress factor.

Guinea pigs have a hard time coping, therefore, during such periods, they require increased attention.

What to Do When a Guinea Pig is Stressed?

The treatment for frightened guinea pigs is to create a calm environment.

You can put the cage with the animal in a quiet, semi-dark room and treat it with your favorite treats.

You should also protect your pet from any stressful situation.

The guinea pig will calm down, adapt and return to normal life without the use of drugs.


Keeping guinea pigs in a room with an air temperature above + 18C or in direct sunlight is dangerous as it’ll overheat the animal’s body.

This will lead to the disruption of the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.

Prolonged overheating can often be the cause of your guinea’s pig death

With sickness, the guinea pig becomes depressed and refuses to eat and drink.

There’s also frequent breathing and heartbeat, loss of consciousness, impaired coordination and convulsions, pallor of the tongue, and mucous membranes.

What to Do with Heatstroke in a Guinea Pig?

The cage with the guinea pig should be transferred to a cool, dark place, and the animal should be given water from a syringe.

An urgent call should be placed by a veterinarian who can give the little patient injections of drugs that support the work of the heart and lungs.

If your beloved cheerful pet suddenly becomes sad, refuses food, and is rapidly losing weight, do not waste time and hope that the guinea pig will recover on its own.

Generally, guinea pigs often have diseases that often progress to have serious complications.

Therefore, the salvation of your guinea pigs and the extension of their carefree life depends on the care of the owner and the timely appeal to a specialist.

Diseases That May Be Responsible for Your Guinea Pig Not Drinking

Refusal to drink can be a reaction of the body to the excess fluid already present in it, which is explained by internal swelling.

Edema can be caused by serious illnesses.

Examples of these include urolithiasis and other kidney diseases, heart attack and some other cardiovascular diseases, and swelling of the lungs due to previous inflammation.

The sick animal organism tries to quickly get rid of the accumulated fluid, therefore, he has no feeling of thirst during this period.

Suspecting something was wrong, you urgently need to show the sick mumps to the veterinarian.

Without timely treatment, the animal may die.

To reduce the risk of these diseases, you need to provide your guinea pigs with proper care.

This is proper balanced nutrition; good conditions in the cage and a suitable climate in the room; a lack of stressful situations; and the ability to actively move both in the cage and outside it.

Knowing why your guinea pig does not drink water and eliminating the cause will make her even more comfortable under your care.

Your guinea pigs will always be in a great mood and will be able to delight you.

Final Thoughts

Do not worry if your guinea pig stops drinking water.

It’s normal for a new guinea pig to stop drinking or eating immediately after you buy it.

So, if you’ve been having issues with your guinea pig not drinking well, you now know what to do.

You must follow the suggestions already given above.

Keep your guinea pig healthy and safe and look for reasons which may be the cause of your guinea pig’s health is suspicious.


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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