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How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: March 27, 2022

You need to leave your home for a day or two and you won’t be able to take care of your pet as much as you normally do, so you wonder how long can guinea pigs go without water.

Water is essential for the life of all living beings, including guinea pigs. Just like other animals, guinea pigs cannot stay long without water.

According to estimates, a guinea pig can survive anywhere between 24-48 hours without water. But this small animal will start showing signs of dehydration within 12 hours and within 24 hours it faces the possibility of organ damage and death.  It is, therefore, important to make sure that your guinea pig always has access to clean, fresh water.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Need Fresh Water at All Times?

Water is essential for life, so it’s no surprise that water is the finest beverage for your pet.

Most guinea pigs and other animals (including human beings) are composed of water. Water must be replenished because the body uses it to function.

We all lose water as a result of excretion, breathing, and other bodily functions.

According to CDC, water has several important purposes:

  • it regulates temperature
  • lubricates and cushions joints (also protects the spinal cord)
  • eliminates waste from the body

Just as you wouldn’t want to deprive yourself of water, don’t deprive your guinea pigs.

How Much Water Does a Guinea Pig Need Daily?

Each day, on average, guinea pigs require about 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water.

As female guinea pigs can weigh up to 2 pounds and males up to 2.6 pounds, it means that guinea pigs can consume up to 20 percent of their body weight in a single day.

However, don’t worry if your guinea pig drinks a bit less or more. These small animals can drink as much as 300 ml/a day.

The quantity of water guinea pigs drink varies from individual to individual.

For instance, pregnant and lactating sows require more water.

This amount might vary somewhat depending on temperature and humidity, as well as their level of activity.

It’s time to visit the vet if your guinea pig drinks significantly more or less for no apparent reason.

Guinea pigs cannot live for too long without water, and drinking it too much might signify a health problem.

Your vet may determine the source of a sudden change in the drinking habits of your guinea pig.

Inverted glass water bottles with a metal or Pyrex glass cannula are best for your guinea pigs, as guinea pigs usually chew on and obstruct sipper-tube waterers.

Place the water and food dishes away from bedding since guinea pigs poo and pee everywhere.

They will contaminate their feed and water if you keep the bowls on the floor of their housing area.

To prevent damp bedding and reduce the chance of diseases such as Salmonellosis, change their bedding frequently.

In hot weather, monitor the outdoor pens and change your guinea pigs’ water frequently enough to make ensure it is fresh and not too heated.

Guinea pigs need a constant supply of clean, fresh water.

What Type of Water Should My Guinea Pig Drink?

It’s best to provide your guinea pigs with plain drinking water that you drink. Bottled water is acceptable. If you have a well, well water is also okay. Of course, only if you drink it also.

Never let your guinea pigs drink puddle water or other filthy water.

 If you wouldn’t drink the water yourself, don’t allow your guinea pig to consume it.

All you need for your guinea pigs is room temperature water.

Guinea pigs have different tastes, that’s sure.

So during hot summer weather, you might try adding an ice cube or two to see whether your guinea pigs like it.

Always pay more attention to your guinea pig’s behaviors when you make a change, especially if you introduce new things, such as new types of fruits and vegetables, or new bedding.

If they don’t like something, you should just stop doing it.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Anything Else Apart from Water?

Guinea pigs should only consume water that has been freshly drawn and is clean.

Guinea pigs should never consume high-sugar, high-salt, or high-fat beverages because of the danger to their health.

Soda, juice, dairy products, sports drinks, and other drinks are also impermissible. 

Caffeine, chocolate, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine, and beer are also forbidden for guinea pigs.

The most you can do for your guinea pig is to add a drop or two of fresh lemon or orange juice that you just squeezed.

Never mix your guinea pig’s water with industrial sodas, sweeteners, aromas, and whatnots.

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

Guinea pigs need fresh water available to them at all times.

How often you need to change their water will depend on how many guinea pigs you have and how quickly they drink it.

A good rule of thumb is to change their water at least once a day, or even more if your guinea pigs drink from a water bowl.

Changing a guinea pig’s water in a water bottle is a must at least once a day.

Also, change the water in your guinea pig’s water bowl several times a day to prevent them from drinking contaminated water.

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

Guinea pigs are messy with their food and water. Besides, guinea pig feces can stray pretty far from its intended target, and get into their food and water bowls.

One disadvantage of food and water bowls is that guinea pig feces can contaminate them.

However, because a water bowl takes less effort than drinking from a water bottle, your guinea pig may prefer the bowl.

When purchasing a water bowl for your guinea pig, choose a style that won’t tip, since some guinea pigs like to lean against or walk over them. If you decide to give water bottles a try, keep in mind that guinea pigs love to chew on things, including water bottle tips.

Whether you offer your guinea pigs water in bottles or bowls, it is entirely up to you and your guinea pigs.

Test both options to see which one your guinea pig prefers.

They are not expensive and you may save cage space by mounting water bottles on the sides of your guinea pig’s cage.

Nonetheless, you might find that some guinea pigs will drink from both the bottle and the bowl, while other guinea pigs will just stick to one.

You might discover that your friends enjoy different things.

Keeping Water Bowls And Bottles Clean

Would you eat from the same, unclean plate or glass for weeks?

Of course not. Bacteria can develop when food is kept in unwashed containers.

Guinea pigs require unlimited access to fresh, clean water.

If your pet’s water bowl and bottles are cleaned daily with warm, soapy water and washed likewise, you are doing a great job.

Keep it up!

Dishwasher-safe bowls and bottles can be cleaned in a dishwasher.

Check for wear-and-tear on any bowl or bottle and replace them if necessary.

How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated?

The best way to tell if your guinea pig is dehydrated is to check for these key signs and symptoms:

– Sunken eyes
– Dry, tacky gums
– Lethargy
– Loss of appetite

If you suspect your guinea pig may be dehydrated, it’s important to contact your vet immediately.

Dehydration can lead to serious health complications, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Is It Normal for Guinea Pigs Not To Drink Much Water?

No, it is not normal for guinea pigs to not drink water.

Yet, your guinea pig can drink less water when you feed guinea pigs with too many watery veggies like cucumber, watermelon, or celery.

If your guinea pig is not drinking water at all, it could be a sign of a health problem and you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Dehydration can be very dangerous for guinea pigs and can lead to serious health problems.

So if you notice that your guinea pig isn’t drinking water, make sure to contact a veterinarian right away.

What Can I Do To Encourage My Guinea Pig To Drink Water?

There are a few things you can do to encourage your guinea pig to drink more water.

First, make sure they have easy access to fresh, clean water at all times. Place their water bottle in a location that is easily accessible to them, and check it regularly to ensure that the water is fresh and clean.

Secondly, you can try adding some flavoring to their water, such as a small amount of fruit juice or vegetable broth. This will make the water more appealing to them and may encourage them to drink more.

Finally, make sure they are getting enough hay in their diet, as this will help keep them hydrated. Offer them a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well, as these contain high levels of water which

Can a Guinea Pig Drink Too Much Water?

Guinea pigs are little furry sponges. Each day, on average, a guinea pig will consume between 100 and 200 milliliters (between 3 and 6 ounces) of water.

Lactating and pregnant female guinea pigs can drink a bit more than that, but it is not good if a guinea pig drinks much more.

So don’t ignore it if your guinea pig is glued to his water bottle and drinks too much, non-stop.

It’s ever good to be thirsty all the time, especially if it appears suddenly and for no apparent reason.

If you can’t find the reason for it, see a vet as soon as possible.

Why Would a Guinea Pig Drink Too Much Water?

There are a few reasons why your guinea pigs could drink more than they should.

1. Diabetes

Excessive drinking might be an indication of diabetes in guinea pigs.

Because of the high water intake, a guinea pig with diabetes urinates more frequently.

As a consequence, you may find yourself having to change the bedding more often than usual as a result of weight loss and increased hunger.

Increased appetite and weight loss are other symptoms of diabetes.

2. Heat

If the temperature in your guinea pig’s cage rises outside of normal ranges, he or she may be drinking more than usual.

Your guinea will drink more during hot summer days and be more thirsty, just as you are during warm weather.

In this case, don’t worry, because you know that your guinea pig drinks just because of the heat, to stay hydrated and cool down.

3. Kidney Failure

Guinea pigs can have kidney failure.

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys cease functioning and are unable to eliminate toxic waste products from the body.

Increased urination, weight loss, lethargy, and vomiting are all signs of kidney failure in guinea pigs, just like they are in humans.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs need water to stay hydrated and healthy, just like all other living beings.

They cannot stay without water for long.

When they are without water, they will start showing signs of dehydration within 12 hours.

And you already know that dehydration can be fatal.

So make sure that your guinea pigs always have access to fresh and clean water, as each guinea pig needs between 100 and 200 ml of water every day.


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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