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Water requirement for Guinea Pigs

Cute Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs consume water depending on the weather and food. If you give them high water content food they won’t drink water and during summer they drink water more than usual. It is essential to daily notice how much water they drink and to prevent dehydration.

Type of water for your Guinea Pig

  • Tap water contains many additives like chlorine and fluoride etc. These can affect animals or humans that have weak immune systems.
  • The distilled water should be avoided as it has the wrong pH, ionization, oxidation, and polarization potentials. Distilled water fails to provide the body with the necessary nutrients it requires.
  • Bottled water can be tap water and have additives. You can read the label to know what is in it.
  • For Guinea Pigs, the safest kind of water is the water which is safe for you it may be tap water or spring water. If it is safe for you then fine if not then don’t provide them.

How much should a Guinea Pig drink

An average guinea pig drinks around 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water every day. It all truly depends on each Guinea Pig. You need to make sure that your Guinea Pig always has access to clean water. If they get the required amount of water from food sources sometimes they don’t even drink water because of that.

Can You give Cold Water?

It is easy for a Guinea Pig to become overheated. If you see them becoming suddenly lethargic, it could be because of heat stress. You need to cool the little guy down as soon as possible.

Wipe them down with a cool refreshing cloth, but you should also give them some cool water to drink as soon as they are able. Try to avoid giving them water that is too cold though, it can be too much of a shock to their system.

Guinea Pig Wandering 1

Is tap water safe to my Guinea Pig

Tap water (water from a public supply) is not safe for Guinea Pigs to drink as it often contains chemicals and heavy metals. These can cause health problems and negatively affect the health and happiness of your Guinea Pig.

Chlorine is added to public water systems for disinfection purposes. While chlorine levels in tap water are often too low to cause significant health issues, chlorine can irritate your Guinea Pig’s eyes and make their skin very itchy! It’s always best to give your Guinea Pig water that has been carbon filtered.

Carbon filters are the only way to get rid of chlorine found in tap water. If you use carbon-filtered water, you won’t have to worry when your Guinea Pig is drinking, playing, splashing, or even blowing bubbles in the water. Exposure to high levels of chlorine (> 4 mg/L) can be a health concern for your Guinea Pig.

Can I offer dairy products

Guinea Pigs really love milk and other dairy products, it is not the best dietary choice for them. They are lactose intolerant and it could make them sick if they consume too much of it. Never rely solely on milk as their primary source of hydration as it could create a major imbalance in their diet.

You can give them some heavy cream but keep it in very small doses. This can be a great way to help your Guinea Pig to fill out and put on a few extra pounds if they are underweight. Some Guinea Pig owners give them the extra fatty milk only occasionally as a treat rather than as a normal part of their meal.

Guinea Pig Hides Cage 1

Forcefeeding water

Never force-feed water to your Guinea Pigs as they can aspirate into his lungs. Instead, give your pet food with high water content like watermelon and/or soak the vegetables in water before you give them to your pet.

Those options will give them enough water that they will need. Also, make sure that their water bottle is working by squeezing them.

Water bowl/Water bottle

You have to either use a water bowl or water bottle for your guinea pigs to drink. Personally, I would suggest using a water bottle so that you can measure how much they are drinking also it is easy for them to access. If you use a water bowl they may take a bath or the water may contain any flies since it is open.

Cleaning water bowl/water bottle

As a Guinea Pig owner, you need to clean your Guinea Pig’s water bottle or water dish every day. Bacteria can grow in a dirty water dish or water bottle and can contaminate the water within. Drinking that bacteria-infested water will definitely make your Guinea Pig sick.

  • Wash the water bottle or water dish every day using soap and warm water.
  • Every morning fill the clean bowl or the bottle with water.
  • Remove any ring or buildup formed along the dish or bottle using vinegar or baking soda.
  • Water bottles are a little harder to clean. You need to use a long narrow brush like the ones that are used to clean baby bottles that easily fit through the neck of the bottle. There are many wide neck bottles available in the market nowadays that are very easy to clean.
  • If the bottle is not cleaned for a few days, you might witness the growth of algae in the bottle. Never use bleach in order to clean your bottles as residue from the bleach contaminates the water and messes up the Guinea Pig’s digestive system.
  • This can cause your Guinea Pig to get extremely sick and may even result in death. Bleach will burn the stomach lining, intestinal tissue, mouth, and esophagus of your Guinea Pig.
Fresh Water

Dehydration in Guinea Pigs

A lack of water can cause dehydration in Guinea Pigs. Symptoms include:

  • Dry gums
  • Excessive squinting
  • Dull eyes
  • Exhaustion
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation

Dehydration can also result from diarrhea and vomiting. Chlorine in their drinking water can cause digestive issues and dehydration in Guinea Pigs.

Caring a dehydrated Guinea Pig

The first step to taking care of a dehydrated Guinea Pig is to take them to the vet. They will receive a proper diagnosis and be treated with medication. Daily Monitor the water intake of Guinea Pigs so that you can easily identify whether they are drinking water or not.  

Next, ensure that your Guinea Pig is taking water and replenishing lost electrolytes. You can do this by adding a small amount of Pedialyte with water – 1-part Pedialyte to 1 part water.

Ideally use unflavored Pedialyte if you can. You can also add 1-part Gatorade with 3 parts water. Add the mix to the water dish or bottle. If your Guinea Pig doesn’t want to take the mixture, use a syringe and manually administer the electrolyte drink.

Fill a small syringe with the mixture, hold your Guinea Pig with one hand, and press the mix into the Guinea Pig’s mouth.  Be careful not to force the water into the lungs. Instead, press a small amount of the mixture on the side of the mouth, allowing the Guinea Pig to swallow comfortably at their own pace. 

Final Thoughts

As well as food, your Guinea Pig will also need water. This is why you need to ensure that fresh water is always available for them when they feel thirsty.

A lack of water will cause the cell repair to slow down and the immune system to become weakened. A Guinea Pig that is not drinking enough water is going to be more likely to get sick, and the same applies to people. Topping up their water should be done more often if you’re feeding them dry food.