Guinea pigs are constantly eating which requires them to consume just as much water. With most of their food being dry hay and sometimes pellets, they require a lot of water to enable smooth digestion processes.
You can provide water for your pet through water bottles or water bowls. Whether you are heading out for a couple of days or keep forgetting to refill their water, you may be curious about how long the little animals can go without that vital necessity.
Although it would cruel to leave them long enough to find that out, let’s look into it, in addition to their drinking tendencies.
How long can guinea pigs go without water?
Guinea pigs can stay for as long as 48 hours without water after which it becomes fatal for them. As a rule of thumb, you should make sure that your pet is hydrated at all times and never leave them without water for more than 12 hours. Dehydration affects guinea pig health and may lead to organ failure. Guinea pigs require water based on the temperatures, their age, physical state, and the types of foods they are feeding on.
Factors to consider for your guinea pig’s water needs
When it comes to your pet’s water requirements, you should put into consideration factors like:
- Current temperatures – they will need more water during hot weather.
- Age – young and maturing guinea pigs require more water compared to older guinea pigs.
- Physical state – guinea pigs will require more intake if they have more weight, are lactating, or pregnant.
- Types of food they eat – if you normally feed your pet hay and pellets you will need to give them more water compared to if you were feeding them leafy greens and veggies. This is because hay and pellets are dry needing water for digestion while greens and veggies contain water.
What brings about dehydration in guinea pigs
Dehydration in guinea pigs is brought about by various factors. They include:
Blocked water bottle
Water bottles may be blocked by hay straws or food particles. This makes your pet unable to access the water.
You could be providing your guinea pig with less water than they require. A good sign of this is if you usually find their water depleted. You should also keep in mind that more guinea pigs will need more water.
A water bottle could malfunction and begin leaking its contents leading to a soaked cage. This could make your pet seem to be drinking more water than usual. So if you find empty bottles always check for leakage first.
The ball bearing that regulates the amount of water sipping through could get stuck blocking the water from moving down the bottle.
Guinea pigs are prone to heatstroke if exposed to a lot of heat and high temperatures. Heatstroke brings about dehydration in your pet.
If a guinea pig is unwell, just like humans, they will have a hard time drinking water to their daily requirements.
New guinea pigs may be scared and anxious which would hinder them from drinking water as they are supposed to.
Signs that your guinea pig is dehydrated
If your guinea pig is dehydrated, they will show the following signs:
- Urine will be darker than usual with a strong smell.
- Urinate less than usual.
- Excrete hard feces.
- Lack of appetite.
- Dry dull eyes.
- Lethargic and inactive.
- Skin doesn’t go back to normal if pinched.
- Produce thick saliva.
What to do in case your guinea pig is dehydrated
If your guinea pig seems dehydrated, the first call of action is to check why they are dehydrated in the first place. Check for the factors above then take the appropriate measures like:
- Providing at least two water bottles so that if one malfunctions, they will have an extra.
- Ensuring that the water bottles are not leaking or blocked.
- Offering your pet veggies with high water content like cucumbers, iceberg lettuce & celery, and fruits like watermelon, grapes & berries.
- Checking their temperatures and where their cage is located to avoid overheating and heatstroke.
- Having a water source nearby if your guinea pig is exercising or playing outside their cage.
- Using a syringe to give water if the pet is unwell or unable to drink the water for themselves like if they have heatstroke.
Things to ensure while hydrating your guinea pig
Hydration is vital for your pet for good health and energy. While hydrating your pet:
- Make sure that you provide clean water at all times and change it often. More so if you are using a bowl as water in a bowl gets dirty fast with hay, food particles, and waste.
- Wash their water bottles and bowls often to avoid build-up, mold, and bacteria.
- Provide both water bottle and bowl to know which one your guinea pig prefers. The bowl is easier to drink from, should be ceramic to avoid getting chewed on, and heavy to prevent upturning. Water in bottles does not get contaminated fast, doesn’t need to be changed daily and bottles hold more water.
- Do not add Vitamin C tablets or drops in their water as the potency of Vitamin C deteriorates fast and loses effectiveness. Instead, give the vitamin using a syringe or mix it with their food.
- If your pet is not taking water as per their requirements, you can add some fruit juice in their water to make it more enjoyable for them. Make sure that the juice is pure without any added sugar. Do not add sugar or salt to their water either.
- If you are going away for a day or two, have someone keeping check on your pet. That could be a friend coming to your house or you could take them to a vet or pet shop.
Water is vital for all living things and guinea pigs are not an exception. You should not leave your pets without water for long periods of time.
Always have an extra bottle in case of malfunctioning. Provide the means of drinking that your guinea pig likes whether it’s the bowl or bottle, although each method has it’s good and bad.