Dehydration is a major concern for humans and guinea pigs as well. That’s because water plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the body, including food digestion, blood circulation, and waste removal.
As a guinea pig owner, it can be a significant concern if your guinea pig has not sipped water for a long time. But why is your guinea pig not drinking water? Is it sick? Unhappy? Or are you just overreacting?
Health issues like dental problems, respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, etc. can decrease your guinea pig’s appetite for water. Temperature fluctuation and dietary changes can also reduce their thirst. If you suspect your guinea pig is not drinking enough, then consult a vet immediately.
Although you must also keep in mind that sometimes owners do overreact in certain situations.
Especially if you are a new owner and you see that one of your guinea pig is sipping a lot of water while other is not sipping at all.
However, you must understand that both the situation is ideal if there is no significant change in their water consumption.
Let us learn more about the water consumption of guinea pigs and at what point you should be concerned about your guinea pigs.
How much water should a guinea pig drink per day?
On average, a healthy guinea pig can drink anywhere between 50-300ml of water every day.
The consumption of water is dependent on a variety of factors, including the age, size, diet of your guinea pigs.
Apart from these seasonal factors and diet also plays a vital role in determining the consumption of water in your guinea pigs.
Most guinea pig owners start worrying as they compare the consumption of one guinea pig to others.
As they are living together and eating similar food, the water consumption of both should also be the same. Right?
No, not at all. In fact, the consumption might differ completely between one guinea pig and other.
One of you guinea pig might be drinking 50-60ml of water while others might be drinking 100-120ml of water. And in both circumstances, the situation is an ideal one.
You should never compare the consumption of one guinea pig with the other one.
However, what would be more of a concern is if your guinea pig suddenly stopped drinking water or is drinking less water than they used to.
You can learn more about the water consumption of your guinea pigs from our in-depth article.
Is it normal for guinea pigs to not drink water?
No, it is not normal for guinea pigs to not drink any water. They will always need a sip or two to keep their body hydrated.
If your guinea pig is not drinking water at all, then it means something is wrong with them.
They could be in some physical trauma or some mental one. We must look out for other signs in them to find out a possible cause.
Some of the common causes include:
- Dental problems: Dental problems are a common occurrence in guinea pigs. In most cases, their molars grow inward, hurting their gums and chin, which makes eating and drinking painful for our guinea pigs.
- Stress: Stress is one of the significant mental problems that can reduce the appetite for food and water in your guinea pigs. A stressed-out guinea pig will hide more and are less likely to come out and eat or drink.
- Dietary changes: Dietary changes can also affect the intake of water in your guinea pigs. Feeding more vegetables or increasing watery vegetables in your guinea pig’s diet can fulfill their hydration need. Thus, they are less likely to drink water.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Health problems like bloating, GI stasis, etc. can hamper the digestive system of your guinea pigs. Thus, your guinea pigs will be less likely to eat or drink anything.
- Respiratory problems: Guinea pigs are also susceptible to cold and pneumonia. This can cause breathing difficulties in guinea pigs, sometimes leaving them with the only option to breathe in from the mouth. Thus, affecting their regular appetite.
- Living environment: Temperature fluctuations and living environment also directly impact the consumption of water in your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs will drink less in a colder climate.
- Severe pain: Pain caused by any significant surgical procedure or any health problems, including injury, can impact the consumption of food and water in your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs tend to hide more and avoid food and water when they are in pain.
What do you do if your guinea pig won’t drink water?
If you feel that your guinea pig is not drinking enough water, then first you need to start monitoring the consumption of their water.
You can either mark the bottle with a marker and see if they drink or not or use a surveillance system using a camera to monitor the same.
Never let your guinea pigs alone to recover on their own as the problem could go from mild to severe in no time.
If you find out your guinea pig is not drinking water at all, then it should be a matter of concern, and you should reach out to a professional vet immediately.
In most cases, you will notice that your guinea pig is drinking some water, but the amount might not be up to the par.
We will have a closer look at some circumstances that guinea pig owner faces regarding the same.
Guinea pig not drinking water from bottle
Guinea pigs might struggle to drink water from their bottle in some circumstances. These include:
- The nozzle of the bottle is not working
- The water contains some additives(vitamin supplement)
- Chemical like fluoride and chlorine in water can also reduce consumption
If you notice anything like this, you can either offer them fresh water in a bowl or clean their bottle and refill the same. In most cases, they will start sipping water as soon as you fix the particular problem.
New guinea pig not drinking water
It is usual for a new guinea pig to take some time before they get adjusted in their new environment.
They might not be feeling safe and secure; thus, they tend to hide more and come out only when they think no one is around.
This can surely hamper their food and water consumption. You must let them feel home and provide them with multiple sources of water.
Either add 2-3 bottles at a different height or add one bottle and a bowl to begin with. Once they get settled in, you can remove the bowl.
Baby guinea pig not drinking water
Baby guinea pigs are nursed for 3-4 weeks.
During the nursing period, the baby guinea pigs will feed on their mother’s milk for the first few days, and then the mother guinea pig will start teaching them to chew on food and drink water from bottles.
You shouldn’t be worried about the baby guinea pigs until and unless they are with their mother.
Once separated, you can provide them a water bowl if you feel they are not drinking.
Although in most cases, they will start drinking once they are 3-4 weeks old.
Guinea pig not drinking water or eating
If your guinea pig is not eating and drinking at all, then it means they are suffering from some significant health problems.
It is likely something that will need professional medical care, and thus it is recommended to visit a vet immediately.
Please note that guinea pig’s health will deteriorate within a few hours itself, and therefore you must rush them immediately.
Health problems like overgrown teeth, malocclusion of teeth, dental problems, respiratory problems, digestive problems are some common issues that can impact the diet of our guinea pigs.
How do I get my guinea pig to drink more water?
Most of the hydration need is fulfilled if you serve a well-balanced diet to your guinea pigs. Guinea pig needs a balanced diet with hay as a significant part of it followed with a cup of fresh vegetables, some pellets, and occasional treats.
However, you can encourage guinea pigs to drink more water by applying some of these tricks:
- Serve good quality timothy hay as a significant part of your guinea pig’s diet. Dry food like hay encourages guinea pigs to drink more water.
- Try placing multiple bottles at a different height to see what works. Sometimes putting the bottle too high or too low can also make it difficult for guinea pigs to drink.
- Apply some honey or other treat pieces at the tip of the bottle. This draws guinea pigs towards the bottle.
- Choose fresh and clean water that is at room temperature or a little cooler. Guinea pigs don’t enjoy it if the water is warm.
- If you are adding any additives like vitamin c drops or anything similar, then cut it out altogether. Some guinea pigs don’t drink the water if it has something added to it.
- Provide them a larger play area. As guinea pigs run and exercise they will get thirsty and drink more water.
- You can also serve watery veggies like cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. if you feel your guinea pig is dehydrated.
- Visiting a vet would be a great choice as well if your guinea pigs feel dehydrated.
How can I tell if my guinea pig is dehydrated?
You can simply test out for signs of dehydration in guinea pigs by pulling the skin at the shoulder blade of your guinea pigs. If the skin snaps back immediately, then they are well hydrated. If the skin forms a tent-like structure and takes a few seconds to get back, then your guinea pigs might be dehydrated.
Can guinea pigs die from no water?
No, guinea pigs won’t die from dehydration if you are serving them a well-balanced diet full of hay and vegetables. However, it is crucial to provide access to fresh and clean water at all times to your guinea pigs, as water is a basic need for all living beings.