Guinea pigs need to keep themselves hydrated to remain healthy. So we must provide them with an appropriate source of water. But, the winter season can make it difficult. If the cold weather freezes your guinea pig’s water bottle, then your guinea pig will become thirsty or sick from dehydration. It would help if you made some arrangements to stop the guinea pig water bottle from freezing.
Rotating out the frozen water bottles with the unfrozen bottles that are kept indoors is the best way to prevent water from freezing. Getting a sippy bottle and covering the water bottle of your guinea pig can also prevent the water bottle from freezing. A heated water bottle is another great option to go for.
You can also use water sources that are resistant to freezing as compared to bottles. These water sources include automated water systems and crocks.
But still, these methods freeze the water. Although, these bottles may also freeze overtime but they re much more resilient than normal water bottles.
Guinea pigs housed outside or in a shed is more likely to go through these situations. Cold weather can be terrible for your guinea pig’s health. So, be prepared!
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Prevent guinea pig water bottle freezing
Water is essential for the health of guinea pigs. Dehydration causes loss in the weight and also affects the heart rate of guinea pigs. Dehydration can lead to organ failure in guinea pigs and may even lead to life-threatening conditions if ignored.
Guinea pigs need to drink at least 200ml of water every day. Ideally, guinea pigs should have to drink enough fresh water all the time. Also, guinea pigs will need more heat sources, or we can say energy in the form of food and water to maintain their body temperature in the cold weather.
However, when the temperature comes below the freezing point, how will you make sure that your guinea pig gets enough hydration?
Here are some of the methods that can help prevent the water bottle of your guinea pig from freezing during the winter.
Bring your guinea pig’s inside
It is essential to bring your guinea pig inside the house before the winter seasons as it can be dangerous for guinea pigs to survive in the cold if the temperature falls below 16° Celsius. If by any means, the temperature outside is reaching a freezing point, then it is not the best living environment for your guinea pigs.
Your guide pig can suffer from many health issues if the temperature drops below 16° Celsius, and it can cause life-threatening conditions for your guinea pig.
Even if the hutch is well insulated and temperature inside is warmer than outside, there is still a risk of water bottle freezing especially when the temperature continues to fall.
The owner of a guinea pig needs to make sure that they change the water daily. However, don’t try to give warm water to your guinea pig as they may not drink it, which may also lead to dehydration.
If the temperature drops below the freezing point, the owner needs to cover the guinea pig’s water bottle to prevent them from freezing.
Swap the bottles
The owner needs to check the water bottle at least twice a day to ensure that the water has not frozen.
Also, they need to regularly exchange guinea pigs’ water supply so that if the water is frozen, then the guinea pigs will not remain dehydrated for long.
Guinea pigs can drink a lot of water in the winter season if the owner provides them with greens in limited amounts, as guinea pigs will not be able to obtain enough moisture from the greens.
Choose the right type of bottle
The spout of your guinea pig’s water bottle can also help keep the supply of water unfrozen. There are two types of different spouts that you can choose while picking the water bottles. The first one is a sippy spout, and another one is a metal spout that includes a ball, which lifts up and down to discharge the water.
In the winter season, the metal-ball design can freeze in place. Hence, the water inside the bottle can be unfrozen, but the guinea pig will not be able to reach it.
You can differentiate this with the design of the sippy spout. The water will begin to freeze in those uncovered areas from where the air can pass away. That means that sippy cups will probably freeze the water from the top only. Thus, it will allow the bottom to pass out the water.
Especially in the cold night, it will not prevent the water bottle from freezing it entirely. A sippy spout can be slow in the freezing process, so you are not always forced to change the water bottle. It may even last a cold night with no work from your end.
Use some insulation to prevent freezing
The insulation is the best way to keep your guinea pig water bottle warm. It acts just like the guinea pig’s fur coat which protects them from cold.
Similarly, the insulation protects the water from the cold air so that it will not freeze. You can make the homemade insulator easily on your own by using the items in your house.
Collect a thermal sock and some bubble wrap to make a bottle insulator. For this purpose, a thick wool sock is best. To create it, just wrap the bubble wrap on every side of the water bottle and then wrap the sock over it.
Use smaller containers instead of bottle
Instead of a big bottle, you can try to use a small container to keep the water for your guinea pigs from freezing. A guinea pig will finish the water immediately in a small container before it gets a chance to freeze.
That needs more planning as compared to the other methods. You will need to have more water bottles that can fill immediately, especially when you have multiple guinea pigs.
Eventually, you will get to know how much time your guinea pig takes to finish a bottle. Make sure you keep them full all the time otherwise, you will be leaving your guinea pig without water which can be terrible for them.
But, this method will work only with constant monitoring from your end.
Consider buying a heated bottle
Heated water bottles are best for those who don’t think much about the cost. Heated water bottles are those designs that have a built-in heater, which will be plugged into the electricity.
To keep the water thawed, they are equipped with a built-in thermostat.
This method is not dependable on your monitoring and it can work out well for some owners.
However, a major drawback is the stock of heated water bottles is very less in the market, thus if the bottle breaks down, it might not be an easy fix.
Also, the wire of heated water bottles is designed so that your guinea pig will be unable to chew it.
The heated water bottles can be costly. Thus, it can be expensive for those owners who have multiple guinea pigs.
However, it can also work as a typical water bottle in summer. You will be able to use it not only for the winter season but for summer as well. All you have to do is unplug the heated water bottle and use it like another water bottle.
Keep the shelter warm
Keeping your guinea pig shelter warm can help ensure that the water source of your guinea pig remains unfrozen. There are several ways to protect the enclosure of your guinea pig.
An insulator can be placed on top of your guinea pig’s enclosure. You can use any kind of insulating material from your own house.
For example, thick bedding or a tarpaulin could be a good option. When placing an insulator, make sure that there should be a small gap from which the air can enter.
Apart from that, you can also put the hay inside the enclosure. The straw can be suitable for holding and trapping heat. Thus it can warm the enclosure.
Also, guinea pigs can dig a hole or tunnel inside the hay-filled enclosure to maintain the heat of their bodies. On the other hand, you can put a heating pad also.
Use a bowl instead
By using bowls or crocks, you can get rid of a water bottle completely. Water Bottles are not best to keep the water clean or fresh as compared to bowls or crocks. However, in a bowl, it is easy to prevent the water from freezing.
Similarly, there are many varieties of heated crocks of bowls that are available in the market. It is different from heated water bottles, as you are not restricted only in a single option.
Bowls are also more dependable as compared to heated water bottles. Because the thermostat and heater are placed outside the bowl.
But in the case of the heated water bottle, all the essential technology should be inside the unit, which makes it more prone to damage.
You can create a heated crock on your own if you don’t like to purchase it. You will need to set a heating pad below the metal container. Metal is best as a heat conductor, so, unfortunately, this will not work with other materials.
If you prefer to rotate the water sources, a normal bowl can be easy to go with.
Also, you can remove the ice from inside a crock very quickly as compared to water bottles. That makes swapping out the ice with fresh water a lot easier as you don’t need to wait for the ice to thaw.
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How to fix a frozen guinea pig water bottle?
Melting the frozen water can be energy and time-consuming compared to avoiding it in the first place from freezing.
But still, you have a few options if you cannot prevent the water bottle of your guinea pig from freezing.
These are the two essential ways to thaw the water bottle of a guinea pig without breaking it.
Dip in warm water
It is an easy way to unfreeze the frozen water bottle by dipping it in the warm water. On the other hand, to make it melt, you can pour the warm water on the bottle. However, both methods are time-consuming.
It is better to use warm water in place of hot water when you want to melt the water bottles.
It doesn’t matter what material your bottle is made up of; due to sudden change in the temperature, your water bottle can crack or break down. So, make sure the water is warm and not too hot.
Also, you need to be safe as any involvement of hot water can be risky. Also, it can be a lot more time-consuming process.
You can use a cooker, either with wood or propane, to bring the water at the proper temperature. Especially in remote areas, this can be an energy-saving way to melt the water bottles.
Avoid hot steam, and don’t try to touch the water with your hands when you are using warm water. Also, ensure that your guinea pig is much far away from the hot water sources.
Try to create a routine if you have multiple guinea pigs, and you want them to have a constant supply of unfrozen water.
You can place the water bottle in the hot water tub to melt it. And exchange the frozen water bottles with these melted bottles. Repeat this process by dipping these frozen water bottles in hot water to maintain a steady supply of water for your guinea pigs.
Beat the bottle to break the ice
Clunking is another method that requires a hammer to smash the ice inside the bottle. That could be helpful, but it can damage the bottle. It is easy to break the ice because the water bottles are made up of plastic.
Even if you follow this method, you will have to melt the ice from inside the water bottle. The ice will quickly melt when the ice is beaten into small pieces. However, you should only use the bottle once it is filled with fresh water.
How long can guinea pigs go without water?
A guinea pig can survive for 12 to 24 hours without drinking the water. However, water is very much crucial for guinea pigs. The Guinea pig should need to have enough supply of water.
Otherwise, they can suffer from dehydration, which can become a serious issue and even create a life-threatening situation.
Also read: How long can guinea pigs live without water?