How to encourage my guinea pigs to drink more water

How to Encourage Your Guinea Pig To Drink More Water

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Are you feeling frustrated that your guinea pig isn’t drinking enough water to stay hydrated? Well, in this article you will learn 5 tried and true tips to get your guinea pigs to drink more water. 

How much water do guinea pigs need? 

Guinea pigs should drink about 100mls (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water every day per pig. However, they can drink anywhere from 50mls to 300mls a day, depending on their diet, activity, environment and age. 

Water is crucial for all living things, and guinea pigs are no exception. They should have easy unlimited access to fresh, clean water every day. 

How long can guinea pigs go without water? 

Please don’t try this, but guinea pigs can go up to 12 hours without water, less if they are sick, pregnant, or a senior piggy. However, guinea pigs can go into GI stasis in as little as 6-8 hours without eating. They should have access to clean fresh water at all times.

How do I know when my guinea pig is dehydrated?

Here are some signs that your guinea pig’s body is dehydrated and lacking water. 

  • Poor appetite
  • Small amounts of darker colour urine
  • Thick sticky saliva 
  • Hard and dry poop 
  • Crusty eyes 
  • Rough hair coat 
  • Very dry nose 

Keep in mind that dehydration is also a key sign of heat stroke, which is unfortunately very common among guinea pigs during summer.

guinea pig

Why isn’t my guinea pig drinking water?

There are several factors why your guinea pig is suddenly not drinking water. Before you get too concerned, make sure to check these 6 things first.

1. Are they drinking from anything new?

Meaning, do they regularly drink from this bottle? Are they used to water bowls? New things can sometimes make your piggies skeptical about it and they might not know how to drink from a new bottle or bowl.

If the water bottle is constantly leaking or is uncomfortable for your guinea pig to drink from, purchasing a leak-free water bottle can significantly help this problem.

2. Check their water bottles. Can they drink from it? Is the metal drinking ball stuck? 

If the water bottle is stuck and you can’t feel water dripping when you put your finger in the metal ball, you might need to get another bottle. 

3. What about the height? Is the water bottle placed too high or low? 

The correct height for your guinea pig to drink from is very important. If the bottle is hard for your guinea pig to drink, they will stop drinking. 

4. Look closely at the water, then pour it out. Are there any particles inside or in the cap? 

Guinea pigs are messed drinkers, so sometimes there are particles in the water. That’s why it’s important to change all the water out frequently every day.

5. What else did you change? The source of water? Water bottle? 

Sometimes Guinea pigs can be very picky eaters and drinkers. They would rather starve to death than eat certain foods they don’t like. 

6. How long is this happening for?

If your Guinea pig has had lots of veggies with high water content that day, they will need less water from the water bottle. 

water bottle for guinea pigs

My guinea pig still won’t drink water. 

When your piggy suddenly stops drinking water and you go through the troubleshooting list, but the result is the same, you will have to take your guinea pig to the vet immediately. 

That is because not drinking or eating is a sign and symptom of many illnesses and it’s very important to treat them as soon as possible. 

What kind of water should my guinea pig drink?

There are many kinds of water – tap, boiled, filtered, water from hoses, distilled, etc. The rule of thumb is as long as you would drink that clean water daily, it is safe for your guinea pig to drink. 

However, there are guinea pigs like mine who are very prone to having bladder stones and therefore would steer clear of tap water. That’s because tap water has more minerals, including calcium, which is something that can cause bladder stones in guinea pigs if they have excess amounts of it.

And for that reason, I prefer to give my guinea pigs distilled water. 

When should my guinea pig be drinking even more water than usual?

  • When it is sick
  • Post-surgery 
  • In hot weather
  • When they only have access to dry food

How can I get my guinea pig to drink more water?

Here are some more ways to sneak more water into your guinea pig’s diet effortlessly and effectively. 

1. Place multiple water bottles in different places

Guinea pigs have different preferences in water bottles, so different kinds of water bottles help too. Having multiple water bottles is great weather if you have only one guinea pig or 10. That’s because sometimes guinea pigs will claim one water bottle as their own.

Putting them in different places, especially placing one near their eating area, can encourage your piggies to drink more water as they pass by. Just like humans, you’re more likely to drink water if it’s right beside you than if it’s 10 feet away.

liquid vitamin c drops or vitamin c tablets for guinea pigs?

2. Remove liquid vitamin C supplements

Yes, I know, I know, vitamin C is very important, but lots of guinea pig owners, including me, noticed that your guinea pigs will less likely be drinking the water that has liquid vitamin C supplements.

If you’ve ever smelled them or accidentally gotten some drops onto your hands, you’ll know how strong the smell is. It’s no surprise that these drops have a weird and unpleasant smell and taste.

So, I don’t recommend putting liquid supplements in your guinea pigs’ water. Of course, if your vet instructs you to, listen to your vet instead. But store-bought liquid vitamin C drops can easily be replaced by vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, or foods like healthy pellets for guinea pigs.

Vitamin C cookie tablets are also an option too, many vets recommend this one, because it has the least amount of trash ingredients.

3. Wash your veggies before feeding

We all know it is mandatory to wash your veggies before feeding your guinea pigs, especially for vegetables like cauliflower. But hear me out: sometimes we pre-chop the vegetables and store them in the fridge, and that’s completely fine. However, vegetables tend to lose some water content due to that.

So before you feed your potatoes, rinse your chopped veggies through the water again and don’t shake the excess water off. This will add more water content to your vegetables. Trust me, the water content adds up.

can guinea pigs eat bell peppers?

4. Don’t Disturb your guinea pig when it’s drinking

I don’t know about you, but my guinea pigs get distracted very easily, especially when they are drinking water.

When they see me or hear a noise, they will leave their water bottles and go to the sound source, or me. To avoid that, try not to make any noise and leave your guinea pigs be when they are drinking water. Wait until they walk away from their water bottles first before interacting with them.

Key point: wait until they WALK AWAY.

That’s because guinea pigs often take breaks in between sips, sometimes grooming, or resting. So in simpler terms, don’t distract them.

5. Feed them cucumbers

The classic, but it works. Cucumbers have around 96% water, they are delicious and a great vegetable for your guinea pigs because it is also low in sugar.

Other vegetables and fruits that are high in water content include celery, lettuce, tomatoes and apples.

And that leads us to the final tip…

healthy cucumber celery juice recipe for guinea pigs

6. Make your own cocktail for your guinea pigs

Cocktail or juice, you choose, but I created this recipe for guinea pig owners who are trying to get their guinea pigs to drink more water without forcing them.

This juice is easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients – cucumbers, celery, and water. This recipe is very effective, and my guinea pigs drank the entire bottle of it in just 24 hours!

Here’s the recipe.


Wrap up

I hope these tips can help your guinea pig to drink more water, but remember to take it to the vet if it stops eating or still doesn’t drink water after you go through the troubleshooting process.

If you found this article helpful, please check out my youtube channel, where I post video versions of these articles, shorts, as well as vlogs.

Remember to feed your potatoes!

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