How do I get my guinea pig to drink more water?
Have you noticed that your guinea pig doesn’t drink water or doesn’t drink enough ? You are actually right to be worried because it is very important that your animal hydrates itself especially when it is hot ; for a guinea pig, water is as important as hay, it is a vital food for him.
To get your guinea pig to drink more water you must first understand why he doesn’t drink enough, it could be that his bottle is just blocked, his teeth are too long and he can’t use the bottle or you just give him a little too much vegetable and he almost doesn’t need to take water from his water bowl.
If you want to encourage your guinea pig to use its water trough, replace one third (⅓) of the water in the bottle by orange juice (natural) and let your guinea pig taste it, be careful, this solution is temporary because it is too sweet, this solution will end up making your pet addicted to sugar and obese, it is to be used only in case of emergency and severe dehydration!
How much water should a guinea pig drink ?
Guinea pig needs one tenth (1/10) of its weight in water every day under normal circumstances because this amount of water can double in case of heat, so a one kilogram guinea pig will need 100 to 200 ml of water every day. Some guinea pigs actually drink only 50 ml, so don’t worry if this is the usual amount your pet drinks, and if it doesn’t show signs of dehydration. .
Don’t expect your guinea pig to drink so much water directly from its bottle because it also eats vegetables and gets water from its food as well.
How do you recognize a guinea pig that is suffering from dehydration?
If your guinea pig suffers from dehydration, it will almost stop feeding and become less dynamic, it will also start to breathe a little faster and you will also notice a jerky breathing that you can hear, and during a severe dehydration the guinea pig will risk convulsions and it is very urgent to make it drink water with a syringe or a pepette and take it to see its veterinarian.
What is the risk if my guinea pig does not drink enough water ?
If your guinea pig refuses to drink its water for one reason or another, it could well risk dehydration, it will have difficulty to regulate its body temperature.
Not only that, because if your guinea pig doesn’t drink enough water, he will have problems of intestinal transit (risk of constipation) and especially a deficiency in trace elements.
Why doesn’t my guinea pig drink enough water ?
1- Your guinea pig consumes too many vegetables:
For example, if you are in the habit of giving your guinea pig too many vegetables, he will actually get his water from these vegetables and he will not use his watering trough too often.
So make sure that you do not give more than 100 gr/Kg of fresh vegetables to your guinea pig as he also needs to drink water directly from his bottle.
The guinea pig needs to drink water, so avoid exceeding its daily dose of vegetables, especially cucumbers, lettuce or endives, which are very rich in water.read this to know more about how to feed your piggies .
2- The incisors of your guinea pig are too big and prevent it from seeing :
One of the reasons why guinea pigs don’t use their drinker is that they can’t do it anymore because their teeth have become too long !
You may have neglected your guinea pig, he doesn’t consume enough hay and his teeth don’t wear them out and they have become too long, so check your guinea pig’s teeth.
3-Your guinea pig does not drink because the water trough is blocked:
It could be that your guinea pig doesn’t know how to use the drinker yet or the drinker is simply out of order and it is necessary to unclog it if something observed it or to change it if it doesn’t work anymore, it is for this reason that it is advised to leave a small bowl full of fresh water at the disposal of your piggies if you are going to be away for a long time, you don’t know if the drinker will remain functional during your absence !!
4- Your guinea pig doesn’t drink enough water because he is sick :
It may be that your pet does not drink its water because it cannot cuz of the illness, it may prefer to stay quiet in its shelter and not to tie itself or drink anymore.
If this is the case, you will have to bring the food closer to your guinea pig, try to give him more vegetables and more often pieces of fruit so that he regains strength and especially you must give him water with a syringe.
Fill a small syringe with special mineral water for infants, remove the needle and insert the tip of the syringe gently into the mouth of your guinea pig.
Gently push the plunger of the syringe at the same rate as your guinea pig swallows and swallows the water.
Stop just when your pet stops swallowing the water to avoid getting wet and risking a cold.
Continue to make him drink with the pipette until he is well and you must also ask the advice of his veterinarian.
5-Your guinea pig refuses to drink water because its bottle or bowl is dirty or smelly:
Your guinea pig will never drink water that has been standing for days and smells bad or musty, so you should wash your guinea pig’s bottle or bowl with hot water at least once a week to prevent algae from forming in it and making your guinea pig sick.
Your guinea pig will have a goatee full of vegetal remains when he finishes eating and he will put some in his bowl every time he goes to drink and this is what will give a bad smell to the water especially in hot weather.
This kind of problem happens when the bottle or the bowl is big enough and does not need to be refilled every day, so do not fall into this trap.
6-Your guinea pig is not drinking enough water because of toothache.
Your guinea pig doesn’t want to drink any more because maybe he has bitten by mistake the metal gutter of his water bottle and it has hurt his teeth and he doesn’t want to feel this inconvenience anymore, you will have to give him water in a ceramic bowl preferably so that he doesn’t spill it easily.
All you have to do is listen to the sound of your guinea pig’s teeth rattling against this piece of metal every time it goes drinking.
This can also be caused by the water being too cold.
7-Your Piggies don’t drink enough because they’re just abit scared
If you just got them and the level of the water bottle of your piggies does not seem to go down know that this is normal, they must be a little scared after they have moved into a new home, they do not venture too much outside their shelters and since drinking water from the bottle takes a little time, your piggies prefer to stay a little bit to their thirst than to venture outside. Give them just a little time and a little more fresh veggies until they get used to your home and their new environment and you of course, you have to tame and socialize your piggies first.
What is the recommended water quality for guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs only drink lukewarm water at room temperature. You must avoid giving them tap water because it is too hard and they risk kidney stones.
Mineral water is the best water that you can give to your piggies, just avoid too mineralized water and use those intended for babies and infants.
Don’t give your guinea pig tap water unless you filter it first as it is usually too hard (more than 15 mg of Calcium per liter!) It is recommended that the presence of minerals be less than 500 mg/liter of water or 500 ppm/liter and low in calcium (calcium less than 10 mg/liter of water, preferably Ca < 2% when you read the label on the mineral water bottle) to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Rainwater is also recommended, do not give it to your guinea pig, especially if you live in the city, because it is very acidic and it could make your pet sick and cause digestive problems.
Should I use a Bowl or Bottle with a metal non-drip mouthpiece for my Guinea Pig’s watering ?
The only advantage of a bottle is that it keeps your guinea pig’s water clean and it can’t pour it on the floor and wet its bedding, thus causing hygiene problems in the cage and risking your guinea pig catching a cold .
But the bottles as drinkers are difficult to use because the guinea pig has to make extra efforts to raise its head and thus bend its spine to finally stay in this somewhat difficult position as long as possible because it has only access to a drip system !
Personally, I would recommend you to give the water to your guinea pig in a ceramic bowl, heavy enough so that he can’t spill it, you’ll just have to put it in the opposite corner of the one that your guinea pig usually uses to do his business.
Make sure that the water bowl is placed near his shelter, he will not pee or poop in this area.
You only have to get your guinea pig used to drink from the bowl and especially you have to change the water in the bowl at least twice a day, morning and afternoon and especially if he pees in it by accident of course.
To use a bowl as a drinking bowl for your guinea pig, also avoid litter made of wood shavings.
In case your guinea pig does not want to use the water bowl and prefers the bottle, remove the bottle and put a few drops of orange juice in the water to encourage your guinea pig to use the water bowl.
My guinea pig doesn’t drink enough water, can I give him another drink ?
No, you must never give anything else to drink than water to your guinea pig, no soda, no juice (except a few drops to perfume the water if he refuses to see), no coffee, no alcohol…etc.
You should only give your guinea pig water that is slightly mineralized, not too hard because calcium is very harmful to your animal. The water must also be warm because cold water will cause digestive problems for your guinea pig.
My guinea pig can no longer drink alone, how many times should I give him water each day?
If your guinea pig can no longer drink by itself, because of paralysis for example, you will have to give him water yourself with a pipette or syringe (without the needle) directly into his mouth.
You will in fact give him to see every two hours in winter and once an hour in summer or when it is hot.
Pour water in his mouth until he stops swallowing it. Make sure that he drinks at least 100 ml per day and double this amount during the summer and this for an adult guinea pig of at least 1 kilo.
If your guinea pig eats its daily ration of vegetables and in winter for example it may only need 50 ml/day of water.
To summarize all this, your guinea pig, if it is an adult, must drink daily between 50 ml in winter and up to 200 ml when it is hot, the water it gets from the vegetables it eats cannot replace the water it drinks directly from its bowl (better than the bottle), and the most important factor when you choose a water for a guinea pig is that the calcium level must be around 1% or 2% maximum.
Your guinea pig’s water should be changed every day if you are using a bottle and twice a day if you are using a bowl.
Don’t forget , piggies that eat a lot of veg and Grass wont drink that much water !!