All animals need water to survive, and this includes guinea pigs. These creatures need a constant supply of water each day. There are many types of water you can give them. The most readily available is tap water. Can you let your guinea pig drink tap water and is it safe for them?
So, can guinea pigs drink tap water? Guinea pigs can drink tap water as long as it comes from an approved source. Usually, if the tap water is safe for humans to drink, it should be safe for guinea pigs as well. Some tap water that is treated with softeners and has alkaline are not safe for guinea pigs, especially those with health conditions. Distilled or purified water is best for them.
Is Tap Water Bad For Guinea Pigs?
It depends largely on where you live and the local water supply. Most cities will treat the water before it reaches the homes. Other places like the suburb will use well water.
If you live in the city, most of the time, the water will be treated. Sometimes, it could be heavily treated with additives and chemicals. Fluoride and chlorine are the most used ones in city water.
On the other hand, if you live in a suburb and your water supply is from a well, it could contain a high level of minerals such as calcium. For guinea pigs, too much calcium is dangerous. If the calcium is allowed to build up, it can damage the kidneys and urinary tract.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Bathroom Tap Water?
Yes, guinea pigs can drink bathroom tap water, only if it’s from the same water supply throughout the house.
Make sure it doesn’t contain any chemicals, or it could harm your guinea pigs.
How To Provide Water To Your Guinea Pigs
There are many ways that you can use to provide water to your guinea pigs. Whichever method you choose, always make sure that they get at least 100ml of fresh water daily, whether it’s tap water or store-bought water.
Below are some ways you can provide water for your guinea pigs:
The water bottle is usually the most popular method of providing water for guinea pigs. The bottle is simply clipped from the outside of the enclosure and has a small pipe that extends into the cage.
In the pipe, there is a small ball inside which prevents leakage. Only when the guinea pig sip on the pipe, the ball pushes backward and release water for them to drink.
The sippy bottle is designed for guinea pigs to drink easier than the drink bottle.
This bottle has a closed opening with a small gib. In order for the cavies to drink, they must lift the gib for the water to flow.
Most guinea pigs prefer the sippy bottle.
For most people, the bowl is the most popular form of drinking water for guinea pigs.
Bowls are not the cleanest since dirt and debris can fall into the water.
Also, the guinea pigs can spill or knock over the bowl.
If you’re planning to use a bowl, you’ll need to train your guinea pig to drink from it.
Why Guinea Pigs Need Water
All living things need water in order to survive. When it comes to guinea pigs, they need plenty of it. These creatures are made up mostly of water. This water is constantly needed to be replenished because the body uses it for organs to function properly. Also, water in the body is lost due to elimination, breathing, and other life processes.
Water is also needed to help regulate body temperature. During the summer when it’s extremely hot, guinea pigs will lose a lot of the water from their body. This is to help keep them cool.
Guinea pigs normally drink about 100 mL/kg (3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds) of water daily. This amount can increase or decrease due to the humidity level, activity level, or illness.
It’s important to give your guinea pigs plenty of water daily. Without water even just for a day could have a negative effect on their health.
How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?
There is no definite answer to this question since there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Things such as the room temperature, age, and health of the guinea pigs.
However, guinea pigs should never go without water for longer than 12 hours.
Guinea pigs should be given access to water at all times. This means if they are in their cage or outside, water should be available to them.
Without water for a long time, guinea pigs will get dehydrated. Dehydration is very dangerous for them and can be fatal as well.
Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated
Dehydration is dangerous not just for guinea pigs, but all animals as well. It affects their health and if they are without water for a long time, they’ll eventually die from dehydration.
When your guinea pig is dehydrated, they will have the following symptoms:
- Dark-colored urine
- Thick, sticky saliva
- Crusty eyes
- Hard fecal pellets
To rectify dehydration, you’ll need to give them water right away. Sometimes, it can be a bit of a challenge to get them to drink water.
How To Re-hydrate a Guinea Pig
Below is some method to help hydrate a guinea pig:
Water Dispensing Syringe
The syringe should be placed in the mouth of the guinea pig. Keep the syringe at the corner of their mouth with a steady flow of water. Every 5 seconds or so, pause to allow them to swallow the water and rest.
If they start to dribble water down their mouth, stop what you’re doing and try again in about an hour.
Sometimes, the guinea pig will stop drinking. If that happens, your vet may prescribe subcutaneous fluid.
Subcutaneous fluids (SQ) are usually prescribed by a veterinarian. These fluids need to be injected under the skin of the guinea pig. You can inject them while they are still awake.
Below is the process to successfully inject SQ into your guinea pig:
- Reveal the skin over the shoulder of the guinea pig.
- Pinch the skin together using your fingers until it’s in the shape of a tent.
- Insert the need from the back of the skin and work it toward the front.
- Push the needle about halfway into the skin.
- Open the valve on the fluid line and the fluid should start flowing into the skin.
- Administer the amount of fluid prescribed by the vet.
- Once the fluid is injected, remove the needle.
- Gently pinch the hole where the needle was to stop the fluid from coming back out.
Any fluid that is longer than 30 days should be discarded. Also, if the fluid is cloudy, you should throw it away.
Intravenous and Intraosseous Fluids
If the dehydration is severe, the guinea pigs may need a constant and direct supply of fluids.
Intravenous (IV) and Intraosseous (IO) fluids are usually given to them at the animal hospital since they need to be under constant watch.
The IV fluids are given via catheter. It is then inserted into a vein on the guinea pig’s arm or leg.
On the other hand, IO fluids are inserted through a catheter into the bone marrow of the leg or arm.
Can guinea pigs drink from a bowl of water?
It depends on your guinea pigs. Each is different and some will drink from a bowl, while others won’t drink from it at all.
If you want your guinea pigs to drink from a bowl, it’s best to train them from a young age. This way, they will get used to it and will drink from a bowl when they are an adult.
Can guinea pigs drink cold water?
Yes, guinea pigs can drink cold water, but not those that are almost at freezing point. This water is too cold for them and could cause health issues. Room temperature cold or a bit colder is fine for guinea pigs.