How Long Can Degus Go Without Food Or Water?

Most people assume that a degu’s dietary needs are hard to keep up with and thus settle for other pet rodents. Even so, degus are among the easiest pet rodents to feed and do not have as strict dietary restrictions as other herbivores.

Owing to their natural environment in the arid lands of Chile, some pet owners think that these rodents do not need as frequent feeding as other rodents. While degus can survive for as long as two weeks in the wild without water or food, you should not keep them this long without the same in captivity.

This is because they have strategies in the wild that allow them to survive without food or water for a long time. They, for instance, can minimize their activities or eat excessively when they come across food. Nonetheless, degus will drop these strategies in captivity.

Take a closer look into how long your degu can survive without food or water in the tidbits below so that you do not starve your pet.

Can You Leave Your Degu Alone?

Yes, you can leave your degu alone. You do not expect to always be around your house just because you have a pet. In some cases, it might be challenging to travel with your pet. You can leave the degu alone for only a day or two without worrying about its well-being.

Leaving them for a longer time than this can be an issue for the animal since it needs human interaction to remain tame. The time your degu will be alone, ensure you leave enough food and water to keep it satisfied.

Leaving a large amount of food in your degu’s bowl carries the risk of your pet overfeeding and finishing it before you come back.  However, this will not be an issue if the degu only stays without food or water for a day.

How Much Water Do Degus Drink?

On average, a pair of degus will consume one liter of water in a month. It is best to keep track of and add up the amount of water that your degus drinks in a month. If the animals drink more than the typical amount, this might be a sign of diabetes.

On the other hand, too low an amount of water consumed often causes constipation. Remember that a degu’s water consumption will usually increase in summer as it cools down its body and replenishes after all the activities in which it engages.

Is Overfeeding Bad For Your Degus?

Yes, overfeeding is bad for your degu. If you are leaving for a few days and leave too much food for the animal to take it through your time away, this might negatively affect it. The pet might be unable to engage in any exercise when overfed, meaning that there will be too much sugar and fat accumulated in its body.

This increases its risk of contracting diabetes and becoming obese, respectively. Moreover, overfeeding will affect the degu’s digestive system. Healthy adult degus weigh 220-250 g, so aim to maintain your pet within this range.

What Can You Do With Your Pet When Leaving For a Long Period?

If you will be away for more than two days, here are some things you can consider doing to guarantee your pet’s well-being during this time:

– Ask a Friend to Take Care of Your Degus

If you have a responsible friend who can take care of your pet rodent, consider leaving it with him/her for the time you will be gone.

Before settling on a person to leave your pet with, be sure that he/she can effectively handle the care needs of a degu. You can consider taking him/her through your pet’s daily routine to prepare for the task.

– Use an Automatic Feeder and Bigger Water Bottle

You can also choose to get an automatic feeder that will dispense a specific amount of food per day into a bowl for your degu. This guarantees that the pet does not overfeed or run out of food before you return.

Other than the feeder, invest in a large water bottle that can hold as much water as your pet needs. Even so, with this alternative, have someone periodically come in and check how well the automatic feeder and water bottle are working.

At times, the feeder might get stuck, or the water bottle nozzle might be blocked by debris, leaving your pet hungry and thirsty. Moreover, this option means leaving your pet alone for some time, which carries the risk of your pet becoming bored or aggressive with the lack of human interaction.

– Take Your Degus with You

If possible, consider travelling with your degu. This might seem like a hassle but remember that your pet will love a new environment as much as you will. Travelling with your pet also presents an opportunity to form a deeper emotional bond with it.

Before setting out on your trip, check the travel restrictions that apply. Some places will need pets to be vaccinated before travelling while a few airlines require the use of specific cages for traveling pets.


You would not want to be known as an irresponsible pet owner or, worse still, someone who is cruel to animals. Therefore, you should be careful not to starve your pet. The information above has hopefully helped you know how best to ensure your pet’s dietary needs are met even if you are going to be away for a few days.

Even with the right foods and enough water, your degu’s dietary habits might make it sick. Most pet owners see little need for a food bowl or water bottle for their degus and opt to keep the food on their pet’s cage floor while the water is served in open containers that are easy to contaminate.

To guarantee your degu eats clean food and drinks uncontaminated water, invest in a shallow dish as well as a water bottle. You can also get a hay rack for serving the degu’s hay.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *