If you are thinking of getting a pet, a guinea pig is a good option for you. This is a rough-haired, short-tailed member of the rodent order and Caviidae family. This explains why it is sometimes called a domestic cavy or cavy.
Despite their names, guinea pigs neither have a relation to Guinea nor are they biologically related to pigs. The animal lives for 4-8 years, has an adult weight of 32-42 ounces (0.7-1.2 kg) and its adult length is 8-10 inches (20-40 cm).
Guinea pigs are hardy animals that are easy to care for and ideal pets for kids. However, as a pet owner, you might have to be away from time to time. In these instances, your main question will be, “how long can my guinea pig go without water?”
Guinea pigs can survive without water for two days, based on the temperature in their environment and the food they are taking. For example, when taking timothy hay that is dry, fibrous food, your pet will need lots of water to keep its digestive system working properly. Even so, it is not advisable to leave your guinea pig without water.
The following are tidbits on water intake in guinea pigs to guide you on the right care for your guinea pig.
Things Needed For Your Guinea Pig’s Water Supply
To guarantee the health of your guinea pig, it is best to ensure that it always has access to water. Its body is made of a large percentage of water that is important for several cellular functions.
The water maintains the blood flow rate in the guinea pig’s body to keep its organs functioning, helps the body to eliminate waste and flushes out excessive calcium to prevent issues like sludge or kidney stones in the animal.
To ensure your guinea pig has a constant fresh water supply, here are the things you should buy for it:
- Fresh food: There are fruits and vegetables with a lot of water that you can include in your guinea pig’s diet to provide a significant portion of its water needs. Some of the veggies that comprise over 90% water include lettuce zucchini, radish, red tomato, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, bell pepper, celery and cucumber. Fruits comprising over 80% water include oranges, pineapples, plums, apricots, cranberries, peaches, watermelons strawberries, grapefruits and raspberries. Remember to feed these fresh foods sparingly to your guinea pig because they have high amounts of sugar.
- Water bowl: One of the easiest options for a guinea pig to drink water is from a water bowl. With this, your guinea pig need not push its head to access the water. Even so, the water, in this case, gets easily polluted because of the exposure, and there is a risk of your pet flopping over the bowl. Other than cleaning the bowl and changing the water daily, get a tip-proof bowl like this one, to ensure the animal has clean water throughout.
- Water bottle: Most people use water bottles to give water to guinea pigs. The bottle comes with a pipe attached to it on the outside. To keep this pipe from leaking, there is a small ball attached to it to screw it shut when not in use. You can get this water bottle with a wide opening that makes drinking easy for your guinea pig while easing refills.
How Much Water Do Guinea Pigs Need?
On average, healthy guinea pigs consume between 50-300ml of water daily. Experts recommend giving a guinea pig 10% of its body weight in water daily.
For example, an animal weighing 800-1200g should drink 80-120ml of water. Even so, the exact consumption of your guinea pig will depend on several elements. These include:
- Age: Young growing guinea pigs need more water than older ones.
- Environmental temperatures: Guinea pigs will need more water when it is hot than in cold weather.
- Diet: If a guinea pig eats lots of dry pellets or hay, it will need more water than when eating leafy greens.
- Energy levels: When your guinea pig is exercising and running around, it will need more water to keep up with its energy levels than when it is lazing around.
How Can You Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated?
If you do not give your guinea pig enough water, you put it at risk of dehydration. Below are some of the symptoms of dehydration that should worry you:
- Eyes that look dry dull and sunken.
- Dark urine with a foul smell.
- Loss of appetite.
- Hard, dry feces.
- Lethargy and disorientation.
- Skin that does not return to its previous state when pinched.
- Weight loss.
- Thick, crusty saliva.
- Fevers above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Do You Rehydrate A Guinea Pig?
When you notice the symptoms of dehydration in your guinea pig, do not panic. You can reverse the condition by rehydrating the animal using a syringe.
Get a syringe from your pet store and fill it with water. This syringe should then be placed in the corner of your pet’s mouth to release water in small, measured bursts. This way, the guinea pig can swallow the water and rest before taking the next drink.
Most people give their guinea pigs a full water bowl for rehydration. This makes the animal lap up the water, something that is not helpful because rehydration is a gradual process.
If the guinea pig does not drink or swallow the water in a syringe, take it to the vet for intravenous rehydration. Furthermore, investigate the cause of dehydration and address it to avoid future issues.
The above article has summarized the basic questions guinea pig owners have on keeping their pets well-hydrated.
However, if you notice any abnormalities in the drinking pattern of your furry friend, consult a vet. The vet will examine the animal and give you some suggestions for encouraging its water consumption.
For example, the vet can suggest adding some unsweetened fruit juice to pique the guinea pig’s interest in drinking water. This juice is negated when the guinea pig starts drinking water as it should.