There are so many pet lovers wanting to get a new pet. Quite a usual mistake a lot of pet lovers do when getting a new friend is not researching what their new pet really needs. Skipping this step can cause you a lot of stress if your little pet doesn’t seem to get what he needs.
Guinea pigs are really sensitive little animals and you have to take into consideration a lot of things they need before getting one for yourself. This is the reason for this article: educating you about whether they can or cannot drink out of a bowl (and other interesting things).
So, can guinea pigs drink out of a bowl? Well, physically speaking, the majority of the guinea pigs can drink out of a bowl, especially if they used to drink out of a bowl while growing up. This answer is not the actual interesting part of this topic. The things you should actually know are the benefits, the downsides and also: is it is more beneficial for a guinea pig to drink out of a water bottle or out of the bowl?
You should keep in mind that most pet owners buy water bottles for their guinea pigs.
Some things you should know beforehand
Even if guinea pigs don’t drink as much water as other pets do, they need to have water on hand. They need to always have access to water. An imbalanced intake of water can dehydrate them. Dehydration is just as bad for animals as it is for humans. A small intake of water can cause malfunctioning of their organs and it can also raise risk for certain diseases.
Also, just as important as the first thing is for them to drink fresh water. If you provide your guinea pig with a certain amount of water and a day (at most) passes without him finishing the water, you have to replace it. Anyway, if the water is too old, they might as well not drink it so, after all, you will still need to change the water.
Moreover, just like us, guinea pigs drink more water on a hot day, so, again, just like us, they find cold water refreshing. That is the main reason you need to change their water often. But be careful and don’t be extreme, don’t give them icy water. It can get them sick.
Be careful about their environment. On cold days, if the room they are in gets too cold to the point where water is too icy for them to drink, move them in a warmer room permanently. Guinea pigs like warmth.
A strange but beneficial thing you should do is to keep track of how much water your guinea pig drinks daily. They usually drink the same amount each day, but it varies from season to season. One of the two main benefits of knowing how much water your guinea pig drinks is knowing how much water to give them before you leave for work or for school. The second thing is that you notice very quickly when they drink a lot less or a lot more water than normal. If so, check the bottle (in case it is a bottle) if it’s working properly. If it’s not, replace it. But if it is, you should pay a visit to the vet, because unbalanced intake of water can be an early sign of some disease.
Benefits and Downsides of Drinking Out of a Bowl
The first thing you should observe is that the bowl is on the floor of the cage. This means guinea pigs don’t have to raise their head in order to drink water, so it might be easier for old or sick guinea pigs this way.
Once your guinea pig gets used to drinking out of a bottle, it is way harder to help him learn how to drink out of the bowl. However, this can easily be avoided by putting water in a bowl for him to drink while he is growing up. This way he will be used to drinking out of a bowl.
A bad thing about bowls is they collect bacteria inside of them, this happens because they are not closed. You should definitely wash it up at least several times a week. But there should be no worries: it’s as easy as filling it up with water, so it takes no time at all.
On the other hand, the water bottles are a lot more sanitary than the bowls. They are hermetically closed while the water bowls don’t even have lids. The water can be contaminated with anything there is in the cage. Seeing things from this perspective, you shouldn’t even consider getting a bowl. Think about all the nasty things that exist in a guinea pig cage. Guinea pigs are known to lie and to poop in their food bowls.
Why wouldn’t they do the same thing with their water bowls?
Anything can get in their water and it is not healthy at all. Hay, food and even poop can get in there, so if I didn’t convince you to get a water bottle, please, at least make sure you keep the cage as clean as you can. Also, as soon as you notice that the water has bedding or anything in there, change the water.
Another downside to using a water bowl is that it can be flipped over. This would make the whole cage wet and you should clean it entirely. But there is actually a simple way to prevent that from happening and that is buying a ceramic bowl. Using a heavier bowl is much more convenient.
I won’t get in too much detail about water bottles because I guess you have already got the idea. One of the things I wanted to add is that the water bottle is the best guinea pigs can get when speaking about water. They take no space from the cage and they are easy to fill without opening the cage (as you have to when filling a bowl).
When it comes to changing the water, it’s good if you change it at least once a day and more frequently in warmer weather. If you are busy and when you come home your piggy’s bottle is empty, try getting a larger one or try having two bottles for your friend. Make sure the supply of water lasts at least for the period you are gone.
From time to time, check the bottle if it’s working the way it’s supposed to. If it’s not, there is a high chance that your guinea pigs cannot drink water from that bottle.
However, water bottles are known to leak and you need to be careful about that.
Cleaning the water bottle at least once a week is the most important step in maintaining a bacteria-free water bottle. If you don’t wash the bottle often enough, it can grow algae that are not safe to drink. You cannot take a sip out of their bottles and your friends cannot tell you if the water tastes awful, so always be careful about how often you wash their bottle.
Bowl vs Water Bottle
After all, the conclusion is that water is very important for guinea pigs as well as it is for the majority of the living creatures on Earth. Never let your guinea pigs alone without a satisfactory amount of water. Trust me: better safe than sorry. Guinea pigs cannot live for a long time without water, so they can die because of dehydration.
Speaking of dehydration, remember the fact that they can spill their bowl all over the cage. If this thing happens when no one is around, they are in danger of dehydrating.
Please, take all of the factors into account in order to decide whether you want to get a bowl or water bottle.
In my opinion, I would never opt for the bowl. You need a heavy bowl, you have to change the water very often, you need to be careful if something gets in the water. To me, it sounds like consuming a lot of energy when you have a better solution and this would be the water bottle.
The water bottle is more beneficial for the health of the guinea pig, it is easy to use and if it breaks, you just replace it. It’s as easy as that.
In the end, whatever option you choose, keep in mind that you need to wash both the bowl and the bottle from time to time. Use a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. If you do this, once or twice a week, it should be perfect (to prevent bacteria from forming).