Congratulations! It looks like you are a happy owner of a fluffy little friend. Guinea pigs are incredible animals. It goes without saying that you want to take great care of your pet. When it comes to food, things can get a little tricky – there are so many things that you have to take into consideration. But do we ever ask ourselves the question:
What can guinea pigs drink?
Water! That’s what you will most certainly answer.
Of course, you are right. But is it water alone? Is there anything else that guinea pigs are allowed to drink? How often do they need to take in some fluid? Can water be dangerous for your beloved animal?
It looks like things are not that simple…
But today we are going to be answering all drink-related questions to make sure that you become the perfect owner for your guinea pig.
Everything about Water
Why Is Water So Important?
We all know that people can’t live without water. But what about guinea pigs? Why do they need this fluid?
Well, just like us, humans, all the animals are, basically, walking or crawling water.
This vital fluid is used in all the processes of vital activity. Guinea pigs need water to digest food, to breathe, to keep their internal organs functioning, etc. Water is used for lubricating joints, regulating the body temperature, protecting all the organs.
Moreover, the fluid is essential for helping the body get rid of any waste.
Needless to say that all the water consumed by the guinea pig is used by the organism in order to support these body functions and, well, survive.
That is why the lack of water can lead to a lot of health problems. And if you want your beloved pet to lead a wholesome life, one of your main duties is making sure that the guinea pig has enough water supply all day long.
What Kind of Water Do Guinea Pigs Drink?
There is one simple rule when it comes to providing your pet with the necessary fluid. If you won’t drink it, the guinea pig should not drink the water as well. So, what do guinea pigs drink?
Well, there is nothing wrong with tap water, if you and your family are drinking it as well. But if your tap water is not good enough, tastes strange and contains a lot of unhealthy elements, then your guinea pig should be drinking bottled water.
Well, water and filtered water might be a good choice as well. Remember that the water has to be plain, without any additives.
When it comes to the temperature of the fluid, room temperature is considered to be the best option. But some guinea pig owners suggest trying to add a few ice cubes in the water bowl if it is extremely hot. Simply add the cubes and keep an eye on your pet, it might truly enjoy the refreshingly cold water on a hot day.
About such small experiments. Whenever you make any changes in your pet’s diet, you have to remember to take your time and observe how the behavior of your tiny friend will be changing. Guinea pigs are the type of animals that have a personal taste. There are no universal food recipes that every guinea pig will like.
So food and water experiments might be a great idea if you want to find out what your pet loves and what it hates. Simply remember to make sure that nothing is threatening the health of your beloved pet.
How Much Water Do Guinea Pigs Need?
Guinea pigs need about 100 ml of fresh water daily. But that does not mean that your pet is going to drink it all in one go. In fact, it is practically impossible to predict when your little friend will be thirsty. And that is exactly why experts advise you provide a constant supply of water 24/7.
If your guinea pig drinks less or more water that does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with his health. The tiny fellow might be drinking less than 100 ml of water simply because it is getting enough of fluid from his diet.
Different vegetables and fruits, for example, might be helping the guinea pig reach that daily norm.
In case the guinea pig started drinking a little more than usual, it is not always a reason for you to start panicking. During hot months all living creatures tend to consume more fluid, as we all need a little more water to help regulate the temperature of our body.
If the guinea pig is recovering from a disease or in case it is pregnant – the daily norm of water might vary a little as well.
With that said, you have to make sure to keep an eye on how much your guinea pig is actually drinking. If your pet used to consume a small amount of water and then it suddenly started drinking a lot without an obvious reason – that might be a signal of health problems.
The same applies to the reverse situation. If the strange behavior continues for a few days, do pay a visit to the vet.
What Can You Add in the Water?
If you have been a guinea pig owner for a while, you might have heard that some owners add vitamin C to their pet’s water.
Should you be doing that yourself?
If yes, then when is the best time to add this vitamin C and what should the dosage be?
First of all, you have to take into consideration that guinea pigs (just like humans) aren’t able to produce vitamin C in their bodies. Because of the fact that this element is vital for the functioning of the organism, guinea pigs have to be getting enough of it with the food.
Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production, bone, tissues, and blood vessels’ health. Vitamin C deficiency, in its turn, may lead to serious health problems. The most common disease is known as ‘scurvy’. The great news is that it can be easily treated. But if scurvy is left without a treatment, then your guinea pig might suffer not only from a bunch of unpleasant symptoms but also die in the end.
How much vitamin C do guinea pigs actually need?
Well, the amount depends on a lot of factors. The overall weight of the guinea pig plays a huge role. If the pet is pregnant, recovering from an illness or is a youngster in the middle of the growing process – it will need a higher amount of vitamin C. A normal intake is considered to vary between 10-30 mg per kilogram of weight.
If your guinea pig follows a well-balanced diet that includes Timothy hay, good pellets, vegetables, and fruits, then there might be no need for an additional intake of vitamin C.
But if for some reason your pet refuses to eat these important foods or your vet agreed that because of a special condition your guinea pig needs additional supplementation of vitamin C, can you use water as an additional source of the element?
Some owners like to add orange juice, for example, in the water of their guinea pigs. Certainly, a tiny amount. Some vitamin C additives can be dissolved in the bowl, but there are so many ‘buts’ that you might not like.
Firstly, it is extremely difficult to monitor the intake of vitamin C, if you have added it to water. You can’t be sure about how much your guinea pig has actually had. Moreover, vitamin C loses its properties very fast when exposed to light.
So even if you have dissolved the right amount of the element in the water, it doesn’t mean that a few hours later the dosage will still be right.
Secondly, vitamin C additives (juices included) will be changing the taste of the water. Your guinea pig might simply refuse to drink it. This fact will lead not only to vitamin C deficiency problems but also to dehydration.
To sum up, there is nothing better for your beloved pet than plain, fresh water. Adding something in it might cause a lot of stress to the guinea pig. So better try experimenting with the pet’s daily menu.
Water Bottles vs. Water Bowls
When it comes to supplying your guinea pig with enough water, there is usually one single question that needs to be answered.
A water bottle or a water bowl?
Both of these have their own pluses and minuses. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Water bottles are generally more expensive. But the majority of guinea pig owners decide to choose bottles over bowls. The bottle can easily be placed on the cage with the help of a wire.
Make sure to hang it low enough, so that the guinea pig can easily reach the bottle. Right above the head is considered to be the perfect height. The water bottle consists of a small reservoir for the water and an angled drinking end to ensure that your guinea pig can easily get the water out.
The angled spout (or a rolling ball, in some cases) is made out of stainless steel. It is 100% safe for the health of your guinea pig. At the same time, it is extremely convenient as these little guys like to chew on everything. And steel will certainly not deform.
The best thing about water bottles is that the liquid won’t get contaminated. You can be sure that the water stays fresh and clean. Moreover, it is easy to add more water to the bottle when needed.
By the way, monitoring how much your guinea pig drinks is important for its health. If you choose a water bottle, it will be extremely easy for you to actually see how much your pet has been drinking throughout the day.
Unfortunately, not all guinea pigs are fond of water bottles. Sucking on the spout requires them to work a little to be able to get that water. So the lazy fellows will certainly be levitating towards a water bowl.
An alternative to a water bottle is a bowl or a dish. Usually, these options are a little cheaper. Experts advise you buy a heavy ceramic bowl as it is not that easy to tip over. Guinea pigs are animals that like playing and running around. So tipping a dish or a bowl over might often become an issue. You would have to clean the whole cage if there was a lot of water in the bowl.
Moreover, dishes can easily get food, hay and all sorts of stuff in them. Certainly, the water is no longer fresh, if there are different things floating in it. Having a water bowl means that you would have to change it every time your beloved guinea pig decides to put something in it.
Otherwise, the dirty water can cause various health problems, even if it’s good food floating there.
To be honest, water bowls are the perfect solution for sick guinea pigs, as it might be difficult for them to reach the bottle. In all the other cases, owners prefer bottles over bowls.
Where Should You Place the Water?
Try to keep the water away from direct sunlight. Don’t place the bottle or the bowl right next to the guinea pig’s sleeping place, as it may flood the bed.
A great idea is to put the water reservoir next to the food, but not too close, so that the food does not contaminate the liquid.
How Often Should You Change the Water?
All-in-all, you have to be providing your pet with fresh water at least once a day. You can place the bowl with fresh water in the morning, for example, and change it the next day. Remember that your guinea pig needs to have access to water all day long.
Certainly, if you see that the water is contaminated, you need to change it.
Washing your bottle or bowl is a must. Do it at least once a day. Usually, a simple rinse with tap water is enough. But if you see algae forming on the walls or anything like that, you can use a special cleaning kit to get rid of the formations.
When it comes to bottles, make sure that the spout is not blocked as often as you can. For example, if you see that the level of water has remained the same for the whole day, before checking if your guinea pig has any health problems, make sure that the bottle is actually working.
What Else Do Guinea Pigs Drink?
It is extremely hard and practically impossible to find something else, besides water that guinea pigs can drink. No wonder. Due to health-related issues, these animals can’t drink anything that has sugar in it, different additives, colorings and so on.
That’s why even juices are banned. They simply have too much sugar and can be acidic. Some owners confess that they give their guinea pigs cranberry juice from time to time. But it is more of an exception than a rule. Other owners like to give their guinea pigs full-fat milk if they are suffering from diseases and need to regain their strength.
What Do Baby Guinea Pigs Drink?
When it comes to milk, of course, baby guinea pigs do prefer this kind of drink. For the first few days of their lives, this is the only type of food and liquid that they will need.
If for any reasons, the mother refuses to feed her child, you can easily hand-feed the guinea pig yourself.
Goat milk can do just fine. Use a teaspoon and make sure to give the babies as much milk as they will ask for.
Only a few days after they are born they will be able to transit to solid foods and water.
What to feed your guinea pig with is certainly not the only question that you should take into consideration, when buying this furry ball of cuteness.
Figuring out what can guinea pigs drink is just as important.
There is nothing better than fresh, clean water. So make sure that your beloved pet always has a bowl or a bottle full of this vital liquid. Your adorable guinea pig will certainly be grateful for that.