I love small animal pets such as guinea pigs, bunnies, and rats. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of how to raise healthy pets.
When you first get a guinea pig, or perhaps after several weeks, months or even years, you might notice that your guinea pig never seems to drink. Water bottles stay full, water dishes are used as toilets and yet somehow your guinea pig still seems healthy and happy. What is going on?
Is It Normal for a Guinea Pig to Not Drink?
As it turns out, a healthy guinea pig being fed a diet of fluid-rich vegetables (celery and cucumber especially) does not often need additional water. They seem to be able to get all the fluid they need from their vegetable intake—now you see why it is so very important to feed your guinea pig fresh vegetables every day! Guinea pig pellets and hay are part of a piggie diet, too, but fresh, nutrient- and water-filled vegetables truly are essential for the health of your guinea pigs.
Many people notice that as their guinea pig's veggie intake goes up, their drinking goes down. This is nothing to worry about and may even be suggestive of the fact that you are feeding your guinea pigs very well!
Water Intake Changes Over Their Life Span
It is also worth noting that a guinea pig's water intake can change over the course of their life. As my guinea pig boar has gotten older (and had a diet more rich in the celery and cucumber mentioned above), he has almost stopped drinking from his water bottle completely. Yet he remains happy, healthy and alert.
So Does This Mean Guinea Pigs Don't Need Water?
Guinea pigs need water! Even if they're not drinking it, you should refresh their water every few days. You never know when a thirst will take them. Like all animals, guinea pigs should always have fresh, clean water to drink.
When Should I Worry?
If your guinea pig seems ill and listless (that means not moving around much), then that is a sign that something is wrong. A sick guinea pig will not behave like a well one, their coat may be rough, their eyes may be half-closed all the time and they may not respond to things they usually respond to. If you find your guinea pig in this state, a trip to the vet is in order.
Go to the Vet If Your Pet Isn't Eating
If your guinea pig is not eating or drinking, that too is a sign of a more serious condition. For guinea pigs, eating vegetables is far more important to their well-being than drinking water from a bowl or bottle. If your guinea pig has stopped eating, you definitely need to take him or her to the vet.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Lily on July 23, 2020:
So I am out of town and my close friend is taking care of my two guinea pigs. One, named Pete loves food so much and like his water too, but she told me he isn’t drinking his water or eating his hay. Same goes for my second one but not as much about the food, her name is penny and she literally drinks the whole water bottle within a day, but she doesn’t seem to be drinking that much. They are eating veggies but not as much, and also they don’t seem interested in their pellets like they usually are. Should they go see the vet?
Hannah on May 13, 2020:
Thank you for this. I found my guinea pig stopped drinking. Then I noticed he wasn’t eating his hay or pellets. He was eating his veggies, but I was still worried. I took him to the vet and turns out he has gastrointestinal stasis. They told me I caught it just in time. :) He still barely touches his bottle, but lately I’ve been making sure to give him more water-filled veggies since I know he is willing to eat those.
Andrea on November 02, 2019:
Big thanks! One of my piggies expends almost 12 hours without drinking (or maybe not drinking that much to be noticiable) and compared to my other piggie... Well, she ends the bottle in less than 12 hours everyday! She behaves as normal, but I'm a worryesome owner so I couldn't help to google and look at this page hahaha!!
Cookie and Cream on April 14, 2019:
Thank you!! My new guinea pig was worrying me by nt drinking, but they are perfectly fine.
Brianna on August 07, 2018:
I just bought a guinea pig yesterday and he has not eaten or drank anything since I brought him home.
Shania Loraine on May 06, 2018:
If your guinea pig doesen’t want to drink it’s water try feeding it with ice.
Paytonmck on February 23, 2018:
My guniea pig is not really drinking water but like you said they don't need it if they have watery vegetables I just got him two days ago he is still scared when I have to pick him up to leave the cage for play time I put him on the blanket when I noticed a tiny splotch of diarrhea he only had it once and I'm not sure when should I be worried?
Madi on November 29, 2017:
I just moved my 3 guinea pigs to a new bigger cage (also in a different room). But I’ve been noticing that they haven’t been drinking water and still eat but not as much without me giving it to them. Is that a problem or is it just them getting used to the new area? I also fed them a little more veggies yesterday than normal, do you think that is the case?
Larryhardin10@gmail.com on November 10, 2017:
Ohhh, okay! I thought he was sick or something,.
CheetahZILLA on October 03, 2017:
OH! That's why my piggie wasn't drinking as much water! I just gave them lots more veggies for their diet!
Claire Zhao on September 02, 2017:
I always buy Oxbow Western Timothy Hay for my guinea pigs. They won't eat anything other than that. I hope that answers your question, Jane and Natalie.
Jane and Natalie on August 12, 2017:
I have two girls; Connie, quite the personality, was the boss until little Ezzy (Esmeralda) waited about 3 month if extreme underdog, timid submissiveness is now "boss" but in a confident stable mood, relaxed way. Biathlon are just my little loves although I got them fir my 11 year old daughter.
What is the best Timothy hay? Bought some Carefresh 1st cut and it is awful!!!!
Alex on July 24, 2017:
My girlfriend and I have 2 . We feed them fresh vegie's like Kale , celery , apples ect. They both started drinking a lot less water. Well my girlfriend was so worried she tried bottle feeding them water!! hahaha Once she read this she was so relieved.
mariah5656 on April 28, 2017:
I got my guinea pig about a week ago and she eat everything i give her but she hasn't drank any water i stater to put water on her veggies and i even got her a new water bottle SOS what do I do??
Dave on March 30, 2017:
we have a rescue guy. he's gone from a wreck to a amazin guy. Bless
Guinea pig care taker on February 17, 2017:
This is very helpful, thank you! I started feeding my guinea pig lots more vegetables on a daily basis and I have noticed that his water intake has decreased tremendously. I was really worried until I read this most. Thank you!
Kelly on January 25, 2017:
My guinea pig
barely drinking what do I do
animal lover on April 03, 2016:
just pick him up and lay on the bed, put him on your stomach and talk to him or her thats what i do
Petsanimal on October 25, 2015:
I got my guinea pig today and when I put him in his cage around 12:00 and now it's 8:35 he has been hiding in his hide house all day. Everytime I go into my room, he runs away so scared. Then when I leave, I peek in the corner and I see him eating his carrots, I'm scared that he is going to be like that all the time and i won't be able to cuddle him and take care of him that much bc he is scared of me. What shall I do?
guinea pig lover on August 30, 2015:
nice but i got my guinea pig a couple days ago all he does is hide in his hide house and doesnt really drink. he eats tho
alannahbale from Rugby, Warwickshire on August 20, 2013:
This is a very interesting post :-)