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Why Isn't My Guinea Pig Drinking?

Updated on June 19, 2013
Is this guinea pig thirsty?
Is this guinea pig thirsty?

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!

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 about my guinea pig not drinking?

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.

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.

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    • profile image

      Claire Zhao 2 weeks ago

      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.

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      Jane and Natalie 5 weeks ago

      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!!!!

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      Alex 8 weeks ago

      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.

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      mariah5656 4 months ago

      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??

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      Dave 5 months ago

      we have a rescue guy. he's gone from a wreck to a amazin guy. Bless

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      Guinea pig care taker 7 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Kelly 7 months ago

      My guinea pig

      barely drinking what do I do

    • profile image

      animal lover 17 months ago

      just pick him up and lay on the bed, put him on your stomach and talk to him or her thats what i do

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      Petsanimal 23 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      guinea pig lover 2 years ago

      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

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      alannahbale 4 years ago from Rugby, Warwickshire

      This is a very interesting post :-)