Water comes with innumerable benefits and functions for humans, including bone development, hydration, blood replenishment, and many more. This story is pretty much the same for pets too, including Guinea pigs. Guinea pigs need to drink a lot of water throughout the day for their optimal health and well-being.
Although water has no taste, no aroma, no colour, and no smell, it is absolutely vital for both humans and pets to drink water to survive. Drinking cold water on hot summer days injects a chilly feeling into your whole body. In the case of Guinea pigs, however, this is quite critical to know whether they can drink cold water or not. In this article, we are going to find the answer to this question, and many more things about Guinea pigs consuming water.
Owners of Guinea pigs may mistakenly think it is problematic and dangerous for their pets to drink cold water. However, this is a wrong belief. The truth is that Guinea pigs like cold water more than warm/hot water. Even better, you can give them cold water to help them lower the temperature of their body.
One thing you should consider about Guinea pigs drinking water is that the temperature of the water should not be at extreme levels. The best water temperature for Guinea pigs is said to be just below room temperature. In more exact terms, the best water temperature for these pets is around 60°F to 70°F.
The other important thing to consider is that you should not expose your pet to extreme differences in the water temperature. It is because too hot or too cold water is obviously not easily drinkable. That is the same for humans too, hot or icy water is never easy to drink.
Water is as essential for Guinea pigs as it is for humans. In other words, water helps Guinea pigs have a healthier life, as it does the same for humans. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of clean, hygienic water to drink every day for their health to maintain.
It is needless to say that water offers numerous benefits in general. In the case of Guinea pigs, water helps their body remain hydrated, resulting in soft and smooth skin. What’s more, their stress is reduced as a result of the cool temperature of the water. It helps the Guinea pigs stay calm the whole day.
What About Ice-Cold Water?
The story is quite a bit different speaking of ice-cold water. Although ice-cold water can quickly cool the Guinea pig’s body, it cannot be an ideal liquid to give your pet frequently. The truth is that placing the ice-cold water in a Guinea pig’s cage might eventually result in the dehydration of the pet’s body for some time.
When you place ice-cold water in front of your Guinea pig, it is normal to see them lick the water to find out how cool it is. They usually wait some time for the ice-cold water to warm up a little before they can drink it voraciously. In general, providing the Guinea pigs with room temperature water is the best approach possible.
Can I Add Ice to the Guinea Pig’s Water?
The short answer is “yes.” Guinea pigs can handle a little amount of ice in their water. It is always a good idea to add some ice cubes to your pet’s water on hot summer days. They usually lick the ice a bit to find out if the chilliness of the water is tolerable.
An interesting fact about Guinea pigs is that they do not have sweat glands. In other words, they cannot lose their body heat through sweating. Instead, they do the job by panting, defecating, and peeing. Therefore, it is a nice idea to add some cubes of ice to their water during summer.
Now you understand the reason why sometimes Guinea pigs enjoy swimming around a bowl full of ice cubes. They enjoy it because it gives them a cooling sensation. However, it does not mean that you can fill their dish with ice cubes entirely every day.
Keep in mind that Guinea pigs’ bodies perform differently compared to the human body. You should expect their response to be different from your response to ice. Therefore, instead of filling your pet’s dish with cold water, you can provide it with room temperature water regularly.
Do Guinea Pigs Need Water Every Day? How Much?
Guinea pigs, like humans, need to drink fresh, clean water every day. If they do not drink enough water, or if their water is not hygienic, their health might be endangered.
Guinea pigs need about 100 ml/kg of water per day. This is an average number. The exact amount depends on how active your pet is during the day. In other words, a Guinea pig that is actively running everywhere needs more water compared to a Guinea pig that is sleeping most of the time.
There are signs that show you your Guinea pig needs more water in its bowl. If you see your pet’s eye sunken into its head, or if you see it licking its body increasingly, these can be signs that your pet does not drink enough water. Consider providing it with more water. Fill its bowl frequently to ensure it always has enough water.
Dehydration in Guinea Pigs
You may wonder how long Guinea pigs can go without water. The truth is that it depends on numerous factors. Age, activities, diet, size, environment, humidity, temperature, as well as several other factors, affect the period during which a Guinea pig can go without water. In general, a Guinea pig becomes dehydrated after 2 to 4 hours of going without water.
Signs of Dehydration in Guinea Pigs
Dehydration happens when a Guinea pig does not drink enough water. The resulting symptoms may include one or more of these:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Thick sticky saliva
- Crusty eye
- Little, dark urine
If you see any of the signs above, beware of the amount of water your pet consumes. You will probably need to increase the amount of clean, fresh water you provide your pet with to avoid dehydration.
One more thing to consider is that you should give regular water to your pet, not bottled water. The reason for that is that bottled water may contain additives that are not good for your pet’s health.
If you are not sure that your Guinea pig is dehydrated, you can weigh your pet regularly. A slight reduction in its weight without having any other symptoms can simply mean that your pet needs more water. It is best to weigh your pet on a daily basis to prevent any health-related issues beforehand.
Benefits of Water for Guinea Pigs
Water is overflowing with countless benefits for both humans and Guinea pigs. Not only does it cool your pet’s body, but it also contains numerous minerals that are essential for your guinea pig’s health, including:
- Magnesium: magnesium maintains normal nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and bone growth.
- Calcium: calcium builds powerful bone and teeth, and maintains the best muscle performance and blood clotting.
- Potassium: potassium regulates heartbeat, muscle contraction, and nerve impulses. It also maintains the health of cell membranes and enhances skin tone.
- Sodium: sodium regulates heart rate, breathing, metabolism, digestion, and kidney performance. It also controls the balance of electrolytes in the blood.
- Phosphorus: phosphorus promotes skeletal development, and forms connective tissue and cartilage.
- Chloride: chloride maintains the balance between acid and base, and reduces swelling caused by inflammation.
- Boron: boron reinforces hair follicles and nails.
What If the Guinea Pig Drinks Too Much Water?
Water is generally a useful, integral liquid for the health of your Guinea pig. That is why nothing dangerous happens if your pet drinks too much water.
Despite that, you should monitor how much water your pet drinks, because excessive consumption of water may be a symptom of different health problems including diabetes, kidney issues, and dental problems. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you and your pet visit your veterinarian if your pet drinks water increasingly.
What Else Can Guinea Pigs Drink?
As a general rule, keep in mind that Guinea pigs cannot drink anything other than water. That is because other liquids most of the time come with additives like sugar that are harmful to your pet’s health and safety. Despite that, it is not a bad idea to mix some fruits and prepare a natural juice containing no additives and give it to your pet occasionally.
As we read above, Guinea pigs can certainly drink cold water. In fact, they like cold water more than warm or hot water as it can make their bodies cooler and reduce their stress. However, when we talk about “cold water” in this regard, we do not mean ice-cold water. Guinea pigs, like humans, are not comfortable drinking too hot or too cold water. The best approach is to provide them with room temperature water.
On hot summer days, Guinea pigs prefer their water to be a little cooler than other times. However, still, you should keep in mind that severe temperature differences in water are not tolerable for Guinea pigs. Moreover, you should provide your pet with tap water every day regularly, rather than bottled water, to help them take advantage of all the benefits of water for their health.