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Can Guinea Pigs Drink Tap Water? [Is it Bad For Them?]

So, can guinea pigs drink tap water?

Experts’ opinions are mixed, but generally, it depends on your local water supply and if you can drink it. This is because tap water sources are treated with chemicals that may not be safe for them.

Read the article below to know the best water sources for guinea pigs and which ones to stay away from.

Key Takeaways:

  • Guinea pigs can drink tap water in urban areas if their pet owner can also drink it. Tap water in rural areas may need to be filtered first to avoid too much calcium intake in guinea pigs. 
  • The best type of water for guinea pigs is clean, purified water that has been filtered but retains the right amount of minerals.
  • Guinea pigs need plenty of water, so make sure your piggy always has access to clean water.

Is Tap Water Bad For Guinea Pigs?

It depends mainly on where you live and the local water supply.

If you live in the city, the water will be treated most of the time. Then again, it could be heavily treated with additives and chemicals. Fluoride and chlorine are the most used ones in city water.

Tap Water For Guinea Pigs but can guinea pigs drink tap water

On the other hand, if you live in a rural area and your water supply is from a well, it could contain a high level of minerals such as calcium.

Too much calcium is dangerous for guinea pigs as it can cause urinary stones in guinea pigs [1].

So, can guinea pigs drink tap water from your local water source? Yes, if you can also drink it without experiencing adverse effects. This is enough to know for those living in the city.

For pet owners living in rural areas, however, you might have to consider getting a water filter. You can get a standard water filter attachment at a hardware store to reduce impurities and calcium in your tap water.

READ MORE: The Best Food for Guinea Pigs

What Is The Best Water to Give Guinea Pigs?

The best water for guinea pigs is purified water [2], as it is free of added chemicals but still keeps a good amount of healthy minerals.

When buying purified water, transfer it to glass bottles or containers since glass is safer to store water in than plastic.

Bottled purified water should be stored in a cool place (not more than 50°F) and kept out of direct sunlight. It should be changed every six months.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water is safe for healthy guinea pigs but not for those with health issues. This is because alkaline water [3] often contains added ingredients, including minerals and baking soda, which may aggravate existing medical problems.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Bottled Water?

Yes, they can! Bottled water is another option for guinea pigs. It’s usually safer than tap water because it has been filtered through a process that removes harmful contaminants.

Check the label before buying any bottled water for guinea pigs. Go for either purified or distilled bottled water. Bottled mineral water can contain too much calcium or magnesium.

How To Give Water To Guinea Pigs?

There are many ways to provide water to your guinea pigs. Whichever method you choose, always ensure they get at least 100ml of fresh water daily, whether tap water or store-bought water.

Below are some ways you can provide water for your guinea pigs:

1. Water Bottle

A water bottle is the most popular method of providing water for guinea pigs. The bottle is clipped from the outside of the enclosure and has a small pipe extending into the cage.

Water Bottle for guinea pigs but can guinea pig drink tap water from the bottle

In the pipe, there is a small ball that prevents leakage. When the guinea pig sips on the tube, the ball pushes backward and releases water for them to drink.

2. Sippy Bottle

The sippy bottle is great for guinea pigs who find it difficult to drink in the water bottle described above. Most guinea pigs prefer the sippy bottle.

This bottle has a closed opening with a small gib. For the cavies to drink, they must lift the gib for the water to flow.

3. Water Bowl

While a water bowl is the simplest way to provide guinea pigs with water, it is not the cleanest method. When left aside, dirt and debris can fall into the water while the unknowing guinea pig drinks from it.

Also, the guinea pigs can spill or knock over the bowl. If you plan to use a bowl, replace its water regularly and look out for your guinea pig.

Check out the video below to help you decide which of the ways above will be best for your guinea pig:

Why Guinea Pigs Need Water?

It’s essential to give your guinea pigs plenty of water daily. This means they should always have access to water or a continuous water supply. Even just a day without water could harm their health.

Guinea pigs’ water requirement is at least 80-100 mL of water daily [4]. This amount can increase or decrease due to humidity, activity, or illness.

Water is also needed to help regulate body temperature. During warm weather, guinea pigs will lose a lot of the water from their body, so water can help keep them cool.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?

There is no definite answer to this question since there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. This can include room temperature, age, and health of the guinea pigs.

However, guinea pigs should never go without water for 12 hours. Guinea pigs should be given access to water at all times. This means water should be available to them if they are in their cage or outside.

Without water for a long time, guinea pigs will get dehydrated. Dehydration is very dangerous for them and can even be fatal.

Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated

According to the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital [5], your guinea pig may be dehydrated if it has the following symptoms:

  • Dark-colored urine
  • Poor appetite
  • Thick saliva
  • Crusty eyes
  • Hard fecal pellets

You may also notice them being lethargic. To rectify dehydration, you’ll need to give them water right away. But sometimes, getting them to drink water can be a bit of a challenge.

How To Re-hydrate a Guinea Pig

Below are some methods to help rehydrate a guinea pig:

1. Water Dispensing Syringe

A syringe is one of the best ways to egg your guinea pig into drinking water. You can easily fill the syringe with water and inject it into the guinea pig’s mouth.

Keep the syringe at the corner of their mouth with a steady water flow. Pause every 5 seconds or so for them to swallow the water and rest.

If water starts to flow down their mouth, take out the syringe and try again in about an hour.

Sometimes, the guinea pig will stop drinking or reject the water. If this happens and your guinea pig looks weak, consult a veterinarian immediately.

2. Subcutaneous Fluids

If your guinea pig can’t or won’t drink water, subcutaneous fluids might be prescribed by a veterinarian. The veterinarian can do it himself, or you may ask for instructions on how to do it.

Like IV drips, subcutaneous fluids are administered by inserting a needle under the skin and injecting fluid into the bloodstream at a slower phase.

3. Intravenous and Intraosseous Fluids

If the dehydration is severe, the guinea pigs may need a constant and direct supply of fluids. Intravenous (IV) and Intraosseous (IO) fluids are usually given to them at an animal hospital since they must be under constant watch.

Like humans, IV fluids are given via a catheter inserted into a vein on the guinea pig’s arm or leg. On the other hand, IO fluids are inserted through a catheter into the bone marrow of the leg or arm.

FAQs

Can guinea pigs drink tap water from the bathroom?

Yes, guinea pigs can drink bathroom tap water if it’s the same supply throughout the house, and you have no problem drinking it yourself. Otherwise, you might need to use a water filter.

Can guinea pigs drink cold water?

guinea pig with cold water in front of him but can guinea pigs drink tap water with ice in it

Yes, guinea pigs can drink cold water, but not ice-cold water, as it can cause health issues. Room temperature, or a slightly cold, is fine for guinea pigs.

What drinks can guinea pigs drink?

Aside from fresh and clean water, guinea pigs can drink organic and unsweetened fruit juices. Sodas, milk, coffee, and other flavored drinks should not be given to guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs drink spring water?

Guinea pigs should not be given spring water because it contains minerals and is unfiltered. There might even be stones and debris in spring water, so it’s not recommended.

Conclusion:

So, can guinea pigs drink tap water? It depends on your local water source. Tap water in urban areas is more potable than in rural areas, where you might have to consider getting a water purifier.

Remember that the best type of water for guinea pigs is clean, purified water stripped of harmful contaminants but retains healthy minerals.

There are many ways to provide your guinea pigs with water. If one method fails, keep giving your piggy the hydration it needs.

guinea pig trying to drink tap water but can guinea pigs drink tap water in bowl

Do you feed tap water to your guinea pigs? Let us know in the comments section!

References:

  • Elizabeth Riley. Urinary Stones in Guinea Pigs [Internet]. www.veterinarypartner.vin.com. Available from: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=10817435
  • Mark Keyashian. Purified Water- an overview [Book]. Fermentation and Biochemical Engineering Handbook (Third Edition). Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/purified-water
  • Morgan Durick. What Is Alkaline Water—and Is It Healthy? [Internet].www.eatingwell.com. Available from: https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7961286/what-is-alkaline-water-and-is-it-healthy-heres-what-dietitians-have-to-say/
  • NSW Department of Education. Guinea pigs— Food & Water [Internet]. www.nswschoolanimals.com. Available from: https://nswschoolanimals.com/guinea-pigs/guinea-pigs-food-water
  • Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital. ADMINISTERING FLUIDS TO GUINEA PIGS [Internet]. www.azeah.com.Available from: https://azeah.com/guinea-pigs/administering-fluids-
Grigorina
Grigorina

Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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