Health Essentials
Health , Care Guide

Is my guinea pig dehydrated?

If your guinea pig isn’t drinking enough water, and their fresh produce isn’t providing them enough indirect hydratio...
is my guinea pig dehydrated?

In order to stay healthy, guinea pigs need a constant supply of hay and water, and they need to consume a cup of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some pellets for a balanced diet. If your guinea pig isn’t drinking enough water, and their fresh produce isn’t providing them enough indirect hydration, you may need to help them out a little bit!

If you’d like more information on how to balance your guinea pig’s fresh fruits and vegetables, you can check out our Vegetable Master List and our Fruits Master List. Both of these provide quick nutritional facts, as well as serving sizes, and how often in one glance! 

How much water does a guinea pig need?

There isn’t necessarily an exact answer for this question! Guinea pigs are a little bit like humans in that it depends more on the color and state of their urine, regardless of how much or how little they drink. On average, guinea pigs will drink anywhere from 50 ml to 300 ml of water per day. This amount can also vary depending on your guinea pig, the climate around them, and the rest of their diet.

You may also be wondering as a follow up then: How long can guinea pigs go without water? Death by dehydration can occur in the window of 12-48 hours. This is why it’s important not only to provide water at all times, but to make sure you’re paying attention to how much they’re drinking, and to keep an eye on their urine, as well as their poop, skin, and their eyes.

guinea pig drinking water to stay hydrated

Signs of dehydration

Check your guinea pig’s urine

This is the very first step that you should take if you suspect that your guinea pig might not be drinking enough water! It’s also something you should be checking often anyway so you can keep an eye on whether or not they’re having urinary tract problems, or to see whether their fruit and vegetable diet agrees with them. If you suspect that your guinea pig is having some urinary tract problems in general check out this blog post for more information! 

If your guinea pig’s urine is dark and stronger-smelling than usual, this will be the most obvious sign of dehydration. If your piggy is drinking enough water, then their urine will be lighter in color and not as smelly.

Examine your guinea pig’s skin

Checking their skin condition is another physical way you can see whether your guinea pig is hydrated enough. If your guinea pig’s skin is very loose and doesn’t bounce back when you very gently pinch it, that is a sure sign of dehydration.

Examine your guinea pig’s poop

This is another thing that you should be staying observant of, as this is a way that you can tell whether your guinea pig’s food is suitable for them. In general, teardrop-shaped poop is a way to identify dehydration!

However, if your guinea pig has loose stool or even diarrhea, your guinea pig can become dehydrated due to the loss of fluids.

Examine your guinea pig’s eyes

Guinea pigs are usually very alert and curious, and they’re always looking around them and aware of what is happening around them! This just comes naturally to them because they’re prey animals, and they’re on high alert for predators. 

If their eyes are sunken and dull, this can be a sign of dehydration and fatigue. 

How to keep your guinea pig hydrated

We wish it was as simple as putting more water in the water bowl or bottle, but it really isn’t! You might need to make a visit to your veterinarian for some assistance in rehydrating your guinea pig. You may have to resort to syringe-feeding your guinea pig water! 

This is done by filling a syringe with water, then by placing it at the corner of their mouths and gently, slowly pushing down on the plunger. This can help them drink, but if the water is just dribbling out of their mouth, you should stop and try again a little later. If this doesn’t work, you may have to administer fluids to them in another way.

Your veterinarian may prescribe that you need to administer subcutaneous fluids, which is done by injecting it beneath the skin. Depending on how serious the situation is, there are different subcutaneous fluids that will be prescribed, but in general they are all given to your guinea pigs in the same way. This can be done by you at home! 

To give these fluids to your guinea pig, you’re going to need to securely hold them in order to do it safely. You can gently, but firmly wrap them in a blanket or towel to prevent them from squirming around too much while you’re doing this. You can utilize the pouch that comes in the Offbeat Piggy Play Package for this! Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to properly administer the fluids, whether it’s by syringe or fluid bags.

In more serious cases, some guinea pigs may need constant administration of intravenous or intraosseous fluids that are given through catheters inserted into a vein in their forearm or leg. 

The bottom line: keep an eye on your guinea pig’s pee!

This is the easiest and fastest way to identify many of your guinea pigs’ health issues, so stay alert and observant. The faster you notice changes in their health, the faster you can administer treatment and help them stay safe, healthy, and comfortable.

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