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Can Guinea Pigs Drink Tap Water, or Should It Be Filtered?

Providing clean water for our guinea pigs is an important part of taking good care of our pets. 

They need constant access to clean water, and ideally, the water should be changed daily to prohibit bacterial build-up and unsanitary conditions. 

People give water to their guinea pigs in water bowls and drip bottles, but what is the best kind of water to give?  

Guinea pigs can drink tap water so long as it is from a safe source. Hard water or water with too many minerals or heavy metals may cause health issues. If the water is fine for humans to drink, it is generally safe for your guinea pigs. However, it is best to filter water beforehand. 

If you’ve ever wondered if tap water is fine for your guinea pigs, we’ll tell you everything about what to do. 

Let’s look into whether it is fine to drink tap water or if it should be filtered first. 

can guinea pigs drink tap water

Is Tap Water Safe For Guinea Pigs To Drink?

Ensuring our guinea pigs are well hydrated is an important part of proper care. 

As pet owners, we must give our beloved guinea pigs as much love and care possible. 

To do this, we need to know what is good and bad for our guinea pigs. 

We know healthy guinea pigs need water, but should it be filtered?

The answer to this question relies heavily on whether or not you have an appropriate piped water supply. 

This means your water comes from a reputable source. 

Most city water is perfectly safe for consumption, but there are some exceptions. 

Some tap water has a lot of chemicals, minerals, and heavy metals in it. 

These are not good for guinea pigs. 

They cause many health issues, including kidney stones and other bladder issues. 

If you want your guinea pig to live a long and healthy life, we highly recommend filtering the tap water before putting it in a water bottle or water bowl. 

Providing clean water is best if it is filtered to remove any possible materials harmful to guinea pigs. 

If you drink your tap water without any issues, it is generally safe for your guinea pig to drink. 

Why Should You Filter Tap Water For Your Guinea Pigs?

Filtered water is significantly better for your guinea pig to drink than tap water. 

Even if your water comes through a city water system, there is still a good chance there are contaminants. 

Much municipal water contains different chemicals used to rid the water of parasites and harmful bacteria. 

While these chemicals like chlorine are great for cleaning up the water, they are not necessarily very good for your guinea pig to drink. 

Here are some of the main issues with giving tap water straight to your guinea pig without filtering it first. 

Heavy Metals

Providing constant access to water for our piggies is very important. 

Giving fresh water is equally important. 

Some people give bottled water to avoid giving any heavy metals. 

Water bottles are purified and free from heavy metals, which may cause adverse health conditions for your beloved guinea pig. 

Most of the time, tap water is filtered out of most heavy metals, but this is not always the case. 

Filtering tap water is one of the best ways to assure you aren’t giving contaminated water to your guinea pig. 

Hard Water Vs. Soft Water

Different water systems are categorized as either hard or soft. 

Hard water tends to have more minerals like calcium. 

These minerals tend to cause build-up around faucets and showerheads, but they are also not great for our guinea pigs to drink. 

Soft water also tends to have a lot of minerals in it. 

Both of these types of water are not great for your beloved guinea pig to be drinking all the time. 

Minerals 

There are many different types of water to put in your guinea pig’s sippy bottle

It’s important to give your guinea pigs a bowl of water to stay well hydrated and regulate their body temperature. Minerals are good in small quantities for guinea pig health. 

Giving distilled water is not the best option either, as it has been completely purified and is free of all minerals. 

Filters take out some minerals but not all. 

This way, your guinea pig will still benefit from naturally occurring minerals in their water but not so much where health issues are possible. 

How Much Water Does A Guinea Pig Need Per Day?

how much water does a guinea pig need per day

Whether you are giving your guinea pig safe tap water or purified tap water, it is important to provide a steady supply of fluids for your pet to stay well hydrated. 

Guinea pigs drink a lot of water each day, but the specific amount depends on their size. 

They will drink significantly more water during the warm weather and summer months. 

Staying hydrated is important for guinea pigs to effectively regulate their body temperature. 

Most guinea pigs drink about 100 mL a day. 

Since guinea pigs range in size, the actual amount may differ. 

Male guinea pigs tend to be larger than female guinea pigs, so they drink more water and need their bowl of water filled more frequently. 

As your guinea pig grows in size, you’ll need to provide additional water to their water bowl to make sure they are getting enough.

Related: How long do guinea pigs take to become fully grown?

We recommend making sure your guinea pig has constant access to water. 

Whether bottled water, tap water, spring water, or filtered water, your guinea pig should have constant access to water. 

Your guinea pig instinctively drinks water when thirsty, so there is no reason to force them to drink from their drip bottles. 

The best thing to do is make sure they have access to water whenever they get thirsty. 

We recommend cleaning the water bowl every few days and replacing the water daily to make sure things stay clean and safe from bacteria.

How Do I Tell If My Guinea Pig Is Dehydrated?

It is good to know the signs of dehydration in guinea pigs. 

Recognizing the early signs of dehydration will help restore your pet to full health. 

We recommend providing water at all times. 

No animal should go longer than 24 hours without water. 

If you are in a situation where you will need to be away from your guinea pig for more than a full day, it is vital to arrange for someone to come and refill their water bottle and check in on your beloved pet. 

Dehydration is very dangerous for humans and animals alike. 

Guinea pigs are equally subject to suffering from the effects of dehydration. 

If you are concerned your beloved pet may be dehydrated, we recommend seeking professional veterinary attention.

They may need to administer subcutaneous fluids if they have lost a lot of fluids from not having access to drinking water for an extended time. 

Here are some of the most common signs of a dehydrated guinea pig:

  • Hard fecal pellets
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Crusty eyes
  • Thick saliva or drool

If your guinea pig shows any of these signs, we recommend going to the vet. 

In the meantime, there are a few things to do at home to help rehydrate your pet. 

Refilling their water bottle or bowl is a good start. 

However, some dehydrated guinea pigs will not drink the water even though they desperately need it. 

Some people use a water dispensing syringe to force their pets to drink water when dehydrated. 

This is sometimes a difficult task to accomplish. 

Further reading: How long can guinea pigs go without food and water?

What Type Of Water Bottle Should I Use In My Guinea Pig Cage?

Making sure your guinea pig has a good supply of water is important. 

There are a few different types of water bottles and bowls for guinea pigs. 

Which is best? 

The best type of water bottle is the one your guinea pig likes to drink from and will continue to drink from to stay hydrated and healthy. 

The main types of water dispensers are bottles, sippy bottles, and bowls.

  • Water bottles are great as they keep debris and other materials from getting into the water. Some guinea pigs do not like drinking from this, but they will get used to it if you start them with this type. Cavies must hit the ball in the opening to drink from water bottles to dispense fluid. 
  • Water bowls are a bit more natural for guinea pigs. One drawback is how dirty the water tends to get. If you use this type, it is important to regularly clean the water bowl and change out the water daily to keep bacteria from forming. 
  • Sippy bottles have a slight glib which is much easier for cavies to adjust than the ball in the water bottle. These are a great option as they keep the water clean while also providing an easier experience for your guinea pig. 

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