Water is the most crucial part of a guinea pig diet, and it is essential to life in general. There are two primary water options for pet guinea pigs. The bowl and the bottle are both accessible for guinea pigs, though one is easier to maintain for you.
The Water Dish
Anything can become a water dish, and that’s part of what makes this water option appealing. Ideally, you can use a chew-resistant bowl such as ceramic, or a vessel specially designed for guinea pigs. Then it’s merely a matter of filling the water dish option(s) and setting them in the cage for your guinea pigs.
The downside of these dishes is that your guinea pig can drop things in them. From kicked up bedding to the occasional misplaced food, these muddy up the water dish quickly. Then you need to change the water, sometimes several times a day.
The Bottle Option
This water option for guinea pigs is highly convenient. You simply fill it and hang it off the side of the cage. The guinea pig then controls the water release by licking the ball in the nozzle. You should only have to fill a water bottle once a day, assuming you sized it for the number of guinea pigs in the cage.
The downside with this option is sometimes guinea pigs leave food deposits in the nozzle. These can cause the water bottle to leak or they can force it closed. Either is a disaster for you if you do not notice in time.
To Supplement Vitamin C or Not in the Water Options
Since guinea pigs are one of the few mammals that do not make their own vitamin C internally, they do need you to add it to their diet. There are water-soluble supplement mixtures for this. However, adding it in the water container is not the best way to go about it. Adding it to food and supplementing with fresh vegetables or fruits is.
The downside to adding water-soluble vitamin C to a guinea pig’s water options is twofold. One, it creates a mess that you must clean up every single day, or it will grow bacteria. Two, your guinea pig may end up with too much vitamin C, which can lead to health complications.
Guinea Pig Water Options Temperature
Guinea pigs are like Goldilocks in that they do not enjoy extremes their water options. You want to aim for room temperature water when you refill your guinea pig’s water container(s). Otherwise, the guinea pig will likely wait for the temperature to normalize anyway before drinking.
How Much do Guinea Pigs Drink?
Your guinea pig will drink between 80-100 ml a day on average. Of course, guinea pigs will drink more when it’s warm, and individual guinea pigs may drink a little more or a little less. Additionally, pregnant and nursing guinea pigs will drink more regardless of the time of year.
Your guinea pig should always have access to water options. The longest they should go without this access is for you to clean the container or while you are cleaning their cage. Both occurrences should take less than twenty minutes.