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Guinea Pigs/Stopped drinking water


My best friend Buddy has stopped drinking water and not sure why.. I recently wrote to you on March 5th and received a prompt reply, however since then my little friend has stopped drinking his water.. He is still eating like normal, still pooping, and peeing, not acting any different. I am still giving him his Kale in the morning and evening, he has and endless supply of Timothy Hay and pellets. I also give him baby carrots, celery,and red bell peppers. with an occasional treat of yogurt dipped Timothy hay pellets for a treat which he loves. Not sure what to do about his not drinking water or whether he is getting enough in his Kale when I wash it before giving to him.. Please let me know what you think, trying to be a good parent and give him a long healthy life. Thanks Deanna

First of all Deanna let me apologize for not answering this sooner. An unexpected illness kept me 'off the job' for a few days.

Let me assure you that if Buddy is eating and taking his veggies normally he's getting all the water he needs. I had a breeder friend who did not have water bottles in her caviary at all, but gave fairly large amounts of lettuce twice daily and her pigs thrived.  

When we travel from state to state, or even county to county for shows many of us stopped using water bottles because of the problem of dripping during travel thus making the bedding wet. For coated breeds the last thing you want to put in front of the judge is a pig with a big wet spot on his back. My point is simply that Buddy appears to be getting what he needs from his veggies.

I found one of the best ways to keep my pigs hydrated during long trips is Iceberg lettuce. Although it is true that it has little or no nutritional value its most redeeming quality is that it's mostly water. A little spritzing with a water bottle refreshes the lettuce and the pigs love it. And their coats stay dry.

Cavies are from Peru where they are primarily rock dwellers. They don't always have access to water, however they do have access to grass and other vegetation that contains water. When I first heard this lady say she never puts water bottles in her cages I thought she was nuts. However, when breaking down the pros and cons of water bottles vs veggies it kindled the light of understanding and made me realize that her award winning Peruvians with the very long coats were every bit as healthy and competitive as anyone elses show animals.

After that I stopped worrying about cleaning and hanging multiple little travel bottles the night before and the night after a show. It was horrifically time consuming and when you've been on your feet for eight or ten hours of exhibiting time the last thing any one of us wanted to have to do, yet did anyway, was clean water bottles.

So rest easy. Buddy is most likely getting more enjoyment out of the way he gets hydrated than a pig with just an plain old bottle of water.  And just for a quick analogy or example of how good fruits and veggies are for water replacement, think of this: When you've eaten a nice big chunk of watermelon are you thirsty afterwards?

Sit back and relax mom. Buddy's fine.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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