How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food & Water?

No one wants to leave their guinea pig for long, but it’s something that happens if you have a job or tend to travel regularly. If you’re a pig parent, you’re bound to find this problematic, as you’re always wondering how long your pet can go without eating and drinking and what you can do to ensure its survival and safety during separation.

To prepare to leave your pig alone, take steps to keep your absence as low as possible. Here’s everything you need to know.

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How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water?

Your pet needs to stay hydrated with fresh, clean water during your absence. This is very important because a guinea pig’s diet consists mainly of a lot of dry, fibrous food and requires a lot of fluids to keep its digestive tract functioning.

Every piggy is different, but no pet should go without dehydration for long. More than 12-24 hours pushing the cat to death.

While some pigs can survive without water for more than 48 hours, it’s not fair to let your pigs go through it. Make sure your pet has access to sufficient and appropriate water for their age, stage of development and weather conditions at all times.

How Much Water Does a Guinea Pig Need in a Day?

On average, guinea pigs need no less than 80-100 ml of water per day per pet. This number can only be increased, and it depends on the stage of production of the pet. For example, pregnant or nursing pigs will experience increased water intake.

guinea pig

The best way to give water to pigs is to use a non-drip glass water bottle so they don’t chew and clog them. You can simply attach or hang this waterer to the pet’s cage because the piggy will defecate or urinate in the water if you leave it on the floor.

You can still meet your pet’s daily water needs by feeding him lots of fruits and vegetables with a high water content.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food?

You shouldn’t accidentally starve your guinea pig to see how long it can survive without eating. However, there is no doubt that these pet rodents cannot survive long without food as they need it to keep their intestinal and liver systems functioning and healthy.

The rule of thumb is not to deprive your pig of food for 24 hours or more, as he will start having gut problems. So if you’re planning on traveling for some time, make sure your piggy has an adequate supply of food throughout the day and night.

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How Long Can Guinea Pigs Live Alone?

If you’ve been away from home for a while or for a long time, you’ll want to know how long your guinea pig can be left alone. Well, while your pig may grow attached to you from time to time, it doesn’t need you all the time (as long as you fulfill its basic needs, of course).

Yes, theoretically, your pet can live alone forever if you make sure it feeds, drinks and has a clean environment.

But you know this isn’t practical—you have to refill the food and water and clean the cage to prevent germs and bacteria from building up at some point. Otherwise, he will get sick from old food that is full of mold and have breathing problems from the ammonia fumes that build up as urine and feces build up.

So make sure you don’t leave the pig alone and unattended for more than 24 hours—12 hours maximum is sufficient. Guinea Pigs depend on your care and need your attention and affection, just like any other household pet.

It is very important to clean the habitat at least once a week, and provide a daily supply of fresh food and water, which means it is unrealistic to leave it unattended for weeks on end!

guinea pigs eat_RJM Bishop_shutterstock

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Guinea Pig Food and Vegetables with High Water Content

In addition to water, you can provide foods high in fluids and vegetables to supplement water intake during absences. But remember that these foods should only be served as occasional meals and not full-time meals.

Here are some food choices that are over 90% water and are guinea pig friendly.

  • Lettuce

  • Cucumber

  • Zucchini

  • Watermelon

  • Strawberry

  • Turnip

  • Peach

  • Pomelo

  • Celery

  • orange

  • Tomato

  • pineapple

  • Cabbage

  • cranberries

  • paprika

  • Spinach

  • Raspberry

  • Apricot

  • Cauliflower

  • Plum

  • Apple

  • Carrot

Gray Guinea Pig and apple

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Why You Shouldn’t Leave a Guinea Pig for a Long Time

1. Guinea Pigs Don’t Thrive in Remoteness

Guinea pigs are naturally social and don’t do well in isolation or when lonely for long periods of time. These pets need human contact, interaction and affection to thrive.


2. Requires a lot of Hay and Food

You know guinea pig teeth never stop growing, right? It’s important to give him plenty of hay and food because he needs something to chew on constantly—meaning the pig needs access to hay and food 24 hours a day.

The fiber and nutrients in the diet also support the guinea pig’s overall health and promote optimal digestion and body function.


3. Continuous Water Supply Difficult

Leaving your guinea pig alone for extended periods of time means you won’t be there to offer them water when they need to drink. Even with multiple sprinklers, consider that your pig can’t drink it easily, or the bottle could become clogged or leak. In addition, the pigs could accidentally knock the drinkers over and lose their supplies.


4. Possible Unfavorable Climate in Your Home or Pet Habitat

Guinea pigs need protection from temperature fluctuations, which are most likely to occur in the home environment, especially during nighttime heat changes. You must be there to help control the condition and keep your pet safe.

Guinea Pig bed


5. Guinea Pigs Vulnerable to Disease

Piggies catch disease and become sick without warning because they are small pets, so you need to identify illness quickly. The only way to do this is to visually observe signs and symptoms, take them to the vet beforehand.

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Tips for Keeping Your Guinea Pig Healthy While You’re Away

While you shouldn’t leave your pet behind for too long, it will happen from time to time in this modern world. Here are the steps to take to ensure the safety and health of your pet.

1. Invest in Multiple Bottles of Water

If you are going to be away for more than a day, you can keep your pigs hydrated by installing various bottles in their habitat.


2. Hay doesn’t have to run out

Timothy hay is a must-eat and a pig’s favorite. So, it would be better to keep the animals around the hay while you are away.

Also, you can invest in a hay rack to store food above ground. This set will also help save more hay at a time than if you just threw it on the floor. But hay is dry food; ensure continuous water supply as well.

Guinea Pig on the hay


3. Provides lots of space

Keeping pets locked up for as long as possible can be stressful. Make sure the cage is spacious and provides enough space to play, hide, shelter, and sleep. The cage should be in a quiet and stable environment, with clean and fresh bedding and free of danger or risk of injury.


4. Set Up Surveillance Cameras to Help Monitor Pets Remotely

You’ll want to keep an eye on your pet, especially now that you’re away from him. Attach the camera and link it to your smartphone so you can find out if the piggy is out of stock and make sure it’s still functioning normally.

You can easily get a pet monitoring camera from any pet store, and they are also quite affordable.


5. Ask for Help from Neighbors or Friends

Ask your friends or neighbors if they can help care for your pig while you’re away, then train them on how to do it.

While the training isn’t particularly difficult, make sure you do it first before heading off on a trip to introduce the two. If someone can help keep an eye on your pig, you can travel as long as you want.


6. Hire a Pet sitter

Or, you can hire a pet sitter for frequent visits during the day when you’re away. This will prevent the need for full-time grooming and give you peace of mind knowing someone is monitoring your pet.

guinea pig eating tomatoes


7. Consider Putting Your Pets

It would also be a good idea to put your pigs in a pen if you plan on going on long trips for days. These boarding facilities are happy to help keep your pet for as long as you want, at a low cost.

However, if your local kennel is reluctant to provide this service, you can contact your local pet store or your family veterinarian. Some pet stores and vets offer boarding services, and you can leave your guinea pig, where they will care for them for an additional fee.

A significant benefit of leaving your pet with a vet is that you won’t have to worry about the pet’s health, lack of experience, or failed monitoring while you’re away.

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Summary

There is no denying that eating and drinking are very important for the health and survival of guinea pigs. So if you have to leave your pet for a day or two, it’s natural and responsible to provide food and water for a few days.


Featured Image: TJ Image, Shutterstock