How Long Can a Guinea Pigs Go Without Food And Water?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 07:32 pm

Guinea pigs require daily care and attention to keep them healthy and happy.

Food and water are essential things that guinea pigs should always have on time, because otherwise they will get sick, and in the worst case, they can die.

We all have responsibilities and sometimes we may forget to give food and water to our pets.

That’s why we need to know how long guinea pigs can survive without food and water?

Guinea pigs should not remain without food for longer than 7-8 hours because health problems and gastrointestinal stasis may occur, which may be too dangerous for them. Guinea pigs can last about 20-24 hours without water, but this only applies to healthy guinea pigs, while sick, old, pregnant and those who are currently exposed to high temperatures, the time they can last without water is undoubtedly much less.

In today’s article, you will find out how long guinea pigs can survive without food and water, the symptoms and other things related to such unwanted situations when we keep our pets.

How long can guinea pigs go without food?

As we said at the beginning, guinea pigs can last 7-8 hours without food.

If your pet runs out of food during this time interval, it should be taken to the vet just in case.

It is especially dangerous if the guinea pig has food in its habitat and does not want to eat, this is a potential problem that must be investigated immediately to find out what is causing the reluctance to eat.

What are the side effects of starving guinea pigs?

When guinea pigs do not eat for 8 hours, it is not good and can cause health problems. Guinea pigs need a daily intake of food, especially dietary fiber, and if they do not eat hay for 48 hours, they will die.

When they do not take in fiber, stones appear, which are very dangerous for their removal and treatment.

Here are some dangers that can happen to your pet if it is starving for several hours.

GI stasis

Gastrointestinal tract stasis is when food and fluids stop passing through the body or stomach of the guinea pig.

Dehydration occurs and their digestive system does not work as it should. Pain occurs and this must be treated immediately with medical treatment.

Guinea pigs need to eat and poop regularly, and it’s a standard process for guinea pigs. Any change in this process means something is wrong with the guinea pig.

When it comes to nutrition, we must mention that guinea pigs should consume a proper diet, any improper diet will again lead to problems with their health and digestive system.

GI stasis if it develops in the guinea pig’s body can also cause death in the guinea pig.

Guinea pigs can last longer than 8 hours without food, but it may be too late to normalize the digestive tract, leading to fatal consequences.

Gastrointestinal stasis is best not to occur in guinea pigs at all, and therefore food should always be on time for your pets, the risk is too significant.

Occurrence of scurvy

Scurvy is a very dangerous disease for guinea pigs and appears as a result of vitamin C deficiency.

Since guinea pigs cannot produce it on their own, they have to get it through their diet, which is the only way to meet their vitamin C needs.

Vegetables, fruits, and pellets with regular consumption will allow your pets always to have sufficient vitamin C in their organism.

When guinea pigs have scurvy, you can recognize it by the following symptoms:

  • joint pains
  • loss of fur
  • weight reduction
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite

All these symptoms indicate that the guinea pig has scurvy, and the consequences can be fatal, it can even lead to death.

When guinea pigs have scurvy, you should immediately consult a veterinarian to improve their condition.

Guinea pigs need between 20-30 mg/kg of vitamin C, and if they have a deficiency of this vitamin, then it is necessary to double the dose to normalize the condition and the need for this vitamin.

Vitamin C is gradually lost if you keep the food open and exposed to light, so it is best to keep the food in a closed container so that its quantity is not lost.

how long can a guinea pigs go without food and water

How long can a guinea pig last without water?

Water, just like food, is essential for the health and life of guinea pigs it is the same for us humans. If guinea pigs do not get enough water they will dehydrate and die.

Guinea pigs need fresh and clean water to stay healthy and hydrated. Since guinea pigs mostly eat hay, they constantly need water so their digestive system can work properly.

Our pets can withstand 24 hours without water, although even this time interval is too much for them, already after 12 hours, they will begin to dehydrate gradually.

There are also rare cases when guinea pigs can survive 48 hours without water, but as we said, such situations are too rare.

Dehydration leads to health problems that can be fatal to his life.

Why do guinea pigs need fresh water?

Apart from hydration, water provides other essential things related to the health of guinea pigs; here are some of them:

  • protects the spinal cord
  • lubricates and protects the joints
  • expels waste from the body
  • maintains the temperature

Water is just as important to guinea pigs as it is to us, humans.

How much water does a guinea pig need per day?

On average, guinea pigs need 80-100 ml of water daily. Sometimes less or more, but it needs a moderate amount of water.

Pregnant guinea pigs certainly drink more water throughout the day.

The daily activities of the guinea pig contribute to some of them drinking more water.

A glass water bottle is an excellent option for giving him water, while hanging the bottle in his cage so he can’t urinate, which would happen if the bottle were on the floor.

You can also put a bottle with a marked amount of water, so you know if and how much he drinks daily, so you will more easily know his needs for freshwater during the day.

What are the side effects of dehydration in guinea pigs?

During dehydration in guinea pigs, the following side effects occur:

  • problems with the urinary tract
  • kidney and bladder stones
  • intestinal problems
  • pain in stomach
  • digestive problems

All these side effects are dangerous for guinea pigs and can result in death.

Factors that can affect how long a guinea pig can go without water

Guinea pigs can remain without water, but they can ingest liquids through food and thus satisfy their needs, but this is still only a temporary solution.

For example, if they eat cucumbers that have a high level of water in their composition, they will be able to last longer without water.

Depending on the health of the guinea pig, not all of them can survive without water at the same time, some factors decide how much your pet can manage to stay more or less time without water.

Here are some of those factors:

  • Older and pregnant guinea pigs need water much more often and cannot go long without water.
  • Sick guinea pigs can survive without water for about 5 hours; their disease requires drinking water more often than healthy guinea pigs.
  • Warm weather affects how much water and at what time intervals guinea pigs need; typically warmer weather requires more water and fluids to stay hydrated.

how long can a guinea pigs go without food and water

What are the signs when guinea pigs are without food and water for a long time?

For various reasons, Guinea pigs can go without food and water for a long time.

Sometimes we forget to give them food and water because we are rushing to work or when we are preoccupied with household work and other similar situations.

That’s why we need to know the signs that indicate that our pet does not have enough food and water intake.

The lack of food and water does not always have to be at once; sometimes, it is noticed after some time as a consequence of insufficient food and water intake.

Here are some of them:

  • guinea pigs make strange noises and show signs of pain
  • they refuse to eat and drink even though you repeatedly give them food and water
  • they stop pooping, or the poop is different in shape and texture
  • they show lethargy
  • urinate less than usual
  • changes in their behavior
  • their breathing is difficult and irregular

All these signs indicate that the guinea pigs may have problems with regular food and water intake, and you need to take them to the vet for an examination.

How long can you leave guinea pigs alone with food and water provided?

If you are going somewhere and it is necessary to leave your guinea pig only with sufficient amounts of food and water provided, make sure it is not more than 24 hours.

Although there will be enough food and water, other problems may affect their health.

Here are the consequences that can happen:

  • they can get hurt while playing
  • they may be moody and sad because you left them alone, which can cause stress in your pets.
  • food can begin to spoil, spill, and begin to attract insects and bacterial growth.
  • due to breaking or blocking, water can be spilled from the dispensers.
  • bedding can have too much urine and cause respiratory problems due to the smell of ammonia.

That’s why you should never leave your guinea pig alone for more than 24 hours, or find someone to watch and care for your pet while you’re away.

Why does the guinea pig drink too much water?

If guinea pigs drink too much water, then this can be a sign of health problems.

Here are some reasons why they drink too much water:

  • diabetes – then guinea pigs drink more than average amounts of water, and your pet urinates more often.
  • heat – if the guinea pig is hot, it may drink too much water, mainly in the summer.
  • kidney problems – occur when their kidneys do not work as they should, and guinea pigs drink more water.

What to do if the guinea pig does not want to eat and drink?

Although we will leave them enough food and water, the guinea pig may still refuse to drink and eat.

For example, if they refuse to eat hay and pellets, and that is food that they always want to eat, then maybe there are some things that we need to change.

A guinea pig may refuse to eat and drink for the following reasons:

  • Change of habitat – when changing the environment guinea pigs may not want to eat and drink, and it is a normal reaction that will pass in a certain time.
  • When they are alone – guinea pigs are very sensitive; therefore, they do not eat or drink during such moments and pay more attention to them.
  • New food – if you change your pet’s food, it can lead to rejection of the fresh food, so we recommend changing its diet gradually.

Apart from these signs, the refusal to eat and drink can also mean that the guinea pig is sick and will need medical care; you should take it to a veterinarian.

read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Paper? (Bags, Toilet, Cardboard)

Food rich in water for guinea pigs

If the guinea pig has run out of water, it can take in fluids through food, which will undoubtedly reduce the risk of dehydration.

Therefore, here are the types of vegetables and fruits that have 80-90 percent water:

  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • peach
  • celery
  • orange
  • tomatoes
  • pineapple
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • apricot
  • apples

Should you leave your guinea pig at home when you go on vacation?

Yes, you can leave the guinea pig at home when you go on vacation, but you must find someone to take care of it. You cannot just leave him food and water, because several days is too much to leave him alone at home.

Or if you can’t find one, take it to a vet clinic or pet shelter.

However, if you find someone to look after your pet, you must leave him a list and a plan of how to feed, how much time to spend with your pet playing, etc.

Setting up a camera is another thing that can help a lot if you leave the guinea pig at home alone, it will be able to indicate to the friend who will watch it if your pet is missing something, maybe food or water.

how long can a guinea pigs go without food and water

What kind of water should a guinea pig drink?

The guinea pig should drink plain water, and it can also drink bottled water, and it should be changed once a day.

It can also drink water from a well, but be careful because guinea pigs should never drink dirty water.

The water should be at room temperature, and in the summer you can put an ice cube in the water to see their reaction, whether they like it or not.

read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggs? All You Need To Know


Guinea pigs must get food and water every day. Otherwise, they will get sick and die.

They can last 8 hours without food and 24 hours without water.

After these periods, our pet begins to dehydrate and have digestive problems, and if it continues without food and water, the guinea pig will eventually die.

They need to consume food and water daily, there is no other way to stay healthy, so if we are not at home, we need to find someone who will always give them timely amounts of food and water.

Finally, don’t forget your pets, because they should always have access to fresh food and clean and fresh water.

read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Plantains? All You Need To Know