Last Modified

May 12, 2023 by Umair Shahid

Guinea pigs are fun, lovable animals that can make wonderful pets. But just like any other pet, they require proper care and attention. A big part of their care is knowing how long guinea pigs can go without food and water.

According to veterinarians, guinea pigs can live without water for 12 hours, but this may be reduced if the animal is elderly, sick, pregnant, or in hot weather. In some cases, guinea pigs can go as long as 24 hours without water, but this usually leads to dehydration.

When guinea pigs do not eat for six to eight hours, they can enter GI stasis. However, some may be able to go longer, but this increases the possibility that their digestive system may malfunction.

 In this regard, guinea pigs must be provided with fresh water and hay constantly.

In this article, we’ll discuss the short and long-term effects of not providing food and water to your guinea pig, as well as tips on how to keep your guinea pig healthy. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.

How Much Food And Water Does A Guinea Pig Need?

Guinea pigs need a regular and balanced diet to stay healthy. They should have access to fresh hay and vegetables, plus a small amount of guinea pig pellets, every day. Fresh water should also be available at all times. On average, a guinea pig needs 80-100ml of water daily.

A guinea pig’s digestive system is very sensitive, so it’s important not to make any sudden changes in its diet or water supply. They can go without food for 24 hours without any adverse effects, but they must always have access to clean drinking water.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Live Without Water?

During your absence, your pet needs fresh and clean water to stay hydrated. Because guinea pigs consume mostly dry, fibrous food and need plenty of fluids, this is particularly important.

Although each pig is unique, pets should be kept hydrated at all times. If the cavy is not treated within 12-24 hours, it will die.

According to reports, piggies have been known to survive without water for over 48 hours; however, it is not advisable to leave your pet in this situation.

Vets say pets should always have access to water suitable for their age, stage of development, and climate.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Live Without Food?

To determine how long a guinea pig can survive without food, you should not intentionally starve it. Nevertheless, rodents cannot live without food for too long since they require it to maintain a healthy liver and intestines.

Always feed your pig for at least 24 hours or it will become ill. Therefore, ensure your piggie has enough food both day and night if you plan to travel for some time.

The Short-Term Effects Of Starvation And Dehydration

When guinea pigs are deprived of food and water, they can suffer from the short-term effects of starvation and dehydration. Without proper nourishment, their bodies begin to break down fat energy stores, causing them to lose weight quickly.

This can lead to a weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to disease. Additionally, dehydration causes the guinea pig’s body to become less efficient in its use of electrolytes, leaving it at risk for organ failure.

If this situation continues for too long, the guinea pig may eventually die from malnutrition or dehydration.

Owners need to be aware of these dangers and provide their pets with adequate nutrition and hydration. A balanced diet should consist of hay, fresh vegetables, fortified pellets, and occasional treats.

Fresh clean water should also be available at all times. With these precautions in place, guinea pigs will stay healthy and happy for many years to come.

The Long-Term Effects Of Starvation And Dehydration

Starvation and dehydration can have devastating long-term effects on a guinea pig’s health. Without adequate food and water, their bodies will begin to break down muscle tissue to provide energy and nutrients, leading to severe weight loss.

This can cause organ damage, fatigue, anemia, and an increased risk of infection or disease. In addition, the lack of essential vitamins and minerals can lead to weakened bones, joint inflammation, and other medical problems.

These conditions can be difficult for a guinea pig to recover from and may require extensive medical care.

Dehydration is also a major concern for guinea pigs that are not getting enough water. Without sufficient fluids, their bodies cannot function properly as they become more prone to illness and infections due to the lack of electrolytes.

This can lead to organ failure over time if left untreated. Therefore, owners need to ensure that their pet has access to fresh drinking water at all times to maintain their health.

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 Signs of GI Stasis

  • Lethargic
  • Teeth grinding 
  • A refusal to eat or drink
  • Labored breathing
  • Puffed up fur  
  • Bloated stomach  
  • HidingPooping
  • less frequently
  • When picked up,
  • Whining or squealing occurs 
  • Hunched over
  • Atypical behaviors of other types

Signs of Dehydration

  • Thick saliva
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Poor appetite
  • Lethargic
  • Disoriented
  • Dark colored pee
  • Smelly pee,
  • Dry droppings
  • Crusty eyes
  • When gently lifted,
  • Neck skin tents and comes down slowly

Tips for Keeping Your Guinea Pig Healthy

It is important to monitor your guinea pig’s hydration levels regularly. If your pet appears dehydrated, it is essential to provide them with water as soon as possible.

However, it is also important to prevent dehydration in the first place by providing adequate amounts of clean water and making sure they are getting enough food and nutrition.

To ensure that your guinea pig stays healthy and hydrated, feed them fresh vegetables and fruits every day. Make sure their diet is balanced and provide hay for them to nibble on throughout the day.

Additionally, change their water daily and give them plenty of space to move around in their enclosure.

Regularly check for signs of illness or distress in your pet, such as drastic weight loss or changes in behavior or appetite. Taking these steps can help keep your guinea pig happy, healthy, and well-hydrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Stimulate My Guinea Pig’s Appetite?

Stimulating your guinea pig’s appetite can be tricky. It’s important to recognize when they’re not eating or drinking enough, as this can result in dehydration.

If you notice these signs, start by offering your guinea pig some fresh vegetables, such as bell peppers or carrots. You can also try offering some hay or fresh grasses for them to nibble on.

Additionally, you may want to supplement the guinea pigs’ diet with a small amount of healthy fats like nuts or seeds. Finally, make sure to provide plenty of water for them throughout the day and check regularly that they are drinking it.

What Type Of Food Is Best For Guinea Pigs?

According to exotic vets, the best type of food for guinea pigs is a high-quality mix of hay, fresh vegetables, and some pellets. Hay should make up the majority of their diet as it is essential for maintaining healthy teeth, digestion, and overall well-being.

Fresh vegetables are also important for providing essential vitamins and minerals that guinea pigs need to stay healthy. In addition, a daily portion of vitamin-enriched pellets can help meet their nutritional needs.

It’s important to offer variety when feeding your guinea pig to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

How Often Should I Give My Guinea Pig Fresh Water?

It is important to make sure your guinea pig has access to fresh water at all times. Most experts recommend changing the water daily and refilling it with fresh, clean water.

This ensures that your pet is always hydrated and provides them with a safe source of drinking water. Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of dehydration such as dry skin, weight loss, or lack of energy.

If you notice these symptoms, you should seek advice from a vet immediately.

What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Stops Eating Or Drinking?

If your guinea pig stops eating or drinking, it’s important to take action right away. First, make sure the food and water are fresh and easily accessible for them. If there isn’t any change in their behavior after this, then you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

The vet will be able to diagnose any underlying health issues that may be causing the lack of appetite or thirst. In addition, they can also provide suggestions on how to encourage your guinea pig to eat and drink again.


It’s important to monitor your guinea pig’s hydration and appetite. If you notice any signs of dehydration, make sure to give them fresh water right away. If they stop eating or drinking, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Make sure you provide a variety of fresh foods that are safe for guinea pigs and change their water daily. With a good diet and plenty of hydration, your guinea pig should be able to stay healthy and happy for a long time!

I hope this article has helped you understand how long guinea pigs can go without food and water.


I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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