How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food and water? All You Need To Know

Guinea pigs are adorable pets that nibble and graze all day; however, you may wonder How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food and water? Factually speaking, Guinea pigs should not go without food for more than 6-8 hours. If your guinea pig remains without food for longer than 24 hours, it can result in intestinal obstruction, among other complications.

We move ahead by aligning with the adage that prevention is better than cure, and thorough information might assist in dealing with any crucial circumstances. Therefore, read on to take a closer look at How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food?

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Drinking Water?

Although both food and water are crucial for your furry pet’s existence, water is also an important aspect of their digestive routines.

Your guinea pigs will have difficulty digesting their meals if they are left without water for an extended period of time—the water aids in the proper functioning of the digestion system. As a result, you don’t want to deprive these animals of water for any length of time.

Guinea pigs consume a lot of fibrous material, especially if they are fed timothy hay. They require a steady supply of water to digest their meal and quench their thirst. As a result, leaving your guinea pig without water for more than 12 to 24 hours is not recommended.

Furthermore, there haven’t been any scientific tests to verify how long can guinea pigs go without water because dehydrating the animals is undoubtedly an unethical venture.

Most veterinarians, however, recommend keeping a generous amount of Freshwater for your guinea pigs if you must leave them unsupervised for an extended period of time.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Survive Without Food?

Guinea pigs can survive for 6 to 8 hours without nourishment. Anything more than this can cause intestinal blockage, which can lead to death. According to research, guinea pigs must consume on a regular basis in order to keep their gastrointestinal system healthy.

how long can guinea pigs go without food and water

If you monitor your furry companion, you’ll see it’s constantly chewing on something, whether it’s hay, veggies, or pellets; it’s evident that these tiny creatures can’t go long without eating.

Furthermore, an indirect study on their digestive system has revealed that guinea pigs can only go for six to eight hours without meals, as anything longer can lead to intestinal blockage.

Also, hay is their important meal, so you need to replenish your supplies as soon as possible if you run out. Hay and water are essential for their health, therefore don’t go more than 8 hours without giving your guinea pig some hay.

You can skip between 24 and 48 hours for pellets and veggies, as long as they have enough hay.

For How Long Can Guinea Pigs Be Left Alone?

Never leave your Guinea Pig alone or unattended for more than 24 hours. A maximum time span of 12 hours is generally regarded as ideal and thereby more preferable.

Even if you provide lots of food and water, guinea pigs are dependent on you and will most likely appreciate your attention inside that time frame.

Remember your furry little companion is vulnerable to dehydration, malnutrition, injury, disease, and loneliness if left alone; therefore, it needs regular care and attention.

how long can baby guinea pigs go without food and water?

Healthy baby guinea pigs should not spend more than 8 hours without eating. They will not become hungry during this time, but they may develop potentially fatal GI stasis or other health problems. 

Guinea Pig, Smooth Hair, Gold Agouti, Cub

As in the case of water consumption, no pet should go for an extended period of time without dehydrating. Any delay of more than 12-24 hours will drive the situation over the edge.

Although some adult guinea pigs may survive without water for up to 48 hours, it is not recommended and is a major red flag for infant guinea pigs.

At all times, make sure your newborn guinea pigs have access to adequate and appropriate water for their age, stage of growth, and weather conditions.

High-Water-Content Guinea Pig Foods and Vegetables

While direct water consumption is necessary for the healthy existence of guinea pigs, this essential ingredient can also be provided in other forms, such as a variety of nourishing food.

In addition to water, you can supply high-fluid fruits and vegetables to supplement your water intake while you are away.

Furthermore, remember to use these meals as a treat and not as a regular substitute for a balanced diet. Here are several guinea pig-friendly foods that contain more than 90% water.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Leave a Guinea Pig Alone for an Extended period

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As previously indicated, leaving your guinea pig alone for extended periods of time (more than 24 hours on average) is not really recommended.

But what is the reasoning behind this undertaking? Well, let us take a look at some of the factors to instill a thorough understanding: 

  • To begin with, Guinea Pigs are gregarious animals that do not perform well in isolation or when left unattended for a longer duration. These urry creatures require human presence as well as space to explore and move about outside of a cage setting. This is obviously something that will not be offered if you are not accessible.
  • Secondly, as a Guinea Pig parent, you must ensure that they have sufficient hay and food. Guinea Pigs are pets that require continuous and consistent access to hay 24 hours a day. Factually speaking, their teeth never stop growing, and hay is an excellent option during this growth period since it provides them with something to chew on a daily basis. The fiber and nutrients (from fresh veggies and nutritious pellets) also contribute to their overall health and encourage proper digestion and body processes. Of course, if you’re away, you won’t be able to keep up with this supply.
  • The subsequent reasoning includes ensuring there is plenty of water available for the consumption of your little fur buddies. Even if you have installed numerous water bottles and thereby provided the required quantity, your Guinea Pig could quickly drink through them, or they could become blocked or leak. As a result, timely supervision is critical to guarantee that your pet’s supply does not run out.
  • Another factor to consider is the internal climate of your residence or the positioning of your Guinea Pigs. Guinea Pigs require protection from temperature variations that are likely in the home setting, particularly during the span from twilight to the darker hours of the night. Therefore, the required monitoring will not be possible with prolonged absence. 
  • Finally, Guinea Pigs are susceptible to diseases and can become unwell easily. You must detect illnesses as soon as possible, and one of the only methods to do so is by visually examining indications and symptoms. In more severe circumstances, if a disease worsens, you will only have a limited amount of time to respond and get them to a veterinarian. As a result, timely observation is required to meet this necessity.

How to Keep Your Guinea Pig Healthy While You’re Away?

Although you should never leave your pet alone for an extended period of time, it is unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Keeping that in mind, here are the precautions you should undertake to protect your pet’s safety and well-being. 

  • Install a Large Number of Water Bottles: If you are going to be absent for more than a day, you can keep your furry companion hydrated by placing numerous bottles in its environment. This not ensures the provision of desired quantity but also provides further options in case of leakage or blocking. 
Guinea pig drinking water
  • Providing space: Keeping the pet in a cage all of the time can be distressing. Make sure the cage is large enough to allow it to play, hide, shelter, and sleep. The enclosure should be calm and stable, with clean and fresh bedding and no danger or risk of injury.
  • Adequate availability of Food: Timothy hay is a must-have and favored diet for pigs. Hay should account for roughly 80% of a guinea pig’s diet. As a result, it’s preferable to avail your guinea pig with adequate amounts of hay for as long as you’ll be gone. You may even purchase a hay rack to keep the food off the ground. This mechanism will also allow you to save more hay at once. However, hay is a portion of dry food, so make sure there is always water available. Furthermore, you can provide your little furry friend with around 1/2 cup (accounting and adding up on a daily basis) of fresh veggies (this includes but is not limited to Spinach, Lettuce, Celery, etc.) and some small bits of fruit each week (like Pineapple). High-nutritional-value pellets are also recommended.
  • Sufficient availability of water supply: as mentioned earlier, living without water for more than 24 hours can be fatal for the healthy survival of your guinea pigs; it is highly recommended to avail your fur friend of a sufficient quantity of water. Installing large and several water bottles is the best possible way to keep up with the water demands of your guinea pigs in your absence. 
  • Request Assistance from a Neighbor or Friend: Ask a friend or neighbor if they can look after your little furry companion while you are gone. In case of affirmation, training them with the basics of dealing with your guinea pig is absolutely important. Although training isn’t tricky, make sure you have the groundwork shorted correctly before departing for the vacation to familiarise the two. You can prolong your absence for as long as you desire if someone can keep an eye on your adorable little piggy.
  • Consider a Pet Sitter: You can also hire a pet sitter to come by frequently during the day while you are away. It will eliminate the need for full-time care and provide you with the peace of mind that your pet is appropriately watched over.
  • Install a surveillance camera to help you monitor your pet from a distance. Keeping a tab on your little furry companion, especially while you are away from it, is highly recommended. Install a camera and connect it to your smartphone to see if your guinea pig is running low on resources and is still doing fine. A pet-monitoring camera is easily obtained from any pet store, and they are also reasonably priced.
  • Think About Boarding Your Pet: It’s also advisable to check your guinea pig into a pet care facility if you’re going on a lengthy trip. These boarding establishments will gladly assist you in keeping your pet for as long as you require at a moderate cost. However, if your local kennel is unwilling to provide the services, you may consider checking with your local pet store or your family veterinarian. Some pet stores and veterinarians offer boarding services, and you can leave your guinea pig with them for a charge. The significant advantage of leaving your pet with a vet is that you will not have to worry about the pet’s health, inexperience, or lack of supervision while you are gone.

How many pellets do guinea pigs require? 

According to studies, on average, a two-pound guinea pig can be fed 1/8 cup of pellets every day. Timothy hay-based pellets should be provided to guinea pigs over the age of six months.

Guinea Pig, Mammal, Animal, Animal World, Rodent, Cute

At the same time, guinea pigs under the period of six months and pregnant guinea pigs can be fed calcium-fortified alfalfa pellets. However, It’s better if you never give your guinea pigs too many pellets.

Pellets should account for no more than 5% of their entire diet. Also, keep in mind that pellets are only supplements to your guinea pig’s diet, and they will never be able to replace hay or fresh vegetables in the long run.

For how long Can guinea pigs endure without hay?

Every day, your guinea pig requires a fresh supply of grass hay. While your little furballs can go up to 24 hours without hay, however, ideally, any time after the first 12 hours proves quite fatal, and your little furry companion will most likely die between 24 to 48 hours.

This is because guinea pigs require fiber in their food on a daily basis. Hay contributes this requirement to our guinea pigs, which is essential for their digestion.

Guinea pigs eating

Their digestive system will begin to malfunction if they do not obtain enough hay. It can also cause gut blockage, resulting in GI stasis. 

Suppose your guinea pig doesn’t eat enough hay, their digestive system malfunctions, which can lead to a variety of ailments. Although timothy hay is not a significant source of nutrition, it aids digestion and meets dietary needs.

Furthermore, If the guinea pig does not have access to hay, their teeth may indeed become overgrown. This causes a variety of issues, including difficulty eating, discharge from the eyes, stress, dental issues, and so on.

How Much Water is Required by a Guinea Pig on a Daily Basis?

The standard guinea pig, on average, requires 80 – 100ml of water per day. However, pregnant or breastfeeding guinea pigs will need to drink comparatively more water.

Attaching a non-drip water bottle to your guinea pig’s cage is the simplest way to guarantee they get their daily water needs met.

Providing fruit and vegetables is another option to meet the daily water demands of guinea pigs, as most fruits and vegetables are high in water content. You may notice that one or more of your guinea pigs aren’t drinking very much.

But, before you get too worried, check to see if your guinea pig is getting enough fruits and vegetables. If they are, they are most likely meeting their daily water requirements.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pig, Rodent, Cute, Domestic Animal, Small Animal

Water is essential for guinea pigs. And therefore, the absence of this crucial element leads to underlying issues such as dehydration. Dehydration seeps in when an adequate amount of water is not provided. It ultimately leads to organ malfunction.

A guinea pig can go without water for 8-12 hours. However, the animal will become extremely unwell by the 6-hour point. Having said that, the owner must be aware of the symptoms of dehydration. Among the indications are:

  • Urine with a foul odor: If your guinea pig is dehydrated, the ammonia fragrance will be considerably more evident. Furthermore, a darkening of the urine’s color can also be observed.
  • Loss of appetite: If your little fur buddy is not drinking sufficient water, its body will not operate efficiently. They will not enjoy eating as much as they originally do. Your guinea pig’s health can be jeopardized if it does not eat properly.
  • Loose skin: Gently pinch your guinea pig’s fur around the neck. If it does not return to its original posture fast, your guinea pig is most likely dehydrated.
  • Crusty eyes: The guinea pigs’ eyes can tell you how hydrated they are. In the event of dehydration, they will appear dull, hollow, and dry. 
  • Observe the guinea pig’s stool for shape and consistency. Teardrop-shaped droppings indicate dehydration, according to the Guinea Lynx Care Guide. When your pet is dehydrated, you may find dry and hard feces or droppings that are smaller than usual.
  • Lethargy and disorientation: Dehydration will reduce your guinea pig’s energy level. They may also develop clumsiness. 
  • Fever: If your guinea pig’s body temperature rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, they are in critical condition and require immediate care. 

Dehydration is a potentially fatal condition for your guinea pig. If you notice your guinea pig is dehydrated, it must be rehydrated right away.

Corrective measures of Dehydration

It is necessary to provide your guinea pig with additional water in order to heal dehydration; this can sometimes be accomplished by using a syringe to assist the guinea pig in drinking.

Some guinea pigs require fluids administered by different routes, such as subcutaneous fluids, intravenous fluids, or intraosseous fluids.

It is vital to rehydrate your guinea pig, so seek the assistance of a veterinarian in this critical situation. A massive bowl of water will not benefit your guinea pig in rehydrating. If you wish to feed them with a syringe, you can obtain one from a pet store.

Load the syringe halfway with water and place it in the guinea pig’s mouth. Make certain that you are releasing water in short, controlled spurts.

This will make it easier for your guinea pig to swallow and rest between drinks. If your guinea pig refuses to drink or cannot swallow, take it to the veterinarian right away.

In extreme cases, some guinea pigs have medical issues that necessitate a continuous delivery of fluids straight into their circulatory system. These guinea pigs are critically ill and would not survive on oral fluids alone.

Intravenous fluids (IV fluids) are administered via a catheter placed in a vein in the guinea pig’s forearm or leg. Intraosseous fluids (IO fluids) are injected by a catheter placed into the bone marrow of the arm or leg.

Fluids administered in this manner must be carefully monitored to ensure that the guinea pig does not receive too much or too little.

In most cases, the guinea pig will need to stay in the hospital while receiving IV or IO fluids so that technicians and doctors can respond to any unexpected changes.

Final Thoughts

Summing Up, we understand that it is challenging for any pet parent to keep their companions fed and watered while they are away.

However, it is one of the most crucial factors to consider in order to preserve your pet’s overall health and well-being. It is critical to know that they cannot survive a day without food and water as their primary source of nutrition gain.

Always keep in mind that they rely on you for survival. So, if you’re going to be gone for a few days, make sure they have enough food and water, along with timely supervision.


How often should guinea pigs drink water?

Guinea pigs use approximately 3.3 ounces/2.2 pounds of water each day, according to studies. This amount may vary significantly due to ambient temperature or humidity, activity intensity, or illness.

How long can you leave a pig alone?

Never let guinea pigs alone for longer than 12 hours at a time. In case you’re going to be gone for an extended amount of time, make sure your piggies have everything they need to stay healthy and comfortable, including plenty of food, water, and toys, as well as frequent supervision.

Can I leave my guinea pig alone for two days?

Your pet’s parenting style determines the time; however, if your absence will be prolonged for more than a day or two, have someone check in on your guinea pig every 12-24 hours. Never leave your little guinea pig alone for more than 24 hours.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!