Do guinea pigs like to swim? Can guinea pigs swim in the first place?
You might have imagined how cute it would be to see a guinea pig swimming. But, the truth is that guinea pigs cannot really swim. It means that you should never try to put them in a bath tub or a swimming pool just because you find them cute when paddling in the water.
While most pets love being in water and hanging around, guinea pigs are not among them for sure.
Guinea pigs are considered as hygienic pets that love keeping themselves clean. However, it doesn’t mean they also love to go for a swim and have a fun time in the water.
Unlike what most people claim, guinea pigs aren’t natural swimmers. They also love grooming themselves using a white wax-like substance that their eyes secrete.
Do guinea pigs like water?
Most guinea pigs never like water. During their days in the wild, guinea pigs spent most of their time around riverbanks because of the abundant sources of food there. However, there weren’t a lot of signs that indicate that they go in the water.
Despite the fact that guinea pigs are closely related to the Capybara known to love diving underwater to hide from predators and search for food, they prefer staying away from water and are not big fans of swimming as well.
Guinea pigs generally don’t like to get wet. Since these animals have no ability to maintain the temperature of their body, they find it hard to retain body heat the moment they get into the water that can then make them suffer from different diseases.
Unless absolutely necessary, it is important to avoid bathing your guinea pigs. They can keep themselves clean and hygienic very well on their own.
Typically, you can bath your guinea pigs once every six months or so. However, frequent baths can be detrimental for their overall health.
There are even guinea pigs that don’t like to drink much water. For their body to stay hydrated, they would rather eat more vegetables or other foods instead of drinking water.
You can see, a guinea pig swimming isn’t a good sight because these animals would rather avoid water as much as possible.
Is guinea pig swimming safe?
Yes, guinea pigs may be able to swim but it doesn’t mean you should make them swim every chance you get. Guinea pigs can feel stressed out if you let them stay in the water. This only goes to say that swimming is never a safe enough activity for guinea pigs.
These animals usually lack perception of depth and they also don’t have the ability to gauge how deep the water is.
Guinea pigs find it extremely stressful to be put in things that have water too deep for their feet to touch the bottom. It might be fine if the water is just mid-thigh deep for them.
People usually have this misconception that guinea pigs are swimming whenever you put them in water. But the truth is that they just paddle to stay above the surface of the water and survive. Actually, it is their desperate attempt to get out of the water.
While there are guinea pigs that might enjoy bathing, this is only possible if the water doesn’t go beyond their necks with their feet always touching the bottom.
It is never recommended to force guinea pigs to swim. A better choice is to let them enjoy a relaxing walk in warm water for those days when a bath is necessary.
Can guinea pigs go swimming in shallow water?
There are some guinea pigs that like walking around in lukewarm water. But again, the water must not go over their thighs. While majority of guinea pigs will avoid even shallow water, there are some exceptions to this.
Make sure that temperature of the water is never too cold. You should also have a towel ready for wiping off the water from their body once they come out.
If your guinea pig seems to enjoy spending time and walking around in the water, you might allow them to stay there for a while.
However, in most cases, they are not fond of staying in the water for a long time. What you can do is to let them enjoy a quick bath in a sink filled with shallow water then wrap them up in a towel afterwards.
You should never allow your guinea pigs to stay in water for a long time even if it is shallow. You should always keep a close eye on them as well when they are still in the water.
Does swimming have a bad effect on the health of guinea pigs?
Yes, swimming has negative effects for a guinea pig’s health. For starters, these furry pets don’t like to be in the water at all. They also feel stressed out if you leave them in the water to paddle for survival. This is definitely not something you would want to happen.
Below are some of the bad things that can happen if guinea pigs are forced to swim:
Obviously, this is the first negative effect. Guinea pigs feel stressed out if you let them stay in water. They will attempt to get out of the water the moment you put them in. It can also be fatal for guinea pigs because too much stress can strain their lungs and heart.
- Ear infection
It is rare for guinea pigs to suffer from ear infections but once they occur, these can lead to serious health problems for these animals. Ear infections can cause permanent damage and be life-threatening if not treated right away.
Since guinea pigs are unable to control the temperature of their body, this can make them prone to different health concerns like pneumonia.
- Skin diseases
Letting guinea pigs stay in water for long can also wash off their skin’s natural oil. It can toughen their skin and lead to different fur and skin related diseases.
Of course, forcing guinea pigs to do something they don’t even want to do will stress them out. The whole experience can also be daunting for them if they try paddling in the water out of fear. Aside from depression, this can also result to behavioral changes in your guinea pig.
You see, guinea pigs cannot swim and there is no way that you should force or try to make them do it just because you find them cute. As much as possible, you should keep them safe away from water to ensure that they will be healthy and happy at the same time.