Do Guinea Pigs Like Water & Can They Swim?

Do you ever wonder if your guinea pig can swim? Or more importantly, do they like water? In this article, you’re going to have all of your questions answered, as well as some important questions you may not have even though of yet!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

So, Do Guinea Pigs Like Water?

In the vast majority of cases, guinea pigs don’t like water. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, your guinea pig will try to steer clear when possible.

Because they wouldn’t typically enter the water in the wild, they’re going to feel uncomfortable anytime they’re in the water or they get too wet.

How Do They Clean Themselves?

Guinea pigs are very similar to cats in their cleanliness and feelings towards water. Instead of using water to bathe, they tend to just clean themselves.

With that being said, it can often be a good idea to wipe your guinea pig with a dry cloth from time to time (or if they’re long-haired give them a good brush).

(What to do when your guinea pig smells.)

Can Guinea Pigs Swim?

Guinea pigs can swim, but you shouldn’t chuck them in the pool just yet. While they’re most likely going to be able to stay afloat, swimming does pose some dangers to them. Because they don’t like water, the chances are swimming is going to stress them out massively.

If you look at their bodies you can see that they weren’t really designed for swimming at all. For example, their legs are tiny, and their bodies are quite dumpy.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Swim?

While guinea pigs can swim, as you may have guessed, they don’t like too. There are always going to be cases of guinea pigs that enjoy swimming, but for the most part, it’s not behavior you should allow them to engage in.

The only time that a guinea pig may enjoy swimming is when they’ve been exposed to water from an extremely young age. And even then, this isn’t necessary, and should probably be avoided.

Can Guinea Pigs Swim In A Pool?

While it’s definitely not recommended, guinea pigs can swim in a pool. So if you have one in your home, you can rest a little knowing they won’t drown straight away.

With that being said, the length of time they’ll be able to swim for differs massively. If you can’t get them out in time, then they’re probably not going to swim for very long.

So, you should never purposefully place your guinea pig into a pool.

(Find out whether you can keep your guinea pig outside.)

Can Guinea Pigs Swim In Chlorine Pools?

Making sure your guinea pig avoids all pools is important, but chlorine pools are definitely a lot worse for your guinea pig.

The chlorine in the water is a chemical that’s going to massively irritate your guinea pigs’ skin. So even a quick dip could have long term effects.

Can Guinea Pigs Swim In Salt Water?

While it’s better for them than chlorine it’s definitely still not recommended. Not only can salt dry their skin out, but once again, it’s best to make sure your guinea pig always avoids water in the first place.

Why You Should Avoid Putting Your Guinea Pig In Water

Now you know your guinea pig doesn’t like water, but that’s not the only reason you should avoid letting them swim.

In fact, there are lots of reasons that your guinea pig should avoid water. Here are some of the main reasons.

An Increased Risk Of Ear Infections

Ear infections are already incredibly rare in guinea pigs, but they can happen. And as you probably know, damp conditions provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

If your guinea pig has trouble swimming and water gets in their ear, then the chances of an ear infection increase massively.

And unlike with us, ear infections can be extremely dangerous to guinea pigs. If they’re not life-threatening, they often cause a lot of damage that can be permanent.

They’ll Be Physically Exhausted

Because guinea pigs aren’t used to swimming when they do it’s going to be physically exhausting. After all, their bodies just aren’t designed for swimming.

Not only is the extreme amount of exercise going to be too much for them, but it can also result in them gulping down water, and in some cases drowning.

On top of this, their immune system will likely weaken after the encounter due to the exhaustion combined with stress.

It’s Going To Stress Them Out

Not only is swimming going to be physically exhausting, but it’s also extremely stressful for your guinea pig.

As they’re not naturally built for water, the moment they’re placed out of their depth, they’re going to begin panicking.

And in some cases, just being in water, even if they can stand will evoke this response. Just like physical exhaustion, extreme stress is going to weaken your guinea pigs’ immune system.

The Temperature Can Shock Them

A sudden change in temperature is going to cause a massive shock to your guinea pig. As if putting them in water wasn’t bad enough. If the water is too hot or cold, then the shock can be dangerous, and in extreme cases fatal.

This combined with the physical exhaustion and mental stress caused by water will all begin to add up.

Increased Chance Of Pneumonia

Because guinea pigs have a harder time regulating their body temperature, it also opens them up to the possibility of suffering from pneumonia. This is another reason you shouldn’t put them in water.

If they do happen to get into water, then you should try to limit the amount of time they spend in it as well as drying them off thoroughly afterward as well.

An Increased Chance Of Infection

It’s not just pneumonia you have to worry about, but other infections as well. If your guinea pig is swimming in poor water and they have a cut or sore, then they’re wide open for infection.

If the wound, becomes infected, then the chances are it’s going to become quite costly, and could potentially become fatal.

Their Skin Could Become Irritated

If they’re splashing around in water that has chemicals in it, then their skin could also become irritated. You may begin to notice signs of dry skin and dandruff, which often show there’s a problem with your piggies’ skin.

They Could Drown

And lastly, the worst-case scenario. There’s always a possibility that your guinea pig may drown. If they’re left unattended, or you don’t get them out quick enough, then they will often become exhausted and perish.

This is the number one reason you should avoid putting your guinea pig in water.

(Do you think guinea pigs are indoor or outdoor pets? Find out!)


Now you know that guinea pigs can swim, but don’t they don’t really like water. If you put them in water, then chances are they’re going to have an extremely bad time.

Some of the most common scenarios that end up happening when you place your guinea pig in water include exhaustion (both mental and physical), ear infections, pneumonia, skin irritation, infections, trouble maintaining their body temperature, and in extreme circumstances death.

Because of this, it’s best to avoid ever putting your guinea pig in water!

I hope you liked this article. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the website. Have a great day!


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