Water Bowls—The Downside
Yes, you can put water in a heavy ceramic bowl to make it difficult for your guinea pigs to knock over. And you can even rationalize that it’s a better system for them because it looks more natural to watch them drink from a bowl than a water bottle. In the wild, they would have lapped up water from a pond or a stream—not sucked it out of a metal tube. But when the day is done, you will still be faced with a filthy water bowl; heavily contaminated with hay, feces, bedding and any other debris that your pigs can manage to fling in there. Yes, our cavies can be (dare I say it?) such pigs.
On the other hand, if your pigs do manage to flip the bowl over (and it’s very probable that they will), it will cause a wet spot in the bedding that can became an appealing breeding ground for mold, fungus, or other undesirable life forms.
The solution, of course, is to use a water bottle with a stainless steel ball bearing sipper tube. This will keep the water protected from contaminants. And, because it attaches to the wall of the cage, it will be free from spills.
Although a bowl is not suitable for offering water to your pigs, it is still a handy item to have. It is a good idea to put a small, heavy dish or bowl directly under the end of the sipper tube to catch excess water. If you watch your guinea pigs drink from their water bottle, you will observe that they do not gently lick the ball bearing end of the sipper tube. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They aggressively attack the sipper tube. They chew on it. They shake it. They chomp, munch and crunch away at it until their thirst is quenched—all the while splashing, slopping and drooling excess water out of the lower side of their mouth because, as I said earlier: cavies can be such what? Right! Pigs.
When shopping for guinea pig supplies, be sure to select a top quality water bottle to reduce the probability of leaking. Yes, water bottles do leak occasionally. But if you find a wet area forming beneath your water bottle, suspect your guinea pigs’ drinking technique first. As I mentioned earlier, a bowl placed underneath the sipper is the solution. But make sure the bowl is heavy and sturdy as your pigs will most likely stand on it to drink.
Water bottles are available in several different styles with a variety features.