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Can Guinea Pigs Swim? Any Adverse Health Effects?

If you have a Guinea pig as one of those wonderful cute pets, you would as well be having that question. Do Guinea pigs swim? In essence, water and a Guinea pig may not be the right combination. However, YouTube videos we witnessed shows that Guinea pigs are capable of swimming.  

Can Guinea Pigs swim?

Yes, Guinea pigs can swim, but it can be a dangerous activity. Make sure that the water is not deep, and your Guinea pig can touch the ground with its feet. In fact, we would not recommend making the Guinea pig swim. It can be dangerous and can even cause the death of your Guinea pig. 

Is it Safe for Guinea Pigs to Swim? 

Swimming can result in serious and fatal injuries to the Guinea pig. Ideally speaking, we would recommend making the Guinea pigs swim. However, it is safe for the Guinea pig to swim around the water. However, they can be stressed out when they are in the water. Swimming may not be a safe activity for a Guinea pig if you force it into the water.

The major issue is that the Guinea pigs do not have a sense that can make them identify the depth. That would mean your Guinea pig will not be able to detect how deep the water is and can drown unknowingly. Unless the Guinea pig can rest its feet on the ground, it is likely to get stressed out to the point of fatality. If the water is thigh deep for the Guinea pig, it would be comfortable and can swim to some extent.  

A few of the videos doing the rounds on YouTube suggest that Guinea pigs love swimming when put in a tub filled with water. What they are doing is NOT SWIMMING. The poor animal is trying to pull itself out of the water and live. While a little walk in the water may be a good idea, but not swimming at all! 

can guinea pigs swim?

What Are The Effectof Swimming On Guinea Pig’s Health? 

Swimming can be extremely bad for a Guinea pig’s health. They do not like being in the water and can get stressed out. The physical and mental stress that being in water can indeed make it difficult to breathe. When breathing gets tough, it can even cause death. It can even result in drowning and subsequent death. 

Swimming can cause several health issues in the case of Guinea pigs. You would find your Guinea pig suffering several health issues such as the ones outlined here below:


Guinea pigs can get stressed when they are forced to go into the water. Since they do not want to go into the water, they can get extremely stressed out. This can have detrimental effect on its wellbeing. The stress can put a lot of pressure on the heart and lungs. This can result in fatalities.  

Ear Infection

Getting the water into one’s ears can get quite difficult and can cause ear infections. Ear infection in the Guinea pigs can reach fatal conditions. It can cause serious health issues. While a Guinea pig is rare to have an ear infection, getting its head underwater can prove to be detrimental and can cause issues. An ear infection can be quite a life-threatening issue. 


Guinea pigs are found to be incapable of controlling their body temperature. If they are in the water for prolonged period of time, they can develop pneumonia and get seriously ill. Never leave the Guinea pig for a prolonged period of time in the water as it can cause severe pneumonia, which is life-threatening.  


This is yet another possible health issue that can be caused by swimming. Getting into the water is not something the Guinea pig wants to do, and this can introduce a sense of depression if you do it quite frequently. 

Skin diseases

Guinea pigs have dense fur. The water deposited in the fur can result in severe skin and other ailments. Leaving them in water for a longer period of time can be one of the prime reasons for the skin and fur related issues.  

Those issues apart, water and swimming can cause the Guinea pig to get tired. They have small arms and other body parts, and getting tired can make them extremely uncomfortable. They may even find it quite hard to breathe and can even swallow water. This can further result in suffocation and death in certain cases.  

Can Guinea Pigs Drown?

Guinea Pigs do not have a sense of depth, they can get confused and may not be able to detect the depth of water. Due to this, Guinea pigs can drown.

If you want your Guinea pig to survive in water and not drown, it would be practical and ideal to provide shallow water and not deep. This would ensure that the Guinea pig will be able to touch its feet to the ground. This will help it stay afloat in the water and not drown at all.

Do Guinea Pigs Swim In The Wild? 

Guinea pigs have never felt the need for swimming while in the wild. That clearly indicates that Guinea pigs do not swim in the wild. Guinea pigs in the wildlife in the grasslands, rocks, and forests. They live in burrows and never venture into water bodies. In essence, Guinea pigs do not swim in the wild. 

Guinea pigs are normally found in South America and live on the land. In fact, they find it a little difficult to maintain their body temperature. If they get wet, they will find it further hard to maintain body temperature. They attempt to stay dry at all times. In fact, you would even not find them drinking water as well.  

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Swim? 

Most of the Guinea pigs do not like going into the water. In the wild, they may move into the river banks and spend a little time there. But, they will never move into the water. In fact, there are no signs of the Guinea pigs going into the water if you study their behaviour in the wild. 

Whether Guinea pigs like swimming or not is a matter completely different. The prime factor you need to focus on is to avoid making your Guinea pig coming in contact with water unless it is extremely necessary. Bathing and staying in water for long can make the Guinea pig uncomfortable.  

Guinea pigs do not like getting bathed and getting wet. Just like the cats, they tend to self groom. They do not need to get into the water to get themselves clean. 

swimming guinea pigs in bathtub

Do Guinea Pigs Swim In The Bathtub? 

A bathtub is not the right place for the Guinea pigs to bathe. Of course, you can make your Guinea pig swim in a bathtub, but you should ensure that the depth of water is the only thigh-deep for the Guinea pig. This would avoid the risk of drowning.

If you make the Guinea pig swim in a bathtub, you run the risk of making it scared. They can swim in a bathtub, but they do that as they have to, else they will sink. Guinea pigs ideally do not like swimming. They swim when it is necessary, and they have no other alternative.  

Can Guinea Pigs Swim In Chlorine Water?

Guinea pigs cannot swim in Chlorine water. In essence, you should not expose the Guinea pigs to any sort of chemicals. Chlorine water is full of chemicals, and it can be something you will find a risky affair. Swimming in chlorine water can make it hurt its eyes and skin. 

The chlorine can be quite bad for the skin of your pet, Guinea pig. It can even cause skin ailments such as rashes and itches. It can even result in issues such as hair fall as well. Putting your Guinea pig in a chlorine pool can prove to be a risky affair and can even cause death in cases.

Can Guinea Pigs Swim in Cold Water? 

Guinea pigs do not like going into water under most of the circumstances. Whether hot water or cold water, you will find it a little difficult and uneasy to get your Guinea pig to swim in the water. The cold water, as in the iced water, can further cause severe issues. 

Make sure that you are taking enough care not to force the Guinea pig into water. This will result in untoward health conditions you may not be comfortable about. Putting them in cold water can result in shock and thus can cause fatal results. It can even make Guinea pigs suffer from health conditions such as ear infections, stress, and pneumonia.  

Can Guinea Pigs Swim In Shallow Water? 

Shallow water is the only place Guinea pigs can swim comfortably. In fact, they love walking around in thigh-deep water, but not swimming in the right sense of the word. Most of the Guinea pigs like being in the shallow water. There may be a few exceptions to this tendency.

While the shallow water can be an excellent option for swimming for your Guinea pig, you should make sure that the water is not too hot or cold. Make sure that you are you have wiped the pet as soon as it comes out of the pool or whatever that it was swimming in. In any case, your Guinea pig would not want to be in the water for long.  

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Get Wet? 

Getting wet is extremely stressful for the Guinea pig, and they do try to avoid getting in contact with water. Most of the Guinea pigs do not like getting wet. The dense fur that the Guinea pig has can prove to be quite risky. Getting wet can prove to be detrimental to the health of your pet.  

If your Guinea pig gets wet, you will end up getting fungal and respiratory symptoms. The stress-induced by being in the cold water or the wetness can prove to be a huge health issue and can even result in depression. Moreover, the temperature of the water can also be a concern. The sudden change in body temperature can result in shocks and heart attacks. Since the Guinea pig cannot control its body temperature on its own, too hot or cold water can make it uncomfortable.

How To Train a Guinea Pig To Swim? 

Frankly speaking, making a Guinea pig swim is a bad idea, and you should never think of it. Make sure why you want to make it swim. If you are trying to clean it up by making it swim, do understand that they do not need to be cleaned with the help of water. They are known to be self-grooming just like cats and do not need water for cleaning them up.  

However, if you are still looking to train your Guinea pig to swim, the tips here can help let you train a Guinea pig to swim – 

  • Pick a very shallow tub. The tub should be such that your Guinea pig should be able to hop in and hop out of the tub.  
  • Fill the water into the tub. Make sure that the water is not more than thigh deep.  
  • Hold the Guinea pig between the palms of your hand and introduce it to the water.  
  • Please do not leave it in the water as yet. Just hold it into the water. 
  • Keep talking to it in a smoother tone when you do that. This will reassure it that you are not about to harm it. 
  • Remove it out of the water and offer it the treats. 
  • Repeat the process until you notice that the Guinea pig is not fearful. 
  • Once your Guinea pig is comfortable, you can put it into the water and avoid handling it when it inside the water. 
  • Offer it then treats as long as it is in the water, and even after it exits the water. 

Do Guinea Pigs Die If They Get Wet? 

Typically a Guinea pig requires a temperature between 18 to 23 degrees C to stay healthy and comfortable. If the temperature of the body gets below 15 degrees, it can feel chilled out and can even catch pneumonia and other similar health issues, and thus the Guinea pigs can die if they get wet beyond a certain degree.

The Guinea pigs cannot control their body temperature, and that can be something that makes it completely uncomfortable if it experiences extreme temperatures. Make sure that you are not leaving it wet for a prolonged period of time. They are likely to die if you keep them wet for a longer time.  

Do Guinea Pigs love going into the water?  

Most of the Guinea pigs do not like going into the water. In fact, even in the wild, they may move to the river banks that have plenty of food but will never venture into the water in any circumstances. The historical evidence and the studies into their behaviour have indicated that they will never move into the water.  

In general, Guinea pigs do not love or enjoy the water at any cost. The major reason for this is that they have dense fur and also cannot maintain the temperature of their body. That would mean, you should never think of bathing your Guinea pigs at any cost. Guinea pigs can stay clean and stay healthy through the means of cleaning up themselves without any issues. 

What Are Other Exercises For A Guinea Pig? 

Guinea pigs are both cute and affectionate, and that is exactly what makes them one of the best pets ever. Most of the Guinea pigs are kept in the cages. Irrespective of the nutritious diet you may provide it, the lack of exercise can make it a little out of place and may even result in bad health conditions. 

swimmimg and guinea pigs

Why does a Guinea pig need exercise? The Guinea pigs are used to foraging into the wild for food, and that provides them with enough exercise. Your pet Guinea pig will be pampered and thus do not get enough exercise. The lack of exercise can prove to be dangerous and result in arthritis, heart diseases, diabetes, and other diseases. Regular exercise can be a great way to help you avoid those issues.  

Best ways to implement exercises for the Guinea pig can include the following: 

  • Provide enough room for in cage exercises. 
  • They are intelligent and investigative. Introducing tunnels, caves, and other similar structures within the cage can be one of the excellent options you would find extremely impressive.  
  • Adding new toys within the cage can be yet another great option for an enhanced experience  
  • Offer plenty of clean and freshwater.  

Chewing Toys

This can be an excellent option you can find to be one of the prime options you would find rather impressive and exciting. This will help you introduce your Guinea pig to one of the most healthy exercises. It provides your pet pig with a great way to indulge in what it loves the most.  

Chewing and gnawing have been one of the most important activities in a Guinea pig’s health. This will ensure that the teeth of the Guinea pig do not get worn down and keep growing. You can provide your Guinea pig with sterilized pine cones and untreated apple tree branches 

The Balls can be one of the great options to help your guinea pig investigate and explore. Provide a small ball to your pet on the floor of the cage. It can be an excellent tool that can help provide you with a motivational tool to play with. You can even check out a ball with a small bell inside. 

The Concluding Thoughts  

So, can Guinea pigs swim? We would not recommend letting a guinea pig swim or take a bath. The Guinea pigs are known to be self-cleaning animals, and you should never be tempted to put it into bathtub or any of the water bodies.  

Guinea pigs cannot swim and should never be forced to. The best way would be to keep them away from water. They can get stressed if that happens, and the right way would be to keep it away from the water unless it voluntarily wants to play with water.  

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