Since the rise and widespread adoption of information technology, many more people than ever have absorbed massive amounts of health and wellness information. Even in the decades prior to the health information revolution, even the average person knew that the longest most people can go without water is between two to four days.
If you’re a pet owner, you probably have a pretty good idea of how long your pets can go without water – or in most cases, how long their average water bowl will last them.
Most dogs can go up to three days without water before their health begins to be compromised. Cats have roughly the same amount of tolerance for water deprivation before their kidneys will start to have trouble and risk more serious health consequences.
Recently, we were looking at going on a road trip for several days to attend to family issues. We were not able to take our pet budgie, Bartleby and we were worried about his ability to get by on the water dish we planned to leave for him.
A big part of our concern was that, if we were to leave him alone with a larger than normal food and water supply, that he might play in it- or otherwise sully it- and end up with far less good food and water than we left him with.
The good news is that there are food and water dispensers available on the market that will help keep the food and water good longer and make it so that your animal can’t take an impromptu bath in their dish.
These dispensers are a lot like the ones people often use for their dogs and cats. They hold a store of food and/or water in a gravity-fed dispenser that lets them drink and eat what they need. They won’t be able to get to the bulk of the food or water until it enters the little dish from which they will eat and drink.
If you have a water feeder outdoors for wild birds, don’t bring it in and let your indoor birds use it. It could have diseases, mold, and other things that a budgie cannot tolerate. Your best bet is to buy brand new water and food dispenser. Machine wash it using a gentle, hypoallergenic soap, rinse it well and let it air dry in a clean area before giving it to your budgie.
How Long Can My Budgie Go Without Water?
As a budgie owner, you are more likely to see your pet bird using their water dish to bathe in than the owners of other types of birds. In fact, many bird owners report never seeing their birds drink, but rather only bathe in their water. Budgies are even more prone to bathing behavior, and their relationship with water is a bit strange.
However, drinking water is still a very important part of their health needs- as it is for any living thing. The average budgie can only go about 24 hours without drinking before they will start to experience the health-threatening effects of dehydration. Because they are small and very active, they cannot hold much water in their bodies and their exceedingly high metabolism accelerates their water intake needs even further.
The precise amount of water that a budgie needs can be pretty hard to nail down. They may drink more on one day than the next. Naturally, their hydration needs will vary depending on the external temperature and the bird’s activity level.
The best way to be sure that you are giving your budgie the right amount of water is to simply make sure they always have clean water available. They will not drink too much, so you don’t have to worry about that. For best results, you might keep a water dispenser in the cage, like the ones discussed above, and keep it full.
Also, keep a water dish available for the bird to bathe in. Bathing is important for their health, so you might have to fine-tune the dish arrangement so that the bird does not make too much of a mess.
Most budgies will only drink a very small amount of water each day, only a few tiny sips are enough for them. The reasons for this are fairly easy to understand.
A budgie weighs only an ounce or two, so they only need a minuscule amount of water to stay healthy. Pet budgies need even less water than wild budgies because they are going to tend to be less active, and their day to day lives are less demanding.
The most important thing is to make sure your budgie has constant access to clean water to drink, and clean enough water to wash itself in.
More About Budgie Drinking Habits
Biologists who study birds tell us that we can learn quite a bit about their drinking and eating habits by looking at their face shapes. The beak of a budgie is specially designed for cracking open small nuts and seeds, tearing into fruit, and for drinking only quite small amounts of water.
All animals develop the adaptations they need to survive in their environments. That’s why cats have a rough tongue that absorbs water for them to drink and dogs have that peculiar backward-facing cupped tongue for scooping water into their mouths.
Humans, by contrast, have strong lips for sucking down large amounts of water- since we tend to need a lot of it.
Looking closely at the beak, mouth, and facial shape of a budgie, we can see that their facial adaptations are optimized for only taking in the tiniest sips of water.
This is simply because when they dip their beaks into the water, only a very small amount is able to be held in their beaks and delivered to their mouths.
What’s more, a budgie does not lose water very rapidly. Their small size helps to keep their body temperature quite low. They also do not sweat as humans and many mammals do since they have no sweat glands.
So they do not need to replace water lost through sweating. Nearly all of the water that a budgie loses is evaporated during respiration and eliminated with their waste.
They still do lose some moisture through their skin, but not nearly as much as we do. During the colder seasons, they may lose next to zero water through their skin and respiration.
If your budgie is drinking more than a few ounces of water each week, it might be a sign that she is having some kind of a health problem, in which case you might need to get her in to be seen by a vet. In many cases, the only thing to do is to simply provide more clean water.
If your budgie is drinking excessively, try giving them more water, and a higher quality of water than you otherwise would. She may simply need to work out a temporary kidney problem. If the excessive drinking persists, a special diet may be necessary.
How to Help Your Budgie Stay Hydrated
Because your budgie doesn’t drink much but wants to bathe often, cleanliness is key to making sure she has plenty of water to drink.
Make sure the dish you put her bathing water in is clean and that the water in it is refreshed often. This is because she will drink the same water she bathes in. Wash the dish at least once a week and refresh it with clean water daily.
Dropping a teaspoon of honey into their drinking water is a good way to encourage them to drink more often. This can be a good idea during the summer and if you suspect your budgie isn’t drinking enough.
Remember, fresh fruits and vegetables are also a good source of water. If they get enough fruit and veg, they may not even need a separate dispenser to drink from.