FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
"Do small animals and birds need to have water bottles rather than water dishes?"
Answer: From the beginning of pet keeping, animals and birds have been offered water in open bowls placed on the cage floor or mounted on the sides of the cage. This is a simple and easy way to offer the water, but we now know that the water in open dishes is easily contaminated. Food particles, droppings, pet hair and any other contaminants carry bacteria into the water and pollute it. Some water dishes attempt to prevent this with partial "hoods", but are still open to having pollutants flipped or tossed into the water supply by playful animals or birds in the midst of wing flapping exercises. The decaying food, fecal matter and disease organisms are then ingested by the animal or bird drinking from that bowl, possibly infecting the pet. The water bottle, in comparison, has a drinking tube that offers a one-way flow of water, preventing particles from entering the water supply. The water remains sanitary for days at a time, drastically reducing the chance of any ingestion of polluted water and subsequent infection.
"What are the precautions to take when using water dishes for small animals and birds?"
Answer: The first concern about water bowls and dishes is that
they are easily tipped over and emptied before the pet has the
opportunity to drink a sufficient amount. So any bowl or dish
must be secured in a safe manner to prevent tipping. Plastic bowls
can be secured by melting a hole in a point high on the side of
the bowl and tying it to the cage or kennel wall. You should be
certain that the bowl is shallow enough that the pet cannot possibly
fall face first in to it and drown...this has happened in cases
with both pets and infants and toddlers who play with the pet's
drinking bowl. Water must be changed twice daily to insure that
no pollutants have fallen in to contaminate it. During hot weather,
ants will be attracted to water bowls, so be prepared to rinse
these pesky insects away from your pet's area.
"What does the term "Vacuum-Valve" mean in water bottles?"
Answer: Pet water bottles that feature a metal drinking tube with one or more metal ball bearings inside that tube, and do not feature the new top-filling design, are able to hold the water contents because a vacuum is formed in the sealed bottle. The metal ball (in multiple ball drinking tips this would be the lowest ball) allows a film of water to remain between the ball and the open end of the drinking tube. Since the movement of the exposed ball bearing breaks this seal, and the vacuum within the water bottle is released, the moving ball is in effect an opening and closing valve. The pet can access water as it flows down through the tube, for as long as it licks or nudges the ball, keeping the ball moving and the valve "open". When the pet leaves the water bottle and the ball settles into place at the end of the drinking tube, the film of water reforms and the valve "closes". So the term "Vacuum-Valve" describes the ball-point drinking tube style found on Oasis All-Weather® bottles, Crystal Clear bottles, Bell Bottles®, Habitat® bottles, and All-Purpose glass bottles.
"Why are there drips of water at the end of the "Vacuum Valve" water bottle drinking tube?"
Answer: This little drip is the first release of water and
is created as your water bottle forms a new vacuum seal. In order
for a vacuum to form within the sealed water bottle, the air space
and water volume need to equalize. This little release of water
is the after effect of this equalization as the pressure stabilizes,
and is perfectly normal. A single droplet at the end of the drinking
tube is not a sign of a leaking water bottle. To help the vacuum-seal
establish when the water bottle is first filled and mounted, tap
the ball bearing several times with your fingertip. This releases
small amounts of water and speeds up the equalization of the vacuum
"How do I decide which size water bottle is correct for my pet?"
Answer: This is an important question. If you choose a water bottle with a drinking tube that is too small or too large, your pet may either 1) not get enough water or 2) waste water that is coming faster than it can swallow. Oasis has prepared a page on this website that will help you to determine the most appropriate bottle for your pet (please see Matching Pet Animals and Birds with Appropriate Water Bottles.) There are always a few exceptions to the rules. For instance, guinea pigs usually use a 16 or 32 ounce water bottle with a drinking tube diameter of about 7/16" or 11mm. If you have a guinea pig that has a constant wet spot under the water bottle, and when you observe it drinking you notice that the water is running our of its mouth, try using two 8 ounce bottles with the smaller 5/16" or 8mm size drinking tube in place of one 16 ounce bottle. You will still need to insure that the guinea pig has sufficient water supply. The narrower drinking tube size can sometimes fit behind the long front teeth more comfortably for certain guinea pigs, allowing them to swallow more water and waste less. You will also find several exotic pets and several basic sizes and types of birds listed on the web site under Matching Pet Animals and Birds with Appropriate Water Bottles.
"Why does my guinea pig's "Vacuum Valve" water bottle leak more than my rabbit's?"
Answer: First, let's explore what is really leaking. Most often the water bottles are not leaking at all...but the guinea pigs are. Watch a rabbit as it drinks. The rabbit will lick the ball bearing of the Vacuum-Valve bottles with its tongue. The tongue lifts and pushes the ball into the tube, the water is released, and the rabbit catches the water on its tongue to swallow. Rats, mice, ferrets, cats and dogs drink in this same manner. For some reason guinea pigs (and apparently prairie dogs, too) feel the need to chew their water. So these little critters put their entire open mouth around the end of the tube and chew-chew-chew the ball up and down, shifting it with their lower teeth most of the time. Guinea pigs often also tilt or twist their head to one side or the other while drinking. Observation will show that chewing water is a sloppy technique that allows some water to pass in one side of their little mouths and right out the other side onto the floor of the cage. So, the bottle isn't leaking, but the guinea pig is! They simply can't catch it all in the position they use to drink.
"When all the water from my "Vacuum Valve" water bottle runs out on the cage floor, what has happened?"
Answer: First, let's start with the most obvious cause. Check
to make sure that the gasket is still inside the cap and still
flat. Some gaskets can slip out during washing. If the gasket
is compressed, turn it over to expose a newer, flatter surface.
Since the water didn't leak out at first, we can assume that when
filled and installed your bottle was damage free and functioning
There is only one way for water to leak out of a "Vacuum-Valve" bottle with the ball-bearing tip. The vacuum, once having formed, has been broken. For water to leak out, air must leak in. Please see Question #3 above to learn about Vacuum Valves. There are two obvious reasons for a vacuum to be canceled: water bottle damage, and is introduced debris. Water bottle damage is most often caused by 1): chewing pets opening a tiny hole in the bottle or cap that will allow the smallest amount of air to enter the bottle. This air entering the bottle cancels the vacuum seal, even if the hole is at the top of the water bottle above the water level. (Hairline cracks in the bottle or cap that also allow air exchange may occur if the water bottle is dropped.) So if your pet chews a hole into the bottle after it is on the cage, the water can all run out at once. The next most obvious reason is 2): debris that has been introduced by the pet into the drinking tube. This can be tiny flecks of feed that the animal or bird had in its mouth while it was drinking...the feed particles get shoved up into the tube by the pet and lodge between the ball and the inside of the drinking tube, preventing the ball from dropping down into the sealed position. Pet hairs, bits of bedding or small feathers have also been found lodged in this position, creating instant leaking. If neither of these reasons seems to be why your water bottle is leaking, remove the bottle and check the rubber gasket for wear or defects such as warping from being over-tightened. Check the cap for debris in the threads that screw it onto the bottle.
"When the water bottle drinking tube gets clogged, what should I do?"
Answer: For lack of a better word, "guck" is almost anything from small food particles to mineral deposits that build up inside the drinking tube. There are two very simple ways to clean the inside of the drinking tube. First, soak the entire cap assembly in a solution of 10 parts water and 1 part bleach for 30 minutes. This will start the cleaning process and dissolve any clinging algae or organic deposits caused by liquid vitamins or medications. Using a cotton swab or a pipe cleaner (also known as chenille stems at art and craft stores), wipe the inside of the drinking tube, pulling any debris out towards the open end of the drinking tube. Clean the tube form both ends using this method and soak it again in the bleach solution for about 10 additional minutes. Rinse the cap assembly very well. Using this method, it is sometimes quite surprising how much "guck" can be removed from a drinking tube that appears to be clean. With the inner surfaces cleaned and free of any debris that can interfere with the ball bearing's free movement, the drinking tube should return to non-leaking full function.
"After I fill the "Vacuum Valve" water bottle and no water comes out, what do I do"
Answer: If the water bottle is a 32 ounce size, the most frequent
cause is squeezing the bottle. Because the Oasis cap fits tightly
and creates an excellent seal, even a small squeeze can cause
this to occur.This is often the case when small hands, weak hands
such as those affected by carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritic
hands are used to carry and install the full 32 ounce bottle,
which will weigh over 2 pounds. It is the natural function of
the human hand to grasp objects to prevent dropping them, and
this produces a squeeze effect on the sides of the bottle. When
installed in the holder and released, the sides of the bottle
return to their normal shape, and a back-flow suction is formed
that can draw the upper metal ball up into the top of the drinking
tube. To correct this problem, simply "spank" the bottle
after it is mounted by tapping sharply on the cap area to make
sure both balls are shaken down into position. This back-flow
is almost always with a larger water bottle, and is rarely seen
in 8 or 16 ounce sizes. All size water bottles should be tested
for free flow of water after being mounted on the cage as a precaution
For all sizes of water bottles, please refer back to question #10. If there is a deposit of minerals caused by hard water, a dried or gummy slime of algae, or other debris inside the tube, the upper ball could be stuck in the "up" position, preventing water flow. Soak and clean the cap as described in #10 answer, and if the ball can be seen from the upper end that mounts into the cap, push it back down using the eraser end of a pencil.
"Why is there a red ball in the end of the Bird Bottle drinking tube?"
Answer: Many birds are attracted to certain colors. For example, notice how hummingbird feeders and the commercially formulated nectar used in them is colored red, because it attracts the hummingbirds to the feeder by means of visual stimulation. Many of the small finch type birds are very visually oriented. Basically the "pointy beak" birds like waxbills, finches and canaries are more likely to try to explore the end of the drinking tube by responding to the red color, and will press the tip of their beak into the film of water that forms at the end of the tube between the edge of the tube and the ball bearing to sip their water. Parrot type "hookbill" birds are more often attracted to objects that look interesting from the view point of "is it a toy?" or "can I chew that up and destroy it?" "Hookbill" birds are going to be attracted to the shining silver of the stainless steel tube, and will chew on the tube itself to see if this new toy is fun..using the upper or lower beak mandible to press the ball inward which will release water.
"Why is the Bird Bottle colored green?"
Answer: The 4 and 8 ounce Bird Bottles are colored green because
that color serves to protect easily oxidized vitamin mixes and
liquid medications, much like a prescription bottle that is tinted
brown or pain relievers tinted green. Oasis is the first company
to introduce this feature to a water bottle, acknowledging the
widespread use of water soluble additives to the water of cage
"I bought some Oasis Vita-Drops for my rabbit 6 months ago - are they still potent and good for him?"
Answer: Your Oasis Vita-Drops are probably just fine.
The hardest elements on vitamins, and the most likely to cause
degradation and loss of potency, are sunlight (UV damage), heat
and moisture. Any and all vitamin products, for your consumption
or your pet's, should always be stored in a cool, dark, dry location
to maintain the product in the most ideal condition. Assuming
you have stored the vitamins in a kitchen cabinet or similar suitable
location, the vitamins are protected from sunlight by the cabinet
and the opaque brown bottle. The bottle should always be kept
tightly capped to prevent oxidation, contamination and spillage.
The average built-in "shelf-life" of vitamin products
is one year; but that does not mean that after one year your Vita-Drops
are no longer usable. The shelf-life only means that even if stored
under the ideal conditions outlined above, after one year vitaminsbegin to lose potency. Note the word begin - the concentrated
vitamin liquid doesn't suddenly lose all of its potency. The potency
begins to drop at the rate of 1.0% per year on most vitamins,
and slightly higher on the vitamins that are easily oxidized (A
and C). If exposed to light and air, vitamin A can oxidize in
6 months, and vitamin C will oxidize in 60 days. Since the Vita-Drops
are in the brown light-safe bottle, they should be potent for
the full year. Of course, once you mix the Vita-Drops solution
with water in your pet's water bottle, these vitamins are exposed
to light. This is why you want to be sure to change your pet's
water frequently so that the vitamin mixture is always full strength
and beneficial to your pet.
"I hear that guinea pigs need extra vitamin C. How do I give it to my guinea pig?"
Yes, guinea pigs do need vitamin C to survive. Just like humans, guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C in their bodies and must replenish the vitamin C they use daily via their diet. To accomplish this, your guinea pig's diet should include dark green leafy vegetables and a vitamin C fortified guinea pig pelleted diet. HOwever... there is no way of guaranteeing the levels of viable, fresh vitamin C in either fruits & vegetables nor packaged guinea pig food. We highly recommend that your guinea pig's diet be supplemented with one of these OASIS products:
OASIS Vita-Drops Guinea Pigs #80061 (this multivitamin formula of Vita-Drops has extra vitamin C added.)
OASIS Vita-Drops Pure C for Guinea Pigs #80254 (this single-ingredient Vita-Drops item is high quality stabilized vitamin C)
OASIS Vita E-Z-Mist Guinea Pigs #81061 (this multivitamin formula is a pump-spray that has extra vitamin C added.)
OASIS Vita E-Z-Mist Guinea Pigs #81254 (this single-ingredient Vita-Drops item is high quality stabilized vitamin C)
Some people like to use powdered vitamin C (ascorbic acid) available in health food stores. If you do this, mix it according to manufacturer's direction, or approximately in a ration of 1/2 tsp. per gallon of water, and store the mixture in a sealed container in your refrigerator. Use the mixture as quickly as possible. If you use powdered vitamin C, please be sure to check the inside of your water bottle's drinking tube (down at the end where the two stainless steel balls rest) every day. Powdered vitamin C has a tendency to allow little undissolved particles to drop out-of-solution, which means that there are little micro bits of the powder that collect around the metal balls. There can be a white deposit of these micro bits that gets between the balls and the inside of the tube preventing the balls from moving properly and dispensing water at full volume. It is easy to either flush the cap and tube under clear running water once a day or to wipe the inside of the tube with a cotton swab to remove any of the undissolved vitamin C powder. In comparison, the concentrated liquid used in Oasis Vita-Drops does not allow for any undissolved vitamin C to build up.