Guinea pigs are small animals with four openly visible incisors. They use the teeth to chew on their food, to nibble on you when they are trying to communicate something, and sometimes as a sign of dominance.
A guinea pig that wants to establish dominance will bar their teeth while raising their necks high. This may be accompanied by teeth chattering before two guinea pigs lunge on to each other for a fight.
Instinctively, guinea pigs will always want to chew on something as it’s their nature to do so. This is majorly because they have teeth that will keep growing throughout their lives so they have to wear them down to prevent overgrowing.
Guinea pigs may develop a tendency of chewing on their cages at some point and this is bound to make you worried. Is it normal and why do they do that?
Read on to find out.
Why do guinea pigs bite the cage?
Guinea pigs bite the cage for various reasons. It could be due to being in a small cage, a lack of exercise, frustration, boredom, need for attention, or they could be trying to wear down their teeth if they don’t have anything to chew on. If your guinea pig is constantly biting their cage, you can provide some chew toys, a bigger cage, spend time with them, or exercise them for mental stimulation.
Why is your guinea pig chewing on their cage
Guinea pigs will chew on their cages for the number of reasons listed below:
If your guinea pig has a small cage, they may get frustrated and begin biting into the cage. Most cages that guinea pigs are bought with from pet stores are usually small.
Your pet could have outgrown their cage and as they get bigger they will require a bigger space to live in and play in.
If the cage is small, your guinea pig will vent their frustrations by biting it.
Lack of exercise
Guinea pigs require at least an hour of exercise every day. This is the ideal amount of time to get your pet out for their daily exercise.
They are active animals that should be taken out of their cage at least daily so as to stretch out and exercise to maintain good health.
Guinea pigs are active animals that are bound to get bored fast. They require constant entertainment and distractions to prevent this.
Being easy to maintain, however, they won’t require that much and a couple of new toys can do the trick. You can easily make a toy for them using an old sock which you can stuff with hay and herbs.
This is bound to keep them busy and occupied as they spend hours with the sock taking out the hay and herbs. They will also enjoy dragging their new toy around and using it as a pillow.
Guinea pigs are social little creatures that enjoy each other’s company. In their natural habitats, they will even live in groups of ten or more.
This gives them a deep need for a companion if they are caged. Lack of a cagemate makes them lonely and it could lead to depression in your pet.
They will turn to you for companionship if they don’t have another guinea pig. If they sense that you are not spending enough time with them, they may begin having destructive behaviors to capture your attention.
They could rattle their water bottles or begin biting their cage bars until you notice their presence. To avoid this, give them the attention they seek and don’t wait for them to ask for it.
Take some time to talk to them as they eat, play with them, or have some good old lap time as you both watch TV.
Guinea pigs will not only get bored or inactive due to a lack of exercise, they could also lack mental stimulation. Guinea pigs are smart small animals.
They require something every now and then that their minds can work on. Lack of it can make them bite on their cages.
You can provide some good mental stimulation by creating some mazes for them and watching them craftily find their way out. You can even create tunnels in their cage.
Other things you can do are switching up their cage arrangements and providing colourful bowls.
Wear their teeth
As we have seen, guinea pigs have teeth that keep growing throughout their lifetime. This makes it necessary to wear them down to prevent dangerous dental problems that could arise.
They do this by constantly chewing on what is available for them. If your pet lacks something to chew on, they will turn on their cage for the exercise.
You should provide your pet with a lot of hay which is very helpful in wearing down their teeth. You can also give chew toys that they can keep themselves busy with.
Crunchy vegetables like carrots, pears, cucumbers, apples, and broccoli are also great. Not only are they nutritious and great treats, but they will also effectively keep their teeth from over-growing.
What to avoid
As you take the measures to prevent or stop your guinea pig from biting their cage, you should also ensure that you are taking the right measures. Make sure to avoid:
Plastic cage accessories are harmful to your pet. They can easily chew into them posing a harzard for them.
The plastic can be chewed down into small particles that could choke them or they can be left with sharp edges that could cut and hurt your pet.
Some toys will be unsafe for your pet and you should avoid them at all costs. For instance, giving your pet salt blocks is harmful.
Salt contains too much sodium that is bad for guinea pig health.
Instead, give them wooden blocks, mineral blocks, or housing made from edible material like hay.
Guinea pigs will bite their cage if something is bothering them and you should be keen to point out what could be the matter.
If it’s their small cage, boredom, lack of something to chew on, or just the need for attention, take the measures we just talked of to ensure that your pet is happy, content, and healthy.