Guinea pigs love to chew on things. In fact, these animals will chew on anything they can get their teeth on, including cardboard. Why do guinea pigs continuously chew while awake?
Well, it has something to do with natural instinct and tooth development. Unlike other small animal breeds, the guinea pig’s teeth grow throughout their life. This basically means their teeth never stop growing, which is why they are continuously chewing.
Now, you know what to expect from your new guinea pig’s behavior, it is time to start becoming familiar with the diet and safe chewable items.
Can guinea pigs chew on cardboard? Yes. Animal researchers have spent decades studying the guinea pig, which is also one of the top research specimens. These researchers believe it is perfectly fine for guinea pigs to chew on cardboard. The guinea pigs digestive system can safely break down chewed cardboard. Like humans and sweets, too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing. This is especially true when it comes to the guinea pig and cardboard.
Just make sure the cardboard is free of chemicals and other harmful substances.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard
It isn’t that guinea pigs enjoy chewing on cardboard. It is more about chewing than enjoyment. As mentioned above, guinea pigs will chew on just about anything they can sink their teeth into.
Since research shows cardboard is safe for guinea pigs, it is your responsibility to find safe chewable items for your pet.
[Related Article: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Paper?]
What Does Cardboard Do To The Guinea Pig’s Digestive System?
Like most mammals, the guinea pig’s digestive system breaks down food, water, and other chewable items utilizing an enzyme known as pepsinogen. The process begins in the oral cavity (mouth).
Once the cardboard enters the mouth, the teeth begin to chew on it. This continues until the chewed cardboard is swallowed, making its way down the windpipe and into the stomach.
From here, the digested food will enter the small intestine and then the large intestine.
[Relater Article: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raisins]
What Problems May Occur?
Allowing a guinea pig to chew paper will likely lead to the animal swallowing it too. While this isn’t a scary problem when the paper is small, swallowing it in excess can be very dangerous.
This can lead to major issues and it could be fatal. If your guinea pig eats too much paper, it will likely become constipated meaning he or she will not be able to pass food.
Also, it could cause a gastrointestinal blockage. If dried food, hair, and paper are not dealt with, it could lead to intestinal bacteria and that can be fatal. While this is rare, you don’t want to risk it.
So, you should try to keep paper products away from your guinea pig. You never know what is going to happen so it is best to be safe.
How To Stop Guinea Pig From Chewing Cardboard
Guinea pigs like chewing cardboard for numerous reasons. They may believe it is going to give them more nutrients. Plus, they might be bored. They can also chew cardboard to wear down their teeth.
Either way, you’ll want to prevent this from becoming a habit. To do that, you should make sure that your pet is receiving sufficient nutrients. Give him more hay and other food.
This will help keep the guinea pig full so it won’t feel obligated to eat cardboard, paper, and other items.
You’ll also want to give your guinea pig a few toys. These toys can help them stay busy so they won’t have to chew on cardboard.
While guinea pigs can chew on cardboard, you shouldn’t let this happen too often. Guinea pigs tend to swallow the things they chew. So, he’ll likely swallow the paper and that can lead to constipation and other issues.
Be sure to prevent this from happening by removing the paper from his cage. Instead, give him toys and more hay. That will keep him busy and help ensure he has plenty of nutrients.