Let’s face it, a guinea pig is a rodent and, in fact, it gnaws and that’s normal! However, it is important to know how to distinguish and interpret the different behaviours of your pet in order to know the right reactions to have and to avoid possible inconveniences.
Why does my guinea pig gnaw on everything?
All guinea pig owners can testify to this, it is enough to let your pet have a little freedom to quickly find a chewed book, a damaged shoe, or worse, an attacked plant or a gnawed electric wire.
First of all, you should know that guinea pigs, like all rodents, have continuously growing incisors, so they need to wear them out regularly by gnawing on hard things to prevent them from growing too much and preventing them from eating. Moreover, it is by gnawing that this little creature apprehends the world around him and that he communicates with you and tries to make himself understood. Through this basic behavior, your pet may want to tell you that it is hungry, that it is bored and wants to get out of its cage, or simply that it is trying to discover its environment.
You need to listen to your guinea pig to interpret his reactions and respond appropriately. Even if gnawing is a natural behavior for your guinea pig, some signs require an intervention on which the well-being of your pet and, sometimes, its safety will depend.
How to react to this behavior?
Many things can be toxic to ingest or simply dangerous for a guinea pig. In its cage or outside, never leave within its reach a plant, a newspaper, plastic objects or electrical appliances. Your pet will be tempted to go for anything new to him, so when you modify his environment, always do so with specially designed objects. Keep in mind that you’ll never stop your pet from gnawing, but you can protect it from anything dangerous.
Of course, make sure you feed your pet well by providing him with about 1/10 of his weight in fresh fruits or vegetables and specially designed pellets every day. Offer him dry fodder to gnaw on at will, such as hay or other authorized dry plants. Also, provide him with something to teethe with so that he can maintain good oral hygiene and so that it doesn’t bother you too much in terms of noise. Offer him entertainment, because a bored animal will tend to gnaw more; in particular, be aware that if you have two individuals in the same cage, boredom can lead them to gnaw each other’s fur.
Finally, if your guinea pig gnaws on the bars of its cage too often, and despite all your attempts, you can’t get it to stop, try coating them with a few drops of vinegar, which should prevent it from doing so again.