“Sound the alarms! Call in the guards! Code Red: Guinea Pig Chewing on Cage!” Is this an escape attempt?
Why was my newest guinea pig constantly chewing on her cage? She was placed in a temporary set-up before I introduced her to my other guinea pigs in the main enclosure.
She didn’t want to stop chewing on the cage bars. Was she panicking, stressed, bored or just filing down her teeth? How can you tell?
In this article, we will share our experience with our little newcomer guinea pig chewing on cage as her new hobby and see if we can find out more about your guinea pig’s similar experience as well.
Guinea Pig Chewing on Cage?
Guinea pigs do what guinea pigs chew. Their teeth constantly grow and they need to chew on something to file their teeth down to a size that is normal and healthy for them.
Unfortunately, if they are under-stimulated without enough things to chew on, they’re going to chew on the cage bars.
Other reasons include:
- problems with cage mates
- inadequate cage size
- lack of varied foods to eat
- not enough variety of chew toys
Our newest guinea pig was stressed from being in a smaller cage when she could see the others at a distance who were enjoying a much larger space.
She wanted to interact with them right away, but we knew that in order to help them bond peacefully, she needed some more time in her own space for now.
Her young teeth were growing fast and she was also constantly gnawing on the cage bars for that reason as well.
Why Guinea Pigs Chew Their Cage
Guinea pigs showing up to a new home can feel a lot of nerves. High stress can lead to a guinea pig wishing to chew on the cage bars in an attempt to escape. It’s better than chewing on their own fur or mutilating themselves.
Step in and introduce some chew toys along with plenty of hay and a mixture of treats and high-quality veggies. Be there for your new member of the family and assure your guinea pig that everything is okay with your calm voice and slow actions.
6 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Chew On Their Cage:
- too much noise creating stress outside of the cage
- a lack of things to do.
- loneliness for an animal who is normally very social
- aggressiveness or dominance in the cage causing stress
- lack of hiding spaces
- not enough chew toys
One final reason that we figure it out was when our first guinea pig was chewing on the bars, we were giving him attention and laughing.
We watched, took pictures and videos and giggled. What we didn’t realize was our guinea pig was receiving our positive attention from his behavior. We encouraged it without knowing.
To find out more about guinea pig dominance, check out this article we wrote about that.
Guinea Pig Chewing on Cage Out of Hunger
I’m sure you have stocked plenty of hay in the cage for your guinea pig so why is he or she chewing on the bars? When I was in this situation, I was confused as well.
I knew that my guinea pig was comfortable in a cage that was the appropriate size and there was plenty of food with no other outside stressors. I suddenly realized that this guinea pig is a hungry little piggie.
She was not satisfied with the food we were giving her. She just wanted to eat some more varieties and options of vegetables. We started spacing out the food.
We gave her more meals throughout the day in smaller portions such as:
- hay cubes to nibble on throughout the day
The food was a perfect distraction for her. Soon enough, the cage chewing with substituted out of an insatiable hunger and desire to chew on food instead.
Guinea Pig Claustrophobia
It’s possible for a guinea pig to develop anxiety out of claustrophobia. He or she may feel that the cage is too small. This is observed when you notice that your guinea pig is constantly hanging out at the cage bars or chewing and gnawing on them.
You may have heard that guinea pigs are comfortable in a cage with a 7.5 square foot area, but this is not the case all the time. Some guinea pigs feel that they need more space than that. If they are sharing this space with one or more guinea pigs, claustrophobia is even more common.
- Consider getting a cage that is at least 10-13 sq. ft. in area.
- Make sure there’s enough room in there to exercise.
- There should be a space on one side for rest another for the bathroom and the central area for playing.
- The cage also needs to be sanitary and cleaned out regularly.
Guinea pigs get easily agitated and might feel that the large cage you already have gotten feels too small because it’s dirty.
How to Stop Any Pigs From Chewing on Their Cage
Your guinea pig might need more attention from you or cage mates.
1. Spend more time with your furry pocket pet companion.
You may notice that the cage chewing has turned into a learned behavior that they cannot control no matter what you do. c
2. Consider applying some mild vinegar on the bars.
It is a repellent and should not be done too often because it can create stress for your guinea pig. The taste and smell of vinegar is going to cause a guinea pig to retreat and look for something else to chew on instead.
3. Have a rotation of chew toys available.
I’m sure you have heard the advice that your guinea pig requires more chew toys and they can get bored of the same ones easily. Swap some out and put some new ones in.
4. Reduce any possible stress in the cage.
This can range from dominance cage mates to unsanitary conditions.
5. Add more hiding spaces and areas.
Your guinea pig would like to explore and discover new features in the cage.
6. It might be time for a larger cage.
Consider one that is 10-13 square feet in area.
7. Give them separate water bottles and food bowls to see if this can help reduce the stress
Guinea pigs together do not want to share the same resources.
8. Spread out meals throughout the day
Allow your guinea pig to naturally graze and chew on a variety of food, hay and vegetables all day long rather than chewing on cage bars.
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