Why Is My Guinea Pig Grinding Its Teeth?

If you own a guinea pig, you might have noticed them grinding their teeth from time to time.

Teeth grinding is called bruxism.

There are a few reasons guinea pigs might do this.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Grinding Its Teeth?

Guinea pigs will constantly grind their teeth when they are in pain.  The pain will most likely be caused by a dental problem or something that is stuck in their teeth.

The main reasons guinea pigs grind their teeth include

  • Pain
  • Digestive Issues
  • Ovarian Cyst
  • Defensive Mechanism


Which could be the sign of an infection or dental problem. You should see a vet about this.

Digestive Issues

Guinea pigs are unable to vomit, as they lack the muscles that humans have that allow us to regurgitate food up from our stomach. A guinea pig might grind its teeth in response to gastro-intestinal pain. If this persists, you should visit your vet.

Be careful not to feed your guinea pig too much of certain foods. Foods like broccoli can produce a lot of gas in the digestive system, resulting in bloating, which can lead to your guinea pig grinding its teeth to cope with the discomfort.

Ovarian Cyst

In female guinea pigs, grinding called be the sign of an ovarian cyst. A female guinea pig will grind her teeth in response to the pain.

Defensive Mechanism

Guinea pigs may also grind their teeth for the same reason that cats hiss: because they are annoyed at a cage mate, a human, or another animal, or as a defensive mechanism against a fellow guinea pig or a larger animal.

If a guinea pig grinds and chatters its teeth it means it is about to fight another guinea pig.

Is It Normal For Guinea Pig’s To Grind Their Teeth?

Yes and no. It is normal in the sense that every guinea pig does it, and it isn’t harmful necessarily. But it isn’t normal if they are doing it excessively and for no apparent and obvious reason.

It could be completely harmless, or it could be the sign of a much greater problem. If you are concerned, you should take your pet guinea pig to see a vet.

How Do You Tell If Your Guinea Pig Has Teeth Problems?

Guinea pigs are rodents. This means that they have teeth that continuously grow. They need to chew or gnaw on objects, such as wood, to saw their teeth down so that they do not become overgrown.

One sign that guinea pigs are having teeth problems is that they are not gnawing enough, which makes their teeth overgrown, causing gum problems.

Look out for overgrown teeth. We cannot say this enough. Contact your vet if you have any concerns.

You can trim your guinea pig’s teeth yourself, or if you are worried about hurting your guinea pig, or you think they won’t take kindly to you coming anywhere near their teeth, you can take your guinea pig to a vet, who will trim their teeth for you.

Guinea pig teeth should be white, not yellow. Look out for this, and for anything else that you think is not normal: such as missing teeth, chipped teeth, or if your guinea pig’s teeth are falling out.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Grind His Teeth When I Pet Him?

If your pet guinea pig grinds his teeth when you pet him it could be any of the signs mentioned above. He might just be annoyed at the constant attention.

Or he might feel unsafe, using the grinding as a security shield or defensive mechanism.

If you treat your guinea pig right and take good care of him then he is unlikely to feel unsafe around you. The problem in that case might be more serious, such as dental issues, gastro-intestinal issues, or some other health concern.

Visit a vet to rule anything out and to seek treatment for whatever it is that is troubling your guinea pig.

Occasional grinding is normal. But excessive grinding for no apparent reason should be looked into. A vet is the best person to help you with this and any other more complex questions.

Guinea pigs might also become scared around noisy children, or larger pets such as dogs and cats. They might grind or chatter their teeth to indicate annoyance in these situations.

It is your guinea pig’s way of saying it is annoyed or scared, and that whoever is scaring it should back off.

Is It Normal For Guinea Pig’s To Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?

No, it isn’t normal. It could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as those discussed above. If it persists you should contact a vet.

Why Does It Sound Like My Guinea Pig Is Chewing?

If it sounds like your guinea pig is chewing, but it isn’t eating any food, it could be that it is grinding or chattering its teeth. The reason for this might be any of those discussed above.

If your guinea pig does this only occasionally, around other guinea pigs, it could just be a sign of annoyance.

But if your guinea pig grinds its teeth often, for no apparent reason, there might be a more serious problem. You should take your guinea pig to a vet to rule out anything more serious.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Chatter Their Teeth?

Uh oh. When you see or hear teeth chattering coming from your guinea pigs, it is not a good sign. There is something brothering him or her.

Teeth chattering is a form of expression to display irritation or anger towards something. There could be so many reasons why your guinea pig is performing this action. Here are a few examples:

  • Introducing one guinea pig to another
  • Getting too close to their territory or private space
  • Hearing whining at the same time possibly due to dental pain
  • Cold or overheating
  • Annoyed with loud noises
  • Not wanting to be cuddled, held or picked up
  • Wishing to return to their cage
  • Warm-up to a potential fight

Guinea pigs fight for space, dominance and the right to mate. Teeth chattering is one of the first signs that a fight may occur. As you can see from the list above. There are many other reasons for the teeth chattering as well.

Guinea pigs getting along is a process that includes teeth chattering. Find out more about it here

How to Identify Your Guinea Pig Has Problems With Their Teeth

As mentioned previously, guinea pigs who lack appetite, chatter their teeth or shy away might be experiencing dental problems. They could stop eating harder to chew foods, stop playing or give up eating altogether. This is usually coupled with lethargy or lack of activity.

These are serious warning signs that something is wrong. They need help and are showing it with their peaceful fasting and lethargic protest.

Look for more signs such as:

  • Excess drooling or Saliva under the jaw
  • Smaller or few droppings
  • Weight loss

The fat pads in their cheeks hide the molars of a guinea pig so well that most of us do not even notice them. It’s going to be hard for us to see or feel any dental issues in the mouths of our guinea pigs.

The signs and symptoms above are going to be the giveaways we need to see to know that something is wrong. A vet will step in with the appropriate course of action to treat these teeth problems.

How to Treat Guinea Pig Teeth Problems

Treating teeth problems in a guinea pig cannot be done without a diagnosis, medication and treatment of a vet. It can lead to a guinea pig giving up eating and suffering greatly without effective action and treatment.

Sometimes the issue is related to their teeth being overgrown. They are chewing down on hay or other other items that can help wear down their ever-growing incisors.

A vet may recommend feedings through a syringe during the recovery process from one many dental issues that could be affecting your guinea pig.

Antibiotics pain relief medication, dental surgery with anesthesia are some of the options that will ultimately be decided by your guinea pig’s vet along with your approval.

Guinea Pig Teeth Chattering at Humans

When a guinea pig is chattering their teeth at someone who has entered the home or the room where they are located, the space is feeling threatened. This is their reaction to the threat.

They want to make sure they don’t have to give up the comfort zone that they have become accustomed to. If the teeth chattering is happening to you as well, then you have to give it more time to bond and build trust.

Teeth chattering is a sign of annoyance, anger or frustration. It is also a precursor to potential fights breaking out between guinea pigs.

If trimming their nails, excessive petting or holding them the wrong way lead to teeth chattering, accept the warning signals and stop the activity for now. Let anyone else know that it is not their fault. This is how guinea pigs have survived and communicated over centuries.


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My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.