Guinea pigs have teeth that grow rapidly without stopping. As a result, they must constantly chew on things that grind their teeth to a comfortable length. A few things that guinea pigs love to chew on include hay, cardboard boxes, twigs, vegetables, and toys.[toc]
Since a guinea pig’s teeth are always growing, it’s crucial to their health and safety to ensure they have access to chewable materials to help them manage their tooth growth.
If their teeth are allowed to grow uncontrollably, it could lead to starvation, illness, and other health issues, including death. Fortunately, providing these things for piggy chewing doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of low-cost and natural options to consider.
However, if you find yourself with a little extra cash to spare, there are plenty of guinea pig chew toys at your local pet store.
Chewables That Won’t Break the Bank
Our top pick of low-cost chewables for guinea pigs is cardboard! This includes toilet paper rolls (or the same roll that comes with paper towels) and shoeboxes. Not to mention that stack of cardboard that piles up on your doorstep every week.
Besides grinding their teeth into an easily manageable length, guinea pigs enjoy chewing on cardboard because it comes in so many shapes and sizes to keep things interesting.
Just make sure to give them clean cardboard that hasn’t been exposed to any chemicals.
Twigs are a great alternative and low-cost option if you do not have spare cardboard lying around.
Guinea pigs seem to enjoy twigs from fruit trees, including apple trees, pear trees, and other non-aromatic woods.
There are exceptions to this rule, though. It’s important to ensure that the twigs are free of any pesticides or chemicals before you give them to your furry friend. Before trying a new type of wooden twig, do your research to ensure it is safe.
Untreated wood blocks are also great options for a natural chewable for your guinea pig. If you have several wooden blocks that are large enough, they can be constructed to create a little hideout or tunnel for your guinea pig to not only snack on but also hide inside.
Guinea pigs can also manage the length of their teeth by grinding them on hay, vegetables, and fruit. Plus, these items double as snacks for your guinea pig in addition to its normal, everyday diet of guinea pig food/pellets.
Hay is a good choice for guinea pigs and should be offered in unlimited quantities to aid in grinding their teeth and to provide fiber, which helps with digestion.
The best types of hay that are helpful for your piggy’s digestive tract include timothy, barley, and grass hay. Straw is not recommended to replace hay because it does not offer the same nutritional benefit.
Guinea pigs also love vegetables, which are necessary for their diet. They should have a healthy amount of leafy greens every day, including cilantro, kale, romaine lettuce, and parsley.
Leafy greens have a high level of Vitamin C, which guinea pigs are unable to produce. You can also feed guinea pigs carrots, zucchini, red or green peppers, and sweet potatoes once or twice a week.
Guinea pigs also enjoy chewing on fruit. Just make sure it isn’t given too often as it contains a lot of sugar. Fruit can be given a couple times a week in small portions as a treat.
Fruits that are safe for guinea pig bellies are strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, bananas, and small pieces of apple or orange.
DIY: Get Crafty!
For those who would like to spend a little more time designing custom chewables for their pet, there are a few DIY options that your guinea pig will love!
Start with an empty toilet paper roll. Create holes in the sides for wooden sticks to be poked through. Make sure, as previously mentioned, that the twigs or sticks are not aromatic and are safe for the guinea pig to chew on.
Another great chew DIY chew toy for your guinea pig is a shoebox hideout. Guinea pigs love to sit in tunnels that double as a chew toy, so cut a hole in the side that is big enough for the guinea pig to fit through. This will allow your pet to enter and exit the box without hassle and still have something they will enjoy munching on.
The last idea for a homemade chew toy for your guinea pig is a cardboard oatmeal container filled with shredded paper. Guinea pigs enjoy nesting in shredded paper, and the oatmeal container creates the perfect size and shape to cozy up in. Not to mention, it’d be edible!
You can find chew toys of every shape and size in your local pet store. These not only keep your guinea pig’s teeth manageable, but they also keep the piggie happy, mentally stimulated, and entertained. Wicker tunnels and stands are fun for guinea pigs to explore, and if they get tired or hungry, there is always a snack nearby.
When shopping for chew toys for your pet, do your research to find excellent reviews and experiences from other guinea pig owners. Before buying, ensure that the materials that make up these chew toys are natural.
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