This is always something to think about when getting a pet, you do not want to spend a fortune on replacing and repairing things just to have a pet. Nor do you want to be negligent of your pet’s need to be out getting floor time. Which can happen to pets that chew. Here is my experience and some research.
Are Guinea Pigs Destructive?
Paired Guinea pigs tend to not be destructive as long as they are highly stimulated. Ensure that your pet has a lot of attention and toys to keep them busy. Keeping an unlimited supply of fresh water and hay for them to eat and drink will also help keep them occupied.
Single Guinea pigs can be a bit more destructive, this is due to loneliness and lack of stimulation. Ensure your pet has lots of attention and keep them entertained with toys, food, and water.
Signs That A Guinea Pig Is Destructive
Signs that your guinea pig may be destructive are chewing on their cage, pulling out their fur, chewing on cage accessories, chewing furniture, electrical cords, digging at the carpet.
If you have a single guinea pig some of this may be due to their being bored, lacking companionship, and understimulated. If you have a male it could be to show male prowess. It could be caused by them having to small of a cage. Maybe they just need more attention when out of their cage.
The destructive actions and the answers are as varied as the guinea pigs. However, it is to be expected that they are going to chew on things. It is in their nature to do so and it is how they keep their teeth worn to the proper size and it is necessary that they do so.
Chewing Things In Their Cage
If you put things like hay huts and cardboard boxes in the cage you should expect them to get chewed up. I do not believe that this is destructive behavior. This is a natural instinct for them. These items are meant to be chewed on and replaced.
It could be your guinea pig just needed to see out of that hut better because they don’t feel completely safe where they are. Maybe they just feel the opening is too small and confining. There is no way to know what your pig was thinking when they chewed a wider hole in that hut.
There are some simple things you can do that will make this better for you. Get free things for your guinea pig instead of buying them. Get small plain boxes from the stores that you shop at. Most stores will give them to you.
Go to the local Carpet store and get a carpet tube. You can cut it to any length you want. Carpet tubes are great because they last a little longer than a cardboard box, and they help wear down the teeth better.
The most notable causes of destructive behavior are:
boredom lack of hay loneliness territorial
lack of exercise lack of toys not de-sexed
How To Stop Destructive Behavior
If your guinea pig is a male getting it neutered may stop the problem. However, this is not instantaneous it will happen over time as the hormones fade.
If you have a single guinea pig and you are not with it all the time there is a loneliness that can only be fixed by getting another guinea pig as a companion.
If you have 2 guinea pigs, it could be boredom and a lack of stimulating things to do. They may need some new toys. Maybe they need more time out of the cage and attention from you. Playtime with you is stimulating and rewarding to you and them.
Never let bad behavior go by otherwise you are encouraging it. Stop the action offer an alternative, if they return to the bad action return them to the cage for 5 minutes and then return to playtime. Do this each time they return to whatever it is you wish them to stop, increasing their time out each time.
If this doesn’t help then contact your vet for more information, it could be a medical issue that needs to be addressed.
If it is a lack of hay then I say shame on you. No proper guinea pig parent ever lets their guinea pig be without hay. It must always be available, and there is no excuse for it not to be.
If it is due to financial troubles coming up, talk to your local shelter they may be able to find you some temporary help. A local farmer may be willing to give you a bit, ask a friend or family. Anything is better than not providing what is essential.
Sorry if I sound to harsh. A caged animal is reliant on its owner to provide the basic needs and that can’t be shirked for any reason. There is always a way to get help if you look for it and ask.
Best Toys For A Guinea Pig
There are so many toys on the market, it is hard to know what your guinea pig will like. There are toys for playing and chewing, things for hanging and swinging. Some more for hiding and chewing. The only drawback is not knowing what to get.
Kaytee Perfect Chews for Guinea Pigs:
This one hangs from the cage top and encourages them to stand up to chew on it or bat it around.
Pet Hammock Hamster Hanging Toy Snuggle Hut
This is a great hiding place that hangs from the top of the cage, it’s soft and snuggly.
Living World Hagen Pet Tunnel:
This is a great adventure for when your guinea pig is out for floor time. This will allow them to have a great crawl space as well as a place to hide when they get scared.
Natural Chew toys
Items that are all natural and made of wood are best to keep in your critters cage to ensure that they are safe and even if they are destroyed they are not something that can hurt them.
These are a few that you can buy. I did get mine a few but not very often. I hid an apple slice in a wadded-up plain piece of paper and watched him push it around and tear into it to find the treat.
I put bits of carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries, and lettuce inside a TP tube and folded and scrunched the ends. It got the same result as the paper. We always had something that made for a fun time with our piggies. We had an apple and pear tree, so we had all the twigs we needed.
As a general rule guinea pigs are not destructive. In some cases, a guinea pig can become bored and chew on things that are not appropriate. When this happens make sure to stop them and give them something that is appropriate. Never accept bad behavior without addressing the situation.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to keep your guinea pig happy, all you need to do is use your imagination.
If you are interesting in learning more about what it costs to own a guinea pig check out our other article “How much does it cost to own a guinea pig”