Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard?

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It is common for pet owners to wonder what they should feed their animals. As a guinea pig owner, you may have several questions about your pet’s diet and may be concerned about what is safe for them. You may wonder if your guinea pigs can eat cardboard or not.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard?

Generally, it is safe for guinea pigs to gnaw on cardboard. It helps to keep the continually growing teeth worn down to prevent dental problems. Their digestive systems can handle things such as cardboard.

However, it is important to prevent them from eating and swallowing huge amounts, which can cause intestinal blockages over time and be fatal. Ensure you keep a close eye on the amount they eat.

Three guinea pigs with cardboard on top of the cage

Why Guinea Pigs Need to Chew Constantly

It can be difficult as a guinea pig owner to keep your pet’s teeth at a reasonable length. The front teeth grow continuously and, if left unchecked, will grow through the jaw or even lead to malocclusion. Malocclusion refers to the misalignment of the jaws, resulting in malnutrition and starvation.

It will also be helpful to remember that guinea pigs need a constant movement of their digestive tract. Your pet may die if they go for an extended period without food. If stress or any other factor prevents the movement of the digestive tract, the gut will completely shut down, and digestion will cease.

You should set aside time for weekly dental health checks. Scrutinize the teeth to ensure the teeth are in the right condition. You may have to contact a certified vet in extreme cases.

Gnawing Safety

It is crucial to remember guinea pigs should not eat cardboard in large amounts. It is best to let them gnaw on the cardboard and eat only some of it. Although it is plant-based, you should not feed your pet a lot of cardboard because:

  • It is not a great source of nutrients unlike grean leafy vegetables and will not provide the required nutrients for your pet to be healthy.
  • Ingesting too much cardboard can lead to intestinal obstructions and health complications.

Cardboard is not a great replacement for fresh food like lemon, raspberries, mangoes, or hay. Ensuring you provide an inclusive diet that provides all the needed nutrients is important. You can consult an expert for help with providing the appropriate diet for your guinea pig. 

The guinea pig’s digestive system allows them to break down most plant-based material such as cardboard. However, before placing anything in the cage, ensure it will not be a health hazard. It is essential to remember a few things to ensure the safety of your guinea pig:

  • Ensure all the cardboard provided is clean.
  • Avoid cardboard that has been chemically treated or has chemicals.
  • Ensure they do not overeat it. It can lead to blockages in the digestive tracts.
  • Ensure the cardboard is glue or tape residue-free before feeding your guinea pig.
  • Avoid using colored cardboard as the dye used can harm your guinea pig.
An image of guinea pig and a cardboard they can eat

Safer Alternatives for Guinea Pigs

When it comes to managing the length of teeth, it is critical to consider the guinea pig’s diet. It is also helpful to provide chewing toys. Some options are a lot safer than cardboard, such as:

  • Hay: Feeding your guinea pig hay is a great way to provide nutrients and fiber. It will be beneficial to include a hay pile in the cage daily.
  • Grass mats: These provide a healthy option as most do not involve the use of wires or other items that can harm your guinea pig. They are easily digestible and are a great source of fiber.
  • Hardened vitamin C enriched pellets: They are a great chewing option. However, it is important to avoid overfeeding the guinea pig. It would be best to consult a vet for assistance with the recommended servings.
  • Wood blocks: They can offer a fun alternative for your guinea pig. Ensure the wood used is non-toxic. Check the wood type to prevent any health complications.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Recycled Cardboard?

Guinea pigs can eat recycled cardboard. However, it would be best to ascertain what it is made of. Lighter cardboard should be suitable as it can be difficult to know the composition of heavy-duty cardboard.

Are Cardboard Boxes a Suitable Home for Guinea Pigs?

A cardboard box is not an excellent option for a home for guinea pigs. The recommended option is a suitable cage or hatch with enough room. Nonetheless, you can include cardboard boxes as hiding boxes for playtime in the cages.

Conclusion

Guinea pigs have a constant urge to chew. Therefore, it is essential to provide options to gnaw on, such as hay or pellets, to help keep their teeth growth under control. It is important to be careful when providing them with cardboard. Ensure you stick to safety measures to prevent them from ingesting too much cardboard.