Overall, cardboard can be safe for guinea pigs, but not all cardboard is made equally! While guinea pigs are able to chew on paper and wood products, it’s important to note that they can’t just eat paper or chomp on a cardboard box as a large part of their meal!
It should be seen as a way for guinea pigs to maintain their teeth, since their teeth are constantly growing. In this article, we talk about what kinds of paper products are safe for your guinea pig, and also give you some other helpful tips and options for them to safely maintain their teeth with!
Is cardboard safe for guinea pigs?
You probably already have some sort of paper products in your guinea pig’s cage, whether that’s homemade cardboard hideys for them to relax in, or if you’re using paper bedding for their guinea pig cage.
As you know, your guinea pig is an herbivore—this means that they’re eating plant based foods, and they’re able to eat plant-based materials. This means that cardboard is perfectly safe for them to eat, since they’re made of paper. However, before you go scavenging around for the shipping boxes that your online shopping came in, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Cardboard is made with two sheets of thicker paper, with the scrunched piece in the center that holds them together. In order to hold these three components, glue is utilized for this purpose. The worrisome thing is that when it comes to the glue that is used in random shipping boxes, you don’t know whether or not the glue they’ve used is toxic and dangerous for guinea pigs.
If you’re like us, we’re very concerned about what goes into our guinea pigs’ bodies—we want to make sure that our piggies are only consuming what’s safe, even if all they’re doing is gnawing on the cardboard hideys.
This is where the GuineaDad Crunchy Condos are the hero! Our cardboard hideys for guinea pigs are 100% safe for guinea pigs—it’s made of reusable, recyclable, non-toxic cardboard.
We wanted to make sure that the elements of our product packaging were safe for guinea pigs if they happened to take a bite. For example, the GuineaDad Premium Liner comes in packaging that can be used as a hidey. It’s made with paper tape, food touch safe ink, non-toxic glue, and virgin paper!
The Small GuineaDad Liners come in the Crunchy Tunnel, which you’re able to connect to the Crunchy Castle that the GuineaDad Queen’s Castle comes in. Because all these packages can connect to each other, you’re essentially able to give your guinea pigs a crunchy fortress! Your guinea pigs will be able to hide and relax as much as they want to.
It’s important that we enable the guinea pig's tendency to hide, because it makes our guinea pigs feel safer and more comfortable in their living environment. Guinea pigs are naturally prey animals, so they feel safer when they’re not out in the open. By providing hideys, you’re able to ensure that they feel at home in their cage. To read more about this hiding behavior in guinea pigs, you can read this blog post here.
What other kinds of paper and wood products are safe for guinea pigs?
When it comes to wood, it’s important to note that not all wood is safe for guinea pigs either. It’s important that guinea pigs are only given access to wood that is actually meant for them to be able to gnaw on. Obviously, guinea pigs aren’t eating wood, but they’re gnawing on it.
This is meant for teeth maintenance, since their teeth are always growing and it’s important for them to healthily wear those chompers down! Otherwise, their teeth will become overgrown and it can become very painful and uncomfortable for guinea pigs to eat. When they start eating less, malnutrition can occur! Malnutrition is a slippery slope, because it becomes dangerous very quickly.
The GuineaDad Queen’s Castle is our solid wood hidey for guinea pigs. It’s made of wood that is both strong and safe for guinea pigs to chew and gnaw on. What’s also great about the queen’s castle is that it comes in packaging that can be repurposed and turned into our Crunchy Castle, like mentioned previously. The Crunchy Castle is able to be combined without other Crunchy packaging to become one long tunnel-hidey combination that your guinea pigs will love.
Wood shavings aren’t safe bedding for guinea pigs. This is especially true because of the kinds that have a strong-smelling oil that is unsafe for guinea pigs to inhale, as it messes with the lining of their lungs.
Unfortunately, paper bedding isn’t the best for guinea pigs. This is because paper bedding doesn’t fully and properly absorb their urine, which can lead to their cage becoming not only saturated in urine, but a breeding ground for bacteria.
When bacteria is present, it becomes a precarious situation—guinea pigs are quite susceptible to infections! In fact, infection is one of the largest killers of guinea pigs, and it’s important to do what you can to prevent infections from happening in the first place.
This is why paper bedding isn’t the best choice for guinea pigs. While we wouldn’t exactly call it outright unsafe, we’d still suggest other bedding options, such as a reusable, washable fleece bedding.
You can utilize GuineaDad Premium Liner or the GuineaDad Liner for bedding, as both are made of a super absorbent fleece material that also inhibits bacterial growth. This is ideal, since it can eliminate the risk for infections. If you’d like to read more on the best bedding for guinea pigs, you can read this post here.
Cardboard and wood is good for guinea pig teeth!
Now that we’ve established that, what else is good for piggy teeth?
As you know, guinea pig diets should be made up largely of hay! It’s a large part of their diet due to their high fiber content and it’s important that the guinea pigs are munching on it all day. This means that it should be provided in large quantities at all times, practically unlimited amounts. The hay not only helps with digestion, but it also helps with maintaining their teeth as well. The all day-everyday munching is what is super important for their dental health. Chewing and gnawing on cardboard can only do so much!
If you’d like to read more information on how much hay is required by guinea pigs each day and what kinds are the best hay for guinea pigs, you can read this post here.
Guinea pigs are also OK to munch on fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet as well. As mentioned before, hay should make up most of their diet, but guinea pigs should be eating around one cup of fresh produce a day. It is also important for them to not only get the nutrients they need that they can’t get from hay and water alone, but also so they can maintain their teeth by munching on veggies.
Be careful about the kinds of cardboard that you give your guinea pig access to!
When it comes to anything that you’re giving your guinea pigs contact with, it’s important to ensure that all materials are safe for them to touch, possibly chew or gnaw on, or eat. This is why you should ensure that all cardboard and other paper and wood products you put in their cage are piggy-safe!
While we want to make sure that your guinea pig is able to maintain their teeth and keep them at a safe and healthy length, it’s important for them to be doing it properly.
Let them (safely!) chew on wood hideys, cardboard hideys, their hay, and their vegetables, but make sure to keep an eye on them and stay vigilant about any changes in their health and behavior!