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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard

Vet approved

Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Athena Gaffud

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Guinea Pigs are great pets to cuddle and spend hours interacting with throughout the day. If you have limited space or simply can’t commit to a cat or dog, what better animal to make your best pal? Being familiar with Guinea Pigs also gives you a peep into their world. With this peep, you’ve seen your little piggy chewing on any and everything that comes its way. This is a Guinea Pig’s way of keeping its teeth sharp.

One of a Guinea Pig’s favorite things to chew on is paper, even cardboard. The big question is, can Guinea Pigs eat cardboard? The answer to this question isn’t exactly straightforward, unfortunately. While overall, yes, a Guinea Pig can eat cardboard, it shouldn’t be something they enjoy often. A Guinea Pig’s body is designed to digest plant-based products like cardboard, however, too much can cause blockages or other tummy issues.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at Guinea Pigs and their love for cardboard so you can better understand while your little cuddle buddy enjoys munching it.

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A Bit About Guinea Pigs

The first thing we should get out of the way when it comes to Guinea Pigs is the fact that they aren’t truly pigs. These cuties are actually Hystricomorph rodents that hail from the Andes Mountains in South America. It’s hard to imagine a Guinea Pig out in the wild. These small rodents come in an assortment of colors, sizes, and even have different types of hair. The reason they are so beloved as family pets is their mild-mannered nature. They are considered great pets for children as they rarely bite and are normally docile.

While they are compact pets, Guinea Pigs still require specific care when they are brought into the home. As herbivores, their diet consists mostly of hay, pellets, fruits, veggies, and grass. You’ll also need to show a Guinea Pig lots of love and attention. They are social animals and generally need  another Guinea Pig to live in the home. A sizable and clean habitat, the right diet, and a little love can make a Guinea Pig in your home quite happy.

cute red guinea pig looking upwards
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cardboard?

One of the most important things about raising a Guinea Pig is to ensure they have proper bedding. Guinea Pig parents often turn to wood shavings for this. However, it isn’t uncommon to find pet parents who choose to use cardboard inside their pet’s cages. Once that cardboard goes inside the habitat, a Guinea Pig is going to chew on it. It’s simply what they do. This is thanks to their always-growing teeth and the need to keep them gnawed down. However, if you use cardboard inside your Guinea Pig’s habitat, you must closely monitor how much they chew. While cardboard can help our Guinea’s teeth, it can cause blockages or tummy issues if too much is consumed.

The reason cardboard shouldn’t be part of your Guinea Pig’s diet, other than the potential of intestinal blockages, is that it doesn’t offer your pet any nutritional value. Too much cardboard being munched on by a Guinea Pig can hinder their eating of normal foods like hay, pellets, and veggies. Between the lack of nutrients and the damage cardboard can do to your Guinea Pig’s gut health, only a few munches of cardboard here and there should be allowed.

Other Things You Should Know

There are more dangers when it comes to cardboard than just the effects it can have on a Guinea Pig’s diet and gut health. You may simply grab any piece of cardboard lying around the house and toss it to your Guinea Pig to play with. This can be quite dangerous. A discarded Amazon box or shipping box isn’t safe for your Guinea Pig to chew and play with. These boxes have glues and inks that can be dangerous to your Guinea Pig or even fatal. Instead of choosing these types of boxes for your Guinea, it’s best to buy cardboard toys at local stores or online that are intended for your Guinea Pig’s use.

You may also be tempted to toss used toilet paper and paper towel rolls to your Guinea Pig to play with and chew on. While this type of cardboard isn’t known for heavy inks or glues, it can still be dangerous. Guinea Pigs are small, but they aren’t usually little enough to squeeze into toilet paper or paper towel rolls. This leads to the potential of your Guinea Pig’s head becoming stuck while they are playing. This can be very dangerous if you aren’t there to see it and rescue your pet. For this reason, you should definitely avoid letting your pet play with these cardboard rolls unless you’ve sliced them open for safety.

Abyssinian guinea pig with chew toy
Image Credit: Anastasia Mironova, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, chewing a bit of cardboard isn’t going to hurt your Guinea Pig. However, if you allow your pet to chew too much cardboard, their tummies can definitely be affected. If you use cardboard inside your Guinea Pig’s cage, always monitor how much they are consuming when they are chewing it. This will be the best way to allow your Guinea Pig the fun of cardboard without added dangers.


Featured Image Credit: JustynaKoniecz, Pixabay

Melissa Gunter

Authored by

Melissa was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee where she spent her time writing in an old notebook and playing outside with her pets. As an avid animal lover, she has brought many into her home over the years. Currently, she is the mom of 5 fur babies. Her 2 cats, Princess and Pepper are total opposites who demand attention. Her dogs Jazzy, Whitey, and Demon are full of spunk and keep the entire family on ...Read more

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