Can Guinea Pigs Chew on Cardboard? When Should You Be Worried

Guinea Pigs in a Cardboard Box

Seeing your guinea pig chew on cardboard might get you curious. You don’t want them to fall sick. In this article, I will answer the age-old question: can guinea pigs chew on cardboard?

It’s completely fine for guinea pigs to chew on cardboard as long as they don’t ingest or swallow large pieces. They chew on cardboard and other materials to grind down their teeth. You have nothing to worry about as long as the cardboard is non-toxic.

Chewing and gnawing are essential for guinea pigs. Otherwise, they might have severe medical conditions. So, let’s look at everything you need to know.

Is Chewing on Cardboard Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pig digestive systems are made to process pulpy fiber. And cardboard is one of them. Materials like cardboard get processed through something called the cecum. So, it’s perfectly safe for guinea pigs to chew on cardboard.

The cecum is a large sac all guinea pigs have. It contains about 65% of gastrointestinal contents, bacteria, and protozoa. These bacteria help your beloved piggy digest its food. Moreover, a typical guinea pig’s diet consists of plant-based food.

Cardboard is also plant-based since it’s made from paper. However, swallowing large amounts of cardboard is unhealthy for guinea pigs. Large pieces could block the intestinal system and cause them to choke.

But wait! There’s something important you need to keep in mind. Modern cardboard boxes are made from three layers. It has two sheets on either side and a crunched-up section in the middle. All three layers are held together firmly with glue.

And this glue is what I have an issue with. There’s no reliable way of telling whether the glue is toxic. 

So, while gnawing or chewing on cardboard might not be harmful, the glue might harm your little piggies. That’s why I recommend providing your adorable little critters with safer substitutes for cardboard.

 Guinea Pigs House

What Cardboard Alternatives Can You Give Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs will instinctively gnaw on things anyway. The best thing you can do is be proactive about it. You can give your beloved pet plenty of safe, healthy alternatives for them to gnaw on. 

Cardboard Tubes

Getting pet guinea pigs to chew toys like cardboard tubes is one of the easiest solutions. They can chew on them all day long. And they don’t cost that much either.

You can use the tubes from toilet paper when you’re done with them. Filling the tubes with hay will also help each tube last longer.


Speaking of which, hay is one of the best things for them to gnaw or chew on. It will help keep their front teeth in check, but it also gives your piggies enough nutrients and fiber. So put a pile or bag of hay in their cage so that the guinea pigs can eat and gnaw on them whenever they want.

Wood Blocks

Blocks of natural wood or wood chews for guinea pigs. They are very good as chewing toys for guinea pigs.

But make sure they aren’t varnished or have any harmful chemicals. Also, you shouldn’t pick just any wood. Whitewood, apple, birch, and willow are perfectly safe for your piggies.

Hard Vitamin C Tablets

Vitamin C tablets that are hardened work very well. And, of course, there’s the extra benefit of them being vitamin tablets. 

These tablets help guinea pigs to be nurtured and healthy. 1/8 cup per day is enough for adult guinea pigs. You don’t want to give them too much as it can harm them.


Twigs are great options for your pet guinea pigs to chew on. However, use twigs from safe plants. For example, pear branches, apples, or pears are perfectly fine for their cute little faces.

Besides the above alternatives, you could also have fruits and veggies in their cage. Then, your piggies will eat these instead of chewing on cardboard.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Like to Chew on Cardboard?

Seeing your piggies chew on cardboard might concern you. If you’re a first-time guinea pig owner, you might be tempted to think that they’re hungry.

That isn’t always the case. Here’s an interesting anatomic fact about them – guinea pig teeth don’t stop growing.

Especially their front teeth keep growing, and they need to be kept at a reasonable length. So, gnawing on things like cardboard helps them grind down their teeth. It’s natural and healthy for all guinea pigs, though.

If their front teeth are left to grow continuously, they could suffer from a severe malocclusion condition. It’s a very horrible medical condition that causes their jaws or teeth to become misaligned.

Also, malocclusion will make it difficult for your beloved guinea pig to eat properly. As a result, they would starve and could suffer from malnutrition. So, don’t be concerned if you see guinea pigs chewing or gnawing on cardboard. It’s completely normal behavior for them.

Signs of Intestinal Obstruction to Look Out For

If your beloved guinea has an intestinal obstruction, you must visit the vet as soon as possible. It can be fatal if not treated. And, of course, none of us want that.

Fortunately, there are some signs you can look out for. If your piggies show any of the following signs, you should take them to the vet.

  • Laziness
  • Grinding teeth
  • Abdomen pain
  • No bowel movements
  • Anorexia
  • Extended or bloated abdomen

The sooner you diagnose the issue, the better it is. For example, if there is an intestinal obstruction, the doctors must remove it surgically, which means anesthesia. The problem is that since guinea pigs are so small, anesthesia can take a toll on them.

So, you should go to a trained and reputable vet. You should take a more ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach. Don’t feed them anything that might cause any severe problems and blockage in the first place. 

Therefore, it’s important to know what things they can gnaw and chew on safely as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.


Can my guinea pig live inside a cardboard box?

You shouldn’t put guinea pigs inside cardboard boxes. They should be inside cages or a hutch that’s at least 7.5 sq. feet. But piggies love to hide away when they want to sleep or get spooked. Having a cardboard box inside a cage for them to hide or sleep in is fine.

Can I give my guinea pigs cardboard boxes from Amazon?

Amazon Cardboard boxes are completely fine for guinea pigs to chew on. They’re non-toxic. Amazon cardboard boxes are probably the safest, actually.

Are rolls of toilet paper safe for guinea pigs to chew on?

Toilet paper can be very bad for your pet’s digestive system. Therefore, I wouldn’t suggest you let your piggies chew or gnaw on toilet paper.

Wrapping Up

If you were wondering whether it’s safe for pet guinea pigs to chew on cardboard, you would get the answer.

Chewing on cardboard is okay as long as they aren’t ingesting large amounts of cardboard. Guinea pigs like to chew on things like cardboard to grind their teeth down. But it’s always better to check the cardboard itself isn’t toxic.

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