If you’ve ever had guinea pigs, you know that they can be quirky little creatures. One of the quirkier things they sometimes do is eat fleece – as in their fleece bedding and liners.
Typically, the reason why guinea pigs eat their fleece bedding is because of: boredom, loneliness, exploring, they enjoy the smell or texture, or they want to burrow underneath it.
Let’s dive into a few reasons guinea pigs might be eating fleece and what could happen if you don’t do anything about it:
One of the most common reasons guinea pigs eat fleece is boredom. If they’re not given enough things to keep them occupied, they may start looking for something to chew on – and fleece is a convenient option.
If your guinea pigs are eating fleece out of boredom, the best solution is to give them more toys and activities to keep them amused. This could include things like a cardboard box maze and a variety of chew toys.
(Think about it. Don’t you do ridiculous things when you’re bored?)
Always, make sure your guinea pigs have a variety of things to play with and explore – that way, they won’t get bored and start eating the fleece liners again.
Lonely guinea pigs may also turn to fleece-eating as a form of entertainment. If your guinea pigs are eating fleece because they’re lonely, adding another guinea pig to the mix may help stop the behavior.
This can help reduce boredom and loneliness, which may stop your guinea pig from eating fleece.
You can’t just toss any ole’ guinea pig in with your current piggie and call it a day. Cavies have to be properly matched with a compatible companion – otherwise, it can actually make the problem worse.
That’s why it’s important to do your research before bringing another cavy into your family.
A lot of reputable shelters and guinea pig rescues will help you find the perfect companion for your guinea pig – so it’s worth checking out if the thought of finding your current little friend a new bestie feels overwhelming.
3. Wants To Explore
Younger cavies spend a lot of time exploring the world and trying to figure out what everything is. Sampling and nibbling on different things is a natural part of their exploratory behavior.
If your guinea pig is eating fleece because he or she likes to explore, you can try to redirect that energy into more positive activities – like playing with a toy or exploring a new area.
Since fleece often smells and feels new to them, they may start nibbling on it as a way to investigate what it is.
If your guinea pig is eating fleece because he’s exploring, you definitely want make sure he’s not ingesting too much (more on that later).
Eventually, he’ll lose interest in the fleece and move on to other things.
(Just like when kids start tearing apart your house as soon as they learn to walk…)
4. Smell Change
If you’ve changed the type of detergent that you use to wash their bedding, then your little friends might be curious enough to give it a try.
If your guinea pigs are eating fleece because they’re trying to taste the new detergent, the easiest solution is to switch back to their old brand (if you can)
Since guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell, they might be attracted to the new detergent – even if it’s fleece.
It’s important to always use a guinea pig-safe detergent when washing fleece, so that you don’t have this problem in the future.
5. Want to Burrow
Cavies are clever, little things. They really are. And sometimes they’re so clever that they’ll start eating fleece because they want to burrow underneath it.
Some piggies will nibble a hole in the fleece just to be able to plop onto the Uhaul pad underneath it. (Quirky, I know. But, that’s piggies for you…)
If your little friends are eating fleece because they want to burrow, the best solution is to give them something else to burrow in.
- This could be an old cardboard box filled with hay (because hay is food AND a play toy) which will give them a place to dig and nestle in.
- A few soft, scraps of fleece can also work in a pinch – but, make sure to remove them if your piggies start eating those, too.
- Alternatively, you could try giving them a small hideaway – like a cuddle sack or a cardboard tube filled with shredded paper.
Risks Of Your Guinea Pigs Eating Fleece
Whatever the reason is for your guinea pigs eating fleece, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved if they eat too much. Cavies have a temperamental digestive system, and if they eat too much fleece it can cause them to get very sick.
Ingesting too much fleece can lead to serious health problems like intestinal blockages and anal impaction:
- Intestinal blockages in cavies usually occur when the guinea pig eats something that they can’t digest, like a large piece of fleece. The blockage will prevent the guinea pig from being able to digest his or her food properly, and can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and even death.
- Anal impaction is another serious health risk associated with guinea pigs eating fleece (or anything that ‘s not food). It’s when the guinea pig’s anus becomes blocked with a piece of fleece or other non-food item. This will prevent them from being able to defecate, and can also lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and death.
So, as you can see, it’s important to keep an eye on your guinea pigs if they’re eating fleece – and take action if you think they’re ingesting too much.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
So there you have it. Your guinea pigs are probably eating your fleece because they’re bored, lonely, or exploring their new surroundings. Maybe they like the smell of a new detergent that you’re using or they just want to burrow.
But, if you want to keep them from nibbling on those expensive fleece liners , try providing them with plenty of toys and hiding spots.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any success keeping your furry friends away from your cage liners.
What’s worked for you?