Chew Toys and Nibblers
Unlike human teeth, your guinea pigs' teeth keep growing throughout their lives. If they become too long, they can become uncomfortable and make it difficult for your pets to eat properly. To keep them at a manageable length, guinea pigs need to regularly wear them down by chewing, biting and grinding rough objects.
Guinea pig chew toys are specifically designed to help your cavies do this. They also keep their mouths clean and healthy, and provide a bit of fun in the process.
Chew Toys and Nibblers
There is a wide range of chews available, and most pet stores will sell several different types. They are typically made from hard, natural wood, which provides good resistance, and gives a good abbrassive surface to help wear down their long, pointy front teeth. Most are brightly coloured, but your cavy won't care as long as their chew does the job.
Chew toys made from natural materials are best, providing fun and helping to keep your guinea pigs' teeth short and healthy.
There are a few chew toys which are made from plastic, or at least contain plastic parts. These should be avoided because plastic is too soft and wears down very quickly, and it can also be toxic and poisonous to your pets.
Other Toys and Objects
Guinea pigs are resourceful creatures, and will use any objects they can to help keep their teeth short. Particularly popular are wooden shelters and tunnels, as these have plenty of corners and edges to chomp on. They are also quite sturdy, stable structures, and won't move around the cage as much as a chew toy.
Guinea pigs will chew on almost anything, like this wooden house, to keep their teeth short. Image by RandyA38.
You should always have at least one of these items in your cavies' cage as they also provide a great place for your pets to hide away when they want some alone time.
Because these items are more expensive than a chew, it can be annoying when your guinea pigs eat their way through them. Placing a cheaper, disposable chew in their cage may encourage them to use that instead, but ultimately your pets will use whatever works best, and if that's their house then you'll just have to put up with it!
A natural, free alternative to buying a chew toy is to give your pets a simple twig from a fruit tree, such as an apple or pear tree. As well as helping maintain your guinea pigs' dental health, they also taste great, so your pigs will really enjoy munching on them.
The chews mentioned above will all help to keep your cavies' front teeth short. However, they are not always suitable for wearing down their back teeth, as this needs to be done by grinding. Hay fits this purpose perfectly. It also helps to regulate their digestion, and provides an excellent bedding material. You should make sure that your cavies have plenty of hay at all times.