Guinea pigs love to chew things, and they can chew on anything in their reach. Right from cardboards, cage bars, toys to hideouts, there is nothing that can stop your guinea pigs from chewing.
Yes, hay and vegetables are some of the most obvious things they chew, but what about something natural like branches? Can Guinea Pigs Chew On Tree Branches? How safe is it?
Guinea pigs can chew on tree branches, but not all tree branches are safe for them. While Apple, Pears, Maple, Bamboo cane, Kiwi, etc. are a safe option for our guinea pigs. Apricot, Almonds, Cedar, Figs & Citrus woods are something you should avoid altogether.
Guinea pigs have ever-growing teeth. Thus, they need something to chew on to keep them in shape.
While hay, chew toys, and vegetables are some most apparent choices, branches are also a natural option that most guinea pigs enjoy.
As every guinea pig has its own personality, you might need to experiment with what type of branches makes your guinea pig happy.
So, now that you know guinea pigs can eat tree branches, you might be wondering what branches are safe for our guinea pigs? Let’s have a look!
What wood is safe for guinea pigs?
While looking out for safe wood for your guinea pigs, the rule of thumb is most fruit tree branches are safe for our guinea pigs. However, there are a few exceptions.
The exception to the above rule is the branches of fruit that have fruits with a solid pit. For example: mango, Peaches, Most citrus trees, Plums, Cherries, etc.
Even though these fruits are an excellent snack for our guinea pigs, the branches of such trees contain traces of harmful toxins, including cyanide, that can instantly end the life of our guinea pigs.
Thus, it would be best if you were careful while choosing wood for your guinea pigs.
If you are visiting any pet stores or other pet supply stores, you might be wondering which one should you pick.
Here the rule of thumb is to look out for the label that reads safe for rodents or guinea pigs. These types of wood are entirely safe for our guinea pigs.
Apart from that, the following types of braches are considered safe for our guinea pigs:
What wood is toxic to guinea pigs?
Some woods contain a trace amount of toxins, including Phenols, Tannins & even Cyanide that can be fatal for our guinea pigs.
Thus, you must be aware of the same while looking out for branches for your guinea pigs.
Here are some wood branches that are deemed toxic for our guinea pigs:
Please note: Trees branches such as Apricots, peaches & nectarine can be provided to your guinea pigs after drying them for at least one month. The fresh branches are unsafe for our guinea pigs to chew on.
Health benefits of chewing branches in guinea pigs
Chewing habit of your guinea pig might be something you are troubled with, but trust me, it is beneficial for your guinea pig’s health.
However, most of the time, you will only notice that your guinea pig is chewing on the cage bars or the fleece hideouts or their hay feeders, etc.
Guinea pigs chew on those things because they don’t get something better like chew toys or safe braches to chew on.
Thus, make sure you provide your guinea pigs with something that they can chew.
Now, with that out of the way, let us have a look at some of the health benefits of chewing in guinea pigs:
Prevents overgrown teeth
Guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime. It grows at a rate of 1-2mm every week.
Thus, they need high fiber and roughage in their diet to keep their teeth in the right shape and size.
If your guinea pigs don’t get enough things to chew on, their teeth can overgrow, hindering their ability to eat and also causing a lot of pain in your guinea pigs.
Thus, adding some branches into their cage can keep their teeth in shape and grind them as your guinea pigs try to chew and shred those branches.
Branches from Apple, Maple, Pear, and Cotton plants are some excellent choices to keep your guinea pigs teeth in good shape.
Guinea pigs are active animals, and they need a lot of stimulation and physical exercise to keep themselves happy.
A pet guinea pig might not get enough physical stimulation, and thus adding something like a few branches or wood can keep them busy and provide the much-needed stimulation and exercise they need.
Please note that this is not a replacement for floor time but just an additional measure to keep your guinea pigs happy.
Help remove boredom
Apart from the physical stimulation, guinea pigs also need some mental stimulation to keep themselves happy.
Being confined in a cage with nothing much to do can make them bored and lazy.
Some guinea pigs also start chewing on cage bars to get the attention of their owners.
Thus, adding some branches can help in keeping them busy and thus preventing boredom in guinea pigs.
Rich source of fiber
Braches of trees contain a decent amount of fiber in it. Apart from keeping their teeth short and in shape, it also supplements fiber in your guinea pigs.
Fiber is essential for our guinea pigs as it helps in maintaining a good digestive system and helps prevent diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases.
Thus, you should add some wood into your guinea pig’s cage for chewing.
Branches that harm guinea pig’s health
Some trees and branches are unsafe for your guinea pigs as they contain harmful chemicals or toxins. Here are a few types of wood you should stay clear off:
- Stone fruits: Trees bearing fruits that have large pits or stones(peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, etc.) are unsafe for our guinea pigs. However, some tree branches like peaches and apricots can be made safe by drying them up for a month or more. These branches are fatal if served fresh.
- Cedar and Pine: Cedar and pine wood contains a chemical called phenol that gives them a unique smell and feel. Phenols are toxic for guinea pigs, as they can lead to various diseases in them. Klien dried pine trees have a negligible amount of phenols left; thus, it can be served to your guinea pigs.
- Cyanide releasing wood: Cyanide is a toxin that can lead to fatal health conditions and even death in some cases. Trees like Almonds, oaks, etc. contain a trace amount of cyanide in their branches and leaves. Thus, make sure you keep it away from your guinea pigs.
- Tannins releasing wood: Tannins are other chemicals that you should look-out for a while looking for wood for your guinea pigs. Redwood, walnuts, etc. can release a lot of tannins and should be avoided.
What type of wood can guinea pigs chew on?
Guinea pigs need more items to chew when they are kept in a confined space. They might chew on food and water dishes, hideouts, etc. if they are not provided with chew toys and branches to chew on.
Thus, providing the right and safe branches to your guinea pig is really important. You need to pay attention to your guinea pig’s habits and personality, also while choosing the right wood for them.
Guinea pigs are just like our children. As every child’s need for toys and diet is different, the same goes for our guinea pigs as well.
Wood such as apple, pears, hazel, maple, willow, etc. are some excellent choices for our guinea pigs.
However, some guinea pigs may prefer maple over others, while others love only apple wood.
Thus, you need to experiment to find the right type of wood for your guinea pig.
Where can you find good branches for your guinea pigs?
If you are looking for some wood or branches for your guinea pigs the here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Branches from a forest or a park is a good option.
- Branches from pet stores marketed as rodent safe are an excellent and safe choice.
- Homegrown tree branches are also safe unless they are heavily dosed with chemicals.
- Avoid branches from road-side trees as it absorbs a lot of toxins from the environment.
- Avoid branches or twigs from the area where people walk their dogs.
How to prepare branches for guinea pigs?
Preparing a piece of wood or branch for your guinea pig is a little tricky. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Branches from trees like apricots, peaches, etc must be dried for at least one month before serving.
- Break the branches into small pieces and sand the sharp edges.
- Remove any attached materials like ivy, mosses, etc.
- Remove any bugs or pests attaches.
- Wash the branches in warm water to get rid of any attached pesticides or chemicals.
- Allow the branches to dry before serving.
Most pet store branches are prepared for rodents and can be served directly. However, you might want to give them a good wash just in case there is something attached.
Can guinea pigs eat fir branches?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat fir branches as it contains some harmful chemicals that are terrible for our guinea pigs health.
Can guinea pigs have apple branches?
Yes, apple tree branches are safe for our guinea pigs. Make sure you prepare the branches properly before serving it.
Sources: Sciencedirect, Vetexotic, Guinea pigs, The laboratory guinea pig(research)