Has your guinea pig been biting you lately? If yes, you are not alone. You see, there are a lot of guinea pig owners just like you who are experiencing the same thing. Although guinea pigs are gentle and docile creatures who love to explore, certain situations could make them aggressive and prompt them to bite.
Whether you have just got your first guinea pig or you have been caring for one for years, you need to keep in mind that biting is a way for them to communicate. As a pet owner, you need to try to figure out exactly what your guinea pig is trying to tell you, because it may be something serious that is bothering it. If you know the behavioral pattern of your guinea pig, you will get along better.
In this article, we are going to be looking at some proven tips that will make your guinea pig stop biting you.
Before we dive right into that, we are first going to be looking at some possible reasons why your guinea pig might be biting you.
The way you carry it
Do you know that the way and manner you carry your guinea pig can determine to a large extent if it will bite you or not? As a pet owner, there is a huge possibility that you like to carry your guinea pig around and pet it. While you are doing this, you might feel that your guinea pig is enjoying the care and attention you are given it. But the sad truth is that Guinea pigs don’t like to be carried. This may be difficult for you to take in, but it is true.
If they don’t feel safe when they are carried they may bite the person carrying them to communicate that they are uncomfortable or unhappy. Usually, the bite isn’t painful, just a mild nibble. But, if there are other stress factors present like loud noise from children, they may bite harder.
When they want to urinate
On the average, guinea pigs urinate every 20 minutes. Unlike other pets, they like to do their business in private. They don’t want to soil your hands with pee. So, if you are holding them when they want to urinate, they will signal you. At first, they may start fidgeting or will try to wiggle their way off your hands or towel. If you hand or finger is nearby, they will give you a gentle nibble. If you don’t respond to their signal, they are likely going to increase intensity and bite harder. Each time you carry your guinea pig, pay close attention to their body language and watch out for their signals.
They want to be free
Yes, you feel great when you hold your guinea pig and carry it around. That said, you need to keep it in mind that guinea pigs get tired of being held. Let them enjoy their freedom.
When they are ill or have a skin infection
Do you know that mite infestation can make the skin of guinea pigs to become very sensitive? They are likely going to be in severe pain because of the infestation and touching; petting or carrying them may cause them more discomfort. As you guessed, their natural reaction is to lash out and attack the source of their pain. This may mean biting you. If you notice the physical symptoms of mite infestation on your guinea pig, it is wise you take prompt action and take it to a reputable vet.
Below are some essential things you need to know about mite infestation;
- Mites are microscopic; therefore, they cannot be seen with the naked eyes.
- Mites cannot be transferred from pet to people but can be passed from pet to pet.
- They are tough to test for.
- You can eradicate them merely by using shampoo to wash your guinea pig.
- You may need to visit your local vet to address a mite infestation.
- Mite infestation can negatively affect the health of a guinea pig especially if it is under stress, pregnant or on a poor diet. If left untreated or ignored, the condition may deteriorate. Death will become inevitable.
One of the most effective ways to ensure that your guinea pig is in a perfect health condition is to take it to a vet for an examination. See, you don’t have to wait till your guinea pig is very sick till you take it to a vet. Routinely take it to a vet whether it is sick or not.
If you are new to guinea pigs, the term malocclusion might be Greek to you. The fancy word “malocclusion” isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It is a term used to describe the undesirable position of the teeth. When this occurs in guinea pigs, they may bite you to relieve the pain of their teeth growing in the wrong direction or growing too long.
Malocclusion is a severe condition that should never be ignored. If left untreated it will result in death as the pain will cause to guinea pig to stop eating. You can learn how to address this condition here.
Guinea pigs are sensitive in certain areas. Generally, guinea pigs don’t like to be petted in their rump. This may be due to illness, general sensitivity or mites.
It may want to groom you
Your guinea pig biting you isn’t always a bad thing. It may want to groom you. You see, guinea pigs are social animals, and they love to groom each other. Here is a trick that may help. Flatting your palm and offering it to your guinea pig when it wants to bite (it won’t be able to bite the tight skin)
Kids not holding it properly
Kids may have the best of intentions when they touch and carry your guinea pig, but holding it in a wrong way or putting it in an uncomfortable position will make your guinea pig likely lash out. It is wise you teach your kids the right way to carry a guinea pig before allowing them to carry it.
Petting a guinea pig the wrong way
As previously mentioned, guinea pigs generally do not like being carried or petted. If you must carry and pet it, it is vital that you do it right. Brushing your guinea pig’s hair in the opposite direction in which it grows is not only going to piss him off, it may prompt it to bite you.
Maybe it is unhappy with his housing
While you don’t need to spend a small fortune on getting a cage for your guinea pig, it is vital that you invest in a good one. If your cage is too confining or small, there are chances that your guinea pig will be grumpy and unhappy. An unhappy guinea pig in a small cage might resort to biting and chewing anything it can find. You can learn about some inexpensive ways to improve the environment of your guinea pig here.
Guinea pigs tend to be aggressive as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. Many reports have shown that guinea pigs that bite are usually between 4 to 12 months old. The biting behavior usually fades off when they reach maturity. And they turn into cute lap piggies that are worth your love, time and patience.
As you know, guinea pigs are docile animals, biting isn’t really their thing. But a microscopic few have an attitude and love biting. Although this is unusual, if you feel that your guinea pig is become more and more aggressive by the day or it bites a lot, then you should seek professional help.
Below are useful tips that that can change the biting behavior of your guinea pig;
Tip 1 – Don’t punish
When your guinea pig bites you hard, you may have the strong urge to yell at the top of your voice at it, squirt it with water, or pinch it on the back. Please, do all you can to resist that urge; it is only going to make things worse. You see, when you pinch or yell at your guinea pig, it will become afraid of you. Read on to see, some things you can do to convert your piggie from a biter to a sweet lap pet.
Tip 2 – Make a wooden hiding hole or tunnel in the cage
At first, it might be difficult for you to see that this can make your guinea pig stop biting. But as time goes on, you will notice that its desire to bite will slowly fade away. You see, a wooden hid hole, is an excellent place for them to relax and ooze off their stress.
Tip 3 – Get a right cage
Make sure your guinea pig’s cage is spacious and neat. Most cages sold at pet stores may be too small for your guinea pig. Buying a bigger and spacious cage will go a long way in making your adorable guinea pig less aggressive and happier.
Pro tip: Don’t put your guinea pig’s cage on the floor; rather put it on a table. Floor cages are more stressful for guinea pigs.
Tip 4 – Ensure that there is enough hay in your guinea pig’s cage at all times
Young calves under four months and lactating sows love hay. The hay is not only going to improve the health of your guinea pig, but it is also going to provide your guinea pig with something to chew all the time. This is ultimately going to reduce their urge to bite.
Tip 5 – Don’t put it down when it bites
Putting your guinea pig down when it bites you is only going to reinforce the behavior – it will start biting to get his way. Continue holding it calmly and put it down later.
Tip 6 – Bitter apple and anti chewing spray
Rub bitter apple on places or body parts your piggie usually bites. This may discourage it from biting.
Tip 7 – Anxiety factors
Remove factors that make your guinea pig anxious. Keeping your piggie in a quiet place can help it to alleviate stress. There is a huge possibility that your piggie might be biting you because it feels threatened. So, before carrying it, turn down the TV or put it off and keep other pets out of the area. Then when you act nicely, it will associate you with fun and excitement, not stress and fear.
Tip 8 – Reinforce good behavior by giving treats
Rewarding bad behavior is always going to do more harm than good. So, if you feel that your piggie is biting to get your attention, do not give it a treat. Come back later and read its body language to see if it’s calm, if it is, pet it briefly and reward that behavior. If you give it tasty treats when it bites, it will associate bad behavior, mischief, and biting with delicious treat-you don’t want that.
Tip 9 – Try to understand your guinea pig’s personality
After a few weeks of living together, you may start noticing its behavioral pattern. Don’t bother it when it is napping or resting as this may prompt it to lash out at you or bite you.
Tip 10 – Wash your hands before carrying it
Before petting or picking up your guinea pig, it is essential that you wash your hands especially if you have been handling their food. Sometimes they may mistake your yummy smell of food on your hands as a delicious snack.
Keep in mind that your guinea pig isn’t going to change its behavior even if you apply all the tips discussed in this article. Changing your piggies behavior is undoubtedly going to take time and continuous effort.
If you don’t notice any notable change in your guinea pig’s behavior after applying the tips in this article, then you should introduce a well-behaved friend for it to live with. You never know, they might learn from each other.
Finally, remember that all piggies aren’t meant to be lap piggies.
You May Also Interested In:
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
- Click to print (Opens in new window)