Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite Their Feet? This Is Why!

All animals, including the guinea pigs, love to groom themselves. This is their only way to make themselves clean. Aside from that, animals can get stressed too, including guinea pigs of course. Sometimes, when guinea pigs are stressed, they chew on themselves or things around them. 

Yes! It is alarming to see your guinea pig chewing on its own feet. However, there is a reason behind that kind of behavior. Here, let me tell you the answer. 

Why do guinea pigs bite their feet? The reason why guinea pigs bite their feet is that they feel pain or itch on their feet. However, licking and nibbling the nails on the feet is normal. But if guinea pigs are stressed, they might over-groom themselves, most especially around their feet. 

In this article, I will tell you the different reasons why your guinea pig bites its feet. I will tell you the reasons for natural foot and nail grooming. Also, I will answer various questions that are related to our subject. 

There are some issues that you have encountered already but don’t know how to deal with these issues. However, you don’t have to worry. Because today, I will also tell you different issues and how to address these issues. If you are ready, let us move on! 

Difference Of Natural Grooming And Barbering

Guinea pigs are clean animals. They don’t like to be dirty all the time. That is why guinea pigs will regularly groom their entire bodies, including their feet. Guinea pigs may nibble at the fur of their feet, their nails, and between their toes. 

Guinea pigs’ grooming sessions may last for a few seconds to a few minutes. It usually takes place after guinea pigs eat, sleep, after being held, and after being petted by you. 

There is also a tendency for your guinea pig to lick and bite its toes and nails while grooming or after scratching behind its ears. Guinea pigs might also chew off their nails a bit if their nails are long already.

This kind of grooming is unproblematic and you should not be anxious. This is natural grooming and will not cause any injuries to your guinea pig. 

How Does Barbering Work?

Sometimes, guinea pigs will get carried away with their grooming. Guinea pigs might chew away the fur around their feet or fur on the other area of their body.

This will cause your guinea pig to have thin or bald spots. This is called barbering. The name is exact since that is how human barbers do. Barbering has various reasons behind it. 

Sometimes, your guinea pig does barbering because your guinea pig is so stressed or bored. Sometimes, it can also be a reaction to discomforts like pain, itching, or irritated skin. 

Do Guinea Pigs Barber Other Guinea Pigs?

Yes! Guinea pigs in the wild barber their fellow guinea pigs too. That is why if you have multiple guinea pigs, you should be aware that guinea pigs may sometimes barber each other. 

You have to make sure to watch the interactions to know which of your guinea pigs is doing the barbering. Sometimes, barbering between guinea pigs often has to do with dominance. Your guinea pigs might hurt each other while barbering. 

Do Guinea Pigs Barbering Because Of Stress Or Boredom?

Yes! Sometimes, guinea pigs may barber themselves because of stress or boredom. If your guinea pig is chewing the fur from its feet, it might mean that your guinea pig is uncomfortable, stressed, or bored. Other symptoms of stress or boredom on guinea pigs are: 

  • Your guinea pig chew cage bars
  • Your guinea pig is chewing or playing with the water bottle
  • Change in appetite and behavior
  • Your guinea pig is always hiding
  • Your guinea pig lost interest in your usual daily activities
  • Pacing or circling

How To Address Barbering On Guinea Pigs?

The best way to address barbering is to go to the vet for a proper checkup. You have to make sure first that the cause of barbering on your guinea pig is stress and boredom. That is why it is essential to bring your guinea pig to the vet first.

Barbering Because Of Stress

If your guinea pig is barbering because of stress and you want to stop it, you need to know first what is causing your guinea pig’s anxiety or stress. After that, you want to remove it. The possible causes of stress on your guinea pig are:

  • Dislike or scared with another guinea pig
  • Your guinea pig lacks a hiding place
  • Loud noises
  • Sudden changes in their environment
  • The cage is too small

Barbering Because Of Boredom

If you think that your guinea pig is barbering because of boredom, there are numerous ways to make it less severe. Guinea pigs love to play. They would play every time! Guinea pigs enjoy tunnels and toys that they can chew on. 

Guinea pigs are social and curious creatures. You have to make sure that you spend time with your guinea pig often so that your guinea pig will not get lonely. Guinea pigs also enjoy wandering around your house. However, you have to make sure to supervise your guinea pig. You can also play games with your guinea pigs such as:

  • Hide and seek
  • Simple mazes
  • Hide treats and your guinea pig will find it

If your guinea pig does nothing often, your guinea pig might feel bored and can escalate to stress. That is why it is critical to buy your guinea pig a toy that they would love. If your guinea pig seems lonely, make sure that you are there with your guinea pig.

So that your guinea pig will feel your presence. If you will make your guinea pig’s life boring, never get one. 

What Is Bumblefoot?

First of all, what is bumblefoot? Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection that affects the pad of your guinea pig’s feet. This can happen to all guinea pigs including the guinea pigs in the wild. It usually starts with small cuts or scrapes on the bottom of a guinea pig’s feet that become infected. 

The causes of bumblefoot could be too much time spent on a wire cage floor, dirty bedding, lack of movement, and poor nutrition. If your guinea pig has a bumblefoot, your guinea pig will bite its foot often. However, there are other symptoms. The other symptoms of bumblefoot are: 

  • Inflammation of the pads of your guinea pig’s feet
  • Sores on the feet
  • Swelling of joints
  • Your guinea pig lost his/her appetite
  • Walking less

How To Treat Bumblefoot On Guinea Pigs?

Bumblefoot can be painful. That is why you have to treat it immediately! Also, you have to be patient if your guinea pig has a bumblefoot. If bumblefoot is left untreated, it can make your guinea pig’s affected limb amputated. 

You have to catch or see this early so that you can prevent your guinea pig from losing one of its limbs! The treatment is simple. First, you have to change the lifestyle of your guinea pig, change the habitat of your guinea pig, antibacterial foot soaks, and antibiotics. 

How To Prevent Bumblefoot?

If you are worried about your guinea pig because it might get bumblefoot, here is some good news for you! You can avoid your guinea pig having a bumblefoot! With good care, bumblefoot infection can be prevented! Below are some tips to help your guinea pig prevent bumblefoot:

  • Make the floor of your guinea pig’s cage smooth
  • Always clean the cage of your guinea pig (this is a must!)
  • Use a soft and non-irritating bed
  • Make sure the cage of your guinea pig has large space
  • Give your guinea pig healthy foods
  • Keep your guinea pig’s nails trimmed
  • Consult your vet regularly, especially if your guinea pig is obese or have trouble moving

Skin Irritation Or Itching In Guinea Pigs

If your guinea pig is biting its feet, it could also be a sign that your guinea pig is suffering from some skin irritation or parasites. It can cause your guinea pig pain or discomfort. Aside from bumblefoot, the other reasons why your guinea pig feels itchiness and skin irritation are: 

  • Mites or lice
  • Mange
  • Scurry
  • Cysts
  • Fungal Infection

These are often accompanied by symptoms like often scratching, ragged, thinning, or unkempt fur, lameness, weight loss, and general signs of poor health and discomfort. 

If you want your guinea pig to avoid these things, make sure that your guinea pig is clean, the room or cage should be clean and comfortable, and you give your guinea pig healthy foods.

But if your guinea pig already has one of these, consult a vet immediately! Never rely on the internet and ask a vet for proper guidance and treatment. 

Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite Their Legs?

Yes! Guinea pigs bite their legs too. The reason why is your guinea pig may just be grooming itself, or they may have fungal infections or mites. That is why they bite their legs because they are being irritated by fungal infections or mites. If it seems like your guinea pig is constantly biting its legs, bring your guinea pig immediately to the vet.

Final Verdict

Licking or biting the nails and feet is a normal part of a guinea pig’s grooming routine. However, if they are constantly doing this, guinea pigs might have a problem. Pain, fungal infection, itching, or mites can also cause a guinea pig to bite its feet. Not just feet, but also legs. Yes! Guinea pigs might constantly bite their legs too if their legs have mites or fungal infection.

Source: theguineapigguide.com, petmd.com

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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