How to Stop a Guinea Pig from Biting?
Guinea pigs are tiny furry animals and are a form of rodents originating in South America. They make great pets and are usually very docile. They hardly act aggressively towards anyone.
Their forms of defense mechanism include running, hiding and biting. Although hiding and running aren’t harmful, biting can sometimes be troublesome for guinea pig owners.
According to experts, mammals usually bite to show dominance, to gain attention and sometimes to discourage unwanted attention. Being a mammal, guinea pigs bite too.
But there might be several factors behind this. Sometimes they bite to nibble off the drops of food stuck on your hand, and sometimes, they are just curious.
However, if they are chewing you out of fear or any other reason, an easy way to stop this is to condition them to believe in the fact that you love them and train them to only expect kindness and affection from you.
There are several training methods through which guinea pigs can be taught not to bite. Two of the most common and significant methods have been discussed below:
Method 1: Identifying The Cause of Biting And Rectifying It
This is first method that I believe to be the most effective. Let’s jump into the details then.
Fear Generated From Smell Of Dogs And Cats
Guinea pigs might be afraid of the other pets you keep at your home. They have a keen sense of smell, and they associate danger with unwanted odors.
So whenever they smell them, they are likely to get scared and bite. To stop this, you should wear clean clothes and wash your hands properly before holding the guinea pig. You can also wear gloves. Make sure to wash the gloves to get rid of any unwanted smell.
Guinea pigs usually have an insatiable appetite, and they love food. So if you are not washing your hands properly after touching food, there is a chance they might bite you. Therefore, wash your hands before handling your pet or wear gloves to not get bitten.
Biting Out Of Pain
Sometimes, guinea pigs bite out of pain. Check if you are holding your pet very tightly and making it uncomfortable. Hold it softly and see if the biting stops. If they have recently started biting you, this may indicate that they are inflicted with mites or fleas.
Or they might even have a disease such as mange. Such afflictions could cause them pain when held and thus, out of discomfort and pain, they might bite you. In such cases, contact your veterinary doctor and schedule an examination right away.
Urge To Satisfy Needs
Often, your pet just might be biting you to signal that it needs to urinate or go to the loo. In such cases, observe your pet.
Once it bites you, release it and see if they are going to the toilet to satisfy their bodily needs. If that's what you see, then they were only biting so that you would release them.
If you observe your guinea pig biting or chewing on the bars of its cage, it might just be lonely and in need of a companion. All animals including humans love companionship and loneliness can bring out the worst in them.
Even if you shower all the love you have on your pet, it will still feel lonely without a friend of its kind. So when you think that your guinea pig is just lonely, try bringing a friend for him: one of its kind.
At times, male guinea pigs try to show dominance on their female counterparts by biting. Due to a rising level of testosterone inside their body, this might happen.
In such cases, you should consider neutering your pet. However, neutering does not guarantee a halt to its biting problems as the urge to show dominance is genetic and not solely based on hormones.
Method 2: Gaining The Trust Of Your Guinea Pig
This method is really necessary to maintain a healthy relation with your little pet, even if the problem is resolved after following method 1, it’s advised to take necessary actions centering this method too.
Creating A Guinea Pig Friendly Environment
Guinea pigs often feel threatened by loud noises and the presence of other pets in the room. As a result, to cope up with their rising levels of stress and anxiety induced by whatever they feel threatened with, they might bite.
A solution to this problem is to place your guinea pig inside a quiet room with no TV or music system. Even if there is a TV in that room, always keep its volume down.
And if you have other pets in your house, don't let them hover around the guinea pig's cage. These actions will help your pet to associate you with a pleasant experience, and thus, you will be able to gain their trust.
Letting Your Guinea Pig Explore
When you bring a new guinea pig to your home, the animal might feel threatened to find itself in a different surrounding. So, to acclimate the pet, open its cage and let it investigate the room you are keeping it in.
Guinea pigs use hiding as a defense mechanism so let them discover their hiding spots to make them feel secure and comfortable. Do not introduce yourself until the pet gets comfortable in its new home.
Placing A Playpen
Put a playpen around their cage and place toys and small vegetable treats inside it to encourage exploring.
Guinea pigs love to play with small toys and finding them will give them an impression that this new home is a friendly place and there is no reason to be afraid of anyone here.
Introduce Yourself As A Friendly Being
Once it gets comfortable with its surroundings, slowly start introducing yourself to it. To do so, firstly, sit around its cage and talk to it softly.
Sometimes, you can offer it small treats like carrots or broccoli to nibble on. Don't start touching it right away. Just spend time inside the room around the guinea pig and read a book or listen to music quietly. This will make your pet comfortable and warm up to your presence.
Start Making Physical Contact
When you see that your pet recognizes your scent and is comfortable around you, try making physical contact. Do not hold and lift it right away.
At first, put your hand inside its cage with small treats and see if it eats from your hand. Once you are sure it is not biting you, try touching it softly by petting it behind the ears and on the top of the head.
Only after the pet becomes accustomed to your petting should you move towards lifting it. Use your one hand to hold it around its chest and the other to maintain its backside.
Make sure that the pet feels it is entirely safe and is not under risk of being dropped. If you see the guinea pig getting anxious, put it down. It might bite you if it feels too worried due to your tight grip. So try loosening the clamp so that it no longer feels the need to defend itself.
Teaching Children How To Deal With Guinea Pigs
Children often do not understand certain things and might hurt your pet by holding it too tightly. So if you have a child at home, teach it to pet the guinea pig gently.
To prevent the child from getting bitten, you can instruct them to only touch the animal with a small blanket to avoid direct contact with the skin.
Rewarding Good Behavior With Treats
Always try to reinforce the good behavior of your pet with treats.
Let your guinea pig understand that if it bites you, it is not getting any rewards. Sometimes, they might bite to get your attention. Do not give in to this and wait until they are not agitated anymore. Reinforce their calm behavior with yummy treats so that it associates good action with good food.
Learning Your Guinea Pig’s Behavior Pattern
After living with your pet for a while, you will slowly start to understand its personality. You will notice its likes and dislikes and can act accordingly.
For example, if you see your pet getting annoyed about being touched when it is napping, you should avoid doing it.
Do Not Hurt Your Pet
Guinea pigs might initially bite you as a defense mechanism when it is in pain or experiencing fear of something. In such cases, your reaction should be calm and composed.
Do not lash out on the pet and hit it as a reaction to its biting. Instead, appear as friendly as you can. Offer it treats on showing good behavior.
Guinea pigs are very adorable creatures and are a great pet to keep. They will be good with you as long as you are nice and friendly towards them. So don't hurt your pet and understand its needs to avoid unwanted behavior from it.
Be considerate towards its actions, and it will return the favor with cuteness and love.