Guinea Pig Cage Tips and Techniques to Prevent Chewing

guinea pig chewed edge with report coverImage courtesy of Sally

Top: Scalloped edges from Pinni's hard work, Bottom: Binder spine for protection

Over the years, I’ve had a number of pigs that have taken the occasional taste-test of coroplast. The old cage had plenty of small chew marks here and there. I suspect there is something about the texture of coroplast that numerous guinea pigs find irresistible. It’s also fairly easy to chew through (unlike metal bars or wooden houses), so it doesn’t take long to make some serious progress. I have seen photos of cages with intricately scalloped edges carefully crafted by an artistic guinea pig (often to their owner’s dismay). A coroplast tray I use for floor time is almost missing an entire side, due to the amount of taste-testing it has been subjected to.

Coroplast may be delightful to chew, but I have discovered that not all plastic is the same. Turns out that plastic report cover spines are a great deterrent. A long time ago, you could buy the spine separately from the report covers. Recently, I have only found them as a package deal, but I’m sure it’s still possible to get the binding bar by itself if you shop around. It’s not expensive – six report covers with binders run about $3. You can find them at just about any office supply store.

Image courtesy of Sally
They fit perfectly over the edge of the coroplast. It just slides on and stays put with tension.  Installing the spines requires a bit of a gentle touch: stretch one too far open and it will split right down the middle. But they are rugged once they’re in place.  Wherever I have put them, the chewing has stopped. The spines can even hide any shallow, ragged, gnawed-on edges.

The binder spine solution has worked for years, without a hitch… until one my recent pigs has taken an interest in coroplast. What makes Pinniped so bad is that she’s purposely going for the exposed sections right next to the protectors. Alas, all of my binder bars are in use.  Even if I had more, they wouldn’t fit over the double width (folded over) coroplast in the corners of the cage.

fabric edge with report spineImage courtesy of Sally

A combo of fleece and report spines

So I’m trying out a new solution: I’ve draped a bit of fleece over the raw edges of the coroplast and binder clipped it into place. It might not slow down the most determined chewer, but I am hoping it will dampen Pinni’s interest. It’s only been a week, but she’s been leaving it alone.

Another favored obstruction is using paper tubes, sliced down the sides and slid over the coroplast edges. I hadn’t considered using this, because I thought it would be trading one chew-thing for another. However, unless your pigs can get their teeth along a side edge, they’re going to have a hard time finding a starting point to begin chewing. It is certainly a quick and inexpensive fix. They’re also very easy to replace if they get soiled or chewed.

I have also recently heard about using PVC track to cover the edges. It can be purchased at the hardware store and can be cut to the size you need. It appears to be slightly wider than the coroplast, and sits on top of the coroplast edge. It works similarly to the report binding bars in that it’s hard to chew and is not as interesting as the coroplast to guinea pigs.

So if one of your guinea pigs seems to have grand designs on their coroplast cages, one of these ideas might help dissuade them. Of course, then you may have to watch out for what they choose as their next hobby.

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Sally has owned guinea pigs for over 20 years and has organized the Boston Pignics since 2003. She is the CavyMadness “guinea guru” and assists guinea pig beginners on other cavy forums. Sally currently cares for a pair of sows.

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One Response to “Guinea Pig Cage Tips and Techniques to Prevent Chewing”
  1. Onetwo says:

    Does putting clear packing tape on the edges to keep the binders together help? I have one chewer/borrower in each of my 2 cages and they drive me BONKERS! They LOVE tape, plastic, cardboard, fur, ceramic tiles, bowls (yes one has actually chewed sand sized pieces off of their ceramic bowls and tiles!), zip ties, the metal bars and especially the plastic coating on the cubes! UGGG I’m thinking about buying a 100 count box of the binder things to at least slow down the erosion of the coro (I usually have to replace coro annually). I have one chewer who has broken his teeth 8 yes EIGHT times in the last year because he likes to chew anything and everything very INTENSLY! Hes such an overacheiver and is my most loved sweetest boy!

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