Due to their endless growing teeth, guinea pigs need to chew all the time. The constant chewing helps to trim down their teeth, preventing them from overgrowing. So, you as a guinea pig owner need to provide lots of safe items for your pet to chew on.
This includes their regular staple hay, but for the sake of variety, you can be wondering can guinea pigs eat willow sticks? The answer to that question is yes, guinea pigs can eat willow sticks such as weeping willow and pussy willow.
But there are some types of willow sticks that are not good for guinea pigs, which we’ll talk about later in the article.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Willow Sticks?
Yes, your guinea pigs will enjoy willow sticks like pussy willow and weeping willow. However, you want to avoid offering them white willow twigs and branches because white willow contains salicylic acid, which is the main component of aspirin.
That said, here are some other sticks your guinea pig will love chewing.
30 Safe Woods For Guinea Pigs
While looking for safe wood to offer your guinea pigs, you should note that although most fruit tree branches are safe for our guinea pigs there are still a few exceptions.
The exception 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 a great snack choice for guinea pigs, the branches of these trees contain traces of harmful toxins, including cyanide, which is extremely fatal for guinea pigs.
So it is very important that you are very careful when choosing wood for your guinea pigs. So if you are at lost at what type of wood you can safely feed your pet, try to look out for the label that reads safe for rodents or guinea pigs. These are the types of wood that are safe to feed your guinea pigs.
Here is a list of branches that are considered safe for your guinea pig:
- Apple Wood
- Pine (Kiln-Dried White)
22 Toxic Wood You Shouldn’t Feed Your Guinea Pigs
There are Some woods that contain a trace amount of toxins, like Phenols, Tannins & even Cyanide which is very toxic and harmful for our guinea pigs. So you need to be very careful when getting wood branches for your guinea pigs.
Here is a list of toxic wood branches for your guinea pigs:
- Citrus Woods
- Balsam Fir
- Black Locust
- Elang Mukulungu
- Bog Wood
You should note that some tree branches like apricots, peaches, and nectarine can be offered to your guinea pigs after properly drying them for at least one month. Do not offer fresh branches to them as they are unsafe for your guinea pigs to chew on.
Health Benefits Of Chewing Branches In Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are also Chewing and munching on something, this is both for feeding and grooming their teeth as it is always growing.
Not providing your pet with items for it to munch on will cause its teeth to overgrow which can be harmful to the guinea pig’s overall health
Not providing your guinea pig with safe items to munch on them will cause them to start munching on their cage bars or the fleece hideouts or their hay feeders, just anything they can lay their tiny hands-on. This is why you need to make sure your guinea pig has a constant supply of safe branches to chew on.
Aside from helping them groom their teeth, ensuring that your pet has something safe to chew on has lots of health benefits for your guinea pigs, such as:
1. Grooming Their Teeth
Guinea pigs have teeth that keep growing throughout their lifetime. Their teeth grow at a rate of 1-2mm every week.
So they need lots of fiber and roughage in their diet in order to keep their teeth groomed in the right shape and size.
Not providing your guinea pig safe items to chew on, will cause their teeth to overgrow, and this can cause them lots of pain and even prevent them from eating
So try to add some branches into their cage so they can groom their teeth as they grind them when they chew and shred those branches.
2. Source Of Physical Stimulation
Guinea pigs are social and active animals, so require lots of stimulation and physical exercise to keep them happy.
You might not have the time to give your guinea pig enough physical stimulation, that is why it is great to add something like a few branches or wood so you can keep them busy and they get enough stimulation and exercise.
This should not replace floor time but just an additional measure to keep your guinea pigs happy.
3. Elevates Boredom
Aside from the physical stimulation guinea pigs require they also need some mental stimulation to keep them happy. They are social animals who usually live in herds, so being alone in a cage with nothing to do can make them bored and lazy.
When a guinea pig gets too bored they may start chewing on cage bars to get their owner’s attention. So you can add some branches in your guinea pig cage to help keep them busy and also prevent boredom in guinea pigs.
4. Source Of High Fiber
Tree branches contain a great amount of fiber in them. So aside from helping to groom their teeth, it is also a source of supplements fiber for your guinea pigs.
Fiber is a very essential part of your guinea pig’s diet as it helps to maintain a good digestive system and also prevent diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases.
So if you haven’t been offering your guinea pig some wood, you should definitely consider doing so as it is very beneficial for your guinea pig.
Although guinea pigs enjoy chewing on wood such as fruit woods they may not enjoy such type of wood.
Also, some certain woods may be harmful to your pet’s health so knowing if can guinea pigs eat willow sticks will prevent you from feeding something harmful to your pet.