Is It Safe for Guinea Pigs To Eat Cardboard? Everything You Need to Know!

Is It Safe for Guinea Pigs To Eat Cardboard? Everything You Need to Know!

If your piggy munches on cardboard, you probably wonder, "Is it safe for guinea pigs to eat cardboard?"

In most cases, it's no big deal if your cavy eats a few pieces of cardboard, but there are dangers that pet parents should consider.

So, let's talk about the benefits and dangers of cardboard products for guinea pigs.

Key Takeaways

  • Guinea pigs are herbivores and can eat plain cardboard in small quantities.
  • Cardboard eating can be a sign of boredom or improper diet. 
  • Not all types of bedding and wood are safe for cavies.

Is Cardboard Safe For Guinea Pigs?

To determine whether cardboard is safe for your pets, you should look at two factors: what cavies can eat without getting sick and what cardboard is made of.

Cavies are herbivores with a sensitive digestive system. They eat plants (mainly hay, some fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs) and can process plant-based materials without problems.

A guinea pig

Cardboard is made from cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp. It's similar to paper, and as Winter Park Veterinary Hospital experts say, "Occasional paper eating is okay." (1)

In other words, a bit of cardboard won't be toxic to your piggies. In fact, cardboard toys, hideouts, and boxes are excellent ways to ensure your piggy has enough stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

It's also a great material for encouraging proper chewing behavior and preventing teeth problems.

Check the video below to get some DIY ideas! 


But are there any hidden dangers to eating cardboard boxes? You'd be surprised.

Can Cardboard Boxes Be Dangerous for Cavies?

First, don't panic if your furry friend has chewed on a cardboard roll or box. The chances are that nothing will happen to them. But you've got to be aware of the potential risks. 

The biggest danger isn't in the material itself. It's the glue. Not all companies use pet-friendly glue or tape in their cardboard boxes. Your pet can get sick from munching on this material.

Some cardboard boxes

Moreover, some colored or glossy cardboard boxes are treated with chemicals. Cavies are tiny, so it doesn't take much to make them sick. 

You also have to think about any ink. It's not as harmless to a small animal as you'd expect, which is why newspapers aren't the bedding option for guinea pigs. 

Also, if your pet manages to eat a lot of this material, I'd worry about intestinal blockage and other intestinal problems.

It's also worth mentioning that cardboard isn't a healthy treat or food for guinea pigs. It lacks nutritional value and can make them not eat their usual portion of hay and daily veggies.

The big question is why your piggy is so interested in eating cardboard and how to stop it. Let's find out!

Why Is My Guinea Pig Eating Cardboard?

My cavies like munching on paper roll tubes and cardboard guinea pig toys, but they rarely eat them. Instead, I find a big pile of chewed cardboard in one corner of the cage.

However, some curious guinea pigs eat quite a lot of the stuff. Usually, the reasons are simple:

  • Boredom. Cavies need a lot of mental and physical stimulation because they do weird things when bored, such as eating cardboard.
  • Improper diet. Animals eat unusual things when they lack essential vitamins and minerals. Studies show that piggies should eat high-quality hay to avoid such problems. (2)
  • Lack of attention. Cavies have strange ways of communicating (learn why does my guinea pig pee on me?), so eating cardboard can be a cry for attention. 

You should spend enough time with your piggies and provide the right diet and exercise to keep them from eating cardboard. And 

But cardboard is not the only thing in the cage that can be dangerous for your fluffy friend! 

What Other Materials Are Bad For Guinea Pigs?  

Since piggies are chewers, providing the best age accessories is vital to avoid hurting your fluffy friend. Here's what to avoid! 

#1 Certain Bedding Types 

If you're wondering why your guinea pig is eating her bedding, you may have a bigger problem than you realize.

Some types of fabric bedding can cause intestinal blockage in large quantities. Others can be toxic to your piggy because they contain dangerous chemicals.   

But is polyester bedding safe? Yes, it's one of the best choices for guinea pigs.

I use LuftPets' cage liner in my cavies' enclosure because it's soft, waterproof, and reusable. It also combines well with paper-based bedding or hay. 

However, fabric can cause a blockage, so I always check it for missing pieces. Fortunately, many cavies are not interested in eating bedding when you provide enough hay to munch on.  

#2 Wood Toys

Did you know that pine, redwood, eucalyptus, and cedar are toxic to cavies and other small pets? When I got my first cavy, I didn't and almost poisoned my sweet fur ball. 

Be careful what wood and wood-based products you get for your fluffy friends. To avoid accidents, make sure they're meant for guinea pigs. 

#3 Toilet Paper Rolls

My piggies love toiler rolls. But they're not as safe as most pet parents think. One of my furbabies got its head stuck in a roll and got quite the scare trying to free itself. 

I recommend cutting the rolls lengthwise to avoid such incidents. And if you're using cardboard shipping tubes for tunnels, make sure they're wide enough!


1. Are toilet paper rolls okay for guinea pigs?

Toiler paper rolls can be an excellent chew toy for guinea pigs. But make sure that your cavy can't get stuck inside the roll! 

2. Can guinea pigs eat colored cardboard?

Don't give your piggies colored cardboard. It's probably treated with chemicals that can be toxic to your small pet. Instead, use brown cardboard. 

3. Is it safe for guinea pigs to eat cardboard every day?

Eating cardboard every day can lead to intestinal problems and make your guinea pig lose weight. 


Can guinea pigs eat cardboard? Plain cardboard is not dangerous for your fluffy friends in small quantities, but it lacks nutrients and is not a proper treat. 

Fortunately, most guinea pigs chew cardboard and never eat too much to cause serious problems. But consult with a vet if your piggy suddenly starts eating strange things. 

What do you think about guinea pigs eating cardboard? Does your pet like munching on cardboard toys? Share your thoughts in the comment sections. 


  1. Winter Park Veterinary Hospital. Guinea Pig Toys. [Cited on 2024 May 9] Available from:
  2. Mayer, J. and Donelly, T.M. Guinea Pigs. [Cited on 2024 May 9] Available from:
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