Guinea pig barbering is referred to when a guinea pig chews or barbers its hair or by another companion in the cage until the bald patches have been made or furs have been trimmed away. It is a natural behavior but generally barbering is more frequent in long-haired guinea pigs. It is not at all dangerous for them but may create a problem when the patches are deep and can cause skin infections.
When a guinea pig chews his hair, the reachable area is not more so they can make V-shape patches on their back but when a companion of bearded dragon barbers him, they will scratch and bite all the area around their fur.
There are so many reasons behind the barbering or chewing of own hair by the guinea pigs. As a pet owner, you have to find out the problems of your pet and try to solve them.
Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Barber their Hair?
There are several reasons behind barbering by guinea pigs. Here are some of the possible reasons behind the barbering of guinea pigs.
Stress or stressful condition and environment in the cage are considered as one of the reasons behind guinea pigs starting barbering. Stress can occur due to the hormonal changes in the pet which can be noticed through the patches and hair loss from certain places. They also start chewing their hair out of boredom.
Pain may be considered as the other reason behind this. A bearded dragon may be suffering from acute pain deep down in the skin which may not be visible to the pet owner. These can be caused by arthritis, urethra stones, and discomfort from impactions, growing tumors. In such cases, it is important to visit a vet immediately to know what is going on inside the body of a guinea pig. A guinea pig bites itself bloody if the pain is very intense.
3. Hormonal and Nutritional Imbalance:
In case of malnutrition or an unbalanced diet, hair may be lost from the bally or the sides of a guinea pig. You should maintain a balanced and healthy diet for your pet all the time. In case of hormonal imbalance, the development of ovarian cysts may be the reason which again causes hair loss from the stomach area.
One of the reasons why guinea pigs barber each other is a way to show dominance over the other piggy or due to conflict between other competitive piggies, especially by an older to a younger bearded dragon.
How to Stop Barbering in Guinea Pigs?
Some effective ways can help control the habit of barbering itself and others in the guinea pigs. They are discussed below.
1. Find the cause of barbering:
First of all, you need to identify the problem of why your pet starts barbering and figure out the solution how to control or stop it. There may be many reasons behind this like competition for resources, boredom can lead to this. Provide different food bowls and water bottles to pigs if there is more than one in a cage. This will reduce their stress and fighting tendency in them.
2. Apply taste deterrents on the fur of guinea pigs:
You can spritz any taste deterrents like a bitter apple or lemon juice on the guinea pig’s fur. When a guinea pig starts barbering, it will smell bitter and unappealing to them for chewing. But it should not be applied on bare or raw skin as it will cause itching and infection.
3. Provide a stress-free environment:
Giving them a happy and enjoyable environment where they can eat and play happily. Reduce the reasons for stress in your guinea pig by providing them a good environment and plenty of space with various places to hide and jump in the cage. If the guinea pig again starts barbering then change the spot of the cage and calm environment.
4. Notice which pet is barbering or being barbered:
If there is more than one pet in the cage, observe which guinea pig is barbering and which guinea pig is being barbered. In such a case, separate the bigger and dominant piggies from the small ones in the different cages. It is not necessary to separate all the piggies are social but if this will not happen and guinea pigs are injuring each other, then isolation is necessary. The guinea pigs that are barbering then need to be isolated in a different place.
5. Nutritional diet of the guinea pig:
You should also keep a check on their nutritional diet because you cannot feed anything to the guinea pig. If there may be any problem, consult your vet and do the changes in the diet as necessary.
Other possible ways to stop barbering are:
- Guinea pigs have a habit of chewing all the time. So instead of chewing their hair and skin, provide them different things to chew so they will remain busy in it and do not start barbering. You can offer some toys of hard plastic which will engage them and keep them away from getting bored.
- If the guinea pig is barbering continuously then you should visit the vet because there may be a possibility that they will be suffering from any skin-related disease which is not visible to you.
Thus, the barbering of guinea pigs is not as straightforward as it seems. On one hand, it is an obvious part of social interaction but on the other hand, there can be a serious reason lying behind it, and consequently, it may lead to a serious health issue. In such a case, do visit a vet for examination of your beloved pet.
Now in case you find your guinea pig barbering, do not just apply taste deterrents on the fur of your pet, firstly try to figure out the reason behind it or you can give the pet some alternative things to chew. Do visit the vet for sure for the safety of your loving pet. Depending upon the advice of your vet, make changes in the diet of your pet as recommended.