guinea pig plastic My guinea pigs have eaten plastic! What to do?

My guinea pigs have eaten plastic! What to do?

The shock is deep: You go to your guinea pigs unsuspecting and suddenly find gnawed plastic. The missing plastic parts are nowhere to be found, no matter how thoroughly you search – the guinea pigs must have eaten plastic!

What to do now and how to avoid eating plastic in the future?

Here you will find all the relevant answers to this delicate issue.

Step 1: Take a deep breath

What’s done is done and cannot be changed now!

The very first thing you should do is remove any remaining plastic from the cage immediately to prevent even more damage. Take a few deep breaths afterwards, because hysteria will not help you in this case and will only cost you and your animals valuable time in the end.

Once the initial shock has been digested, calmly search the entire enclosure once again and replace the old bedding with fresh bedding to be on the safe side. This way you can prevent your mice from eating more plastic that is buried deep in the litter. This way you are on the safe side and you can be sure that the danger has been averted for the moment.

Afterwards, consider the maximum amount of plastic the animal could have eaten and where the plastic came from in the first place.

How is the pet behaving at the moment?
Is it behaving strangely?
Is it eating normally?
Does it show signs of pain?
Can it defecate?
Does the behavior change over time?

While you’re asking yourself these questions, though, take further action and don’t just twiddle your thumbs!
Step 2: Provide fresh food

Since guinea pigs, like rabbits, have stuffed stomachs (no muscles in the stomach), it is highly advisable to offer fresh food as soon as possible to get their digestion going.

Only by ingesting fresh food can the plastic from the stomach be moved on to the intestines and eliminated as quickly as possible. If your guinea pig doesn’t eat anything for a while after the plastic has been eaten, the plastic will slowly decompose in the animal’s stomach and release a number of toxins that are not safe for the animal.

Therefore, your primary goal should be to chase the plastic through the digestive tract as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to offer your guinea pig his absolute favorite food. Do not be sparing here, but let your guinea pig eat as much as it wants.

Attention: Do not give pellets and other dry food! This food is already difficult to digest and only aggravates the original problem.

If your guinea pigs normally always have pellets or dry food at their free disposal, then take this out of the enclosure at least temporarily. However, it is best if you do without the pellets altogether and provide your guinea pigs only with fresh food in the future. This is on the one hand healthier as far as nutrients are concerned and on the other hand many stomach and intestinal problems can be prevented.

Wait or act: What happens to plastic in the guinea pig’s stomach?

Basically: Observe your animal very closely! Only then can you draw the right conclusions and assess the situation correctly.

How is the pet behaving at the moment?
Is it behaving strangely?
Is it eating normally?
Does it show signs of pain?
Can it defecate?
Does the behavior change over time?

All these questions are important to give you a concrete picture of the extent of the drama regarding this situation.

Of course, it is especially difficult if you cannot say without a doubt which of your guinea pigs has been eating the plastic.

Here it is important not to guess, but to keep an eye on all animals!

Especially with large pieces of plastic or even large quantities it can quickly come to a pharyngeal blockage, which is life-threatening for your guinea pig. For this reason, you should always consult a veterinarian as soon as you even have the feeling that something might be wrong with one of your animals – especially if you know for sure that at least one of them has eaten plastic.

If in doubt, the best solution is to simply pack up all your animals and take them to the vet. This way you can be sure which animal is in which state of health and you can also discuss the further procedure with a specialist.

However, if none of your guinea pigs shows any symptoms, a call to the vet is sufficient for the beginning to describe the situation and to get advice.

A professional with many years of experience can often better assess the situation.

Don’t wait too long, however, because even if the plastic doesn’t cause a pharyngeal blockage, it can still have a secondary effect. Plastic contains many toxins that can spread throughout the organism and even the bloodstream when they come into contact with stomach acid.

So it can happen that your pet appears fit and lively at the beginning, but after some time shows more and more symptoms of poisoning.

This poisoning can manifest itself through increased salivation, restlessness, cramps, severe thirst, paralysis or even unconsciousness. If your guinea pig shows the symptoms of poisoning, you should act immediately!

You can provide first aid by feeding your animal charcoal tablets. These bind the toxic substances in the organism and buy you a little more time. However, this is only recommended in an absolute emergency, otherwise you should not “doctor” your animal yourself or even give it something on the off chance! In any case, your way should lead you as soon as possible to the vet!
When is stomach pumping useful?

In particularly critical cases, the vet can pump out your guinea pig’s stomach to remove the toxic plastic from the organism immediately. This procedure is especially recommended if your guinea pig has eaten a lot of plastic or very large pieces.

However, since pumping out the stomach is no small feat, your vet will only consider this option as a very last resort if your pet is already showing clear symptoms of poisoning, constipation, etc.

3 Tips for prevention – how to prevent your mullets from eating plastic

No matter how careful you are, it can always happen that you are careless for a moment and at that very moment something happens. So, of course, we don’t have the ultimate tip to prevent everything bad from happening to your animals.

However, there are some general things you can do to minimize the risk and harmful impact of plastic on your guinea pigs.

  1. wooden enclosure

To be on the safe side, do not use cages or enclosures with plastic in them.

Plastic cages are usually unsuitable for guinea pigs anyway, as they are far too small. In addition, guinea pigs like to gnaw on the bars of a cage, which is anything but healthy for the animals’ teeth.

If you want to offer your guinea pigs a species-appropriate home that allows sufficient exercise and is also safe for their health, then you should go for an enclosure with glass walls.

Another advantage of glass walls is the increased cleanliness: While you will often have the problem with a grid cage that your guinea pigs carry the litter out of the cage, this problem is eliminated with glass walls.

But that’s not all: You can also observe and photograph your guinea pigs much better! Your guinea pigs will also be happy if they don’t always see the world through bars 😉 .

By the way, a wooden enclosure with close-meshed wire – similar to a chicken coop – is best suited for outdoor keeping.

  1. plastic-free interior design

Refrain from tunnels and other toys for guinea pigs in which plastic or other plastics have been incorporated.

Guinea pigs are and will always be rodents!

So the likelihood that your animals will get all over the toy is pretty high. There are many great toys that are made of wood and are absolutely harmless – your guinea pigs will have a lot of fun with these toys, too!


  1. better safe than sorry

It’s best to have nothing but food with you when you interact with your guinea pigs. This way you can make sure you don’t forget any plastic or other things in the enclosure.

To be on the safe side, always look around the enclosure before you leave it – a little carelessness can have serious consequences.

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