Why Do Guinea Pigs Bite Their Feet? Let’s Find Out

Last updated on July 3rd, 2023 at 09:02 pm

Guinea pigs are known to be very clean animals that take care of their own hygiene and therefore are always neat and clean.

But sometimes guinea pigs also know how to bite their feet, which immediately causes a little doubt among us about this behavior of our pets.

Why do guinea pigs bite their feet?

Guinea pigs bite their feet as a normal routine in their self-grooming. However, if the guinea pig is under stress, it can also bite the fur around the feet and legs. When the guinea pig is sick or if it needs to itch, it bites the feet again.

In today’s article, you will read into detail about the reasons why guinea pigs bite their feet, as well as similar questions related to the topic.

Why do guinea pigs bite their feet?

Guinea pigs bite their feet as part of their grooming routine and this is completely normal.

Guinea pigs also bite their feet for a number of other reasons, such as:

  • under stress
  • when they are bored
  • overgrown nails
  • poor diet
  • bumblefoot
  • infections or wounds
  • skin irritations

So let’s read in detail about all the possible reasons why guinea pigs bite their feet.

Normal behavior

Guinea pigs enjoy grooming and maintaining their hygiene, which is good and healthy for their overall health.

Guinea pigs bite their feet as part of their grooming and this should not worry us. At the same time, guinea pigs bite the feet, nails, and fur.

When guinea pigs bite their feet it usually lasts for a few minutes and several times a day, it is their regular procedure.

This behavior of guinea pigs is fine, feel free to let them do it and do not interrupt them.

Guinea Pig Barbering

Although guinea pigs are usually careful when grooming themselves, they can sometimes bite the fur around their feet and create bald spots on their legs.

When guinea pigs do this it is called barbering and there may be reasons why they do this on their feet and legs.

The most common causes are boredom or stress on the guinea pig.

Although sometimes it can also mean that something is bothering them or that they have pain or skin irritation and itching.

Barbering of Other Pigs

Guinea pigs, apart from biting themselves, know how to do this to other guinea pigs if they live together in a cage.

Or they can bite each other and shave each other which is also a very common practice.

Feet biting due to stress or boredom

Guinea pigs, in addition to regularly biting their feet as a sign of grooming, can also bite their feet when they are bored or under some kind of stress.

To know if a guinea pig is biting its feet due to stress or boredom is enough just to pay attention to their behavior.

The following signs mean your pet is either stressed or bored:

  • eat less
  • bites the bars of the cage
  • lethargy
  • moving in a circle
  • hiding
  • refuses to play

So let’s see in detail why guinea pigs bite their feet when they are stressed or bored.


When a guinea pig is stressed and bites its feet, the most important thing is to find out why this phenomenon is happening.

To find out what is wrong, for the guinea pig to be nervous and stressed.

The following are possible causes of stress:

  • a small cage
  • noise
  • changes in the environment
  • if there is a new guinea pig in the cage
  • lack of hiding places

How to protect a guinea pig when it bites its feet due to stress?

In order not to cause stress in the guinea pigs, you must pay attention to their environment, not play very loud music and there should be no noise in the room where the guinea pigs live.

Also be careful when you put another guinea pig, at first you will notice if they can get used to each other or not.

If the cage is small, you should enlarge it or buy a new cage, especially if you keep two or more guinea pigs.why do guinea pigs bite their feet

Feet biting due to boredom

Guinea pigs are very smart animals that if they don’t have enough activities they will start to get bored.

They will have nothing to do and will start biting their feet out of boredom.

The problem is that out of boredom they will bite both the feet and the fur around the legs and make holes in the fur which will not look good at all.

How to help guinea pigs not bite their feet out of boredom?

To prevent them from biting their feet and fur, it is best to allow guinea pigs to have more activities.

Put more toys, hiding places, and other objects for them so that they always have something to do.

The more active they are, the less likely they are to bite their feet out of boredom.

Play with your guinea pig so he doesn’t bite his feet

If a guinea pig feels neglected, it gets irritated and may bite its feet.

Guinea pigs are considered social animals that need family companionship.

They really want you to pay attention to them and play with them, for at least one hour a day.

Although it may not look like it, guinea pigs notice when you neglect them because of another guinea pig or another family member.

Guinea pigs bite their feet if they are in pain

When guinea pigs are sick, they bite their feet.

Any pain or irritation, infection, and similar problems can result in guinea pigs biting their feet.

If this happens to your pet, it is best to take it to a veterinarian to examine it and determine the reason why it is biting its feet.

Guinea pigs bite their feet when they have Bumblefoot

If the guinea pig has bumblefoot then the reaction may be to bite their feet.

Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection that occurs as a result of small scratches or cuts on the feet of guinea pigs that then become infected.

Guinea pigs get these foot problems because of:

  • poor diet
  • weaker activity
  • wet or dirty bedding
  • wire cage

When guinea pigs have bumblefoot, in addition to biting their feet, you may notice other unwanted problems such as:

  • swelling of the joints
  • leg wounds
  • hair loss at the bumblefoot site
  • difficulty moving
  • lack of appetite

What to do when a guinea pig is biting its feet because of bumblefoot?

When guinea pigs have bumblefoot it should be treated immediately as the consequences can be very serious for your pet.

If not treated in time, it may be necessary to amputate the affected part of the feet.

If bumblefoot is treated promptly, the guinea pig will be able to recover from this unpleasant disease.

The treatment is with:

  • healthier diet
  • antibiotics
  • antibacterial liquid treatment of the feet

In order to prevent the appearance of bumblefoot, you should pay attention to:

  • keep the cage clean and dry
  • a healthy and varied diet
  • soft bedding in the cage
  • regular vet checks

Foot biting due to itching and skin irritation in guinea pigs

When guinea pigs bite their feet it may be due to some irritation or the appearance of parasites on the skin.

Causes of skin problems can be the following:

  • scurvy
  • ringworm or fungal infections
  • mites
  • abscesses

When guinea pigs have these problems, in addition to biting their feet, they will also have other problems such as:

  • dirty and thin fur
  • weight loss
  • lack of appetite
  • bending when walking

In order to avoid skin problems and biting off their feet, guinea pigs should have comfortable bedding, a healthy diet, and a clean cage.

If such an unwanted phenomenon occurs, you should consult a veterinarian to help you get your pet to recover more easily.

Guinea pigs bite their feet due to poor nutrition

If the guinea pig’s diet does not have enough nutrients, they may start to behave strangely and bite their feet.

Guinea pigs need a varied diet of hay, vegetables, and fruits to have enough nutrients.

Foot biting due to poor diet is common and therefore you must be careful of their food menu.

Guinea pigs bite their feet because of overgrown nails

When a guinea pig’s nails are too big they will start biting their feet in order to reduce their nails.

That is why regular trimming of their nails is necessary, you can do it yourself or turn to a professional groomer or a veterinarian.

When guinea pigs have large nails it can lead to other health problems such as foot infections and sores.

Why do guinea pigs bite their legs?

Guinea pigs bite their feet, and they also bite their legs, which is normal but can also be a sign of problems.

Guinea pigs bite their feet and legs to groom themselves which is perfectly fine.

But your pet also bites their feet and legs when they have mites or fungal infections, which is a sign of skin and health problems.

If you notice that the guinea pig is constantly doing this, i.e. biting its legs, you should take it to the vet to see what exactly is the reason for this behavior of your pet.

Read more: Why Guinea Pigs Bite and How to Stop It? Let’s Discover

Why do guinea pigs bite their fur?

Guinea pigs may bite fur for a variety of reasons such as to assert dominance or as a response when in conflict with another guinea pig.

Also, guinea pigs bite their fur if there is a fight between young and older guinea pigs.

Sometimes guinea pigs bite their fur because of boredom, stress, or if they have an infection or irritation on their skin.

Read more: Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves? Find Out Now


Guinea pigs bite their feet for a number of reasons although it can also be a regular way of grooming them.

Guinea pigs bite their feet if they have problems with infections, bacteria, large nails, poor nutrition, etc.

If your pet has nothing to do or is bored or stressed he may bite his feet again.

If your pet does this often then you should see a vet to have it checked out as some causes like bumblefoot can be dangerous to your guinea pig’s health and feet.