Taking care of guinea pigs can be a lot of fun, but you can run into issues sometimes. These little animal companions aren’t necessarily difficult to care for, but they often have issues such as making messes when their owners don’t want them to.
It can also be problematic when your guinea pig starts biting at your hair. You might assume that this is a playful action that won’t truly be harmful, but it’s best not to encourage your guinea pig to do this.
You see, a guinea pig could very well take an actual chunk out of your hair if it starts chewing on it. This happens pretty frequently, and it’s something that you’re going to be more than a little upset about.
If you don’t wish for your current haircut to become somewhat lopsided, then it’ll be a good idea to keep reading. You can learn why guinea pigs eat peoples’ hair and how you can discourage them from doing this moving forward.
This Is Known as “Barbering”
This activity of biting, chewing, and eating hair is known as “barbering.” It’s something that guinea pigs will do to each other sometimes for various reasons. Guinea pigs might help to groom one another because another guinea pig can reach spots that they can’t reach themselves.
There’s some sense to the action from a practical standpoint, but it can be a problem even among guinea pigs. Sometimes this action is a result of conflict between two guinea pigs, and the guinea pigs will actually injure each other.
You might notice bite marks on the guinea pig or an inflamed patch of skin that lacks hair due to the barbering. Sadly, some guinea pigs even experience hair loss due to excessive barbering, and this can be somewhat troubling for a guinea pig owner.
Now you know that this is something that guinea pigs do to each other, but why do guinea pigs also do this to their owners? Well, it’s probably just because biting on the hair seems like a good idea to them or it seems too tempting to ignore.
Keep Your Hair up
If you’re an individual with long hair, then you’re going to want to keep your hair away from your guinea pig at all costs. This means that wearing your hair down while handling a guinea pig is a very bad idea.
You should instead consider tying your hair up and out of the way to prevent any issues. It’s even possible that keeping your hair in a hat or some type of bandanna will help you to avoid problems with your guinea pig.
If you don’t take precautions, then your guinea pig might very well take a chunk out of your hair. It’s likely that you could get your hair away from the guinea pig before it could chew some off, but it’s also possible that you could get bit.
Overall, this just isn’t something that you want to have happen because of how annoying it is. This isn’t really a fun or cute interaction with your pet, and it’s something that you need to actively discourage.
If your guinea pig ever tries to do that to you, then you need to shut it down right away. Try to get the guinea pig to understand that this isn’t acceptable behavior as much as you can.
Some experts have said that lightly tapping the guinea pig on the nose is a good way to get it to stop. You could try this out, and you certainly don’t need to get rough with your guinea pig or be overly coarse.
You don’t necessarily want your guinea pig to become frightened of you, but you also can’t put up with barbering attempts. Do what you can to get the guinea pig to stop doing this so that you can keep your hair intact.
Guinea pigs might not be able to understand everything, but you might be able to discourage this as much as you can. It’s certainly better than doing nothing and winding up with a chunk of your hair bitten off.
Helping Guinea Pigs with Hair Loss
So what if your guinea pigs have experienced hair loss due to barbering? This isn’t completely uncommon, but there might be some things that you can do to help.
The first thing that you want to do is make sure that the guinea pigs are receiving a balanced diet. If a guinea pig is getting the right nutrients, then the hair should grow back even after barbering has caused bald patches to appear.
It’s possible that your guinea pig might need a vitamin or something if it’s deficient in a certain area. You should consult with your veterinarian about what’s going on to get more information.
Also, some guinea pigs will lose hair due to metabolic illness. This can be helped with certain medications, and your veterinarian will be able to tell you more assuming that your guinea pig has one of these issues.
There are times when hair loss will occur due to genetic reasons, though. This just means that your guinea pig might be balding and there isn’t anything that can be done.
If you’re sure that the bald patches are due to aggressive barbering, then you’ll need to take action to manage things yourself. It’s likely best to separate the guinea pigs that keep doing this to each other.
The most common scenario involves a dominant guinea pig barbering a more timid one. You should keep these guinea pigs apart and possibly give them separate habitats to avoid issues moving forward.
Now you know everything that you need to know about guinea pigs eating human hair. It’s an annoying thing that some guinea pigs do, but you can make it less likely to happen by discouraging your guinea pig and keeping your hair up.
It’s also good to watch out for barbering among the guinea pigs themselves. It can be problematic and lead to hair loss or injury, but you can manage things just fine by taking the right protective actions.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys and also have two dogs and two cats. I grew up with pet dogs, cats, hamsters, budgies, cockatiels, and fish and also love horseback riding. In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.