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Guinea Pigs And Nontoxic Paint

Is it OK for a guinea pig to eat nontoxic paint?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: August 24, 2012, 3:20 p.m. EDT

two guinea pigs sitting side by side
Guinea Pigs Nevy & Jackey/Courtesy Amy Black
Keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy like the two in this photo by making sure they don't ingest items they shouldn't.

Q: My girls and I recently took on two guinea pigs (males) and we just adore them; however, my troublemaker of the two has chewed away at my daughter’s cardboard project, which was painted with nontoxic, acrylic paint! He seems to be doing fine. Is the paint harmful to guinea pigs? If not, my daughter is interested in building the little rascal a cardboard maze and maybe painting it, too. What do you think of that idea?
A: When labels on paint cans state the paint inside is nontoxic, usually that means nontoxic to humans. Guinea pigs are different than people, so unless the paint can specifically states it is safe for guinea pigs, I would be very cautious about putting the paint in an area where the guinea pig can ingest the paint.

You can call the company that makes the paint and ask if they state it is safe for guinea pigs. But even with that, I would much rather see a maze made up of material a guinea pig cannot chew and ingest rather than material never met for a guinea pig’s gastrointestinal tract.

There are too many unknown ingredients in the cardboard and as nice as it is to have your daughter so interested in the well-being of her new pets, I would suggest trying other methods to keep the guinea pigs amused.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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