Why Do Guinea Pigs Knock Over Their Food Bowl? (Explained)

Guinea pigs are cute pets that come in a variety of different appearances. When it comes to their food bowl, however, they can be a real nuisance. It’s not uncommon for guinea pigs to knock over their food bowls while eating or drinking, which can make a big mess in their cage. So why do Guinea pigs knock over their food bowl?

Guinea pigs are inquisitive creatures who will often knock over their food bowl to understand the contents better. They may also knock over the bowls if they are hungry or if they don’t like the food you offered them.

Why do guinea pigs knock over their food bowl

Reasons Guinea Pigs Knock Over Their Food Bowls

You can already tell why guinea pigs knock over their food bowls. We now go over all these behavior triggers so that you can better understand your dear pet.

Here are the reasons your guinea pig could be knocking over its food bowl:

They Are Housed In A Small Cage

Guinea pigs need an environment with lots of space for them to explore and run around so that they can stay healthy and happy. When the floor space is limited, and the food bowl is the cage, it goes without much reasoning that they will knock the bowl over as they run and explore their surroundings.

Keep in mind that guinea pig cages should be at least three times the length of your pet so they have enough space to run around.

Ensure the floor space is at least 42 by 24 inches to give them ample playing ground. The cage should also be tall enough, ideally between 12 and 18 inches.

Considering that these are social pets and need to be kept in pairs, it’s necessary to provide them with as much space as possible, should you have more than one piggy. 

They Don’t Like The Food You Offer Them

Guinea pigs are picky eaters and will often knock over their food bowls if they don’t like the kind of food you offer them.

You may have noticed that when you offer them a new kind of food, they sniff it and then turn their noses up in disgust. This is the case if you are feeding them pellets, for example, but they are used to fruits and vegetables.

Guinea pigs like various vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, celery, and timothy hay. To keep these little creatures entertained, feed them a diverse vegetable diet and limit their intake of sugary fruits to just a few times a week.

When They Are Playing

It’s not uncommon for guinea pigs to knock over their food bowl while playing or running around the cage. They may also do this when they are happy and excited.

As with every animal, guinea pigs don’t pay much attention to other stuff when playing, and they are not intelligent as to think about the result of their playing. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your guinea pig when it’s in its playpen and make sure to remove food bowls before letting it out.

If you plan to give your guinea pigs some treats, do so after they have eaten their regular meal and not before.

When They Are Hungry

When a guinea pig is not fed enough, it has no option but to become desperate. It will knock over the bowl to see if there’s something edible inside, and it may even bite into it to get at the contents.

Keeping your guinea pigs well-fed and satisfied will ensure they don’t knock over their food bowls out of desperation.

When They Need Your Attention

Guinea pigs are social creatures that thrive when they have company. This is why these pets are best owned in pairs.

If your pet is feeling lonely, it may go to great lengths just to get your attention. This may include knocking over the food bowl to catch your eye and then jostling for position as you tend to its needs.

You can avoid this behavior by buying two guinea pigs of the opposite sex and similar size, so they will not fight over dominance. The male needs to be neutered to avoid unintended breeding.

It’s Part Of Their Natural Behavior

If you have done your research, then you know that guinea pigs are natural foragers. There is no such thing as a “food bowl” in the wild, so guinea pigs have to search for their food every day.

This natural instinct is still very much alive in domesticated guinea pigs, and it’s not uncommon for them to knock over their food bowl as they explore the space under the food bowl.

The best way to avoid this is by ensuring the guinea pigs have a wide enough space to move around and explore.

How Do You Stop Guinea Pigs From Knocking Over Their Food Bowl?

Whenever these pets knock over the food bowl, the contents are wasted. Cleaning up after them will also become a rather arduous task. There are three commonly-used methods of stopping guinea pigs from knocking over their food bowl:

1. Use A Heavy (preferably ceramic) bowl

Guinea pigs will always be playful. They step on the side of the food bowl, and then it falls over. This is a common issue with plastic bowls that are light, and thus easily knocked over.

A heavy food bowl is the best solution here. It will not be moved easily, and your pet won’t have a chance to knock it over. Heavy ceramic bowls also discourage the pet from chewing on them. If you going for ceramic bowls, buy the ergonomically shaped ones. They have been designed to prevent your guinea pig from leaning on them for their food.

2. Use A Tip-Proof Design Bowl

There are specially designed tip-proof food bowls with a ridge or stand at the center of their base. These designs make it impossible for the guinea pigs to knock over the food bowl. A typical example of such a bowl is STAYbowl. Check on Amazon for STAYbowl. STAYbowl saves you time and money.

3. Use A Square-Shaped Bowl With Corners

Some guinea pigs use their front legs to knock over the food bowl. This is especially true with round bowls that do not have corners, but a square bowl with corners will be safe from this behavior.

To knock over food bowl, a guinea pig will have to apply more force (more than its weight) to knock over the food bowl.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are social animals who suffer when they are lonely. Loneliness, among other factors, is the main reason they knock over their food bowls, possibly to draw their owner’s attention. Now that you know the common causes of this behavior, try rectifying it by applying the suggested solutions.

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