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What Is the Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs?

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Guinea pigs on a blanket bed
Photo by Jaroslaw Slodkiewicz on Unsplash

Guinea pigs are adorable - there's no argument here. They make excellent pets, whether as a first pet or in the hands of an experienced pet owner. However, despite their small size, guinea pigs need a lot of care. They need a comfortable and safe environment to be happy and healthy.

Creating such an environment starts with providing them with comfortable bedding, but with so many options, it's easy to get confused. Generally, guinea pigs' bedding should be soft enough not to hurt their little body and paws, absorbent, and dust-free. There is plenty of bedding that people think is safe, but in reality, it is not. So, what is the best bedding for guinea pigs? Keep reading to find out.

Do guinea pigs need bedding?

Absolutely. If you want happy and healthy guinea pigs, you must provide them with bedding. And not just bedding; they need to be soft and absorbent. Here are reasons why guinea pigs need bedding.

  • Bedding absorbs waste (urine and feces), preventing it from soaking into the cagefloor and keeping your guinea pig's living space clean and dry. This helps prevent foot problems and infections like bumblefoot.
  • Absorbent bedding helps control ammonia levels from urine, which can cause respiratory problems.
  • Soft and comfortable bedding creates a cozy environment for your guinea pigs to rest, burrow, and play in. This can reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
  • Soft bedding minimizes pressure on their delicate feet, preventing discomfort and potential sores.

What is the best bedding for guinea pigs?

As mentioned above, the best bedding for your guinea pig should be comfortable, absorbent, and dust-free. And while you'll find a lot of recommendations online, you need to determine if they meet the three criteria. To start with, is the bedding comfortable? Guinea pig paws are delicate.

The bedding should not hurt them. Moving on, are the bedding absorbent? Can they absorb urine to ensure the cage remains clean and dry?

Finally, the bedding should be dust-free. Guinea pigs have a sensitive respiratory system. Exposure to dust can irritate the airways, causing inflammation and swelling in the lungs. This can cause wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing, and, in severe cases, pneumonia. Here are the best guinea pig bedding options.

Fleece bedding

guinea pig fleece

Fleece bedding is the most popular choice for guinea pig owners, and it’s for a good reason. It's soft and comfortable, a little luxury for your little friend to cuddle and lounge in. It can be purchased online, in pet stores, and even in supermarkets. When placed correctly, a fleece bedding for guinea pigs will allow urine to pass through to an absorbent material underneath it. This could be a towel, mattress padding, or puppy training pads.

If you decide to use fleece as your guinea pig's bedding, you must set it right so that it can absorb liquids well and prevent odor. When you buy fleece bedding, wash and dry it at least three times before using it. This breaks down the water barrier and allows it to be more absorbent. Don't use fabric softener, as it could clog pores, preventing the fleece from absorbing the liquid. Experiment using water to see if liquid will pass through.

Wash your fleece bedding regularly. This could be once, twice, or thrice a week, depending on how much waste your guinea pig passes. You'll notice that they pass more waste when using fleece than other beddings. To clean your fleece, start by collecting the feces. Then, sweep out the fur and food waste. Toss it in a washing machine or hand wash and hang it to dry. So, what makes fleece the best bedding for guinea pigs?

It's economical in the long run, but the initial cost is high. Once you buy it, it'll take you years before you replace it.

  • It's comfy; your little piggies will love it.
  • It's environmentally friendly.
  • It's more hygienic when cleaned regularly, and there's no dust.

Aspen bedding for guinea pigs

guinea pig bedding

Aspen bedding for guinea pigs is another excellent option. It is the only wood-based bedding that you can safely use. One main benefit of using aspen bedding is that it is odorless. Also, it provides guinea pigs with similar bedding to that of the natural wild.

One downside of the Aspen bedding is its low volumetric absorbency rate. However, if you combine it with paper bedding, you will increase the overall absorbency rate. Popular brands such as Kaytee Aspen Small Animal Bedding provide aspen bedding that is non-allergenic, non-toxic, safe, and well-cleaned to remove debris and dust.

Paper bedding for guinea pigs

guinea pig

Many guinea pig owners choose paper bedding because they are affordable and readily available. However, that's not all; they are soft, comfortable, dust-free, and absorbent. The high absorbency helps control odors and keep piggies dry. Moreover, they are biodegradable, so they are good for the planet.

However, paper bedding for guinea pigs may present some challenges. While they are absorbent, they don't hold moisture as well as other options. You'll need to change it more frequently to prevent dampness and odors. Also, compared to fleece, it doesn't provide as much space for burrowing, which is a natural guinea pig behavior.

When choosing paper bedding for your guinea pigs, ensure it is high quality and has minimal dust. Carefresh natural paper bedding is a great option if you prefer natural paper. Below are some reputable brands for buying paper bedding.

  • Small Pet Select Bedding
  • Oxbow Pure Comfort Bedding
  • Kaytee Clean and Cozy Bedding
  • Critter Care Natural or Confetti Paper Bedding

Aspen bedding for guinea pigs

Aspen bedding is another excellent option for your guinea pigs. It's relatively absorbent, so you don't have to worry about odors or wetness. Unlike other wood shavings, aspen is dust-free. This means your piggies can burrow and create comfortable nests, fulfilling their natural instincts without worrying about respiratory sensitivity.

However, aspen bedding for guinea pigs is less comfortable and less absorbent than fleece and paper bedding. You'll need to change regularly, but you can combine it with paper bedding to increase absorbency.

Can guinea pigs use pine bedding?

No, guinea pigs cannot safely use pine bedding. While seemingly attractive due to its absorbency and natural scent, pine shavings contain harmful aromatic hydrocarbons called phenols. These phenols can irritate your guinea pig's respiratory system, leading to serious health problems like pneumonia, wheezing, and liver damage.

Can guinea pigs use cedar bedding?

Absolutely not! Cedar bedding is extremely harmful and toxic to guinea pigs and should never be used. Similar to pine bedding, cedar contains potent aromatic hydrocarbons called phenols. These phenols are even more concentrated in cedar than pine and threaten your guinea pig's health.

How much bedding do guinea pigs need?

The amount of bedding your guinea pigs need will depend on the type of bedding you use and the number of piggies you have. Generally, you'll need 2-3 inches of paper bedding, 1-2 inches of fleece bedding, and 3-4 inches of aspen bedding. Observe their behavior and adjust the depth as needed.

Conclusion

Guinea pigs are great pets whether you are a novice or an experienced pet owner. However, to ensure they are healthy and happy, you must provide them with proper bedding. The above pointers will help you choose the right bedding for your guinea pigs.

About the Author

Guinea pigs on a blanket bed

Moses Mwangi

Moses is a committed, seasoned content creator who turns ideas into valuable website content and offers quality, fluff-free information across various niches. His area of specialization is writing about pets and animals, and he has passionately been creating content on the niche for over four years. Being a pet lover and having raised and traine[...] Author Details

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