Keeping a guinea pig in a suitable environment is essential to ensuring it stays healthy and comfortable for as long as possible. There are many guinea pig bedding options, but many of them can be unsuitable and lead to sickness. From established guinea pigs’ owners to those considering adopting in the future, it’s essential to ask what is the best bedding for guinea pigs and how should it be provided.
Aspen bedding for guinea pigs is the only wood-based bedding that can be safely used and is typically cheaper than paper bedding. It doesn’t contain oil like other types of wood shavings and is most similar to what a guinea pig would naturally use in the wild, which results in a lot of burrowing and flying wood chips in the cage. This form of bedding is easily available in most stores and doesn’t have an odor. Aspen can also be blended with paper bedding to cut costs and increase overall absorbency.
Aspen bedding is quite loose and can be thrown and jostled around and outside of the cage or animal home, creating a larger mess than other beddings. It also tends not to be as absorbent as other types which can result in higher costs long-term, even with the initial, lower costs. Aspen is rough against the skin and some brands can contain irritating dust.
Paper bedding for guinea pigs is a popular option because of its affordability and overall higher absorbency. With its easy cleanability and because a majority of pets enjoying the bedding, paper can be an easy choice and works well to keep the cage comfortable with a minimal amount of dust. Paper bedding also has a high number of brand choices and can be found at most pet suppliers.
However, some brands of paper bedding have the potential for smell and varying dust quantities. This type of bedding should be cleaned regularly to avoid excessive smell or a buildup of waste. Depending on the brand and quality, this bedding can also contain enough dust to cause respiratory infections and other illnesses that can impact a guinea pig’s health. It’s important to research a brand before using it and then it’s important to ensure the guinea pig isn’t partial to consuming the bedding once they’ve been moved into it.
Guinea pig fleece bedding is a popular, but more expensive option on the market, and has a variety of long-term benefits. Fleece is environmentally friendly and dust-free, giving owners the opportunity to wash the bedding and reuse it to save costs. It’s soft against the skin, odorless and incredibly absorbent. Nontoxic and hypoallergenic, fleece bedding is a great option for those with the patience for washing it and saving money over a long time period.
This bedding does have a few downsides, however, starting with the higher starting costs compared to other types of bedding. Many guinea pigs’ homes will need a few layers of bedding to ensure there is always a clean option available, which again, can be more costly initially. This bedding requires frequent washings and will show the feces more visibly than other types.
Choosing the best bedding for guinea pigs depends on the features, benefits and cost. Aspen, paper and fleece beddings are all safe for guinea pigs and provide a variety of benefits from high absorbency rates to easy accessibility and affordability. Making sure your animal is safe and comfortable should always be the top priority of any guinea pig owner.