What Do You Put On The Bottom Of A Guinea Pig’s Cage?
When you have a guinea pig for a pet they will spend a lot of their time in their cage so it is essential that you choose the right bedding for them. It is a fact that your guinea pig will use their cage as a toilet as well so if you make the wrong choice then they could become sick from trampling around in their won waste.
The other factor that you need to take into consideration is comfort. You want your pet cavy to be as comfortable as possible and some bedding materials are more suitable than others. Another thing to consider is the odor factor. If you have a strong odor coming from your guinea pig cage then it is time to think about a different kind of bedding.
So we are going to look at three main types of guinea pig bedding here which are paper bedding, wood shaving bedding and fleece bedding. We will look at all aspects of these different bedding choices so that you can choose the best option that takes care of comfort and odor and poses the minimum health risk to your guinea pig.
Please note that whatever kind of bedding you decide to use you will need to clean it and change it regularly. The health of your guinea pig will be dependent on you doing this. You wouldn’t want to live in your own waste would you? Well neither does your guinea pig.
Shredded Paper Bedding
A lot of guinea pig owners choose paper bedding for their cavy cage because it is soft and comfortable, it is very absorbent and it is good for controlling odor. But you need to be aware that not all paper bedding is the same.
In fact there is a wide variety of paper bedding for guinea pig cages available now. Although this paper bedding is normally made from similar material there is often a significant difference in quality. So when you are choosing paper bedding you need to consider a number of different things.
The Odor Factor
We have tried many different types of paper bedding and there is a great deal of variation between them. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the bedding appears to be uncomfortable and rough while others do not seem to have very good absorbency qualities.
If you go for paper bedding that does not do a good job absorbing guinea pig urine then your guinea pig cage is going to start stinking pretty quickly. You absolutely do not want a stinking guinea pig cage. Your cavy will not like this and nor will you. Let alone the health risk that a stinking cage can pose.
The Dust Factor
Another thing that we found from testing different types of paper bedding was the dust factor. Some brands of paper bedding created a lot more dust than others. Your guinea pig has very sensitive lungs and they are not well equipped to handle a lot of dust.
So don’t choose a paper bedding brand that generates a lot of dust. Guinea pigs exposed to a lot of dust can suffer from severe respiratory problems. Even if they don’t have these problems, cleaning a guinea pig cage that has a lot of dust in it from paper bedding is not easy at all.
How to choose the Best Paper Bedding
So with all of this in mind you need to look for paper bedding that is absorbent and does not generate much dust. Always put the health of your guinea pig first before you consider any kind of paper bedding. Absorbent paper bedding that is low on dust will also make cleaning your guinea pig cage much easier as well.
A word about Paper Bedding Ingesting
Although this is not very likely, it is possible that your guinea pig could try and eat their paper bedding. This can cause some serious health problems and even un-dyed paper is not nutritious..
If you are going to use paper bedding then keep a close eye on your guinea pig when you first use it. Check to see that they are not eating the paper bedding too much, they will be full and could get sick from malnourishment because they will not eat thier proper food.
I like this natural paper bedding, made in USA without any harmful chemicals additives.
Wood Shavings Bedding
For many years guinea pig owners have used wood shavings for bedding. This is fine and your guinea pig will be happy to be amongst wood shavings but you need to pay special attention to the type of wood shavings that you intend to use.
So why should you think about using wood shavings for guinea pig bedding? Well there are quite a few reasons:
- Wood shavings are inexpensive
- It is easy to sweep them out of a guinea pig cage and throw them out once they are used
- Wood shavings are biodegradable
- They are very good at absorbing guinea pig urine
- Wood shavings make a comfortable bed for your guinea pig
You will find that a number of pet stores can supply you with wood shavings guinea pig bedding these days for a reasonable price. Usually bags of wood shavings will be clearly marked as being biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Another good thing about using wood shavings for bedding is that it is really easy to use. So why would you want to go with any other type of bedding for your guinea pig cage? Well there are dangers to the health of your guinea pig from some wood shavings.
You need to avoid using pine or cedar wood shavings. Although both of these do a great job with controlling the odor from guinea pig urine they can cause severe health problems for cavies and you need to do everything you can to protect your guinea pig.
Pine and cedar wood shavings can be very irritating for guinea pigs. They can cause severe respiratory problems and can also be responsible for allergies that lead to chronic problems with the skin. Sometimes you will find aromatic oils used with pine and cedar shavings to kill insects. These oils can cause your guinea pig to suffer liver damage.
So the bottom line here is never use pine or cedar wood shavings as guinea pig bedding.
So if you want to use wood shavings for guinea pig bedding make sure that the shavings are from hardwood. One of the best solutions for guinea pig bedding is apsen shavings. These can be expensive and sometimes the absorption properties are questionable.
Aspen shavings have the following qualities:
- They are non toxic
- They do not contain any chemicals
- They are environmentally friendly
- They do not create dust
- They do not have a scent
Aspen shavings are a good choice if you want to go for wood shavings bedding but be aware that they are not that absorbent so odor control will be quite a challenge. You will need to change the shavings very often if you don’t want a stinky guinea pig cage.
I recommend you >> Kaytee Aspen Bedding on Amazon
The final type of guinea pig bedding that we will discuss is fleece bedding. This is fairly new but it is now the “go to” bedding material for guinea pig owners for a lot of good reasons which we will explain here.
The first good thing to say about fleece bedding is that your guinea pig will find it to be very soft and comfortable. They will really like walking around and sleeping on fleece bedding. It is easy to create fleece bedding yourself by just purchasing the material and cutting it to size.
You can also purchase fleece bedding for guinea pigs. We highly recommend that you have more than one fleece available. This is because you can wash out the fleece and while you are doing that just put a clean fleece into the guinea pig cage.
You can reuse fleece bedding over and over again. This is great for the environment as you will not be throwing fleeces away on a regular basis. This is also very cost effective for you as you won’t have to buy fleece bedding many times. It can really work out cheaper in the long run than other kinds of guinea pig bedding.
Fleece bedding will not absorb guinea pig urine like paper and wood shavings will. It works in a completely different way. When a guinea pig urinates on a fleece the urine will actually soak through keeping the fleece dry.
When you use fleece bedding you need an absorbent layer directly underneath it to soak everything up. You can use paper for this but we recommend using a towel or even puppy pads to absorb the urine.
As an alternative you can purchase fleece that has three different layers. The first layer is the soft and cozy material which your guinea pigs will love to walk and sleep on. The second layer is absorbent cotton and the final layer is completely waterproof.
One thing that you need to be aware of with fleece bedding is that you will need to perform “spot cleaning” to remove the hard waste every day and wash the fleece at least once a week. This is very important for the health of your guinea pig and will stop odors developing.
Washing a fleece is pretty easy. First you need to remove any visible waste from it and then you can put it into the washing machine. You can air dry the fleece or use a dryer with gentle heat. Always have at least one other fleece available as a replacement in the guinea pig cage while you are washing the other one.
I wrote more on What Is The Best Fleece Cage Liner here.
GuineaDad Fleece Cage Liner 2.0 is the best one I like.
High quality patterned fleece with perfect blend of bamboo, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti microbial. It’s always soft and dry against your guinea pig feet and skin. Easy to clean and machine washable.