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Having the right bedding for guinea pigs comes down to so much more than simply picking up the first item you see on the shelves. There’s a range of guinea pig bedding options out there, all with their own benefits and drawbacks, depending on a range of different variants. Whether you have an outdoor hutch and running area, or an indoor cage with multiple guinea pigs, all of these factors can make a very big different in the guinea pig bedding you should purchase.
Below, we take a look at all the different guinea pig bedding ideas that have come about through years of experience. No matter what your bed for guinea pigs looks like, we’ve got you covered with our complete buying guide, FAQ’s and – of course – our Top Picks in the bedding world.
Coming up as our Top Pick is this highly rated option which has gained the addition of being an “Amazon Choice” thanks to the value for money it presents. With a high level of absorption, and therefore fantastic at controlling odors, this guinea pig bedding is ideal for both indoor and outdoor guinea pig beds.
Being made with natural bamboo fiber, these liners are naturally antibacterial and are therefore fantastic for preventing common diseases like bumblefoot and urinary infections. With an added pocket in this guinea pig fleece bedding, to fulfil the natural burrowing instinct, this is a washable, renewable option that puts guinea pigs first.
Extremely absorbent and very soft, this guinea pig bedding from Kaytee is another great choice for your small pet. 99.9% dust-free and fluffy enough for your guinea pig to burrow to their hearts content, this is a fantastic choice if you need quality guinea pig bedding options at a low price. Being so soft, you may need to use a little more than usual here, but it still provides fantastic longevity in your hutch.
Another fantastic choice, this paper bedding for guinea pigs has been made from natural, unbleached paper to make a soft and absorbent bedding for your pet. Each bag can expand to up to 3 times its usual size, giving you plenty of leeway for cleaning and being a great way to let you know when it’s time to clear out the hutch.
Made entirely from recycled paper, this option is a great mid-choice for those torn between granules and paper bedding for guinea pigs. It’s completely biodegradable and can even be placed with the compost. Just look for signs that your hutch needs cleaning by noting when the bedding begins to crumble and break down. With low dust levels to boot, this is a great choice as an environmentally-friendly bedding for guinea pigs.
For those who prefer the traditional wood shavings for guinea pigs bedding, this is probably the best option on the market, for you. Made from logs over potentially dangerous fibers, there are no additives or bleaches used with this guinea pig bedding, making it much safer than some alternatives on the market. It also has the added benefit of being recyclable and compostable, too.
Another great choice from Kaytee is this granule blend bedding for small pets. Made from wood and compacted to naturally mimic the grainy texture of some habitats, this guinea pig bedding remains relatively dust-free and easy to use. Because it’s so compact, you’ll get great coverage from one bag and the granules themselves are highly absorbent, too.
Another great option in guinea pig fleece bedding is this liner from Piggy Bedspreads. The eye-catching design hides the wick-away fabric, allowing your guinea pig to remain dry, even after urinating. With no dust and no mess, you can use this lining under another bedding for guinea pigs, or simply use it on it’s own. Remember to clear away droppings and you can wash this fleece one a week for a healthy, hygienic cage.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Bedding for Guinea Pigs
This is probably one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your guinea pig bedding options, because poor hygiene can result in a lot of problems for guinea pigs. Whether it’s a urinary tract infection, through to injured feet and even respiratory illnesses, the hygiene should always be number one in your mind when going through guinea pig bedding ideas.
For this reason, there are two main things to consider – absorbency and dust. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to stand on a floor which is soaked with your own urine, your guinea pig won’t be too happy if they have lie in their own muck. Thus, getting an absorbent bedding for guinea pigs should be a key factor.
In terms of dust, this can be inhaled by your pet and cause problems further down the line. Luckily, there has been an increase in awareness around this, and many manufacturers now happily brag about the low dust levels produced by their product. Do be aware, however, that for both dust and absorbency, there is a natural difference apparent in the material used. We discuss this in more detail, later in the article.
Size and value
Overall, your budget will naturally determine the product you end up purchasing, but it’s always important to consider the value your budget provides. Being able to pick up a larger option which provides plenty of coverage is always a great feeling – but if that item can’t withstand much liquid, then you’ll often need to throw it away more frequently.
Similarly, you should also consider the size of your cage before buying. Especially if you’re considering a fleece bedding for guinea pigs, as this will need to cover all areas over the floor of your cage, or the wood will be left exposed and may rot. Be sure to measure your cage before buying, so you can be certain that the guinea pig bedding you buy will cover the entire area.
While you will need to purchase bedding either way, if your hutch is placed outside you should consider whether your guinea pig bedding options are warm enough for the area you live. Outdoor cages will be exposed to a greater range of temperatures, so it may be worth having a few different types of guinea pig bedding ideas in mind before buying.
Ideally, you could have one that is less likely to hold warmth in the summer, so your guinea pig can cool off in their bed, and a warmer one in winter. The latter should preferably be fluffy enough that your pet can burrow to their hearts content and make themselves and handy nook to shield themselves from the weather.
Types of Guinea Pig Beddings
Guinea pig fleece bedding is increasing in popularity, as it provides an absorbent alternative to traditional wood shavings. It’s also super easy to place and clean – just pop it down and take it out, when required. Generally, it only needs to be washed once a week, with droppings being swept out two or three times per week between washes. For this reason, it can be worth having two to hand.
Of course, there is a downside to this, as there is no way for most fleece blankets to allow for burrowing for your guinea pig, which is a natural instinct that would be denied. They can also become pretty cold if used outside, as there is no way to shield your pet from wind and rain. For this reason, we recommend combining your liner with paper bedding for guinea pigs.
Paper bedding for guinea pigs remains one of the most popular choices for small pet bedding. Due to the soft and highly absorbent nature, it is able to provide a comfortable place of rest while also holding onto liquid without issue. As well as this, it’s ideal for burrowers, as it can be manipulated by your guinea pig to meet their preferences. Some options can be a little dusty, however.
Wood shavings for guinea pigs are one of the most traditional options for guinea pig bedding due to their highly absorbent nature and how cheaply they can be bought. For this reason, they are ideal to use as a base layer around the cage. They’re also biodegradable and compostable, making it ideal for those who are environmentally conscious.
However, because they can be sourced from a variety of different trees, it’s important to consider whether or not the wood has been treated first. Some wood shavings can be laden with insecticides before being cut down which, if consumed, can cause problems with your guinea pig.
Fabric bedding for guinea pigs tend to look very similar to paper, as they can be created using all kinds of by-products from the fashion industry or similar. They are highly absorbent and exceptionally soft, making the ideal bedding for your guinea pig. Fabric can also be used for burrowing, allowing your pet to feel at home.
The main issue with fabric is the fact that it can’t be recycled and is not biodegradable. It can also be more expensive than paper or wood alternatives, as it is more expensive for the manufacturer to source.
Benefits of Using Bedding for Guinea Pig
This is a key aspect of bedding for guinea pigs. Not only does it make the floor warm for your pet by providing a layer of protection, but it can shield them from the wind and rain, if they are outdoors.
What could be better than giving your new family member a comfortable place to sleep? By using quality guinea pig bedding options, you provide added comfort for your guinea pig.
It’s no secret that guinea pigs will pee and poop wherever they feel like, so keeping their hutch clean is important, too. Most guinea pig bed substrates will be highly absorbent and keep their homes nice and clean.
Useful Tips for Managing Guinea Pig Bedding
The main things to remember when maintaining your guinea pig bedding is that they will happily pee and poop wherever they’re standing. So, regularly cleaning is a must, in order to avoid poor hygiene and the danger of illness creeping in.
However, when changing the entire cage, it can be important to leave a little bit of the bedding behind, as this will allow them to remember the smell of their home and help them to feel a little more settled.
Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs FAQ:
Q: What pet bedding should I avoid for my guinea pig?
A: Pine bedding for guinea pigs can be a hazard to their health. While the stronger smell can mask odors better than alternatives, they can be irritating to your guinea pigs skin, respiratory system and urinary tract.
Straw bedding is also to be avoided, as it is neither edible nor soft enough. Indeed, straw is often so tough that it can actually cause damage to your guinea pigs’ feet, eyes, and ears.
Q: Is fleece bedding better for guinea pigs?
A: Like many things, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to bedding for your guinea pig. If you’re struggling to decide between your guinea pig bedding options, it can be worth reading into the different materials. The pros and cons of each material are given, above.
Q: What can I substitute for guinea pig bedding?
A: If you find yourself in a tight spot, you might struggle to find a good quality guinea pig bedding to last you until you’re able to get to the shops. In these cases, there’s no harm in shredding up some newspaper in the meantime. However, you should be aware that guinea pigs like to eat their bedding, so it’s not really suitable for long-term use.
Q: Can I use hay for guinea pig bedding?
A: You can absolutely use hay for guinea pig bedding. There are, however, a few things you need to be aware of before using this. The hay you use as bedding for your guinea pig will need to be soft – and definitely avoid straw, which can be harmful to guinea pigs. You should also ensure that the hay has been extracted of dust, before using it, as this can cause damage to the respiratory system of your pet. Finally, ensure that the hay is suitable for feeding, too – as your guinea pig will love to get his teeth into a snack as good as high-quality hay!
Our Top Pick
We love the Small Pet Bedding from Carefresh, because of the high-quality guinea pig bedding it provides, without a high price tag to match. Extremely soft and ideal for little burrowing creatures, this fabric-based bed for guinea pigs is also highly absorbent. Being able to contain twice as much liquid as wood shavings, it also boasts a fantastic ability to control odors – perfect for indoor hutches!