One of the first things to do when you get your new guinea pig is to provide clean, cozy bedding for its enclosure.
There are many options, from commercial bedding to alternative bedding.
The type you choose can make a difference in your cavy’s health and your wallet!
Using shredded paper from junk mail, old newspapers or recycled paper is an affordable or even free option for bedding for guinea pigs. As long as it is recycled or reused, shredded paper is a sustainable way to care for your pet and is easy to clean up as it clumps together when wet.
Piggies also like to play and burrow in shredded paper.
While it is an acceptable bedding, shredded paper can have its downsides, too.
Shredded paper bedding can develop an odor quickly, be saturated quickly, and have dangerous ink.
Although most ink is safe for your pet bedding, such as the soy inks used in newspapers, some are toxic to your pet.
Read on for more information about options for bedding alternatives for your guinea pig cage.
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Advantages of Using Shredded Paper For Guinea Pigs
Whether you get the local newspaper and shred it, shred grocery bags, recycle plain paper, or shred your bills, shredded paper is easy to acquire.
This kind of homemade guinea pig bedding is more affordable than commercial brands of paper bedding.
Guinea pigs love to rustle around in the shredded newspaper and make burrows.
Using recycled paper bedding repurposes your old paper and is compostable, making it a sustainable choice.
Commercial shredded paper bedding is available, although it often comes with scents that may bother your pet’s respiratory system or skin.
Commercial shredded paper is an absorbent and insulating guinea pig bedding.
Many people line their guinea pig’s cage with newspaper and then put in a bedding layer.
Make sure you have enough for your pet by checking out our article how much bedding your guinea pig needs.
Disadvantages of Using Shredded Paper For Guinea Pigs
Shredded paper can only absorb so much wetness from urine or a leaky water bottle before it becomes a clumped mat that sticks to the bottom of the cage.
The shredded paper doesn’t combat odor like some bedding does and quickly becomes stinky.
The shredded paper needs to be replaced more frequently than other types of litter.
Keeping your piggy’s cage clean and dry is important because a dirty cage is a breeding ground for health problems.
Any part of your piggy touching the soiled shredded paper can get wet and dirty, leading to a very unhappy and unhygienic pet.
If dirty bedding is not changed often, dirt and moisture can collect on the cage bottom and cause an infection in your piggy’s feet called bumblefoot.
Sometimes your pet will choose to chew or eat the litter, making them sick.
Overeating paper can block their digestive system, which makes for a costly vet bill!
Shredded paper bits can escape the cage area and make a mess, although this is true of most beddings.
Other Guinea Pig Bedding Options
Empty shipping boxes torn up into small pieces can make an absorbent bedding option for your guinea pig.
Some people tear up cardboard tubes for disposable bedding.
As with shredded paper, guinea pigs like to chew on cardboard, so it must be free of toxic inks.
Again, if there is a strong odor, shredded cardboard will not do anything to freshen it up.
Do not cut the cardboard with a knife or scissors, as this will create sharp edges with the potential to hurt your pet.
Using fleece for bedding can make a soft, warm liner for your pet’s cage and is a nice disposable bedding alternative.
Repurposing an old fleece blanket is economical; using a commercial fleece liner is a more expensive bedding option.
Fleece pads like these on Amazon are absorbent and washable and reduce disposable bedding costs.
A fleece liner must be washed without fabric softeners or dryer sheets as they make the fabric liquid-resistant, and urine will just pool.
Fleece beddings as cage liners for your guinea pig cage are economical over the long run and help you keep a clean cage.
Fleece liners have become a trendy guinea pig bedding substitute.
Check out our complete list of guinea pig bedding alternatives you already have in your home.
Straw is a very common, economical bedding for farm animals and is warm.
Straw is the dried-out stalks of plants and makes good nests.
Piggies like to burrow in straw.
Straw is an eco-friendly and compostable bedding choice.
Hay has the same characteristics as straw but usually costs more and is a little messier.
Hay is cut while still a live plant, so it has some moisture in it already and can mold easily, which is unhealthy for you and your pet.
Straw and hay make a nice natural litter.
I prefer hay as feed and straw as litter, so my pet does not mistake soiled bedding for food.
Non-aromatic wood shavings such as aspen
Pine and cedar shavings make aromatic, absorbent bedding but can irritate your piggy’s respiratory system.
Pine and cedar bedding can irritate the skin on your pet’s feet.
It is better to use non-aromatic wood shaving such as aspen.
Aspen shavings are warm and absorbent and make for fresh bedding.
Care Fresh (see it on Amazon), commercial bedding, is made from reclaimed natural wood and paper fiber and has never been chemically treated.
This makes absorbent, fluffy bedding.
Hemp is a terrific, moisture-wicking guinea pig disposable bedding.
Hemp bedding can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture.
This nearly perfect, low dust litter is also sustainable.
Materials Not To Use For Guinea Pig Bedding
Aromatic wood shavings such as pine, cedar, eucalyptus, and redwood are harsh on your pet’s respiratory system and skin and are not safe bedding.
Sawdust is too dusty to use and will cause respiratory problems, along with the probability the wood it comes from has been chemically treated.
Some fabrics can cause health problems, especially if ingested.