As a guinea pig owner, we know it is your highest priority to ensure that your guinea pig lives the longest and healthiest life possible. Did you know that a guinea pig cage environment plays a major role in your pet’s overall health and safety?
Guinea pigs require attentive care because they are susceptible to several diseases. You can typically avoid these issues, though, by providing a clean environment. There are two primary concerns for your guinea pig’s health: respiratory diseases and other bacterial infections.
The best way to eliminate both concerns starts with an environment lacking odors and moisture and is dust-free. These solutions are both found in a supply of the proper small animal bedding.
Unfortunately, it is upsetting to know that some small pet beddings available on the market are not ideal for the health and safety of your pet. Therefore, we recommend researching all of the available options to make the best choice when it comes to bedding for your guinea pig.
Below is an outline of the best beddings to try and the options to absolutely avoid.
Best Bedding Product Options
Fleece cage liners create a relaxing cozy bed option for your guinea pig. Layering fleece liners create a piggy bedspread that is soft, dust-free, and comfortable. Many owners opt for multiple layers to create an ultra-absorbent base for the entire floor of the cage. This option involves high upfront costs but is affordable over time when considering that you can always reuse the materials.
The downside to fleece bedding is that it requires more time and effort on your part. The cage must be spot cleaned daily, as droppings cannot be covered or absorbed. You must also wash and dry the liners frequently to keep them clean and avoid unsanitary build-ups.
In this case, it is wise to have two complete sets so that the cage is still covered when you wash one set. If you do not mind meticulous daily cleanings and extra laundry loads, fleece may be a solution for you.
Paper bedding is an option that many pet owners choose because it is readily available and easily affordable. The most crucial decision when it comes to paper bedding comes when you select a brand. Because paper bedding ranges in affordability, some brands can often be much safer options for your pet.
Paper bedding is typically very absorbent and helps to control odors. Depending on the type of paper and creation process, it can be dust-free, but many cheaper options produce more dust than others. Paper bedding can be found in shavings and pellets and is often soft and comfortable for small animals.
The downsides to paper bedding are that you may have to test many different brands to find the most suitable dust-free option for your furry friends. Also, though it is absorbent, paper can become very soggy and heavy if it becomes too soiled; this creates a sludge that is difficult to clean effectively.
Wood shavings are a great guinea pig bedding option for pets that like to burrow and play. It is imperative to select a safe wood, though, such as Aspen. Aspen bedding contains non-aromatic wood, so it keeps your pet safe from respiratory issues, unlike other types of wood. Wood shavings are often a soft bedding source, but brand and quality do matter because shavings that contain sharp edges may injure small eyes, noses, and feet.
Aspen wood shavings are an environmentally friendly option but require considerable upkeep because though they are absorbent, they do not minimize odors well. Therefore, you may have to clean the cage more often to keep unpleasant smells under control.
Italian Hemp bedding is the newest bedding option available on the market for guinea pigs. Hemp shavings are extraordinarily soft and comfortable and holding up to 4x its weight. They do not get soggy and hold moisture well. Hemp is also one of the best odor-control options on the market and efficiently reduces ammonia smells.
Ammonia is uncomfortable for the sense of smell and is also dangerous for small pets, as the gas released can cause respiratory issues. Therefore when you select an odor-control solution that is best for your nose, you are also choosing the healthiest option for your guinea friend.
A bonus to hemp bedding is that it is environmentally friendly. Hemp stalks can be grown in a few months, compared to the years it takes for trees to grow that supply wood shaving options. Hemp bedding is a high-quality animal bedding on the market due to its clean, cozy qualities and benefits owners and pets alike. If you are looking for affordable, absorbent, odor-controlling guinea pig bedding, hemp bedding is a great solution.
Bedding to Avoid
As we said above, it is a concern that many beddings marketed toward guinea pig owners are unsafe for your piggy pets. We want to help you avoid an unfortunate choice. Therefore, we have a quick guide to bedding styles that you should altogether avoid for your pet’s safety.
You would think that scented bedding would be an excellent choice for odor control, and although it may work in that regard, it is unsafe for other reasons. Pets that live in environments that are heavy in synthetic scents may suffer from respiratory infections because their senses may overload with smells and toxins. Guinea pig noses and sinuses are tiny, and filling their cage with potent sweet-smelling odors would be like living in a perfume factory.
This type of bedding also may mask odors for a moment, but the scent often just ends up mixing with elimination smells and creates an entirely different foul odor. It also lends to forgetting to clean the cage more often, which causes other types of bacterial infections. We recommend that you avoid unnaturally scented bedding at all costs.
Cedar and Pine Shavings
Many types of wood can be toxic to small pets. Among them are cedar and pine. Though cedar and pine give off natural aromas that can mask the scent of ammonia, “natural” is not always best for the health of your guinea pig. Cedar and pine shavings contain an oil that can destroy the linings of your pet’s lungs and liver, and this often leads to many infections and shorter life spans.
If you decide that wood shavings are the best option for your guinea pig, we recommend that you find a brand that explicitly labels the type of wood used.
Paper with Toxic Ink
As stated above, paper shavings and pellets are comfortable solutions that can be environmentally friendly due to their recyclability. But it is vital to select a brand or make your shavings with clean, unused, and possibly organic paper. Recycled paper, especially from newspaper sources, can often include inks that are toxic to your guinea pig. Researching to find a clean brand is always recommended when using paper shavings for guinea pig bedding.
Clumping Cat Litter
Many small pet owners choose to line cages with cat litter for its absorbent qualities. Cat litter is not altogether unsafe for your pet if done correctly. First off, it is essential to mention that cat litter should be a non-clumping variety and cannot be used alone as bedding for guinea pigs. The intention of cat litter is not for your guinea pig’s long-term habitat. Therefore, it is not a healthy option for your guinea pig to walk and lay on cat litter every day.
If you want to use cat litter in your guinea pig cage, it is best to lay a small layer underneath another substrate such as fleece or a thick layer of wood shavings. This extra layer will allow for extra absorbency but will not irritate your guinea’s skin or lungs.
Guinea Pig Hemp Bedding is Your Odor Control and Safety Solution
As pet owners ourselves, we know how important it is that you make the right choice to provide a safe and healthy environment for your guinea pig. It is our responsibility as pet-parents to provide our animals with the best quality lives that we can.
We empathize with your concern to prevent respiratory and other bacterial infections and believe your guinea pig deserves the highest quality of life. Hemp bedding is not only absorbent, odor-controlling, and comfortable but is environmentally friendly. Therefore it is an excellent option for you, your pet, and the globe.
If you have more questions about hemp bedding for your guinea pigs, we would be glad to speak with you. You can always call our office at 866.322.5989 or send us a note on our website.