Guinea Pig Bedding
Guinea Pig Bedding Options
More on Guinea Pig Care
This hubpage is an excerpt from my new book The Real Guide to Guinea Pig Care, where you can find all the information you need to provide your guinea pig a happy and energetic long life. I hope you enjoy.
Guinea Pig Bedding Options
Choosing the best bedding for your guinea pig, has a lot to do with money, time, smell, and most importantly your pet's health. A variety of bedding options are available and based on my own experience you can see what will work best for your guinea pig.
Most of the time Pet stores will encourage you to get whatever fits your budget, they assume that just because a guinea pig is on a package that it is safe for them. Unfortunately this is misleading and can cause the pig and the new owners all sorts of problems.
Instead, doing your own due diligence will allow you to find something that works for you and your new pet.
Black Guinea Pig on Wood Shavings
Wood Shavings- Most Popular Guinea Pig Bedding
The most common and often considered the most cost effective guinea pig bedding seems to be wood shavings. While wood shavings of a particular kind can work very well, there are two that come with stern warnings.
Aspen Shavings- This is the safest and still cost effective shavings option. While it may be a tad uncomfortable on their feet, it can be used successfully for their entire lives, they get used to it very quickly. The cost is more than the other shavings option, but the only one that is completely healthy for the guinea pigs. I was able to buy this for $11. We had four cages at the time and were able to use it for a month.
Pine Shavings- This is not as safe as Aspen, but is far more cost effective. A friend is able to buy about double what I would get with Aspen, at half of the cost. She did say that the pieces are very large, and that seems to be annoying so she is going to try a different, possibly more expensive Pine. This is the most common bedding I should say for guinea pigs. Many people use it the whole time they have pigs with no problems. However there is a bit more smell, and the fumes off the pine can cause respiratory problems for the pigs, just like cedar can. Try to avoid using this if at all possible, it is not recommended. A safe pine shavings product is one that is kiln dried.
Cedar Shavings- Should NEVER be used with guinea pigs. It can be lethal for them, and can cause all sorts of health problems from respiratory to skin issues and liver problems from the fumes that come off the cedar shavings. While it is the cheapest, again it should NEVER be used with guinea pigs. We got a pig that had been on it for awhile and she was covered in a skin issue and was sneezing all the time. We weren't sure if she was sick or not, but within a week on our normal bedding (fleece) she was as good as new. Their living conditions make a huge difference.
Cedar Shavings are Not for Guinea Pigs
CareFresh, Yesterday's News, & Soft Sorbent for Guinea Pigs
Carefresh is recycled newspaper that is then shredded (and cleaned) then packaged for cage use. This is nice and soft on the pig's feet. I found it to be a bit expensive. With four cages we went through $20 of Carefresh each week when changing. If you have one pig, this will work fine, but if you have more you might want to find something more cost effective. I did like how soft it was, no smells from the pigs, and it didn't get all over like some things do. I didn't like the dust, and while it says low dust it was enough to bother my crazy nose.
Yesterday's News- a cat litter that can also be used for guinea pig cages. It is more costly, but can be purchased in bulk. Will get all over the place from running pigs so it will require sweeping daily.
Soft Sorbent- I loved using this when we first got the guinea pigs but after awhile it was a pain. While it is nice and non-smelly, it got ALL OVER the place. Our cages have about 4-5 inches on each side but the piggies were still able to kick it all over. Not only that but when we pulled them out they had it on them as well. They liked it, because it wasn't hard, but it was still costly. What is nice is that you can buy it with scents in it, to further keep the pigs smelling good.
Video on Guinea Pig Bedding
Guinea Pig Bedding Products
Commonly used and cost effective for one or two pigs.
A Guinea Pig Loves Hay
Guinea Pigs and Hay or Timothy Hay
Guinea pigs love hay, they love to eat it, hide in it, frolic in it. They NEED it! Some times people think because the guinea pigs need hay, they can live in it. I think it's mostly a matter of perspective. While they do like to run and borrow through it, it isn't the best to fight smell, it isn't absorbent for bedding and should be changed much more often than once a week. It loses it's freshness very quickly.
But like I said, they do NEED it. They need to eat Timothy Hay specifically, and they have to have it available all of the time, unlimited amounts. They need it for their diets and it is available at all pet stores.
However, the best place to get it is a local farm if they sell it, put a post on Craigslist or search on Craigslist for timothy hay. It will make a huge difference in price.
So, yes, use hay, but not as bedding, use it for their entertainment, and purchase timothy hay for their diets.
What to Never Use as Guinea Pig Bedding
More Products You Should Not Use
Wood Chips- These are far too big and hard for guinea pigs. They can cause hard to their eyes, feet, etc. It also depends on the kind of chips they are, if they are pine, cedar, aspen, as discussed above only aspen is acceptable. But still in this size Wood chips are not a good option.
Sawdust- These pieces are too small and can be inhaled by the guinea pigs. This causes a lot of problems for their respiratory systems and may kill them. Never use Sawdust for guinea pig bedding.
Corn Kob- Should not be used as bedding or food for guinea pigs. As bedding it molds very quickly and gets stuck to other objects. As food it isn't digested well and can expand in their digestive tract causing blockages that can be life threatening.
*Health Alert* Guinea pigs are animals of prey and for this reason they do not show many signs, if any at all, when they are sick. Your pig could be very ill without you even noticing, you must keep a daily check on their health, and watch how they behave, eat, drink, etc.
My Favorite Bedding for Guinea Pigs- Fleece
Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs
We use fleece for our guinea pig rescue. Ever since the first time we put it in for the first time the pigs have loved it. But we have learned some things about it, along the way.
Buy the fleece and wash it multiple times before you use it in the cage. You absolutely must do this. Then get a bunch of towels you don't need any longer. You probably won't want to use them again after you start using them for poo and pee :)
Another suggestion I found was to put old newspaper down as well. So lay the newspaper on the bottom of the cage, 2 layers. Add towels, another 2 layers. The towels fold over in corners and such, and that is where the pigs will relieve themselves most of the time (corners and sides). What I do is just use two towels and double layer the corners and sides.
Lastly, you add the fleece on top of the other layers, if you can use 2 layers of fleece this will work best, especially for the moisture and scent.
Literally you will see a huge difference by following these suggestions, and the pigs will popcorn all over the place their first time in there.
Guinea Pigs Popcorning
Great Guinea Pig Resources
- CNY Piggies Rescue- Educating about proper pig care.
A central NY run guinea pig rescue
- Guinea Pig Education, Care, Rescue and Adoption at Cavy Spirit
Guinea pig rescue and adoption in Northern California. Info on care, sexing, pet stores, cages, neutering, introductions, breeding, vets, surrendering, and more. We have fun cartoons, movies, graphics, polls, photo albums, and more.
- Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig
A comprehensive medical guide for the care of guinea pigs. With the right food and care, your guinea pig can live a long and healthy life.
- Guinea Pig Welfare. Your Guinea Pigs, Their Life.