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An Update on How To Find The Right Pet Bedding

Updated on October 22, 2017
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.


The Sequel

The fun of writing hubs is sharing information with readers and helping them broaden their knowledge of the world in which they spend much of their time, be it the pet world, sports world or some other area of interest. Anytime I can enhance the information I’ve already shared, I’ll jump at the chance.

Just such an opportunity presented itself shortly after I published the hub in the form of an email from Rich Whiting, Vice President for Equine, Pet and Pellet Sales and Marketing at American Wood Fibers, which just happens to be America’s largest manufacturer of animal bedding.

I reported that studies have shown increased liver enzyme activity in animals housed in cedar, but Whiting pointed out that there’s more to that story.

“The studies most often cited regarding increased liver enzyme activity after exposure to the aromatic hydrocarbons in pine and cedar also show that, in and of themselves, the elevated levels are not indicative of disease, decreased quality of life or increased mortality.

They are simply a reaction to the hydrocarbons which, notably, can also occur when the animals are exposed to such innocuous environmental factors as citrus fruits (which are routinely recommended as dietary additives, especially for Guinea pigs).”

Nice catch, Rich, I should have dug a little deeper; maybe that information appeared in the data I was reading, somewhere beyond the point at which my eyes glazed over.

I pointed out that paper bedding made from recycled newspaper is non-toxic, and Whiting added this important information: “However, there are small pet paper bedding products that are on the market produced with fibers that are collected from pulp mill sewage systems.

These “sludge-based” beddings – often labeled “reclaimed pulp” or “reclaimed cellulose” – are made using solids that are discharged from pulp mill sewage systems.”

He added that his own company stopped making small pet bedding from reclaimed paper pulp fiber because tests showed detectable levels of dioxins in the fiber.

Dioxins are a class of chemical contaminants that are formed during combustion processes such as waste incineration as well as during some industrial processes such as paper pulp bleaching and herbicide manufacturing.

Note the feline acne on this cat's chin
Note the feline acne on this cat's chin | Source

Dioxins can cause a condition known as chloracne, a skin disease that causes severe acne-like pimples, and there’s an increased cancer risk to chemical workers who are exposed to high levels of dioxins.

But Whiting painted a silver lining on that cloud, saying that there are a number of recently introduced, “sludge-free” products available that have tested free of dioxins.

When shopping for paper-based bedding for your pocket pet look for reclaimed pulp or reclaimed cellulose on the label. If you see it, I’d look for an alternative.

If the label doesn’t satisfy your concern, there’s usually an 800 number or web address on the packaging and the prudent advice would be to use them.

Thanks, Rich Whiting, I appreciate the additional information. It will help pet owners be better able to make informed choices regarding the bedding options that are out there.

© 2012 Bob Bamberg


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    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      You're welcome, TravelAbout, I'll be curious as to what you think about the treats.

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States

      I have not heard of that brand but I will check at the larger pet stores! Thanks Bob.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      The product is Dogswell. I don't think they make their food over there, just the treats. When I owned a store it was one of my best selling products. I mounted pictures of the interior of their plant on the display rack and had a flyer that customers could read that explained some of their procedures.

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States


      Would you not mind sharing which company you speak of? I have three dogs and I make my own dog food (wet) and buy holistic premium kibble to give them with their wet food. I am always interested to find safe products to give them. I appreciate your sharing this information :)

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      I agree that we should be careful about consumable coming from China. There is one exception I know of, though. It's a high end pet food and treat manufacturer that has their own plant in China and they have very rigid and demanding standards. They employ local citizens but it is managed by their own personnel and all the raw materials they use go through extensive testing before they're admitted to the plant. I trust their products. Thanks for commenting, TravelAbout, nice chatting with you.

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks Bob. You never know now a days...look at the infant formula that killed several babies. Most of the goods containing toxic agents are things that have come from China. I'm not sure about the dog food though, the recall, I believe, were American companies. I know that the jerky sticks that were making dogs sick were made in China.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Thanks for stopping by, TravelAbout, I'm glad you found the info useful.

      There have been some recent recalls of foods that weren't even tainted, but out of "an abundance of caution" (a new industry buzz phrase) a lot of manufacturers are pulling product for safety's sake and to build up consumer confidence.

      There was one facility recently that had salmonella show up in one of the brands it was packaging. Some other brands that used that facility pulled their products that were produced in the same time frame even though nothing showed up in their foods. Pet foods and treats are produced under the most stringent conditions to date. Most have guidelines stricter than government requirements. That's a good thing.

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States

      Really useful information. I know that they have recalled a number of pet food products because dogs were getting very ill and there was found to be toxic substances used. Thanks for sharing!


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