An Update on How To Find The Right Pet Bedding
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. He apparently thought I knew what dioxins are.
Of course I do. Heck, I’ve known that ever since I looked it up on the National Institutes of Health web site a few minutes ago. They’re 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.
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.