In the same way humans love (and need) a comfortable place to rest and rejuvenate, so too do pet piggies. To help you make the best possible choice, we are looking at the different types of bedding for guinea pigs, along with the pros and cons of each.
We also review our top picks and tell you what kind of bedding to avoid.
Different Types of Bedding for Guinea Pigs
If you are looking for bedding for your guinea pig, the first thing you will notice is that there is quite a bit of a choice. You can choose between fleece, paper, Aspen wood and cloth bedding, or if you (and your guinea piggy) prefer, you can use a combination of two or more.
Fleece bedding for Guinea pigs
Bedding fleece, or a cage liner, is a popular choice, and it is easy to see why. Similar to the bed linen we use, this is a comfy option for your guinea pig. It is one of the more expensive choices available, but it is long-lasting, highly absorbent and most importantly, dust-free. There are loads of products available to suit every type of budget. We particularly love the self-heating fleece pads that help regulate your piggy’s temperature.
- Environmentally friendly, fleece is long-lasting and reusable
- It is cost-effective in the long run
- It is non-toxic and safe for your guinea pig
- It is odour-free and highly absorbent
- It is dust-free and hypo-allergenic
- It is a little more expensive than other types
- It needs to be washed regularly with a pet-safe detergent
- You will probably need more than one for wash days
Aspen Bedding for Guinea Pigs
Unlike pine or cedar wood shavings, aspen bedding is odourless and doesn’t contain oil, which means it won’t irritate your guinea pig’s skin. It also mimics the kind of material guinea pigs would use in the wild to build nests, so expect loads of burrowing and foraging. But it is worth keeping in mind that not all aspen bedding is created equal. Make sure you choose a product that doesn’t contain additives of any sort, and is soft, but also dry.
- Aspen shavings are non-aromatic and won’t cause skin irritations
- It is similar to what guinea pigs would use in the wild
- You should replace regularly
- It can work out more expensive in the long run
- It isn’t as absorbent as fleece or paper bedding
Cloth Bedding for Guinea Pigs
Cloth bedding is also a popular choice because it is soft, readily available and highly absorbent. And because it is home-made, it is a lot more economical than it sounds. We suggest you use cotton rather than synthetic blends. You can repurpose towels, cloths or blankets to make your guinea pig’s house feel like a home.
- It is affordable
- Cotton bedding is absorbent and can be reused
- It isn’t the best choice for burrowing so you might need to use Aspen shavings or paper as well
- It doesn’t absorb the odours and needs to be washed regularly
- You will need to remove any waste by hand
Paper bedding is hugely popular because it is highly absorbent, free from odours, affordable, and there are loads of brands to choose from.
But don’t just grab the first product you see. It is worth keeping a few things in mind when buying this particular kind of bedding. One of the first things is to make sure it doesn’t give off too much dust, as this can cause an allergic reaction. Also, the more dust in the bedding, the more difficult it is to clean.
Choose a soft paper with a high level of absorbency. Paper bedding can become smelly rather quickly, and if it gets too wet, it could become uncomfortable (and unhealthy) for your pet.
If you are changing over to paper, keep an eye on your guinea pig. If he loves his new bedding so much that he wants to eat it, opt for fleece or aspen instead.
- Paper bedding is affordable
- It is comfortable and absorbent
- It is easy to clean up and doesn’t leave a mess
- Some paper bedding brands have a lot of dust, which can result in allergies or respiratory problems (for you and your guinea pig)
- Should be cleaned regularly
Bedding for Guinea Pigs’ Buying Guide
Now you know what types of guinea pig bedding are available, we think it is a good idea to tell you what you should look for when deciding on the best one for your little guy.
Your guinea pig spends a lot of time in his cage, so one of the most important factors to consider is his comfort. Fleece, paper, aspen and cotton are all soft on little feet, and super comfortable. Some allow for foraging and burrowing, so the one you choose will depend on your guinea pig’s habits.
Your guinea pig isn’t only going to be nesting and napping on the bedding. He’s also going to be peeing and pooping on it, so you need to make sure the one you choose is absorbent. Wet or damp bedding can cause a whole lot of health issues for your pet, including bumblefoot. This is a bacterial disease that affects a guinea pig’s footpads.
Always look for bedding that is safe and non-toxic for your guinea pig. Cedar and pine can cause health issues, as can bedding with chemicals or fragrances. Also, the ink from newspapers and magazines can make your pet seriously ill if ingested.
Ideally, you want bedding that is odour-resistant. But be careful not to get a product that contains fragrances or disease-causing chemicals. Instead, go for a product that absorbs moisture well and keeps his cage dry.
While it might seem odd to be talking about temperature controlled bedding for your piggy, it is essential to keep this in mind. During the summer months, guinea pigs can overheat quickly. It is best to use aspen wood shavings or paper bedding to keep him cool, and if the temperatures soar, consider using an ice pod.
They don’t do well in cold temperatures either. If you live in an area where it is particularly severe, or the weather fluctuates quite a bit, use fleece or cotton bedding to keep him warm and cosy. Or better yet, get him a wireless heating pad.
Expensive doesn’t always mean it is the best product out there. There are some excellent bedding options available that are both budget and environmentally friendly.
We always recommend getting the best product you can afford.
Right. So now you know what types of beddings are available, their pros and cons, and what to keep in mind when deciding. It goes without saying none are perfect, and the one you finally choose will depend a lot on your personal preference, what your guinea likes and what is best for your budget.
The Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs: Our Top 3 Picks
Passionate about piggies, and their bedding, we’ve selected our top three products. Each one has been tried and tested by our panel, so you can buy with absolute confidence.
Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding
Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding is a highly absorbent and fluffy bedding choice for your pet. And the soft texture encourages loads of burrowing, just like nature intended. Because this paper bedding absorbs liquid really well, it does an excellent job controlling odours.
It is also 99% dust-free, which means you don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions for you or your guinea pig. It’s perfect during the summer months, to keep your pet cool, although we do suggest using it with a warmer bedding option in the colder months.
Carefresh Complete Natural Bedding Confetti
We love that Carefresh Complete Natural Bedding Confetti is biodegradable, so it’s not only great for your guinea, it’s also good for the environment. Made from wood fibres, the confetti controls unpleasant odours and is pillowy soft.
Best of all, it absorbs liquids really well, so no more soggy bottoms (of cages). Carefresh Confetti is an affordable option, and it only needs to be replaced every 10 days.
GuineaDad Guinea Pig Fleece Cage Liner
For the ultimate in quality and luxury, you won’t go wrong with GuineaDad Guinea Pig Fleece Cage Liner. The liner is made using a blend of bamboo fibre, which is odour-resistant (✔️), anti-bacterial (✔️) and super-absorbent (✔️) and while it costs more than some of the other products reviewed here, it is reusable.
We like that it has a waterproof backing, so there is very little chance of liquid seeping through, and it is easy to clean. This is a great product that has guinea pigs popcorning like crazy.
Types of Guinea Pig Bedding to Avoid
Your cavy spends a lot of time in, on and around his bedding, so you want to make sure it is safe, non-toxic and absorbent.
We mentioned earlier that not all bedding for guinea pigs is created equal, and to keep your pet happy and healthy. In the same way, you need to know which types should be used; you also need to be aware of the products that should be avoided at all costs.
Pine or Cedar Shavings
While aspen shavings are a good choice of bedding for your buddy, certain other wood shavings aren’t. Cedar and pine wood bedding may have a pleasant smell that disguises your piggy’s odours, but the aromatic oils, or phenols, found in these products can cause severe allergic reactions, respiratory problems as well as liver damage.
Corn Cob Bedding
Yup, you read that correctly. Corn cob bedding is available, but it is really not suitable for guinea pigs. The small pellets are susceptible to mould and can get stuck in your guinea pig’s genital or anal area. And if ingested, they can cause an intestinal blockage. In our opinion, it is best to avoid this bedding as the cons far outweigh the pros.
People often mistake straw and hay, but when it comes to guinea pigs, there’s a huge difference. Hay is good for your pet, especially timothy hay, but straw, not so much. Firstly, straw doesn’t absorb the liquid or ammonia from your guinea pig’s wee or poo, so his cage is going to get smelly, wet and very unhygienic, quickly. Also, straw is particularly hard and doesn’t make for a comfortable bed. But worse than that, is it can splinter, and the sharp bits can injure your piggy’s nose, ears or eyes.
While cat litter might seem like a good idea, it isn’t. In the same way, pine and cedar contain chemicals to neutralize any odours, so too does kitty litter. These can cause severe allergic reactions, skin irritations and respiratory problems for your guinea pig. The texture also makes it uncomfortable as a bedding option, and clumps of litter can get caught in your pet’s fur.
Being a responsible guinea pig owner means looking after your pet as best you can, and providing him with all the essentials, including comfortable bedding that is safe and does what it needs to. If you aren’t sure which bedding your piggy likes, it might be worth trying out the different types. Or better yet, give him different options in his cage, hutch and play area.
Does your guinea pig have a favourite type of bedding? Tell us about it in the comments below. And if you think we’ve missed anything out, let us know. We’d be happy to review other products or include a helpful tip.