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Best bedding for guinea pigs

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Let’s help you find the best bedding for your guinea pigs.

The different types of bedding for these small pets can confuse the heck out of anyone. We’ve narrowed the list down to the 7 best guinea pig bedding options. The pros and cons of each are all laid out on the table. Read on and learn how to make the absolute best choice for the best guinea pigs in the world—YOURS!

BEDDING FOR GUINEA PIGS MUST MEET YOUR GUINEA PIGS’ KEY NEEDS

Knowing why you’re buying will make knowing what guinea pig bedding to buy so much easier.

Guinea pigs need a clean and comfortable space

Having the proper guinea pig bedding is absolutely necessary for your guinea pig’s well-being.
Most cavy pens are metal, so we put liners at the bottom of our guinea pig habitats to make the space more comfortable. The type of liner you use plays a very important part in your pet’s quality of life.

Guinea pigs like to run hot

A guinea pig’s body temperature is naturally high, and they like to keep it that way. They cannot tolerate sudden temperature changes.
Decent bedding for guinea pigs should protect well from swings in temperature.

Guinea pigs love to burrow

Guinea pigs are natural prey in the wild. When stressed, they instinctively look for hiding places that make them feel safe. They need guinea pig bedding due to this.

Guinea pigs make messes… constantly

The best guinea pig bedding is one that can collect urine and other wet substances efficiently. This is one of the most important functions of a cage liner. Any bedding worth its salt must deliver.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR THE BEST BEDDING FOR GUINEA PIGS

Keep these in mind during your search for bedding for guinea pigs.

Comfort

Guinea pig bedding should feel nice and comfy. Each guinea pig should be able to rest easy and play happily.

Time requirements

Various guinea pig bedding options will require differing amounts of your time. Think hard about how much time you can afford to clean the pen.

Cost

Different types of guinea pig bedding options incur different costs, both upfront and recurrent.

Environmental impact

Is your bedding for your guinea pig biodegradable and compostable? Are there toxic chemicals that may be in your cage liner?

Hygiene

The best bedding for guinea pigs will feature a highly absorbent layer. It needs to catch pet pee to prevent bacterial and viral infections from spreading. Good absorbency will also minimize stink problems.

Safety

Guinea pig bedding must be non-toxic. Other safety issues include the likelihood of bacterial contamination.

3 MAIN BEDDING CATEGORIES

Let’s take a quick look at the different types of guinea pig bedding options — paper, fleece, or wood. Each has its pros and cons.

Paper Bedding

Guinea pigs’ beddings made of paper are comfortable, highly absorbent, and good at odor control. The quality of different paper bedding brands varies, though. It requires a lot of guesswork before you land the jackpot. Another big con is the amount of dust involved with paper bedding. Problems with your guinea pig’s respiratory system are likely to crop up with poor quality paper bedding. On rare occasions, guinea pig ingestion of paper bedding has led to serious health issues or even death.

Fleece Bedding

Using fleece bedding for guinea pigs is still a novel idea. However, fleece is fast gaining a huge following. And for good reason. This type of bedding for guinea pigs is ultra-soft. It has a highly absorbent layer that makes it extra efficient in catching your guinea pig’s wet waste. A tremendous advantage of fleece-type bedding for guinea pigs is their reusability. They are washable, and that makes fleece liners cost-effective and eco-friendly. Being dust-free is another big plus. The downside to guinea pig fleece bedding is you’ll have to wash and thoroughly dry them before each reinsertion.

Wood Bedding

Studies show pine and cedar shavings are unsafe and are now off the market. They contain phenols and oils that are health hazards to guinea pigs and other small animals. Aspen wood shavings are the only and best guinea pig wood-origin option today. It’s completely safe and vet recommended. Aspen shavings are dust-free and odorless, unlike pine and cedar, which emit odors that may irritate our beloved guinea pets. A disadvantage to using aspen shavings is it doesn’t provide much odor management. It requires more often cleaning because of this.

TOP 7 BEST BEDDINGS FOR YOUR GUINEA PIGS

We’ve combed the market and picked the best of the best guinea pig bedding options. This list should narrow down your choices immensely and help you pick the best guinea pig cage liner for you and your pets. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons for each finalist.

Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs

GuineaDad Fleece Cage Liner

If you’re one to indulge your pet, this guinea pig fleece liner has your name on it. GuineaDad liners have layers of plush, luxurious fleece with thick padding in between. This makes this type of bedding more like soft mattresses than liners.
Since they are washable, GuineaDad Fleece Liners are the most cost-effective among guinea pigs’ bedding choices. Not having to throw them out after each use also makes them good for the environment.
GuineaDad Fleece Liners come with full-sized pockets where the little piggies can burrow to their heart’s content.

PROS

  • Super comfy. Guinea pigs feel cozy and warm all day.
  • No recurrent costs. No need to throw it away after every use.
  • Durable. The liners have natural bamboo fiber inserts that make them resistant to wear and tear.
  • Dust-free. It won’t cause allergies and respiratory system issues often caused by dust.
  • Eco-friendly. Made of sustainable materials.
  • Safe. Unlike guinea pig bedding made of other materials, fleece won’t cause obesity, liver problems, or respiratory problems.
  • Built-in burrowing pocket. Caters to your guinea pig’s instinct to burrow.
  • Highly absorbent. Highly efficient in collecting pee.
  • Prevents the spread of bacteria.
  • Time saver. Wash. Dry. Reuse. Involves minimal cage cleaning.

CONS

  • Needs to be washed often. Letting the guinea pig bedding soaked with pet pee makes it harder to clean and may stain and stink up your washer.
  • Requires 2 sets. Since it needs to dry thoroughly before reinsertion, we recommend an extra set. This ensures you can line your guinea pig’s home at all times.

Check Amazon For Availability

Small Pets and Company Guinea Pig Bedding Fleece Liner

Made entirely in the US, all Small Pets and Company products go through strict quality controls and use only the best materials. If you’re particular about the provenance of your purchases, you can rest easy if you choose to go with this product.
Their absorbent bedding for guinea pigs is larger than standard-sized enclosures. This ensures complete protection from pet messes and allows for shrinkage in the wash.
The highly absorbent middle layer eliminates odor and keeps the area dry.

PROS

  • High quality. Years of commitment to high-quality products have earned Small Pets and Company quite the trusted reputation.
  • Perfect fit. They use fleece sized a little bigger than standard sizes to ensure effective waste containment.
  • Convenient. Machine washable. No scraping for droppings. Saves you time.
  • Comes in 2 sizes. Made to fit Midwest (24 x 48 inches) and C&C (24 x 18 inches) pens.
  • No recurrent costs. The guinea pig fleece bedding is reusable after each round in the washer.
  • Excellent odor control. Ultra-absorbency ensures the fleece liner minimizes odor as much as possible.

CONS

  • Pre-washing required. You’ll need to wash it once or twice before the first use.
  • Requires 2 sets. You’ll need an extra liner for when the other one is in the wash.
  • Daily clean-up recommended. The manufacturer recommends sweeping once a day and washing every 5 days.

Check Amazon For Availability

Aspen Beddings

Kaytee All-Natural Aspen Bedding

If your guinea pig is allergic to paper bedding, this can be a suitable substitute. Kaytee All Natural Aspen Bedding is from 100% clean and filtered aspen shavings. It has no additives, so it’s ideal if your pet has sensitive skin.
Aspen beddings offer great temperature regulation. It protects your pigs from fluctuations in temperature, especially if they live outdoors.
It’s unscented and specially treated to be dust-free. You can rest easy that your pigs won’t get respiratory issues.

PROS

  • Easy to clean. It stays in place and does not track all over the place.
  • Good odor control. This brand goes against the grain and provides good odor control.
  • Cheaper. It’s relatively more affordable compared to other brands of natural paper bedding.
  • Soft. Pet comfort level is pretty decent.
  • Non-toxic. There are no added harmful chemicals that may cause health issues in your pet.
  • Scent-free. No irritating smell.
  • Good insulation. It offers excellent protection from sudden temperature swings, which can be harmful to your pet.
  • Hypoallergenic. Non-irritating to sensitive skin.

CONS

  • Costs add up. Though initial cash outlay is low, costs can slowly add up over time as the guinea pig bedding needs to be replaced weekly.
  • Might get mites. Since it’s made of wood shavings, there’s a possibility of mite infestation. Freezing the guinea pig bedding before use can help take care of this potential problem.
  • Not as absorbent. Paper and fleece alternatives offer better absorbency.

Check Amazon For Availability

Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding

Patriots, here’s another product to celebrate. Made in the USA so strict quality control is a given.
Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding is a hybrid of two guinea pig bedding types. It’s technically paper but made of 100% aspen, so you get the best of both worlds. There’s less dust to deal with since it’s made of aspen, and it’s super absorbent since the bedding is from natural paper.
Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding is from 100% unbleached virgin pulp with no added dyes or other chemicals. It’s guaranteed to be non-irritating to your guinea pig.

PROS

  • Made in the USA. This bedding has undergone strict quality control measures.
  • Comfortable. The material is super soft and non-irritating to your pig’s delicate feet.
  • 100% natural. Made of virgin aspen pulp. No harmful chemicals. No additives.
  • Super-absorbent. Pee collection will never be a problem.

CONS

  • Misleading package labeling. The bedding comes vacuum packed, which is not a problem on its own. The thing is, it does not expand as much as advertised, so you might get less area coverage than you expect.
  • Not dust-free. The manufacturer says it’s less dusty, but there’s still a bit of dust present. So if you’re worried about your guinea pig’s respiratory health, it’s something to consider.
  • Stays damp. It stays damp for a long time and might become a breeding ground for bacterial and viral elements.

Check Amazon For Availability

Paper Beddings

Kaytee Clean Cozy & White Small Animal Bedding

Most people prefer paper bedding due to its high absorbency. The Kaytee Clean Cozy & White Small Animal Bedding won’t disappoint. It absorbs up to six times its weight in liquid! Let that fun fact sink in for a bit. Compared to wood shavings, it is twice as effective.
Also, this paper bedding provides excellent odor control, so if you’re sensitive to strong smells, this bedding should be in the running.
To top it all, it’s so soft, this amazing bedding paper encourages your guinea pigs to burrow.

PROS

  • Ultra-high absorbency. This is the most compelling feature of this bedding. It takes care of messes effectively.
  • Say bye to bad odor. High absorbency also translates to excellent odor control.
  • Extra soft material. Provides maximum guinea pig comfort and a sense of security. It expands a lot, so there’s more area covered.
  • 99% dust-free. Makes for a cleaner habitat with less dust that tracks or flies around.
  • Money-back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, it comes with a pretty straightforward return policy.
  • Easy to clean. Since it’s white, it’s easier to separate the spot stuff that needs to be removed from the actual guinea pig bedding.

CONS

  • Not chemical-free. There’s small print on the package that says it might contain a chemical that is a recognized potential carcinogen in the State of California.
  • Messy. Particles fly when you change the bedding.
  • Not as good as it used to be. There has been a slight but noticeable change in bedding quality over the past couple of years based on the observation of long-term users.

Check Amazon For Availability

Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter

Who says guinea pigs can’t use cat litter? It’s a legitimate option for guinea pig bedding. You just have to know the right bedding paper to use for your guinea friends. This is an overall excellent bedding and an unexpected crowd favorite among guinea pig owners.
Yesterday’s News unscented paper pellets are paw-friendly and non-abrasive, perfect for small animals.
They’re so odor absorbent, we’re going to go out on a limb and say you won’t smell anything bad at all. Moisture absorption is also a big fat check on the list. What’s not to love about using cat litter as guinea pig bedding, eh?

PROS

  • Non-toxic. No chemical ingredients will harm your guinea pigs, even if accidentally ingested.
  • Easy clean-up. Just scoop and dump. It’s also dust-free.
  • Fantastic odor control. It does an awesome job of eliminating foul smells.
  • Paw-friendly. It’s made of soft, non-abrasive material for superior comfort.
  • Non-clumping. That means it’s free from chemical additives that may be health hazards to our guinea friends.
  • Extra-absorbent bedding. No wet messes to mop up.
  • Eco-friendly. It’s made from recycled paper and has recyclable packaging.
  • No added fragrance. Non-irritating to both guinea baby and guinea parent with sensitive noses.

CONS

  • You’ll need to do more frequent cleaning. Super absorbency means it becomes heavier the more it stays in the pen. Cleaning more often helps with this issue.
  • Costly. Pound for pound, it’s pricier than other types of bedding for guinea pigs.
  • Flimsy packaging. You’ll need a separate storage bin because the packaging tears easily.

Check Amazon For Availability

Vitakraft Fresh World Strength Crumble Bedding

This is one of the more affordable paper bedding options. If cost is an issue for you, this product may be an excellent choice for your guinea pig.
This paper bedding is ultra-absorbent so you can expect effective waste management and great odor control for up to 14 days! If you’re looking for a product that will minimize cleaning frequency, Vitakraft Crumble Bedding just might be the answer.
The crumble bedding plays into the guinea pigs’ love for nesting and burrowing. It’s super soft, cozy, and comfy. It helps with your cavies getting a good night’s sleep.

PROS

  • Super soft crumbles. This bedding lets your guinea pig play and sleep in comfort.
  • Absorbs three times its weight in liquid. Provides excellent moisture (read: pee) control.
  • Phenomenal odor blocker. Icky smells are quickly absorbed and locked in for an unprecedented 14 days.
  • Less cleaning frequency. You can stretch out the times in between cleanings.
  • Affordable. Not as expensive as comparable products.
  • Eco-Friendly. It’s made from 100% recycled paper.
  • Non-toxic. No harmful chemicals or chemical by-products. Contains no baking soda, which causes health problems in guinea pigs.

CONS

  • Smelly upon opening. You’ll need to air it out for a couple of hours before use.
  • Not dust-free. Pieces may fly around. Your pet may experience breathing problems.
  • Foreign materials mixed in. There may be pieces of foil or plastic included in the crumble mix.

Check Amazon For Availability

Bonus

RentACoop Hemp Bedding

We’ve gone through three types of guinea pig beddings (fleece, aspen, and paper). Hemp bedding deserves a special mention. It’s a match made in heaven for eco-conscious guinea pig owners. They’re safe and non-toxic, not to mention compostable. If sustainable living is a priority for you, consider hemp bedding for your guinea pigs.

PROS

  • Less pricey. Hemp bedding ships in bulk, so you get more bang for your buck.
  • Great odor control. It’s effective in masking guinea pig urine smells.
  • Smells heavenly. Some say hemp smells better than pine shavings.
  • Highly absorbent. It can hold its own with the very best of them. You won’t have problems with pee collection.
  • Organic. The raw materials have no pesticides or insecticides in them.
  • Biodegradable and compostable. You waste nothing. You can reuse it as fertilizer.
  • Naturally antibacterial. Hemp hampers bacterial growth and may naturally fight against microbe multiplication.

CONS

  • Storage. Since it does come in extra gigantic sizes, it might not be practical for some who don’t have a lot of space.
  • Not as comfortable. Hemp is a bit scratchy compared to paper or fleece.
  • High shipping cost. Since hemp is heavy, shipping costs are higher.
  • Check Amazon For Availability

    There you have it, folks—the absolute best of the best beddings for guinea pigs! The only thing left to do now is to pick the one that best suits your needs.

    UNSAFE GUINEA PIG BEDDING CHOICES

    We’ve gone over the best bedding options. Let’s talk about poor choices for guinea pigs’ bedding.
    You shouldn’t use liners that cause either health issues or physical injury to the pigs. For the safety of your guinea pig, it’s a good idea to take initiative and inform yourself.

    STRAW

    Straw is a drier version of hay. While guinea pigs can nibble on hay; straw is a no-no. Never use straw as a liner. It is non-absorbent, so waste will pool. This creates an unsafe environment, prone to the development of bacterial, viral, and fungal microbes. Also, since straw is stiff and dry, it poses a poking hazard to your pigs’ ears, nose, paws, and eyes.

    CEDAR AND PINE SHAVINGS

    Using softwood like cedar and pine is unhealthy for your pig’s lungs. Cedar and pine emit dust, oils, and phenols. These can wreak havoc on your pet’s respiratory system. They are extremely sensitive and prone to respiratory issues. Some owners of guinea pigs opt for kiln-dried pine shavings. Supposedly, the kiln-dried wood shavings are safer since the oils and phenols evaporate during the drying process. But seeing as there are safer options in the market, it might be best to steer clear of cedar and pine wood shavings, kiln-dried or otherwise.

    CORN HUSKS

    Corn husks make for completely unacceptable bedding material. Mold growth in the bedding can lead to fungal respiratory infections. Ingestion of the hair-like strands can also cause severe intestinal blockages that can cause extreme discomfort and an unwelcome trip to the vet.

    CLUMPING CAT LITTER

    Chemicals make the clumping in clumping cat litter possible. This makes it unsafe to bedding. If accidentally eaten by your guinea pig, it can be life-threatening. So even if it has odor-neutralizing properties that would be great for handling the feces and urine stink issue, we must keep it away from our guinea pigs at all costs.

    GUINEA PIG CAGE CARE TIPS

    Aside from proper bedding, cage care requires a few other crucial things to take into consideration.

    Ideal Size

    Ideally, you will need 7.5 square feet minimum for one guinea pig. For two, 8-10 square feet will do. Unlike mice and other rodents that can take advantage of vertical space, guinea pigs rely entirely on floor space. Guinea pigs need room to exercise. So the bigger you can go, the better. Your pigs will thank you for a larger play area.

    Solid Bottom

    Don’t get a wire-bottom cage. It can cause bumblefoot, which is a gradually progressive inflammation of the guinea pig’s feet skin. It does not have a good prognosis, and the poor guys normally don’t recover from it. Buy one with a solid bottom.

    Consider a Lid

    Your cage will need a lid if you have little children or dangerous pets inside the house. If the cage is outdoors, a lid is a must.

    Location, Location, Location

    The best choices for the cage are in the bedroom, hall, or living room where there is frequent foot traffic. Guinea pigs need to get used to humans. Your guinea pig also needs a dose of sunlight now and then. Please make sure it gets some regularly.

    Clean the Cage at Least Once a Week

    The cleaning frequency will vary based on the bedding type and the number of pigs in the cage. However, clean it thoroughly at least once a week.
    Dispose of all food debris, old hay, and solid waste. Strip the cage of its lining. Remove any toys. Lots of water and sunshine are enough to stop bacterial growth naturally. Use a pet-friendly antibacterial spray if you really want to make sure but wipe off any excess before using the cage again. Airing it out is also a good idea to remove dust and smells.
    Once the cage is clean, you can now replace the bedding. Don’t forget, everything must be bone dry before doing so.

    Spot Clean

    Try to do some spot cleaning of the cage at least twice a week. Remove droppings and uneaten food to lessen the chances of bacterial contamination. Clean the water bottle.
    Compared to other pets, guinea pigs are relatively low maintenance. Just keep these tips in mind. They’ll go a long way in ensuring your guinea pig lives a happy, healthy life.

    Give Potty Training a Go

    Some guinea pigs are smart enough to get the hang of using a litter box. If you have the patience to train your pet, give it a go. Life will be much easier in the long run. Emptying a litter box is way less work than changing the bedding frequently.

    THE VERDICT

    We hope we’ve helped you home in on the best bedding for guinea pigs. Now that you know what to look for, finding the best bedding for guinea pigs is not so hard, don’t you agree?

    For us, the choice is crystal clear. Fleece cage liners are the runaway winners. Though a relatively new option in the cage liner industry, they’ve gone through a meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years.

    The reasons are obvious.

    • The material is soft to the skin and doesn’t easily trigger irritation.
    • Cost-wise, it’s a straightforward decision. You don’t have to buy the product repeatedly.
    • Its reusability is a big plus in terms of environmental friendliness.
    • The non-toxic materials are another check on our pet’s health and safety checklist.
    • Since fleece is so absorbent, messes and odor are minimal.

    Reports of pets get getting mites and respiratory diseases right after switching to aspen bedding are real deal breakers for us, so we’re going to have to pass on this alternative.
    Paper bedding products are our second choice, but we will use only top-quality brands like Purina and Kaytee. The amount of cleaning effort involved discourages us from choosing paper bedding over fleece liners.

    Editor’s Pick

    Between the two fleece products that made it to our list, we favor the GuineaDad Fleece Liner. It boasts of all the benefits that the Small Pet and Company liner gives and more. We especially like that GuineaDad was thoughtful enough to include the built-in burrow pocket in their bedding. It’s such a simple yet extremely practical detail for your guinea pig. In terms of aesthetics, the GuineaDad bedding wins hands down. It’s also way more durable because of the natural bamboo inserts.

    So yeah, we’re going to give our 2 thumbs up to the GuineaDad Fleece Liner. It’s our ultimate bedding fave for our guinea pigs.
    Have you picked your favorite bedding? Click on the product link of your top choice. We’re sure your guinea pig can’t wait to get all snuggled in.

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