Rodent bedding is not only important for your pet, keeping them warm and comfortable, but also for you. Good quality bedding is one that will absorb your pet’s urine, decreasing odour and mess. Of course, even high-quality bedding needs to be changed and refreshed regularly to make sure your pet is not sleeping and eating in their own dirt and particles from their bedding aren’t being breathed in by you. There are many different types of bedding such as paper, straw, and sawdust with each having its advantages and disadvantages so choose which is best for you and your pet. All bedding used for rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, or chinchillas must be safe for use as your pet will most likely nibble on their bedding. If choosing paper-based bedding, for example, choose one that has never been printed on so is free from dyes, inks, and chemicals that may be harmful to your pet.
Absorbency - how well does the bedding material absorb urine?
This is very important as if your pet is left walking and sleeping in urine, scalding can occur and this is painful for your pet. Urine scalds also lead to skin infections which can be difficult and costly to treat.
Dust-free - does the bedding leave dust or powder when placed in the cage?
Dust can irritate your pet’s delicate respiratory tract. Rats, mice, and hamsters are particularly sensitive to this.
Comfortable - is the bedding comfortable to walk, lie and sleep on?
Good quality bedding will provide comfort for your pet, remember, this is what they will be walking and sleeping on every day so it must be comfortable to do so.
The best bedding for hamsters is one that will allow them to dig and burrow. Hamsters have a natural desire to burrow and in the wild, these small creatures create many tunnels to sleep and store food. As a hamster owner, your must be able to replicate this to allow your pet to exhibit their natural behaviour. Hamster sawdust and paper bedding for hamsters will both provide an opportunity for your pet to burrow and dig as long as it is layered thickly in their cage.
Rats use bedding to line their sleeping areas and, these intelligent creatures can also be toilet trained so choosing a litter to line their toileting areas is beneficial for you and your pet. The best bedding for rats will provide warmth and comfort as well as provide good toilet habits. Many types of bedding can be used for rats, including coconut husk and even hemp bedding. Both are natural, allergen-free alternatives to paper and have much better absorbent properties.
As guinea pigs spend all of their time on the floor of their cage, they need bedding that will absorb urine quickly as their coats and feet will become damp and dirty, leading to sores. Their bedding must be comfortable enough to run around on as guinea pigs are very active pets with delicate feet.
Not all shavings are safe for your small pet. Wood shavings such as those made from Pine, Aspen, and Cedar may still contain oils which can be toxic when eaten. Fragranced substrates, those infused with scents to smell attractive, may not be good for your pet’s respiratory system so always choose more natural bedding instead. Other unsuitable bedding includes disposable puppy pads and cat litter as when eaten these can cause dangerous blockages. Newspaper on its own is also unsuitable due to the inks.