There are several choices when it comes to deciding what the best guinea pig bedding is to use for your cavies. Before putting the bedding into your hutch or cage, make sure the housing is cleaned (using a guinea-pig-friendly disinfectant) and fully dry.
Also remember that the bedding should be as dust-free as possible because dusty bedding can cause serious health issues for your guinea pigs.
Whatever bedding you opt for, remember that your guinea pigs will always need plenty of hay in their sleeping quarters on top of whatever other bedding is used. They don’t make nests but they do like to burrow themselves in hay where they feel safe and secure. You can also buy “hidey holes” and fill them with hay too as they will love to curl up in those!
Guinea Pig Bedding Options
Choosing which bedding to use for your cavies can be a combination of what works for them and you as well as what might work best in the type of housing that you have for your pigs.
Newspaper & Hay
Hay is the best bedding for guinea pigs and no matter what bedding you decide upon, you will always need plenty of this.
Newspaper is great for soaking up urine. It will evaporate which makes for a hygienic hutch or cage. Line the hutch with several layers of newspaper throughout the cavy housing.
Once you have lined the floor with newspaper, you should cover it all with hay.
Fitch Paper Bedding
Fitch Paper Bedding is a paper based bedding for pets. It is good quality shredded paper which is dust-free and very absorbent. We have previously used this for our own guinea pigs and it really does absorb any smells.
It is biodegradeable which means it is environmentally-friendly. It is also nice and soft for your guinea pigs delicate little feet. Cover the floor of the guinea pig home with layers of newspaper and put plenty of the paper bedding on top.
Megazorb Animal Bedding is made from virgin wood pulp. The advantage to using this over shavings is that it is dust-free and a lot more absorbent and doesn’t contain dangerous sharp or rough bits which can be a hazard to them.
This bedding is also environmentally friendly and easy to use. It is also lovely and soft for your guinea pigs to run around on or to lie on.
Put down a few layers of newspaper, then pile the megazorb on top.
Carefresh Natural, like Megazorb, is also made from virgin wood pulp. It is very absorbent and designed to eliminate any odours. Some people say they don't like the smell of it and others don't mind it, so it probably depends on personal taste.
Carefresh do also offer a coloured bedding which might look pretty but we believe natural is always better.
Fleece & Towels
Many guinea pig owners like to use fleece as bedding, particularly if they have an indoor cage.
The fleece gives a lovely soft area on which they can run around or lie down and you can use towels or puppy pads underneath to absorb the urine.
When buying new fleece, you should wash it several times first to shrink it down and improve it’s absorbency capabilities.
If you decide to use fleece, remember:
- Fleece and towels will mean quite a bit of washing. We recommend a 60 degree wash to kill all bacteria.
- Give the bedding a good shake out before putting in the washing machine as bits of hay may cause blockages and it could ruin the machine!
- You will be doing a lot of washing and drying. This can be a lot of work during the winter months.
Fleece liners are a much easier option that simply fleece and towels (or puppy pads).
There is a lady in the UK who makes custom fleece liners for guinea pig cages and they are very reasonably priced. They are made with fleece top and bottom with an absorbent furniture removal blanket sandwiched in the middle. You can choose the colour/pattern of the fleece too!
A Note About Sawdust / Wood Shavings (NOT Recommended)
Although many guinea pig owners still include this as bedding for their cavies, it is not something we would recommend for the following reasons;
- Guinea pigs are very susceptible to respiratory problems and sawdust or wood shavings tend to have a lot of dust in them which can contribute to health problems
- Although it will soak up the urine, it doesn’t allow for it to evaporate which is unhygienic and more messy when you come to clean out their housing.
- Bits of wood shavings can get stuck in their eyes or private parts which can be extremely distressing and dangerous.
- Wood shavings can cause ulcerated feet and skin problems
- Many contain oils that are poisonous to guinea pigs
Please think twice before using wood shavings for your guinea pig's bedding. Instead choose one of the alternatives above.