When you set up your piggy palace, you’ll look for the best cage, the right hideys and accessories, and - so important - the right bedding for guinea pigs. Choosing the best bedding for guinea pigs makes a huge difference to your floofers’ health and comfort, so beware, piggy parents! Not all bedding options for guinea pigs are good. The wrong guinea pig bedding can hurt their sensitive feet or cause respiratory issues for the poor piggies.
That’s why we’re looking into the ins and outs of guinea pigs bedding, the types available (including fleece bedding for guinea pigs, aspen bedding for guinea pigs, paper bedding for guinea pigs, and pine bedding for guinea pigs), and how often to change the guinea pig bedding.
Let’s get started!
Do Guinea Pigs Need Bedding?
The answer to the question, ‘Do guinea pigs need bedding?’ is a loud and clear yes - always! The right guinea pig bedding keeps your furry friends clean and comfortable, and also protects their habitat from damage. No guinea pig cage setup is truly finished without comfortable bedding for your floofs.
But why is your guinea pigs’ bedding so important?
No soggy bottoms with the right guinea pig bedding
The most important function of guinea pigs bedding is keeping your piggies nice and dry. Good types of bedding absorb moisture immediately, so there’s no risk of soggy bottoms, even in your pets’ preferred toilet area. If you’ve already got some furry friends, you’ll know they go to the bathroom a lot (all the time!), so keeping on top of a wheek-y clean cage is a task in itself. The right bedding keeps your piggies’ bottoms clean in between cage cleans.
By absorbing the moisture in your guinea pig cage, the bedding for guinea pigs also slows down bacterial growth significantly. Plus, it reduces the risk of harmful gasses from your piggies’ pee, including ammonia and carbon dioxide, getting to your pets which can cause breathing difficulties in the beloved floofers.
So the right guinea pig bedding doesn’t just keep your cavies comfortable, it actively prevents piggy illnesses.
Protecting piggy paws with guinea pigs’ bedding
Without the best bedding for guinea pigs, our piggies’ paws are exposed to a number of dangers that can end in bumblefoot and other piggy paw problems. A thick layer of bedding, especially when it’s fleece bedding for guinea pigs, makes them feel like they’re walking on clouds instead. A much nicer feeling than spending the whole day on a hard cage floor, right?
And while cavy carers should always aim for comfort, bedding for guinea pigs also prevents serious paw problems, including bumblefoot. When a piggy’s foot is injured - for example on a hard cage floor or wire mesh - and gets dirty, infection sets in quickly. A vet visit with several types of medicine is needed to rid your piggy’s paws of the infection and help them manage the discomfort.
Keep their sensitive feet safe by choosing the best bedding for your guinea pigs!
Find out more about the do's and don't's of piggy supplies with our blog!
What to Consider When Choosing Guinea Pig Bedding
When it comes to your pigs’ bedding, there’s no one size fits all. The personal preference of piggy parents and their pets makes all the difference when you’re choosing the right type for your little herd. At the same time, there are a few factors that all pet parents should think about when they’re on the hunt for the best guinea pig bedding.
Let’s find out what they are!
Bedding that’s perfect for piggies
Good guinea pig bedding keeps your pets safe and comfortable - and the best bedding for guinea pigs turns every part of your cavy cage into a cozy snooze spot. When choosing your guinea pigs’ bedding, you want to aim for the highest standard of comfort, but even more importantly, you’ll want to avoid anything that could harm your pigs.
If you’re thinking about paper bedding for guinea pigs and some other beddings options for guinea pigs, it’s crucial that they’re dust free or dust extracted. Dusty bedding for guinea pigs irritates the little floofers’ airways and can end in respiratory issues. A dust-free zone is your best bet to keep your pets breathing freely.
Wood shavings can also cause these issues, but even more importantly, the type of wood shavings can be toxic to your pigs. Cedar and pine bedding for guinea pigs are a real hazard to the small furries. If you’re after wood shavings for your pigs, it’s a good idea to stick to aspen bedding for guinea pigs.
Finally, once you’ve found the best bedding for your guinea pigs, be careful to select the right quality. Fleece bedding for guinea pigs is a brilliant choice, but if it’s made of thin material that doesn’t absorb moisture properly, your pigs could end up with soggy bottoms and irritated skin. The same is true for all types of bedding.
The bedding material and its environmental impact
Once you’ve narrowed the guinea pig bedding search down to a selection of cavy-savvy options, your thoughts may be shifting from your pets to the planet. How long does the bedding last? If it needs changing regularly, is it biodegradable and free of chemicals? Or could you choose a reusable option instead?
We all want to do our bit for the planet, and reducing your piggies’ carbon pawprint is an easy way to do it. Fleece bedding for guinea pigs is a great choice since you can reuse it as many times as you like, rather than having to bin it every week. There are other eco-friendly bedding options for guinea pigs for environmentally conscious cavy carers, with fleece as the top choice.
Storage and tidying of the bedding
The last thing to consider for your guinea pig bedding is what’s happening with it before and after it’s been used. Piggy parents can bulk-buy certain types of bedding for their pigs and save money, but finding the space to store it neatly can become a headache. It’s a particular problem if you’re looking to buy
- aspen bedding for guinea pigs
- paper bedding for guinea pigs
- pellet bedding for guinea pigs
Not only are they bulky, they also aren’t exactly a sight for sore eyes. So before you commit to a gigantic bag of bedding, you may want to check where it’s going to go.
Fleece bedding for guinea pigs, on the other hand, takes up much less space and can be folded or rolled up to fit into a storage box or cupboard. After you’ve washed and dried a fleece liner, it’s easy to put it away until its next use.
Have you thought about the upkeep of tidying away your guinea pigs’ bedding? Depending on your setup and living space, tidying up after a cage clean can be tricky. If you’re worried about wood shavings and paper bedding stuck to your carpet, fleece bedding for guinea pigs is a great alternative. After a quick brush to get rid of any hay or mess, they can simply go into the washing machine in a laundry bag. Find out more with the video below!
Best Guinea Pig Bedding Among Popular Bedding Options
While there’s an endless supply of bedding options for guinea pigs, a few of them have been consistently popular because they’re great for the precious pets or make cage cleaning so much easier. The most popular types of guinea pig bedding are
- Fleece bedding for guinea pigs
- Aspen bedding for guinea pigs
- Paper bedding for guinea pigs
- Litter pellets for guinea pigs
We’ve taken a close look at these bedding types and ranked them from most to least practical for you.
1. Fleece bedding for guinea pigs
Kavee’s fleece liners are lush and plush, soft and cozy, and eco-friendly. The multi-layer design wicks moisture through the top fleece, so it moves to the lower layers where the fluid is captured. Plus, the fleece is cut to fit neatly into a C&C cage, so there’s no need to worry about exposed cage corners. Your pigs stay dry, safe, and comfy with fleece bedding for guinea pigs.
At Kavee, we’re convinced that fleece bedding for guinea pigs is the ideal choice for a multitude of reasons. Our fleece liners are
- naturally dust-free, so there’s no risk of blocking your piggies’ airways - plus, they’re great for people with dust allergies
- super easy to clean in a washing machine and spot-clean daily with a brush or vacuum
- reusable and eco-friendly since you can use them over and over and over again
- easy to roll up or fold and store away in between uses
- cheaper than other bedding (more on that soon!)
Kavee’s fleece bedding for guinea pigs have gone through many rounds of testing to make them the best we can offer your pets. If you want the most comfortable guinea pig bedding that also keeps your cute companions nice and dry, this is it!
Aspen bedding for guinea pigs
Wood shavings are available in most pet shops and were the top bedding for guinea pigs until fleece liners came along. While there are still some piggy parents who use them in their cages, many have made the move to fleece bedding for guinea pigs because wood shavings for guinea pigs are
- often not safe to use, with even the finest dust causing breathing problems and respiratory infections in piggies - only dust-extracted and kiln-dried bedding is a good choice
- toxic if they’re made from cedar or pine bedding for guinea pigs; they contain chemicals that harm guinea pigs, so aspen bedding for guinea pigs is the safe option
- of varying quality, with larger, sharp chunks in low-quality aspen bedding for guinea pigs
- sometimes stored in damp environments, so they grow dangerous fungal spores that can make guinea pigs very sick
On top of all the risks piggy parents face when using aspen bedding for guinea pigs, wood shavings also add negatively to your piggies’ carbon pawprint. The hunt for sustainably sourced but high-quality aspen bedding for guinea pigs is proving almost impossible, so the environmentally conscious cavy carer may prefer a different option.
Paper bedding for guinea pigs
Paper bedding for guinea pigs is another classic option that’s slowly being replaced by fleece bedding for guinea pigs. Piggy parents can find this bedding in many pet shops, but it’s important to note that not all paper bedding is made the same. You can find thick or thin paper shreds as well as paper pulp, so it’s difficult to spot the right quality for our floofy friends.
The real risk to our guineas comes from the inks, dyes, and chemicals in some of the waste paper used in paper bedding for guinea pigs. The great thing about waste paper bedding is that it’s being recycled - but at what cost to our pets? Even recycled paper bedding for guinea pigs uses large amounts of water as well as energy to dry, plus fuel to transport the paper. While paper seems like a great option at first, there are better and more eco-friendly options out there.
If you do choose paper begging for your guinea pigs, it’s best to do thorough research to make sure it’s free of nasty toxins and chemicals - a task of its own!
Litter pellets as guinea pigs’ bedding
Litter pellets are made from hard paper or wood pulp, and they’re a popular guinea pig bedding choice because they soak up moisture well. And while that makes them suitable bedding for some pets, the dry pellets aren’t great for our poor piggies’ paws. The small floofs’ feet are super sensitive, as we’ve already learned, and the litter pellets can lead to cuts and sores.
Most litter pellets are designed with cats in mind, so there’s little choice in piggy litter pellets. This means that the wood used for the pellets can be cedar or pine, both of which are toxic to the little floofs. Plus, cat litter is meant to capture odor and the chemicals used for this are harsh on a guinea pigs’ fragile respiratory system. On top of all that, this type of litter is often more expensive than other bedding options for guinea pigs.
It’s a thumbs down for litter pellets as guinea pig bedding from us.
Bedding Options for Guinea Pigs: The Price Advice
Now that we’ve looked at the best bedding for your guinea pigs as well as the most popular bedding options for guinea pigs, there’s one more factor piggy parents should be aware of: the price range of guinea pig bedding. To give you the best overview, we’ve calculated the cost of bedding for guinea pigs in a 4x2 C&C cage, our most popular cage, over a year. To give you a thorough overview of the cost, our calculations are based on a weekly cage clean with a full change of your guinea pigs’ bedding.
The exception to this is the cost of fleece bedding for guinea pigs. At Kavee, we think changing it twice a week is best for a wheek-y clean cage that avoids soggy piggy bottoms at all cost. Fleece cage liners can simply go into a washing machine, so we’ve added the price of two fleece liners at $85 to $106, depending on your cage size, to a bi-weekly washing cycle with a detergent at $0.32, or $33.28 per year. That leaves us with a total cost of $118.28 to 139.28 a year’s worth of fleece bedding for guinea pigs - still cheaper than the next best option if you added an extra liner or laundry bag!
Looking at the annual cost of your guinea pigs’ bedding, the results are:
- Fleece bedding for guinea pigs at $118.28 to $139.28
- Aspen bedding for guinea pigs at $225.34
- Paper bedding for guinea pigs at $557.47
- Litter pellets for guinea pigs at $1189.52
Fleece liners are the best bedding for guinea pigs when it comes to cost, and also cavy comfort, cleanliness, and environmental impact. They’re our top choice amongst the bedding options for guinea pigs, and we recommend that new and experienced piggy parents give them a go.
Guinea Pig Bedding to Avoid at All Cost
We’ve looked at the most popular bedding options for guinea pigs and examined them for cavy-savviness, cost, and environmental impact - with fleece bedding for guinea pigs being the clear winner. But what about the options you should avoid ever putting under your piggies’ paws?
Can I use wire or mesh flooring?
Wire and mesh flooring is at the top of our list of worst bedding options for guinea pigs. Unfortunately, pet shops and online retailers still sell wire and mesh floor cages to unsuspecting piggy parents who simply don’t know better. If your piggies’ sensitive paws sit on mesh or wire flooring all day, the soft soles are sure to get sore, injured, and often even infected. It’s a recipe for disaster - particularly in the form of bumblefoot which will need to be treated with antibiotics and veterinary care.
Are you now wondering about the mesh grids C&C cages are made of? The unique design of Kavee’s cages includes a coroplast base that covers the grids, so your piggies’ paws never sit on an uncomfortable surface. Plus, the coroplast sheets are super easy to wipe down and keep clean, so your pigs’ soles are in safe hands.
The bottom line here: avoid putting your pigs’ paws on harsh wire and mesh flooring at all cost.
Can I use silica gel and clumping cat litter as bedding for my guinea pigs?
Piggies explore the world with their mouths, and they chew everything they come across - including their bedding. That’s why it’s so important to avoid silica gel and clumping cat litter in your piggies’ cage. Both of these options are toxic if ingested by your pigs, with clumping litter expanding to soak up moisture - just imagine the disaster if this happened in your piggies’ tummy.
Keep your sweet floofs safe by avoiding these bedding options for guinea pigs!
Is pine bedding safe for guinea pigs? What about other wood shavings?
Pine bedding for guinea pigs and other types of wood shavings that aren’t dust extracted and kiln dried aren’t good options for guinea pigs. Cedar and pine bedding for guinea pigs, in particular, are a bad choice because they’re toxic and can make our furry friends very sick.
But even other types of wood shavings are best kept out of your piggies’ home, unless you’re looking at dust-extracted and kiln-dried aspen bedding for guinea pigs. Any other shavings contain fine dust that your pigs breathe in, and homemade wood shavings are especially dangerous for this. The dust irritates the piggies’ lungs and leads to respiratory infections and breathing problems that would be very sore for your poor piggies.
Skip the wood shavings unless you’re looking at aspen bedding for guinea pigs!
Is sawdust cavy-savvy?
Sawdust bedding comes with the same problems as wood shavings. Sawdust is essentially a finer form of wood shavings, made up of smaller particles, and it’s not among the good bedding options for guinea pigs. Although you’ll find sawdust in the small furries section of many pet shops, it’s usually displayed for smaller rodent relatives, like mice and hamsters.
To avoid the dust irritating your pets’ lungs and causing breathing problems, it’s best to keep sawdust out of your guinea pigs cage.
Are newspaper or puppy training pads safe for my guinea pigs?
Both newspaper and puppy training pads are okay as a base layer below your guinea pigs’ bedding, but they shouldn’t be within your precious pigs’ reach. On the one hand, you’ll notice that both of these bedding options for guinea pigs get soaked quickly, so if your pigs sit straight on the newspaper, their feet and bottoms suffer the consequences of staying in soiled, wet areas. Foot infections like bumblefoot and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common issues with these types of beddings, and can lead to a high vet bill - as well as a poor piggy in pain.
The other reason to avoid newspaper and puppy training pads in your cavy castle is that they’re both dangerous to your pets if they chew on them. The dye, ink, and chemicals used in newspapers is a great hazard for your floofs, as is the filling of puppy training pads.
Although you can use them as an absorbent layer under your guinea pig bedding, we’d recommend steering clear of newspaper and puppy training pads in your piggy palace.
Is straw good bedding for guinea pigs?
Straw is probably the original guinea pigs bedding, as it’s readily available and a popular bedding choice for other pets, including rabbits. When it comes to bedding for guinea pigs, straw isn’t the best option. It’s stiff and brittle, and can poke your piggies in various areas. The sharp ends aren’t great for their soft soles, but even more importantly, they can lead to dangerous eye injuries. Plus, straw isn’t great at absorbing piggy mess.
If you’re looking for a similar option, why not pop a big pile of soft, edible hay in a corner of the cage? Guinea pigs love eating and burrowing into hay, so it’s much better for their digestion and comfort. Just remember to pop an absorbent layer of bedding, like fleece bedding for guinea pigs, under the hay, and clean it out every other day. Your piggies will thank you!
Hygiene: How to keep your guinea pig bedding clean
To keep our cute companions as healthy and happy as piggily possible, a rigorous cage cleaning routine is crucial. Your piggy palace should be free of dirty toys, soiled sleep sacks, and other accessories that could hold a mess. All cage accessories need regular cleaning, just like the rest of the cage - and your guinea pigs’ bedding in particular. Bedding and accessories filled with piggy mess or old food can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that compromises your cavies’ health.
So how often should you change your guinea pig bedding? The answer depends on the type of guinea pig bedding, the size of the cage, and the amount of pigs in your herd. The more piggies live in a smaller space, the quicker it’ll get soiled - so the bedding has to be changed more often. If the type of bedding doesn’t absorb moisture well, it’ll also need to be changed more often. It’s also worth remembering that older guinea pigs or those with health issues need extra TLC, and that includes an even stricter cleaning routine for the vulnerable floofs.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend a full cage clean twice a week with daily spot cleaning in between cage cleaning days. By using a brush of vacuum to get rid of piggy poops and leftover food every day, you’re keeping the piggy palace cozy for your floofy friends while stopping bacterial growth. Then, it’s time to swap out all the bedding every 3 to 4 days, with a thorough clean of the cage and accessories.
When you’re cleaning the cage, bedding, and accessories, remember to use unscented, piggy-safe cleaning products that stop the build-up of unwanted bacteria without harming your furry friends.
Conclusion: The best bedding is soft under piggy paws
It’s a challenge to sift through the bedding options for guinea pigs and come up with the best bedding for your guinea pigs. The endless options in pet stores promise a clean, stink-free cage, but they often do more harm to our pigs than good.
For us, the best bedding for guinea pigs is definitely the fleece liner. Fleece bedding for guinea pigs is comfy for your cavies, easy to clean, cost effective, and good for the environment. Treat your pigs to bedding that makes them feel like they’re walking on clouds!
Frequently Asked Questions About Guinea Pig Bedding
Do guinea pigs need bedding?
Absolutely. Guinea pig bedding is important to keep their feet from getting injured. It also absorbs moisture and slows bacterial growth, so your furry friends are less likely to get ill.
How often should I change guinea pig bedding?
The exact answer depends on the bedding, cage, and your herd size. We recommend changing your guinea pigs’ bedding twice a week, with a daily spot clean to remove food and poop.
Is pine bedding safe for guinea pigs?
Pine bedding for guinea pigs is extremely dangerous because it gives off aromatic hydrocarbons that’s harmful to guinea pigs. If you’re looking for wood shavings, you can opt for dust-extracted, kiln-dried aspen bedding for guinea pigs instead.