Top Guinea Pig Bedding Options for a Comfortable Habitat

Choosing the ideal bedding for your guinea pigs isn’t just about what will be most comfortable for them. Of course, it must tick all the boxes for safety, odor, absorbency, and softness, but as the chief piggy-poop cleaner, it must also be easy for you to change. Fortunately, piggies have become popular pets, and owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to bedding options.

Reusable guinea pig bedding options include fleece liners, bathmats, and vetbed. Although the initial outlay may be more, they can be washed and last for years. Disposable options include soft hay, paper, hemp bedding, or Aspen wood shavings. Although these can be messy, they can be composted.

In addition to keeping your piggy enclosure dry and inviting, the bedding you use shouldn’t break the bank. If you know what is safe, there are plenty of choices that can be mixed and matched. There are also some materials that must never be used as guinea pig bedding.

What Is The Best Bedding For A Guinea Pig?

An excellent starting point when deciding on which bedding to use in your cavy cage is to remember that cavies pee and poop a lot. That means that no matter what you choose, the material must be super absorbent, and it should be easy for you to remove the liberal sprinkling of piggy poop each day.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of piggy bedding that you can consider, it is important to understand why it is so important. Keep these six factors in mind while choosing which cage substrate would be best for your guinea pigs:

  1. Odor control – Quality bedding should help to minimize odors.
  2. Absorbency – Urine should move through the surface layer and be absorbed further down.
  3. Hypo-allergenic and won’t irritate the animal’s respiratory system.
  4. Will it be practical to spot clean and deep clean?
  5. Is it soft under their sensitive feet? Skinny pig owners must also ensure that the bedding is ultra-soft against their pet’s sensitive skin.
  6. Consider the texture. Very fine, flaky material can fall out of the cage and look messy. It can also become stuck in the wounds of animals that have just had surgery or have an injury.

With these six considerations in mind, let’s check out some guinea pig bedding options you can try.

7 Safe Guinea Pig Bedding Options

Keeping guinea pigs as pets is becoming easier thanks to innovations in the types of bedding that are available. A few years ago, substrates were mainly messy wood shavings, but things have changed, and now modern piggies can enjoy having their pampered little feet on a soft surface 24/7.

Finding the best bedding for your cavy cage may involve some trial and error before you find the best option for you and your pets. You may need to mix and match a few types within your setup to get the desired result.

We have made a list of seven guinea pig bedding options and listed the pros and cons of each.

1. Fleece Bedding

It is entirely understandable why fleece has become one of the most popular piggy bedding options. Besides being inexpensive and soft, it is also available in various colorful designs. That makes it easy to theme your piggy cage!

Pros

Cons

Highly absorbent – ensure that the fleece is properly wicked before you start.

High initial outlay.

Dust free

It creates a lot of extra laundry.

Comfortable and soft for tender piggy feet

You need several changes so that you always have bedding available.

Reusable

Fleece must be layered on top of an absorbent layer of towels or puppy pee pads. You can purchase ready-made fleece liners, but they cost more.

Can be made to custom-fit your cage.

Hay tends to stick to the fleecy material and must be removed before going into the washing machine.

There are many designs to choose from.

Poop is highly visible on the smooth surface.

Easy to brush the poop off the smooth top layer or remove the top layer and change.

 

2. Bathmats

Bathmats are a less expensive but genius alternative to fleece liners that work well as piggy bedding. Of course, they need to be teamed up with something underneath to soak up excess urine, but they offer an easy-to-wash, thick, plush substrate that most cavies adore.

Pros

Cons

Inexpensive. Can be bought in thrift stores

Colors and patterns may be limited

Very absorbent

May not fit your cage perfectly.

Dust free

It creates a lot of bulky laundry.

Super soft for piggy feet and also suitable for skinny pigs.

 

Reusable

 

3. Vetbed

Vetbed is a soft, double-strength polyester material. It is commonly used in veterinary recovery rooms where patients need super soft, comfortable bedding that must also stay dry.

Because of its extreme softness and ability to remain dry at the surface, Vetbed is becoming an increasingly popular top layer for pampered piggies.

Pros

Cons

Super soft surface – perfect for older piggies

Probably the most expensive reusable option

The top layer stays comfortably dry.

Needs a towel or pee pad underneath to catch the urine.

Reusable

The size may not fit perfectly inside your piggy cage.

Can be vacuumed or shaken out to remove solid debris

Creates extra laundry

4. Hay

Hay is not the same as straw, which should never be used as bedding for guinea pigs. Many piggies love playing in a soft bed of grassy hay: maybe it’s similar to human toddlers playing with their food!

Pros

Cons

Excellent enrichment activity.

It is not very absorbent, so it needs to be on top of a layer of towels or newspaper that can soak up urine.

It is natural and compostable.

It can become trampled down quite quickly. Additional clean layers will need to be added daily.

Insulates against cold.

It may become smelly faster than some other options.

They can eat it.

Sharp strands could poke a piggy in the eye.

5. Paper

Paper bedding is a specific type of bedding that is created for small animals. It is made from non-toxic, ink-free paper. Always check that the package specifically indicates that it is safe to use as small animal bedding before trying paper bedding.

Pros

Cons

Very absorbent

It can make a mess as some of it can fall out of the cage.

Low dust

Purchasing paper bedding can add up and become expensive.

Excellent odor control

Some piggies may try to eat it.

Soft and easy to spot clean

 

Natural and compostable

 

6. Aspen Wood Shavings

Before we go on, wood shavings are not the same as sawdust, and it does not include other types of wood shavings like cedar. Choose a quality brand and ensure that the aspen shavings are unscented and free of dust and chemicals.

Pros

Cons

Inexpensive

Could be dusty

Fits in any cage

Not very absorbent

Safe for piggies

Not as soft as some other options

Readily available at pet supply stores

It is not reusable, so you need to keep buying.

 

Not suitable for hairless piggies

 

Some piggies may try to nibble it.

 

It can be messy if it falls out of the cage.

7. Hemp Bedding

Hemp bedding is not as soft as many of the other options. However, it is very absorbent and masks odors, so it works well as a bottom underlayer covered with a soft covering of hay.

Pros

Cons

Very absorbent

It’s not soft and cozy underfoot. It is not suitable for senior piggies or skinny pigs.

Controls odors well

Usually only available in bulk, so it may be difficult to store.

Easy to spot clean

Repeat purchases can become expensive.

Natural and compostable

Small pieces can look messy when they fall out of the cage.

Made from highly sustainable material

 

Not dusty

 

Guinea Pig Bedding Options To Avoid

Using the wrong kind of cavy bedding may not only be uncomfortable for the pet but can also be dangerous to the animal’s health. If you see any of the following types of bedding, even if it is specifically marketed at guinea pigs, just say no.

  • Sawdust
  • Cat litter, especially clumping litter
  • Bare wire cage bottoms.
  • Corn husks
  • Straw – although they may nibble at it, it is very spiky. Its hard points are extremely dangerous for sensitive eyes, ears, feet, and faces.
  • Cedar shavings
  • Non-kiln dried pine.
  • Any type of bedding that is scented.
  • Bedding materials that may contain dust.
  • Shredded paper that could contain toxic inks or dyes.

Conclusion

The best bedding for you and your piggies is one that you all agree on. Sometimes, you have to try a few types and combinations to find one that gets the job done and suits your cleaning routine best.

Fortunately, plenty of great reusable and disposable guinea pig bedding options exist. Whatever you choose to use, so long as it is safe and teamed up with plenty of love and fresh hay, will be rewarded with loads of wheeks from happy piggies.