If you’re lucky enough to own a Guinea Pig, you know they love to sleep almost as much as they love eating. So, it’s important that you furnish their cage or hutch with plenty of clean, good quality bedding to keep your pet warm and comfortable. So, what is the best guinea pig bedding, and what should you avoid? Here is our guide to Guinea Pig bedding, and our list of top buys.
Introduction – Do Guinea Pigs need bedding?
Any responsible Guinea Pig parent knows that along with fresh food and water, bedding plays an important part of your pets wellbeing. In the wild, Guinea Pigs (or Cavys) live in temperate grasslands where they thrive on nesting and foraging.
Its important to provide a similar habitat and activities for captive domesticated Guinea Pigs to be happy.
Providing suitable quality bedding for your pet to burrow, nest and feel safe and clean does come at an expense, but will mean you have a stress free healthy pet that should live a long and happy life.
Here we will discuss the best types of guinea pig beddings available to help you choose what’s best for you.
The Top 5 Guinea Pig bedding at a glance
- GuineaDad Fleece Liner
- Carefresh Pet Bedding
- Small Pets & Co Fleece Cage Liner
- Kaytee Clean & Cozy Scented Small Animal Bedding
- Farmer Dave Pet Supply 3 Lb Second Cut Timothy Hay
Please note. The above links will take you to the Amazon web page, where you will be able to read user reviews and check the latest prices.
How much bedding should a guinea pig have?
The amount of bebding a guinea pig needs depends on several factors. Are they indoors or outdoors. Is it winter or summer?
Most outdoor hutches will have two sections, and its the protected sleeping area that will need the most bedding. Plenty of hay, enough for your pet to arrange into a nest to snuggle into to keep warm in the cooler nights.
In both sections a nice think layer of a absorbent paper or wood based bedding will help keep the hutch clean and fresh. When using loose bedding, its always a good idea to put a layer of newspaper underneath.
Then, when it comes to cleaning, you simply roll up the newspaper and all the bedding, and throw away.
For indoor enclosers you need worry less about keeping warm, and more about keeping the area clean and odor free. If opting for a fleece liner then you wont need as much hay, just enough to keep your guinea pig happy snuffling around in, and should opt for an eating hay rather than a bedding hey.
If not using a fleece cage liner, you want to avoid too much loose bedding that will undoubtably escape the enclosure and end up on the floor, although this is easily vacuumed up. Cages with solid sides are ideal, and you can check out our top guinea pig cages here.
Best Bedding For Guinea Pigs
When we first started parenting Guinea Pigs (a long time ago now 🙂 ) the choice was simple, hay, and lots of it.
Things have moved on since then, and now when choosing your guinea pigs bedding there are a number of options available, each with their own pros and cons. Location is also a factor with pets now being kept indoors, and there are options for both indoor and outdoor bedding also.
When considering what type of bedding to use, things to think about are odor control, warmth, cleanliness (dust etc) and ease of cleaning.
1. Hay Bedding
Its clear that Hay makes up the bulk of a Guinea Pigs diet, but it does also make an excellent bedding. However, there are different types of hay so its important to make an informed choice.
Many Guinea pig parents will get one type of hair for bedding, and then a different type for feeding, which is a great idea. The feed hay can be placed in hay rack or feeder, and then bedding hay places in the sleeping quarters. Its import and both hays are safe to eat. More information on hay, please do read our guide to guinea pig hays.
Make sure that the hay is dust and pesticide free. Dust from hay is very bad for the guinea pigs breathing, and can cause infections. Meadow or Timothy hay are great all-rounders. Even with dust extracted hays, do look out for dust when getting to the end of your pack, and discard any that looks a little dusty.
Farmer Dave Pet Supply 3 Lb Second Cut Timothy Hay
- Top Quality Hay
- Minimal dust
- Naturally dried for smell and flavor
- No wasted effort on flash packaging.
- Available online!
- Fairly expensive – definitely not a budget option
- Contains a low number of flowers
The Online Gardner Pettex Meadow HayThe Online Gardner Pettex Meadow Hay is a blend of local Meadow hays from local meadows. It is dried naturally and packaged direct form the field, thus retaining a lot of its color and scent.
- Low levels of Dust
- Sweet smell
- Cheaper Option to Timothy Hay
- Quality is not always Guaranteed on Meadow Hay
2. Fleece Cage Liners
A relatively new concept in guinea pig bedding, but it fast becoming the favorite type of bedding for many owners. Fleece liners are the perfect choice for indoor guinea pig. They’re almost like a mattress for your guinea pig.
Typical made of 3 layers. A soft fleecy top layer, often quilted for extra comfort. Then, an absortent middle layer that helps quickly wick away urine and water. Lastly, and waterproof bottom layer than stops any leaks.
This all helps fleece liners provide soft, clean, dust free guinea pig bedding.
Super cute, and available in all difference shapes, sizes and colours, many made to fit the top brands of cages and pens.
They are expensive initially, and some might bulk at the idea. But, when you add up the cost of bedding over the year, then you’ll definitely end up saving money in the long run. And, another plus side if you wont be constantly throwing away soiled disposable bedding or packaging, so good for the environment too.
GuineaDad Fleece LinerA great choice of fleece liner. Anti-bacterial and made from natural bamboo materials. Available in 8 beautiful pastel colors, and a number of different sizes. Thick, very well made. A high quality product.
- Zero dust – No more bumblefoot or breathing problems
- A number of colors and sizes
- Highly absorbent
- Waterproof bottom layer
- Pocket at one end for extra snuggles
- Care must be taking when washing
- Do shrink a little, bit seems to be on the large size to make up for that
Small Pets & Co Fleece Cage LinerMade in the US, and oversized to allowed for shrinkage. Availabe in a number of patterns and sizes, this is a great liner, and the patterns are a great feature for indoor guinea pigs. Designed to fit a number of popular enclosures and cages, inluding C&C.
- Made in the US
- A number of gorgeous pattern available
- Oversided to suit popular enclosures
- Easy to wash and dry (instructions supplied)
- Made from premium materials for extra comfort
- Expensive – But you get what you pay for
- Due to the long fleece pile, does need a good bursh before washing, to remove loose hair
3. Paper Bedding
Paper Bedding is an excellent choice as an all rounder. The best brands will provide soft absorbent beddings with great odor control, all of which are factors when considering guinea pig bedding.
Most are made from recycled materials which is great for the environment , and all are easliy disposable, which is good news for the pet parents.
Other considerations are the dust content, which some being more dusty than others. Less dust in bedding is always best, as too much dust is known to cause health issues.
They often come in scented varieties, which is really a personal choice. Some owners prefer the natural brands to avoid any extra colourants or additives. Brands guarantee they are made from non-toxic materials, and we have never head of any issues. If keeping your pet indoors, then a fragranced paper bedding might be a good option.
Carefresh Pet BeddingMade from paper, but in the form of their own Carefresh “ComfyFluff”. Available in a varity of colours and fragrancies.
- 99% dust free
- Super Soft Material
- Larger pieces for better burrowing
- Some pet parents report that the quality differs from batch to batch
- More expensive than so of the other brands
Kaytee Clean & Cozy Scented Small Animal BeddingA paper based bedding from one of the most popular brands. Different scents available, from Vanilla to Apple. Ideal for an indoor pet. Although the pacaging is small, once opened the bedding fluffs up giving you value for money.
- Low levels of Dust. 99% dust free
- A variety of scents available
- Highly absorbent
- Natural unscented bedding available
- Some users say it smells too strong!
4. Wood Based Bedding
The are a number of wood based beddings on the market, but one feature you must look out for is a kiln-dried variety. Most woods, especially those used to make wood bedding, like pine, contain a degree of natural aromatic oil (which gives the woody smell)
These oils are known to cause breathing or respiratory problems for guinea pigs. One way to remove these oils it to kiln-dry the wood before its packaged. Now a bit of a science lesson. To kiln dry wood, the shavings are placed in huge ovens, or Kilns, where a set temperature, humidity and air flow is created to heat the wood and evaporate the naturally occurring oils and moistures, to create a safe bedding material.
Another option to pine, is Aspen. Aspen is a hardwood that contains no oil, but being a wood wood, is not as aborbent as pine, and provides little odor control.
One note is that cedar is never to be used a guinea pig bedding. Cedar wood is considered extremely oily and unsuitable for guinea pigs.
Pillow Wad Wood shavingsSuperior wood based bedding. Made from sustainable soft wood trees, these wood shavings are kiln dried and dust extraced, making then a great choice for guinea pig bedding.
- Non toxic
- Dust fee
- Eco Friendly
- Kiln dried
- Sutble scent
- Not as absorbent as paper or fleece bedding
- More expensive that paper based bedding
What’s the best bedding for an indoor guinea pig?
Hands down, the best bedding for indoor guinea pigs is a fleece cage liner. Clean, hygienic, and dust free. The only down side is the extra laundry, but that more than makes up for not having to sweep or vacuum around the cage every day!
Washing a fleece cage liner
As much as they seem like the perfect bedding for guinea pigs, they do take a little looking after. They do need washing. One consideration is what will you use whilst your liner is being laundered. Many owners buy two liners, so one can be in use whilst the other is being cleaned.
They all come with instuctions so please follow those. But, most are machine washable, although a pet safe detergent is recommended. And, not use fabric softener at that will effect both the absorent and waterproof layers, making them less effective over time.
And, if using your washing machine, make sure you dust off any loose food or hay/paper being you might use, so you dont clog your machine
Best guinea pig bedding for odor control
Controlling odors is top of most guinea pig parents lists. The best way to control odors is to maintain a hygienic enclosure through regular cleaning. The right choice of bedding helps. The best types of bedding for odor control are absorbent bedding types, like paper based bedding, or a fleece liner.
Guinea Pig Bedding to Avoid
Whilst there are many great bedding options out there for your pet, there are some that you should certainly avoid. There are types of bedding that are advertised as safe for little furry pets, including guinea pigs, many contain chemicals that could be a problem for your pet. Others are just not practical, or offer little in the way of odor control or absorbency.
This is one such product that might seem like a good idea, particularly for an indoor guinea pig. However, these products are designed for toilet areas only, where a cat would come, do their mess, and leave. They are certainly not deisgned for sleeping in, or borrowing in. They contain chemials that can be both harmful to the skin and cause respiratory problems. One to avoid!
Cedar Wood Chips
Cedar wood shavings contain a high amount or natural oils, that even kiln drying cannot remove. These oils can causes skin and breathing problems for your pet guinea pig. Please avoid these, even kiln-dried bedding. Pine shavings are not so oily, so if kiln-dried are not as bad as cedar, but in our experiences there are better options out there, so why take the risk.
Even the name gives it away. Dust! We should all know by now that dust is bad for your friend.
We have used straw in the past, normally as a base bedding, with a layer of softer hay over the top. Options seem to have shifted away from straw over the years, which is a drier version of hay.
Being drier and more brittle, with a coarse texture, keepers do say it can cause eye infections. This is not something we ever experienced, but again, with the wealth of better options out there, and the expirence gained from connecting with other owners, maybe the time for straw bedding is dwindling. Also, straw provides no nutrional value.