Best Hamster Bedding – All you need to know

Hamster bedding – All you need to know

You want a happy hamster, so when you’ve sorted the enclosure it’s time to think about the type of bedding you’ll need. There are several factors to consider, including hamster bedding depth, hamster bedding alternatives, and safety issues. It will quickly become clear that there is a diversity of opinion on what’s the best bedding. Check out the following, which discusses the importance of choosing the best hamster bedding to keep your fur-ball happy.

Hamster Bedding basics

Also known as the substrate, bedding is fundamental to promoting natural behaviors. By instinct, hamsters dig and burrow – in the wild they do this to build their nests and for protection. Captive critters are no different. Bedding should replicate, wherever possible, natural materials wherein your hamster can explore, dig and nest. The expression of these behaviors underpins premier hamster care – if your hamster can feel safe and cozy while it explores and tunnels, you won’t go far wrong. If you’ve checked out the substrate on the market, you’ll notice not all bedding is equal. Essentially, it’s about the types of bedding marketed as suitable for hamsters. Keep in mind these principles when considering what really makes the best hamster bedding:

  • Absorbent with good odor control
  • Gentle on fragile little bodies/feet
  • Comfortable
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical free

It’s also important to think about hamster bedding depth. Your hamster’s wild cousins will burrow to depths of approximately one meter but don’t worry about replicating this! Aim for 6 cm as a reasonable depth, while adding another 1 cm should help encourage your hamster to feel super safe.

Let’s consider the options available, so you can make the best choice before you buy hamster bedding.

Materials to avoid using for hamster bedding

While there are some hamster bedding alternatives, it’s important to eliminate a few materials that aren’t recommended if you’re only buying it for hamster bedding.

  • Cat litter – it’s not great for tiny feet plus it’s hard to digest.
  • Newspapers – inky chemical residue can be toxic.
  • Scented products – may cause respiratory issues.
  • Corn cob – issues with mold and digestion.
  • Wood shavings – pine/cedar smell nice but hammy pee interacts to create toxins.\
  • Sawdust – respiratory hell for hamsters.

Just one other thing to be aware of – there’s lots of fluffy/cottony bedding on the market, and it can tick the comfort box. However, the softness is usually created by artificial fibers – tough to digest, plus your hamster’s legs could get tangled in the strands. Also, these materials often produce a lot of dust. Consider the following safe options for hamster bedding heaven.

 

Best Hamster bedding materials

So we’ve been through the basic and hopefully, you are now feeling a little more confident about making the right choice for your furry little friend. To help you over the finishing line, we have compiled a list of the best hamster bedding materials available to you, and provided some reviews of the top brands for each. We hope can now make the important decision of the selecting the best hamster bedding materials for a happy hammy!

Wood shavings hamster bedding

These make suitable hamster bedding and is good for tight budgets. It performs okay for absorbency and is conveniently available in big and small bags. As mentioned, do avoid pine bedding for hamsters as it can produce toxins, just like cedar – go for hamster friendly shavings like Aspen. It’s reasonably low on dust and offers decent density for nests and burrowing. The appearance is nice and natural, but the particles can be rough on little feet. If you’re opting for wood shavings, aspen is safe and clean.

Aspen Wood Shavings

Aspen Wood Shavings

Kiln dried aspen shavings, which is a natural biodegradable product. It is reportedly 99% dust free, so is excellent for cleanliness and protecting your critters respiratory system.
The odor control is good, as well as the burrowing and home building characteristics. making this an excellent all-around product. The material is 100-Percent natural and biodegradable which is a definite plus when it comes to disposing of the old bedding as it can go straight into the recycling or onto a compost bin.

Pros

  • Absorbent with good odor control
  • Cheaper than other bedding materials
  • Gentle on fragile little bodies/feet
  • Comfortable
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical free
  • Natural biodegradable product

Cons

  • Pungent natural smell
  • the quality and size of the shavings is variable
  • Mites and other bugs might also be enjoying the bedding before your critter!

Wood pulp hamster bedding

There are various products on the market, including the budget-friendly BOXO Small Animal Bedding. The name’s the giveaway with high absorbency and comprises natural materials, so it’s chemical free. Wood pulp is low in dust, treated to eliminate mold and bacteria and has a soft consistency. It’s a cheap, safe option for your burrowing critter, plus there’s plenty of other wood pulp products available, including Carefresh Ultra.

BOXO Wood Pulp Pet Bedding

BOXO Wood Pulp Pet Bedding

BOXO Small Animal Bedding offers soft, highly absorbent bedding material that provides maximum odor control for you and your pet. Manufactured from natural pulp fibers, Boxo contains no aromatic oils or chemicals, providing a clean and cozy environment for your pet.

Pros

  • Absorbent with good odor control
  • Great value and available in bulk
  • Soft and comfortable for your pet
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical and oil free
  • Natural biodegradable product

Cons

  • Not Widely available

CareFRESH® Ultra

Carefresh Ultra Pet Bedding

CareFRESH® Ultra is an all-natural bedding made from virgin wood pulp. It’s safe and comfortable for your pet and maintains a fresher looks and smell for longer. The natural odor control formula suppresses ammonia odors nearly 3x longer than other wood pulp products and is also super absorbent with claims of up to 3 x its own weight. The material is great Fun for nesting and burrowing and holds structure. This is perfect for encouraging natural behaviors to keep pets healthy and entertained. Earth-friendly CareFRESH is made from sustainable resources and is biodegradable and compostable.

Pros

  • Super Absorbent and excellent odor control
  • Soft and comfortable for your pet
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical and oil free
  • Natural biodegradable product

Cons

  • expensive

Paper-based hamster bedding

You can opt for hamster bedding DIY, as long as there’s no inky residue – the safest choice is loo paper, finely shredded because it’s soft and has short strands. Avoid shredded paper as the longer strands can cause tangling. There are various products available if paper shredding as a hobby isn’t your thing!

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Bedding

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Bedding

Derived from plant material, this paper bedding ticks a lot of hamster friendly boxes – it offers better absorbency than shavings and produces virtually no dust. It provides a soft base for delicate feet, and any odors are kept to a minimum. The material’s downy texture is perfect for tunneling and nesting, helping your critter feel as snug as a hamster bug in a rug. Just one caveat with this one – avoid the scented versions to be on the safe side.

Pros

  • Super Absorbent and excellent odor control
  • Soft and comfortable for your pet
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical and oil free
  • Natural biodegradable product

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Avoid scented versions

Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Bedding

Produced from sustainable wood fiber, this safe, natural product makes a good substrate with its cottony quality. You can also expect excellent absorbency, odor control and good density for burrowing and digging. It’s also very light, so even the tiniest hamsters can move it around for nests and toileting.

Pros

  • Super Absorbent and excellent odor control
  • Soft and comfortable for your pet
  • Dust-free plus other allergens
  • Chemical and oil free
  • Natural biodegradable product
  • Light and easy for your critter to move

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Quality of the materials used is inconsistent
  • Reports of bad smells and irritaiton

There are lots of other quality paper-based bedding products on the market, including Pettex pet bedding, comprising recycled paper and catered specifically for tiny creatures. It’s also worth checking out Fitch, budget-friendly and made with quality materials.

Custom hamster bedding

You’ll notice the variation in suitable hamster bedding, lots of which regularly includes pine bedding for hamsters, as well as cedar shavings and scented products. This article has discussed the potential harm to hamsters when using these. Also, many products are marketed as suitable for a variety of small pets. In this regard, you might want to opt for custom bedding – designed entirely for hamsters and their gerbil cousins.

Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding

Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding

The consistency is very soft, with smaller pieces designed for fragile feet and bodies. There is ample scope for your hamster to tunnel, nest and just generally feel warm and safe. You have the usual excellent absorbency and odor control. This substrate does, however, contain baking soda as part of the manufacturing process. this is usually harmless but has been known to cause respiratory issues and some skin irritation.

Pros

  • Great for burrowing and housing
  • Good odor control
  • Excellent value for money
  • Virtually dust free

Cons

  • Contains baking soda which can irritate your critter
  • large chucks so requires breaking up
  • Check the size of the packet you are ordering!
  • Mixed reviews on smell

Confetti and colored hamster bedding

Carefresh Complete Confetti Pet Bedding

Carefresh Complete Confetti Pet Bedding

If you want to combine safety and aesthetics, confetti bedding is a good option. As the name suggests, there’s a riot of color going on – plus the expected standards of odor control and absorbency, low dust, and soft texture.

Pros

  • bio-degradable
  • Good odor control
  • ok for burrowing and housing
  • Virtually dust free

Cons

  • delivered compressed and quite hard
  • large chucks so requires breaking up
  • relatively expensive – try mixing with a cheaper color

Carefresh Colors Pet Bedding

Carefresh Complete colors Pet Bedding

You’ll find a range of rainbow options, going for impact with the confetti products. Single colors include pink and blue. Always ensure that only natural dyes are used – anything else could be risky to your hamster’s health. The bottom line with the colored bedding is safety over aesthetics, and many enthusiasts prefer the natural look.

Pros

  • bio-degradable
  • Good odor control
  • Great for burrowing and housing
  • Natural coloring

Cons

  • Expensive – mix it with a cheaper natural bedding
  • Beware of cheap imitations when purchasing
  • Not many color options

Final thoughts

You can get started sourcing safe hamster bedding for your critter – whether hamster bedding DIY or proprietary – but here are a few more helpful tips to keep you on track.

  • Generous bedding – this promotes natural behavior and may improve body condition.
  • If your hamster feels safe, can burrow and dig, then you’ve got a happy hammy.
  • If your hamster is happy with the bedding, stick with it – changing bedding type can trigger stress.

Now you know what’s the best hamster bedding for your little critter, they’ll thank you for that cozy duvet and pillows!

 

 

 

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