Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs: Top 9 List for Great Odor Control and Comfort

by Lindsay Pereira
Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs spend quite a lot of time in their habitat so they require an excellent bedding material that’s not only highly-absorbent, but soft and cozy too.

As a pet parent, you’re likely looking for the best kind of bedding for your furry friends, something that also keeps odors to a minimum and poses no health hazard to your rodent buddies. Believe it or not, not every bedding on the market is created equal – nor are they all safe for guinea pigs and other small animals. Now, that’s certainly a scary thought, isn’t it? But, don’t worry, we’re about to give you the run-down on the best – and worst – products for guinea pig bedding. With this great information, you’ll have no problem choosing the perfect bedding material for your cavy condo.

Recommended types of guinea pig bedding

Nowadays, most responsible guinea pig owners use paper-based bedding, aspen bedding or fleece. These three choices are the most common bedding types for a good reason – they are safe to use and have a lot of pros. But, like any other product out there, these bedding types all have pros and cons for use as a bedding material.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best types of guinea pig bedding!

Paper bedding

Guinea pig paper bedding

Paper bedding is a go-to choice for many guinea pig owners. It is because it is soft, absorbent, and good at odor control.

The trouble is, even though different paper bedding brands are essentially made out of the same material, they come in varying qualities and types. This makes it hard for pet parents to figure out which product is most ideal.

Some of the things you need to keep in mind when it comes to paper bedding are the following.

The stink factor

Having tried several of these products, I can honestly say that they all vary greatly, and each one has its own pros and cons list. While some seem really rough and uncomfortable, others don’t appear to absorb urine all that well. And, of course, if you’re stuck with a bedding material that’s not very absorbent, it means that your guinea’s cage will end up pretty stinky. I think we can all agree that a smelly cage makes for an unhappy (not to mention unhealthy) pet.

And then, there’s the dust

Another thing that varies differently between paper bedding brands is the amount of dust. Firstly, bad guinea pig bedding is really dusty. That creates big problems for the health of your guinea pigs, in particular as it can cause allergies or respiratory difficulties. Secondly, it makes cleaning their habitat an absolute nightmare.

Choosing the perfect paper bedding

When looking for a good brand of paper bedding, you’ll want to find a material that’s less messy and dusty. This, in turn, makes it so much easier for you to clean your pet’s habitat. But more importantly, it’s also much better for the health and happiness of your guinea pigs.

The danger of ingesting the paper bedding

Even though this rarely happens, your guinea pig might eat the pieces of paper bedding. This can lead to serious health issues or even death if wet balls form in their tummy. That’s why it is important to monitor your guinea pigs when you introduce paper bedding to make sure they are not eating the bedding. If you notice they love to nibble the bedding, switch to another, safer type of bedding such as fleece or aspen bedding.

I do prefer to use paper bedding for my little beasties so we’ll definitely look at some of the best and most popular paper bedding brands for guinea pigs shorty, including my all-time favorite.

Fleece bedding

Fleece as guinea pig bedding

Using fleece for bedding is still pretty new, however, fleece has gained a huge popularity in the recent years because it makes for a great bedding material. In my experience, I’ve used both fleece padding and paper bedding, and I can honestly say they’re both great choices. Usually, fleece is used for homemade cages or C&C habitats. It’s a lovely, soft material and will provide your fur babies with a comfy night’s sleep.

Also, if the fleece is pre-treated correctly and has a proper under layer, it will be very absorbent. Generally, fleece bedding works out to be cheaper in the long term as it is reusable. That makes it great for the environment too! Although, pet parents do need to invest more time in the whole process of changing bedding with a fleece option. That’s because you’ll have to wash and thoroughly dry the fleece liners before reinserting it into the guinea pig cage.

When using fleece, you need a good under layer to absorb the urine and prevent odor. Towels, puppy pads or u-haul pads should do the trick.

Aspen bedding

Unlike pine and cedar shavings which should not be used (more about that at the bottom of this post), aspen bedding is a completely safe option, often recommended by the vets. Aspen is a non-aromatic hardwood so it will not bother your sensitive cavies. It is dust and scent-free but there is one downside – it doesn’t provide much odor control. With aspen bedding, you’ll probably have to clean the cage more often than you would by using other types of bedding on this list.

The best bedding for guinea pigs

Let’s now take a look at some of the best bedding for guinea pigs, with all their pros and cons so you can make the best decision for you and your cavies.

1. Fleece cage liner

Originally, I was using fleece liners for Muffy and Lilly’s cage. Really, there’s quite possibly nothing more comfortable out there for your pet. With the thick padding sewn in between layers of soft, cozy fleece, you’re basically looking at the equivalent of a mattress for rodents. With fleece liners, you’ve found the all-time least expensive bedding for guineas pigs. However, what you save on money, you pay with in time and energy. That means, you’ll be doing extra laundry! But hey, if you’re looking for luxury, you’ve come to the right bedding material.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Some brands add burrowing sleeves into fleece bedding
  • Extra absorbent
  • Antibacterial
  • Helps prevent common diseases and infections
  • Dust-free
  • Made from natural materials like bamboo
  • Waterproof bottom

Cons:

  • Laundry, laundry, laundry!
  • Can soil and damage washing machine if padding is too dirty
  • Time consuming and often requires pet parents to purchase an extra set to minimize change time
  • Special pet-friendly detergents needed

Our pick:

Fleece bedding for guinea pigs

2. Aspen bedding

As mentioned above, aspen bedding doesn’t contain any aromatic oils or phenols, it is dust-free and odorless. There are two options when it comes to aspen bedding – kiln dried shavings or regular shavings, and both are fine to use.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic
  • No chemicals
  • Eco-friendly
  • Dust-free
  • Scent-free

Cons:

  • Not as absorbent as paper based bedding and fleece
  • Can be more expensive than other types of bedding

Our picks:

Aspen bedding for guinea pigs

3. Unscented, large granule/strand paper pellets

Here we are at my all-time favorite type of guinea pig bedding. For the past few years now, I’ve been using large strand paper pellets, specifically Yesterday’s News, for my buddies Muffy and Lilly. In my opinion, the unscented version is wonderful, extremely odor absorbent to the point that you will never smell a thing. As for absorbency, you’re looking at 3X the moisture absorption. No puddles, no wet zones – how amazing is that! Yes, the pellets seem quite long, but they’re 100% “paw-friendly” and non-abrasive. Made from reclaimed pulp and processed to remove any potentially harmful, toxic nasties, you’re definitely looking at a great purchase for your furry friends.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic
  • No chemicals
  • Eco-friendly
  • Safe if ingested
  • Paw-friendly, soft
  • Non-clumping
  • Great odor control
  • Super absorbent
  • Almost completely dust free
  • Easy to clean up

Cons:

  • Super absorbency means the material is very heavy when used, so you may need to clean the cage more often – every 5-7 days
  • More expensive than some other options

Our pick:

Yesterdays News paper guinea pig bedding

4. Natural paper bedding

Natural paper bedding is a great paper-based material for your guinea pigs, as well as any other small caged animal. The bedding is really comfortable and, although it is a little pricey, you do get a lot of bedding for your money. As it is really compressed in its packaging, you’ll likely grin at how much of the stuff is in the bag once you open it.

Pros:

  • 100% safe for your guinea pigs
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Really expandable
  • Great odor control
  • All-natural paper
  • Eco-friendly

Cons:

  • Breaks down into mushy substance if not changed every 5-7 days, though depends on number of pets in cage
  • Inferior brands tend to be dusty

Our pick:

5. White, unbleached paper bedding

This bedding is made from natural paper and is 100% biodegradable, so not only is it a great comfortable bedding for your pets, it is also great for the environment too. It’s a good quality bedding for your guinea pigs at a great price. Keep in mind that it really expands when you take it out of the packaging. By reading through just a few product reviews, it’s easy to understand why it’s such a highly recommended buy.

Pros:

  • Great odor control
  • Super absorbent
  • 99% dust free
  • Sludge free
  • Easy to clean up
  • Expands 3X in volume
  • White color makes messes easy to spot
  • Eco-friendly
  • Soft and comfortable

Cons:

  • Strong paper odor, depending on the brand
  • White color can make the cage look messy if not regularly spot-cleaned
  • Level of absorption depends on quality of brand

Our picks:

Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding

6. Crumble paper bedding

This paper-based bedding is an excellent option for your guinea pigs – and pet parents too. It’s known to be surprisingly soft and cozy, which makes it perfect for your pets to nestle into and enjoy a good night’s sleep. It is also one of the more affordable alternatives as well – a big bonus! Honestly, if you stick to a premium grade brand, then you’ll definitely find it’s a great buy for your furry friends.

Pros:

  • Super soft crumbles absorb 3x their weight in liquid
  • Phenomenal odor blocker
  • Made from 100% recycled paper
  • Non-toxic – safe for pets
  • 99.5% dust-free
  • No chemicals or by-products
  • Eco-friendly
  • Super expandable

Cons:

  • Absorbs very well but ends up expanding a lot and becoming quite heavy
  • Slightly more frequent changes necessary to avoid heavy loads

Our pick:

Paper crumbles as guinea pig bedding

7. Soft paper granules

Another fantastic bedding material is paper materials in a granule format. These smaller granules actually provide a really soft and comfortable bedding for your pets. Usually, the bedding is made from wood fibers that are converted into a soft, highly absorbent bedding and litter. As you’ll see online, this type of bedding comes in quite a few different colors.

Pros:

  • Great odor control
  • Really absorbent
  • Holds 3X weight in liquid
  • Compostable
  • 99% dust free

Cons:

  • Beware, cheaper brands tend to be quite dusty even though they claim to be almost dust-free
  • Super absorbent means it can get quite heavy when cleaning the cage. Avoid issues by cleaning your guinea’s habitat more often

Our pick:

Kaytee Soft Granule Bedding

8. Confetti paper bedding

Another great quality paper bedding product for pets. These tend to be 100% biodegradable and make a fantastic and cozy bed for your guinea pigs. While it’s one of the more affordable bedding materials on this list, don’t be fooled, that’s not to say that it’s a bad product. In fact, this “confetti” style of bedding is amazing and super comfortable for your guinea pigs to sleep in. Well worth a look!

Pros:

  • Natural
  • Biodegradable and compostable
  • Absorbent
  • Excellent odor control
  • Easy clean-up
  • Low dust
  • Eye-catching colors

Cons:

  • Color combinations can vary – may not look as pictured

Our pick:

Carefresh Confetti Bedding for guinea pigs

9. Hemp bedding

While I have no experience with hemp bedding, I decided to add it to the list as many guinea parents are in search of options that are nontoxic, safe for pets, and compostable. If being eco-conscious is something very important to you, then you may want to consider hemp bedding for your furry friends.

Pros:

  • Hemp bedding comes in mega sizes – makes it less pricey overall
  • Great smell
  • Very absorbent
  • Organic
  • Residual product is an excellent compost – suitable for organic-waste container
  • Grown without use of pesticides or insecticides

Cons:

  • Soft, but not as cozy as paper granules or fleece
  • Heavy end product – may result in higher shipping costs

Our pick:

Hemp bedding for guinea pigs

So, there we have it, some of the best bedding for guinea pigs that will keep your precious piggies cozy, comfy and warm – not to mention happy and healthy! Don’t forget – always change the bedding often to make sure your guinea pigs are comfortable and maintain their optimum health.

Bedding types to avoid at all cost

Straw should not be used as a guinea pig bedding

Now we also need to address the issue with improper bedding materials on the market. Whichever material you opt for, do not use the following bedding types.

Softwood chips or shavings like cedar and pine

Did you know that your cavies have a sensitive respiratory system? The dust, oils, and phenols from cedar and pine are extremely unhealthy for your pet’s lungs and can give them a myriad of respiratory issues. Some guinea pig owners use kiln-dried pine shavings because most of the oils and phenols are supposedly gone while dried but I still prefer to avoid it since there are many better options out there.

Straw

While rodents enjoy nibbling on hay, its drier version – straw – does not make for a suitable habitat liner. Basically, it has no absorbent qualities, so urine and feces would pool in the straw material, creating a horribly unsafe environment to live in. Add to that the fact that straw is stiff with hard ends – easily creating a danger to sensitive eyes, ears, nose, and feet – and it’s clear how it simply doesn’t make for a comfortable cavy home.

Corn husks

Highly prone to mold, corn husks make a completely unsuitable bedding material. In the event that these wispy, long, hair-like strands are ingested, it can create intestinal blockages.

Clumping cat litter

The thing with clumping cat litter is, it’s not meant to be “lived in.” Sure, it clumps urine and feces, and even has odor neutralizing properties, but it is not meant to be underfoot (or rather, “underpaw”) day in and day out. What makes the litter clump? The answer is, it’s chemicals that give it clumping properties – making it a dangerous substance should it be ingested. Again, it’s simply not meant to be used as bedding.

A reminder: Clean cages at least once a week

Lastly, I believe it is essential to quickly mention the importance of keeping cavy cages clean. Not only does cleaning their habitat once a week – at the very least – keep your fizzy friends happy, but it also keeps them healthy and in tip-top shape. Having said that, don’t wait for your regularly scheduled cleanings to remove any food spills, water mishaps, or heavy soiled bedding. In fact, checking on your pet and check out your pet’s cage should be a daily occurrence.

What are you using for your guinea pigs’ bedding?

Let us know in the comments.

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71 comments

Gabor August 18, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Hi, Thanks for the advices. I agree that all bedding types have pros and cons, so I would add a comment to paper bedding in general: it does have risk! The piggies can eat the paper pieces that can cause serious problem in the stomach as wet balls. This was told by a guinea pig expert veterinarian. Due to this risk she gave me the advice to avoid paper bedding in general.
This vet suggested the use of wood shaving bedding as the best compromise – not perfect but the best choice according to her.
Cheers, Gabor

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Monika August 20, 2018 - 5:31 am

Interesting. I haven’t heard about this danger before, thank you for sharing it with us! Luckily, it’s not common for guinea pigs to eat their paper bedding but I guess it can happen.

When it comes to wood shavings, it is important to avoid cedar and pine as they can irritate a guinea pig’s respiratory system and cause an allergic reaction.

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laura medairy December 31, 2018 - 3:17 am

Paper bedding also varies from pig to pig. We have two and unfortunately, one of them ate the bedding, causing a blockage which after three to four days lead to his death this morning (12/30). The other is totally fine, although we will be switching his bedding at his next cage cleaning to prevent another sad situation. RIP Gizmo.

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Monika January 2, 2019 - 10:32 am

Oh, no, that’s terrible 🙁 I’m so sorry for your loss. RIP Gizmo.

It’s important to monitor our pets when using paper bedding and if they love to nibble on the paper bedding, we should switch to something safer such as fleece.

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Lisa Roddy July 1, 2019 - 6:10 am

Here’s a couple suggestions, I use the fleece top liner. Once you do, you can’t take that away from your Pet!!!
When I first got her, I just happened to buy a new HUMAN bed liner that same wakmart trip. So, when I came home, I had my old bed liner, one of those really soft, cotton, I think, liners my back when just to put down first then your sheets over it. They were designed to keep the sheets in place…..that’s what I now use for the absorbent inside lining for the pigs bedding. it’s super absorbent and easy to wash and dry. It was a queen size, so it was big enough for 2 main floor liners, 2 half size upper level liners and 4 smaller “pee-corner” squares. Used wherever they pee the most. You can switch those out mid-week, before you have to change the whole cage liner. And the fleece I got for free from our junk mail. I don’t know about anyone else, but, we receive all kinds of free stuff in the mail. One of which, i think, is from a toys charity or animal protection service, not sure now, but I receive smaller fleece blankets in the mail a few times a year. I used to save these for a cleaning service I did(great for polishing brass and silver). But now that I don’t do that anymore, I get these fleece blankets and there you are! Second suggestion, Use the larger paper roll pellets for the under level of the bedding due to the absorbance, then lay out a double layer of the fleece blankets!!! This is great, and a little less laundry. Pull up the fleece, throw away the under level of paper roll pellets, wash the fleece and back together with a new layer of the paper roll pellets.

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Monika July 1, 2019 - 7:11 am

That’s an interesting idea, I would never guess a bed liner would make a great bedding material. Thank you for your suggestions!

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Carrie November 16, 2019 - 1:24 am

I prefer puppy pads with kiln dried pine shavings. I want to try fleece but currently don’t wn a washer or dryer!! I spot clean daily and whole cage weekly. I find it relatively easy as I an roll the pyppy pad along with shavings into a largerge garbage bag and hot soapy ater rinse cage bottem. Always provide hay!!

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 4, 2020 - 11:20 pm

IF IT HELPS WHEN I STARTED USING FLEECE CUZ I NOTICED HOW PRICEY ALOT OF ITEMS WERE ON PLACES.I BOUGHT A BUNCH OF FLEECE THROWS FROM WALMART 2/$5 DEALS & FOUND MATERIAL SOME 4FT FOR $4 DIFFERENT DEALS & STARTED A LIL COLLECTION.I EVEN LOOKED AROUND FOR THINGS I COULD USE AT GOODWILL.THEN I GOT ME SOME BATTING FOR SOME & MADE MY OWN PILLOWS,BEDS & LINERS FOR LESS THAN WHAT PEOPLE CHARGED FOR THEIRS.I CUT UP MY FLEECE THROWS & WHILE SOME WERE IN LAUNDRY I HAD EXTRA TO LINE CAGE.GOT A BUCKET & STARTED A COLL.OF MATERIAL FOR MY CAGES.I PUT PUPPY PADS UNDER MY FLEECE,BUT HIDE THEM WELL OR THE PIGGIES WILL FIND THEM & CHEW ON THEM.$1 HAS PUPPY PADS & SOMETIMES BABY BLANKETS.IVE EVEN USED THE $1 PILLOW CASES FROM $1 TREE.

DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 4, 2020 - 11:09 pm

THANK U SO MUCH FOR THE INFO ABOUT WICH BEDDING IS BEST FOR GUINEA PIGS? I HAVE BEEN WRACKING MY BRAINS CUZ I HAVE TRIED SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES.I HAVE BEEN USING “SOFTWOOD” CUZ I THOUGHT IT WAS THE SAFEST SO MY PIGGIES WOULDNT GET HURT.IVE BOUGHT IT FOR YRS.IVE DONE THE FEECE TOO.YES ALOT OF LAUNDRY.BUT I HAVE A QUESTION TO ANY GUINEA MOMMIES OR DADDYS.”DOES ANY CERTAIN BEDDING ATTRACT ROACHES? ESP.”SOFTWOOD” I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING TO KEEP ROACHES OUTTA MY PIGGIES CAGE.IVE EVEN CHANGED CAGES, ECT.HAS ANYBODY USED ANY INSECT (PLUG-I NS) THAT KILL ROACHES BUT DONT HARM GUINEA PIGS.? THE APTS I LIVE IN ARE ROACH INFESTED & ESP AT NIGHT THEY ARE ALL IN MY CAGES.PLEASE HELP!!! “FUR~BABY MOMMY”

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Howard August 27, 2018 - 6:13 am

I have a two week old cavy living with her mother in the same
cage. The baby just started to have watery diarrhea; coffee colored but, no smell. The only time you see the diarrhea is when she crawls over the cloth ramp in the cage and it rubs her bottom. She has been eating some of the mothers lettuce so I think that’s causing it. I also line the cage with unscented wee wee pads and place paper bedding over it. The baby nibbles at the blue plastic from the pads so I am not sure if that’s also causing bowle issues too. I have one water bottle I. The cage but, I never see the baby drink from it. Any help would be appreciated.

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Monika August 27, 2018 - 6:29 am

Lettuce can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs, especially if you give them iceberg lettuce which should be avoided as it has no nutritional value and can cause diarrhea. But I would suggest talking to your vet if you are worried. Also, if the cavy is not only nibbling but also ingesting the blue plastic then you should remove it from the cage because it can cause big health issues in their stomach.

There could be many reasons why your cavy is not drinking water… Maybe he/she gets enough of water from their vegetables, maybe they don’t know how to use a bottle so you can offer a bowl of water instead, maybe they are sick or ill… I would check with the vet to make sure everything is alright.

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Lisa Roddy July 1, 2019 - 6:17 am

To stop the baby from nibbling, get a couple cotton swabs and a bottle of Ortega thick and smooth hot sauce! Apply just a thin strip (by cotton swab) of the hot sauce along the whole edge of the pee pad. The smell alone should stop the baby from nibbling the plastic.

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 1:03 am

HI HOWARD I HAVE 2 TWIN BOYS 1YR OLDS WHEN THEY WERE A FEW DYS OLD THEY FOLLOWED THEIR MOM AROUND & WATCHED HER WHILE THEY STILL NURSED.I MAKE MY PIGGIES SALADS EVERY NIGHT,BUT HERS I MADE A LIL EXTRA & MADE SMALLER PIECES FOR THE BABIES.THE SALADS CONSISTS OF (KALE,CUCUMBER,BELLPEPPERS,& APPLES) & I ALSO DROP A FEW DROPS OF BABY GAS DROPS ON THEIR SALADS SO THEY DONT GET GAS.IF THEY EAT TO MANY GASSY FOODS & DONT GET ENOUGH EXERCISE.THEY CAN GET “STASIS” WICH CAN CAUSE DEATH.I LOST A PIGGIE TO IT. REGULAR LETTUCE IS FULL OF WATER & CAUSES GAS.PIGGIES NEED VIT-C EVERY DAY TO SURVIVE.KALE HAS VIT-C & THEN MY PIGGIES GET BABY CARROTS FOR TREATS AT NIGHT.SO THEN ITS NOT NECESSARY TO GIVE THEM VIT-C DROPS.I USED A PLATE FOR MY PIGGIES FOOD & SOON THEY WERE EATING THE SALAD WITH THEIR MOMMY.I ALSO STARTED WITH A BOWL OF WATER FOR THEM,BUT THEN I ATTACHED A SMALL WATER BOTTLE NEXT TO HERS BUT LOWER & THEY WATCHED HER & SOON WERE DRINKING FROM THEIR WATER BOTTLE.UR BABY NEEDS MORE FIBER & HAY ALWAYS & PELLETS.TRY TO GIVE PLAIN PELLETS.I FIDNT & NOW MINE ARE SPOILED & WANT TO EAT ALL THE GOOD STUFF OUT 1ST.LOL!I LEARNED MY LEASON GOOD LUCK WITH UR BABY

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 1:35 am

HOWARD I FORGOT.I ALSO USE THE PUPPY PEE PADS & I HAD THE SAME ISSUE OF MY PIGGIES NIBBLING ON THE BLUE PART OF THE PAD EVEN THO I COVERED IT THEY FOUND IT. SO BEFORE I PLACED IT IN THEIR CAGE I CUT THE TRIM OFF AROUND THE PAD SO THEY COULDNT SEE IT & THEN COVERED IT REAL GOOD & THE PROBLEM WENT AWAY.ÇLEAN-UP IS SO MUCH EASIER WITH THOSE PUPPY PADS THATS FOR SURE.

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Faye October 6, 2018 - 4:39 am

I am wanting to know if my piggie can eat sugar snap peas both pod and the pea itself?
I decided to go with fleece but when I learned it needed to be tested for absorption it didn’t seem to pass the test. I washed it two different times without using fabric softener but it still seems that it is not absorbent. I spent quite a bit of money purchasing the material and would like to use it. Any suggestions? It’s not like I can test it in the store before I purchase

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Monika October 7, 2018 - 3:52 pm

Hi. Yes, sugar snap peas are safe for guinea pigs but they should only be offered occasionally as a treat because they are high in sugar 🙂

I’m sorry to hear you’re having a bad experience with fleece as a bedding. Fleece should be washed at least 3 times before using it as a bedding. Also, don’t use the fabric softener.

Fleece can’t and is not supposed to absorb the pee, that’s why you need an absorbent layer underneath the fleece such as a towel. Hope this helps!

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Lisa Roddy July 1, 2019 - 6:31 am

You don’t want the fleece to be absorbent. That’s what helps keep the cage from stinking. Whatever liner you choose to put UNDER it is what needs to be absorbent. Here’s the deal with fleece, it’s supposed to allow “pass through” of liquids. Way different then “absorbent”. Pass Through allows the layer touching your baby or pet to stays dryer, the liquid passes through to the under layer. However, if you have fleece that won’t even allow for pass through (if you pour water on it, and minutes later the puddle is still sitting there, then you have to break the fabric seal. Much like the fabric protection spray that gets applied to new furniture or carpeting, there is a fabric seal on certain kinds of products, some fleece included, depending on the supplier. You remove this by washing it in hot water, with white vinegar. I would stop the machine part way through the wash cycle and let it soak for 15-30 minutes the first time. After that-the fabric protection seal should be gone and the fabric ready to “pass through” any liquid.

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 1:20 am

HI I USE FLEECE OFF & ON & IVE SEEN HOW PRICEY SOME OF THE FLEECE BEDDING IS.IF U ARE A CRAFTY PERSON LIKE ME.WHAT I DID WAS BUY SOME FLEECE THROWS FROM WALMART 2/$5 I DIFFERENT STYLES.I CUT THEM UP & I HAD SOME OLD PILLOWS THAT I USED STUFFING FROM & MADE LIL PILLOWS & PADS MYSELF.I ALSO WAS LUCKY THAT DOWN THE MATERIAL ISLE IN WALMART THEY HAVE ROLLS OF MARKED DOWN CUT FLEECE & MATERIAL FOR GOOD PRICES.IVE HAD LUCK FINDING ROLLED BATTING AT GOODWILL & BLANKETS & STUFF.I JUST WASH THEM IN UÑSCENTED BABY SOAP REAL GOOD,CUT THEM UP & USE THEM.U CAN EVEN DOUBLE IT & PUT PUPPY PADS “DOLLAR TREE” IN THE MIDDLE & THEN FLIP IT & USE THE OTHER SIDE.THE “DOLLAR TREE” EVEN HAS BABY BLANKETS THAT CAN BE USED.IVE EVEN USED TOWELS THAT I HAVE GOTTEN FOE $3 & CUT UP.MY PIGGIES FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE ON FLEECE BEDDING THAN ANYTHING ELSE IVE TRIED.I HOPE THIS HELPS.

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Roberto October 18, 2018 - 4:57 pm

hi there! Have 3 precious cavy girls, I’ve been using fleece pads for a year now, and although they are very pricey, I do believe the savings over time are well worth it, and most importantly, my cavies seem to love it. The down side is that my washer and dryer are taking a beating with each load, no matter how hard I try to get rid of hairs and hay before washing, it is almos impossible, so I am not sure if I will end up clogging or ruining my appliances.

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Monika October 19, 2018 - 8:16 am

We had the same problem, unfortunately. We switched to Yesterday’s News unscented paper cat litter for that reason 🙂 Potentially clogging up the appliances is the only downside to using fleece as a bedding. Did you try vacuuming the fleece before putting it in the washing machine?

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 1:54 am

HI IVE USED EVERY KIND OF BEDDING & WHEN IT CAME TO THE FLEECE BEDDING I BRUSHED IT OF WITH A SMALL HAND BROOM U CAN GET AT “DOLLAR TREE” SHOOK IT REAL GOOD & THEN IF THEIR WAS HAIR I WENT DOWN THE FLEECE WITH A HAIR LENT ROLLER BRUSH ALSO “DOLLAR TREE” PURCHASE.& IF NEEDED UNSCENTED FABRIC SHEET.THAT HELPED MY PROBLEM.

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Hilary November 14, 2018 - 9:33 am

I have 2 male guinea pigs….poor things not well at the moment they got mites .took them to the vet and got them treated but poor cookie has a horrible gash on her side from scraping. .got cream of vet for both of them….also got scurvy from the hay bedding…so have to change bedding..any suggestions..much appreciated. Also is it OK to leave them in a child’s pen .there cage is gone to small for them…they can’t run around in it….

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Monika November 15, 2018 - 7:44 am

Oh no. So sorry to hear this. I hope your cavies will get better soon. We prefer using paper bedding or fleece so you might want to consider those options.

I’m not sure how your cavies got scurvy from their hay bedding? They do need to have unlimited supplies of hay in their cage anyway. Maybe it would be best to check with your vet about which bedding they recommend since your cavies have bedding related health issues.

Child’s pen should be alright if they can’t get away from it. The more room they have, the better. We love the C&C type of cage, it has plenty of room to run around.

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 1:58 am

HI IVE USED EVERY KIND OF BEDDING & WHEN IT CAME TO THE FLEECE BEDDING I BRUSHED IT OF WITH A SMALL HAND BROOM U CAN GET AT “DOLLAR TREE” SHOOK IT REAL GOOD & THEN IF THEIR WAS HAIR I WENT DOWN THE FLEECE WITH A HAIR LENT ROLLER BRUSH ALSO “DOLLAR TREE” PURCHASE.& IF NEEDED UNSCENTED FABRIC SHEET.THAT HELPED MY PROBLEM.

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DAWNIE GONZALEZ July 8, 2020 - 2:12 am

SO SORRY HILARY HOPE UR BABIES ARE BETTER NOW.I HAD 2 GUINEAS OVER 10YRS AGO “RODNEY & COOKIE” LOL! THEY GOT SCABIES FROM A BAG OF BEDDING I HAD BOUGHT FROM KMART.IT CAUSED THEM TO ITCH & HAVE SEIZURES.NOT ONLY DID MY BABIES HAVE TO BE TREATED,BUT MY 2 CHINCHILLAS,& OUR WHOLE FAMILY. TO AVOID SPREADING IT WHEATHER WE HAD IT OR NOT. MY GUINEAS HAD TO HAVE “IVERMECTIN” MEDS EVERYDAY & ALSO MY CHINCHILLAS.MY FAMILY & I HAD TO USE A SPECIAL SHAMPOO & LOTION FOR OUR BODYS.ALL CUZ THIS BAG OF BEDDING WAS INFESTED WITH THESE MITES THAT WAS STORED TO LONG IN THE WHERE HOUSE.NOW FOR MY GUINEAS NOW I WAS TOLD FOR ITCHING TO GIVE UR BABYS AN OATMEAL BATH.JUST OATMEAL & WATER.LET THEM SIT FOR 10MINS.ALSO IF THERE IS NO OPEN WOUNDS TO USE “DAVIS MICONIZOLE DOG SHAMPOO” YES I SAID DOG SHAMPOO.U CAN GET THIS AT “WALMART” A GUINEA PIG RESCUE PERSON USES THIS PRODUCT ON HER PIGGIES.CHEWEY ALSO HAS PRESCRIPTION PRODUCTS U CAN PURCHASE THAT CONTAIN IVERMECTIN.ITS RECOMMENDED TO AT LEAST EVERY FEW MOS TO GIVE UR PIGGIES A DOSE OF IVERMECTIN TO PROTECT THEM FROM BUGS I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE

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Adele December 3, 2018 - 7:25 am

Hi I have two gorgeous males who are kept indoors on fleece with old towel underneath for absorption. But they are so smelly! I need to clean out at least 3 times a week. Any ideas I am stuck? but as they drink more than a bottle of water a day between them, that’s a lot of wee’s so guessing it will smell quickly

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Monika December 4, 2018 - 10:32 am

Hi, sorry to hear you’re having issues with odor. I would suggest putting more towels under the fleece. If you use only one towel as an absorbing layer, it tends to pick up odor pretty quickly. Also, you can try using puppy pads or u-haul pads under the fleece instead of the towels. Some guinea pig owners eliminated odor by making the switch. Hope this helps!

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Rose December 11, 2018 - 3:35 am

Actually if there is odor you will want to put in a pad for them to go on so then you can remove it weekly, it won´t get most of the odor but Monika is right.

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Monika December 12, 2018 - 9:30 pm

Thanks for your input 🙂

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Tonto1123 December 20, 2018 - 8:08 pm

Paper is not a good bedding because it can cause respiratory issues from the chemicals that it uses is normal to urine I use Aspen for mine my guinea pig and he seems to love it and plus that’s what the vet said to use.

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Monika December 22, 2018 - 3:00 pm

Hi, we found that some lower quality paper bedding can be dusty but there are many high-quality paper bedding brands to choose from. As for chemicals, I haven’t found the information that says paper bedding brands (the ones I checked) use unhealthy chemicals. Is there some kind of an article or research on the topic so I can take a look?

But yes, aspen bedding is also a good choice, although often not as absorbent as paper bedding.

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Nicole Roberts December 26, 2018 - 6:09 pm

Wait, so you use the Yesterdays News cat Litter

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Monika December 27, 2018 - 7:52 pm

Yes, that’s right, we switched to Yesterday’s News. We are in the middle of updating this post to include some of our today’s favorites.

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Amber September 5, 2019 - 5:24 am

I just brought home 2 male pigs this week! I read this before we got them and purchased the yesterday’s news cat litter you use. My question is, is the litter too hard for them? It seems so hard that I would think it would be uncomfortable for their feet and to sleep on. Any tips for making it comfortable?

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Monika September 5, 2019 - 6:47 pm

Hi, Amber. I don’t think it should bother your cavies. Lots of guinea pig owners use Yesterdays News cat litter, including Lindsay who wrote this post, and guinea pigs didn’t seem to mind. There is a softer version of Yesterday’s News cat litter so you might want to check that out if you’re worried or if your guinea pigs don’t seem to like the original version. You can also mix the cat litter with paper bedding such as Carefresh to make it more comfortable.

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Clarissa McCutcheon January 10, 2019 - 6:40 pm

We have been using puppy pads with fleece on top but it doesn’t fit our handmade cage well (all bunchy) so i bought two huge bags of cedar yesterday that I will be returning after reading this post.

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Monika January 11, 2019 - 9:42 am

Yes, that would be the best. Cedar is really not a good bedding solution. Aspen bedding is a better and healthier option if you want to use wood shavings.

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Tracy Jackson March 10, 2019 - 7:18 am

As we have only had our cavy for 6 months we have found that the hemp bedding is great. Scottie loves her bedding. You can get a large bundle at Walmart for about 6bucks.

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Monika March 10, 2019 - 4:58 pm

That’s really affordable. Good to know! Thanks for the info 🙂

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maricela April 12, 2019 - 10:30 pm

currently use fleece bedding but they keep ( I have two in one cage) burrowing underneath and making a mess and they nibble on the puppy pads I use and that’s not good. I have binder clips around the whole cage for them not to pull the blanket but they also seem to do it.

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Monika April 14, 2019 - 5:38 pm

Hi, yeah that’s definitely not good considering that most puppy pads contain plastic. Maybe you can try switching from puppy pads to towels to see how it would go? Maybe they won’t be interested in the towels.

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Emily April 17, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Is it bad for the GPs to eat puppy pads? We have to tape our pads down to the fleece to stop them from going under there and pooping (they like to poop in some spots more than others, so we use puppy pads).

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Monika April 21, 2019 - 10:18 am

Hi, yes, you should prevent your guinea pigs from reaching the puppy pads if they tend to eat them. It’s definitely not healthy and can be dangerous for them as the pads contain plastic and other materials that shouldn’t be ingested.

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Jaqueline Garcia April 30, 2019 - 11:45 pm

I just bought a huge bag of dust free pine bedding. Would it harm my Guinea pigs?

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Monika May 2, 2019 - 6:35 am

Hi, the issue with pine bedding is that it contains oils and phenols that can cause respiratory issues in guinea pigs. Kiln-dried pine bedding is a safer option as it shouldn’t contain oils and phenols that irritate guinea pig’s respiratory system. Although, we prefer aspen from all the wood bedding choices. Aspen is a non-aromatic hardwood so it doesn’t bother the cavies.

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Anna Schafer May 1, 2019 - 8:06 pm

hey i am going to try out fleece bedding but i wanted to know what to do about the laundry detergent? please help!

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Monika May 2, 2019 - 6:49 am

Hi, it is best to use an unscented and hypoallergenic detergent.

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Michelle July 20, 2019 - 11:33 pm

Could you use a combination of bedding? say one half of cage aspen shavings and other half fleece. Has anyone tried this?

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Monika July 21, 2019 - 8:17 am

I don’t see why not 🙂 That’s definitely a viable option.

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Jenn September 23, 2019 - 8:56 am

We have a Midwest cage and use paper bedding about an 1” deep in a small litter box at the end where our 2 boys do their business and since they also like to sleep there we just dump the litter daily and give them fresh. I don’t think it uses that much more litter than if we were spot cleaning on daily basis. The other end with we lay down fleece we got from fabric store folded in half for extra padding/comfort and give it a good shake outside as needed and change out every few days. Since we got from fabric store the fleece Was relatively cheap so we have 6-7 we cut to size. Since they don’t really pee on the fleece we don’t put anything underneath. We haven’t had issues with hair in our machine but could always go to laundry mat as we do wash their fleece separate from our clothes. We wash fleece with regular detergent and vinegar to reduce odor. And the midwest cage liner we wipe down weekly or as needed with 50/50vinegar/water solution and full wash once a month in machine. The whole cage routine including feeding and getting them fresh water takes about 5 minutes a day. They’re happy and clean and we’re happy with little time spent on cage cleaning and odor free pet room.

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Shirley August 8, 2019 - 7:17 pm

Have two little sweet baby girls…Ginger Snap and Tiny Mouse..and have two cages put together…one side i have fleece lining and their beds and the other side i have shavings and their water bottle and feeding bowls and a potty in one corner plus their hay feeder and it works wonderful…they seem so happy and content….i sweep the fleece lined side everyday and just basic cleaning for the other side….Major cleaning one a week and both babies and mama are very happy…

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Monika August 12, 2019 - 7:38 pm

Sounds like heaven on Earth for your piggies 🙂

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Ashley August 16, 2019 - 3:20 pm

We have three GP’s and I bought washable waterproof pee pads, like the ones I used with my children during potty training and that elderly folks may use in their beds. It was kind of pricey up front, but I use these as the first layer in their cages. Then I put old towels down ontop of the pee pads and then a layer of fleece blankets. At first I just did the waterproof pads and fleece and realized the odor was very strong the very next day after having cleaned the cage. So I added the layer of towels and that’s helped to some extent. We do wash our piggies cages and bedding thoroughly every three days. I simply roll their bedding up from one end to the other trapping all of the yuckies in it and I take it all outside and shake it off really well before placing it in my washing machine. I have a “fancy” front loader, which really means a washing machine that sucks and doesn’t wash near as well as the older models with an agitator! (yay fancy technology). And front loaders seem to clog a lot easier so you have to be very careful about putting anything with pet hair or hay…etc in the machine. I make sure everything is shaken off really well and then I always wash the bedding with ALL Free and Clear detergent and I use White Vinegar as both the “bleach” to help clean and sanitize it since you can’t use harmful chemicals for your GP’s, and I also use the white vinegar as the “fabric softener” which again tackles any trapped odors in the materials. I always wash it on HOT and do an extra rinse. Caring for the piggies this way is definitely time consuming and can be costly with the extra on your water bill and extra in laundry detergent, but I have 3 kids and do a ton of laundry anyway so what’s an extra 2 loads a week? 😉 If anyone has any advice on an even better way to help cut down on the strong odor, other than washing the bedding more frequently because 2 times a week is as much as I can do, I would love to hear any suggestions!

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Monika August 17, 2019 - 8:48 am

Yeah, it’s definitely time-consuming! Fleece is a great bedding material but it does require a lot of effort with the laundry. No bedding material is perfect, unfortunately 🙂

If the fleece tends to smell bad quickly, maybe you haven’t washed the fleece enough to allow it to wick properly? Did you wash the fleece several times before you started to use it? If not, the urine might stay on top of fleece instead of passing through to the absorbent layer. You can test it out by dropping some water on it and see how quickly it dries. If the water stays on fleece for more than a few minutes, then the fleece material should be washed again, until it starts to wick properly which should prevent the urine from sitting on the surface. If the fleece works good, and the absorbent layer is the thing that smells, then you might want to try with different pads or towels.

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Gertrude Carter October 12, 2019 - 4:10 am

I use Aspen bedding in the larger part of the cage and paper in the food area. I was wondring how often to feed the veggies. Is twice a day sufficient?

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Monika October 12, 2019 - 3:51 pm

It doesn’t really matter if you give them veggies once, or two, or three times a day. The important thing is they get a proper amount of veggies every day – up to 1 cup of mixed veggies a day per piggy 🙂 He have a post on feeding guinea pigs that you might want to check out: https://www.animallama.com/guinea-pigs/guinea-pig-feeding-schedule/

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David October 20, 2019 - 2:11 pm

We’ve used a lot of materials for keep our piggies happy. But aspen has been, by far, the best. It is easy to clean and cost effective. While fleeces are a close second, they just don’t keep looking nice for long. We’ve tried some paper bedding before too, but it is expensive and the grey colour just didn’t look good to us.

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Monika October 22, 2019 - 1:55 pm

Everyone has their preferences so if aspen works for you – then great! The main thing is you found something you like that is also a good choice for your piggies.

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Megan January 11, 2020 - 6:38 pm

I adopted my former roommate’s guinea pig because her new residence wouldn’t allow any pets. She used the confetti bedding and, because I still have some left, I’ve been putting it in one section of the habitat even though I’ve otherwise made the switch to fleece bedding, which this precious little cavy seems to like. Last night I caught her nibbling on a piece of the confetti. Should I be concerned?

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Monika January 12, 2020 - 11:02 am

Hi, it’s definitely not healthy for her and in some cases it can be dangerous because it can expand in her tummy and create a blockage. Although, in most cases a nibble here and there won’t do any harm, it might be best to check with the vet just in case. And in the future, switch to using only fleece so she doesn’t ingest the bedding anymore. Hope everything will be alright!

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Kate February 8, 2020 - 8:59 am

I am getting 2 guinea pigs, and was wondering if I could use the pelleted pine bedding, like they use for horses?

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Monika February 8, 2020 - 2:01 pm

Hi, only if it’s kiln-dried which is said to remove the phenols by heat treatment. Wood shavings for horses are usually dust-extracted and kiln dried so they should be fine but check on the label to make sure they are safe.

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Tracy March 13, 2020 - 7:31 pm

Vet bed that the vets use for dogs and cats seems to work wonders. Any wet drains through leaving the top dry.

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Monika March 14, 2020 - 11:12 am

That’s great! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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Adrianne April 28, 2020 - 4:56 am

Hello everyone!
I have read this article and all of your comments. I was wonder if wheat cat litter would work? We currently use the Sweat scoop cat litter brand for our litter box and the oder control with it is pretty good. I haven’t found anywhere where it is NOT recommended. So my question is can it be used safely?

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Monika April 29, 2020 - 12:20 pm

Hi Adrianne! We personally don’t have experience with wheat cat litter. I see that many people are concerned about the fact that this litter clumps so we’re wondering if it could pose an issue if a guinea pig ingests it. I would speak to your vet to be on the safe side!

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CavyMom May 20, 2020 - 1:44 pm

Why is Kaytee’s Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding not on this list? One of our rescued cavies has allergy issues and we tried 4 different beddings before we found this one that he wasn’t allergic to. *Opt to Adopt* https://www.chewy.com/kaytee-clean-cozy-small-animal/dp/125790

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Libby June 7, 2020 - 3:19 pm

I’ve just brought 3 guinea pigs. They are 10 weeks old. I brought a large double hutch for them so they have plenty of space when they are fully grown. I’m keeping them in the upstairs prt at the moment. I’m wondering when it might be safe for them to try going down the ladder! Any help appreciated.

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Monika June 15, 2020 - 3:33 pm

Hi, sorry for the last reply. I’m not sure how the ladder you’re mentioning looks like. If you’re worried they might fall off, which could happen, I would put some kind of “wall” on the sides. Maybe something wooden, just in case so they can’t fall off it.

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Cindy Pham July 11, 2020 - 12:18 pm

Hi. I have two boys and used towels and the smell was pretty bad and it is only the second day so I want to switch to bedding. Is Peckish Classic Natural Wood Shaving Bedding good?

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Monika July 14, 2020 - 4:08 pm

Hi! We don’t have personal experience with that type of bedding but as far as I can see, that product you mentioned contains Norway spruce and silver fir shavings. Kiln-dried spruce and silver fir wood is fine to use although I’m not sure about the wood that is not kiln-dried. Maybe check with your vet just to be sure?

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