Guinea pig bedding provides your pet with warmth and comfort, while also keeping their habitat hygienic by absorbing urine and odors.
However, did you know that not all bedding designed for guinea pigs or small pets is effective or safe to use?
When I first started keeping guinea pigs many years ago, there wasn’t the wealth of information on suitable bedding types that there is now. I foolishly used cedar shavings and other unsuitable substrates for my piggies as that’s what the pet store recommended.
This resulted in my piggies at the time developing respiratory infections, which were a nightmare (and costly) to treat. After doing some research, I discovered just how unsafe some commercial beddings for small animals are.
Using the Right Guinea Pig Bedding
I’ve learned a lot since then and now only use appropriate substrates like paper bedding and aspen shavings for my current guinea pigs.
Unfortunately, there’s still misinformation being spread around about suitable bedding options for guinea pigs. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of the best bedding for guinea pigs.
The beddings below are soft, cozy, super absorbent, and (most importantly) completely safe for guinea pigs.
The Best From The Reviews
Out of all the beddings for guinea pigs I’ve looked at, this one is my overall top pick.
Kaytee’s Clean & Cozy Bedding is a soft and insulating paper-based bedding for guinea pigs.
Although a little pricier than some of the other bedding options I’ve looked at, this fleece cage liner saves you both time and money in the long run as it’s reusable.
Guinea Dad Fleece Liners are reusable, comfortable, and completely free of dust as they’re made out of a bamboo blend.
On To The Reviews…
The Kaytee Clean & Cozy Natural Small Animal Bedding is a non-toxic and ultra-soft paper bedding for piggies that’s 99% free of dust.
First up is Kaytee Clean & Cozy Natural Small Animal Bedding, a fantastic choice for guinea pigs due to its soft and super absorbent paper bedding material. It can absorb twice as much moisture as wood shavings, ensuring your pet’s habitat stays cleaner for longer.
The guinea pig bedding is 99% free of dust, so it’s less likely to trigger an allergic reaction or respiratory distress than some other small animal beddings, such as pine and cedar shavings. These are notorious for causing skin conditions and respiratory issues in guinea pigs, as well as many other small animals.
Kaytee’s Clean & Cozy Bedding doesn’t suffer from this problem as it doesn’t contain any unsafe ingredients or potent fragrances. If you need a soft, cozy, and safe bedding for guinea pigs, this one from Kaytee is a top pick.
However, this bedding doesn’t always have the best odor control, so you might need to replace it a little more often than some other beddings to prevent any bad smells.
Additionally, the bedding can lack absorbency as the material is made up of quite thin paper flakes.
- Material: Paper
- Product Weight: 100 L
- Product Dimensions: 12.38” x 11.25” x 16.5”
- 99% dust-free
- Soft and cozy material
- Absorbs more moisture than wood shavings
- Can lack absorbency and odor control
Carefresh is a soft and comfortable paper bedding for guinea pigs with good absorbency and odor control. It’s 99% dust-free and comes in a huge variety of colors.
One of the best guinea pig beddings for guinea pig owners on a budget is Carefresh, boasting excellent odor control and absorbency. It’s made out of natural paper fiber, making it completely pet-safe and velvety soft.
Due to its cozy texture, the bedding is gentle on your piggy’s skin and delicate feet, while also being perfect for burrowing and nesting.
If your cavy suffers from sensitive skin or is allergic to Aspen shavings, this soft bedding from Carefree is a great option.
The bedding is 99% free of dust and doesn’t contain any harmful chemical, aromatic oils, or synthetics dyes.
It’s also biodegradable and compostable, which is a great feature as it’s better for the planet.
Carefresh bedding comes in a wide range of colors, including natural, blue, confetti, and purple, so you can add a bit of vibrancy to your guinea pig’s outdoor hutch or indoor cage.
Unfortunately, Carefresh bedding can often clump together into large chunks that are a hassle to break apart. In addition, it can have a slightly unpleasant smell, especially the colored varieties.
- Material: Paper
- Product Weight: 60 L
- Product Dimensions: 19” x 15.75” x 5”
- Very soft
- Free of dust
- Comes in an assortment of colors
- Good absorbency and odor control
- Can clump together
- Can emit an odd smell – especially coloured variety
GuineaDad Fleece Cage Liners are ideal for small pets as they’re entirely dust-free, comfortable, and reusable.
The GuineaDad Liner is my personal favorite bedding option as it’s completely dust-free, comfortable, and reusable. Made using a blend of bamboo premium materials, this liner is waterproof to make it easy to clean. The bamboo layer absorbs liquids and odors, while the top fleece layer keeps the guinea pigs’ feet soft and dry.
When it’s time to clean your piggy’s cage, you can simply throw the liner in the wash and reuse it. Not only does this save you a lot of time, but it also saves you money in the long run as you won’t need to constantly purchase bedding.
This fleece liner is extremely soft on your piggy’s skin and feet, so your piggy can play and rest in ultimate comfort. It even has a built-in pocket your pet can burrow down and nest in.
Better yet, the GuineaDad Liner comes in reusable packaging that can transform into a hideaway! Simply pop out the perforations and the packaging turns into a nest box that your pet can sleep in and chew on to their heart’s content.
The only downside of this fleece bedding is its lack of absorbency. You might need to wash this cage liner every couple of days to prevent any foul odors, or place puppy pads underneath it to soak up excess moisture.
- Material: Bamboo blend
- Product Weight: 2.05 lbs
- Product Dimensions: 12” x 12” x 5.5” Full Specs
- Complete dust-free
- Built-in pocket for burrowing
- Can lack absorbency
Pet Select Aspen Wood Shavings is made from kiln-dried Aspen wood that’s absorbent, comfortable, and compostable.
Another one of the best guinea pig beddings for cavies is Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding, made from kiln-dried aspen shavings. Although cedar and pine shavings are unsuitable bedding options for small pets, aspen shavings are completely safe.
The bedding doesn’t contain any additives and comes in a huge pack that’s great value for money, so it will last you a relatively long time. Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding is also recyclable and compostable, so it’s eco-friendly.
I really like how soft and comfortable this aspen substrate is – its texture makes it easy for your furry friend to burrow in too.
In addition, the bedding has good odor control and can absorb moisture with ease, which means less frequent cage cleaning and a fresher habitat for your piggy.
My main gripe with these aspen kiln-dried shavings is their dustiness. If your pet has a sensitive respiratory system, this bedding for guinea pigs might not be the best choice.
- Product Dimensions:
- Product Weight: 113 L
- Material: Aspen wood
- Compostable and recyclable
- Made from kiln-dried cedar wood
- Safer alternative to cedar or pine shavings
- Can be dusty
These guinea pig fleece liners from Piggy Bedspreads are reusable, waterproof, and extremely soft to keep your guinea pigs cage cozy and clean.
The last best bedding for guinea pigs I recommend is this fleece substrate from Piggy Bedspreads as it’s reusable and ultra-comfortable. The bedding is a breeze to clean – just sweep up any droppings and pop the dirty bedding in the washing machine.
This fleece bedding for guinea pigs is very absorbent, so it easily soaks up urine to keep your guinea pig cage hygienic. As it’s reusable, you don’t need to keep buying bedding, saving you time and money.
It has a reversible design too, giving you two different looks for your guinea pig cage. Both designs are vibrant, which adds a splash of color to your guinea pig habitat.
However, this bedding for guinea pigs can be a bit messy as pieces of hay and droppings have a tendency to get stuck to the material.
- Material: Fleece
- Product Weight: 1.5 lbs
- Product Dimensions: 48” x 24” x 0.5”
- Soft and cozy
- Reusable and waterproof
- Has a colorful reversible design
- Hay and droppings can get stuck to the material
Why Is Bedding Important for Guinea Pigs?
A good bedding is important for guinea pigs as it absorbs urine and moisture, which keeps your pet’s habitat cleaner and fresher.
Bedding also provides warmth and insulation to ensure your pet doesn’t get too cold.
The best guinea pig bedding is absorbent, good at controlling odors, soft, made from natural materials, and free of dust.
Benefits of Using Bedding
Here are a few benefits of using guinea pig bedding.
Guinea pig bedding should be soft and cozy so your pet can play and rest in ultimate comfort. It shouldn’t be rough or sharp as this could cause injury to your pet.
Without bedding in your guinea pig’s habitat, urine and droppings will build up and cause foul odors and an unhygienic environment.
As a responsible pet parent, you want your pet to be as happy and healthy as possible, so make sure you use absorbent guinea bedding that can deal with bad smells effectively.
Here’s a quick informative video on how to keep guinea pig cages clean.
Guinea pig bedding provides insulation, preventing your cavy from getting overly cold. Always provide your cavy with plenty of bedding so they can snuggle down and keep warm, especially if they live outside.
Is Fleece or Bedding Better for Guinea Pigs?
This is mostly down to personal preference, but fleece can be reused, which saves you time and money.
However, urine will pool on the surface rather than allowing it to pass through to the absorbent layer underneath, resulting in wet guinea pigs. That is why fleece often needs to be cleaned frequently (every two days at least) as it’s quite thin and doesn’t absorb moisture as well.
Guinea pig natural paper bedding, aspen wood shavings, and other types of safe guinea pig substrates are usually absorbent with good odor control. The only downside is that they are all disposable, so you won’t be able to reuse them once they’re dirty.
Personally, I use fleece for all my guinea pigs as it’s very soft, comfortable, and is easy to clean and reuse.
When to Replace Beddings?
Disposable small pet bedding should be replaced at least once a week or whenever it is overly sodden. To save some time on cage maintenance, spot clean your pet’s habitat every day.
This includes removing visible droppings and any wet bedding with urine or water.
Fleece blankets or other reusable bedding options should be replaced around every 2 days or when they get smelly.
When to Clean Beddings?
Fleece bedding material should be cleaned whenever it is dirty or stinky, usually every couple of days.
If you have more than one guinea pig, you might need to clean guinea pig fleece bedding every day.
What Bedding Is Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Not all guinea pig bedding is safe, even ones that are specifically designed for cavies and small pets. Here are some beddings you should avoid using in your guinea pig’s cage.
Pine or Cedar Shavings
Although pine and cedar wood shavings are popular guinea pig bedding options (and other small pets), they can be extremely unsafe.
Both cedar and pine bedding contain phenols (aromatic oils) that can irritate your guinea pig’s respiratory system, damage their liver, and cause skin allergies.
However, kiln-dried pine bedding is a decent guinea pigs bedding as the drying process removes the majority of harmful oils.
Corn Cob Bedding
Corn cob bedding is made up of ground corn cob and should never be used for guinea pigs as it can be dangerous.
This type of bedding doesn’t control odors very well and is hard on your cavy’s delicate paws.
In addition, some guinea pigs will try to eat this type of bedding, which can cause an intestinal blockage or choking. The bedding swells up when wet, so if it’s inside your piggy’s stomach, this can be extremely dangerous.
Even worse, the bedding is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus as it often gets moldy when wet. There’s also been cases of corn cob bedding causing impaction issues in male guinea pigs.
Straw isn’t an ideal guinea pig bedding as it’s rough, coarse, and doesn’t retain moisture or odors well.
Clay, crystal, and clumping cat litters are among the worst guinea pig bedding options as they can be extremely harmful to cavies. Most cat litter contains chemicals that are toxic to guinea pigs and can also lead to blockages or choking if ingested.
However, paper-based cat litter (make sure it’s not scented) can be used in your guinea pig cage.
Is Newspaper OK for Guinea Pig Bedding?
Newspapers and magazines often contain inks and harmful chemicals that can harm your pet if ingested, so they’re not the best bedding for guinea pigs.
In addition, newspapers lack absorbency and odor control, so your pet’s cage will likely smell after a day or so.
If you can find newspapers that use vegetable-based or pet-safe inks, then they can be used in an emergency if you’ve run out of your regular guinea pig bedding.
Is Straw OK for Guinea Pig Bedding?
Straw doesn’t make the best bedding for guinea pigs as it doesn’t soak up moisture or control odors very effectively.
Straw bedding is often made up of sharp and hard stalks that could irritate or hurt your guinea pig’s skin, eyes, mouth, and nose.
Types of Bedding for Guinea Pigs
Below are some of the safest and best guinea pig bedding options.
Fleece bedding is one of the best guinea pig bedding options as it’s soft, cost-effective, insulating, and completely free of dust.
Many guinea pig owners (myself included) use this bedding material for these reasons.
Unfortunately, fleece isn’t as absorbent or effective at controlling odors as some other guinea pig beddings like kiln-dried pine shavings, aspen shavings, and small pet paper bedding brands.
Aspen wood shavings make an excellent small pet bedding. It’s absorbent, soft, and is able to control odors relatively well. However, some brands can be a little dusty.
Similarly to fleece bedding, cloth bedding is soft, comfortable, and reusable. However, cloth bedding also suffers from the same downside as fleece bedding – it’s not very absorbent.
This means you’ll need to clean it much more often than you would with disposable guinea pig bedding types.
Guinea pig natural paper bedding is one of the best bedding options for guinea pigs as it’s non-toxic, absorbent, soft, and effective at controlling odors.
Paper bedding is usually dust extracted to prevent it from irritating your guinea pig’s respiratory system.
Hemp bedding is made from hemp plant fibers, making it a safe and comfortable bedding for guinea pigs. It’s completely natural and organically grown, as well as absorbent and effective at controlling unpleasant smells.
Wood Pulp Bedding
Wood pulp bedding is made from 100% natural virgin wood pulp fiber and is commonly used for horses with respiratory issues. It also makes an excellent safe and absorbent bedding for guinea pigs. It controls odors well and is dust extracted to prevent respiratory distress.
I hope I helped you find the best bedding for guinea pigs and differentiate between safe and unsafe substrates for cavies.
While any one of the beddings above are great for guinea pigs, here are a few that particularly stand out.
Kaytee Clean & Cozy Bedding is a great pick for guinea pigs as it’s insulating and ultra-soft, allowing your guinea pig to rest and borrow in ultimate comfort.
It contains very little dust to make it less likely to trigger allergic reactions or respiratory distress in cavies.
Carefresh is an affordable but top-quality bedding for a guinea pig. It has little to no dust, while also being cozy and absorbent.
The substrate comes in a variety of colors so your guinea pig can live in style.
GuineaDad Liners are ideal for guinea pigs as they’re warm, comfortable, and reusable. They can be washed when dirty so they can be reused again, which makes them highly cost-effective.
The liners also come with a built-in pocket that your furry friend can burrow in.
Feel Free To Share!
Thanks for reading this guide on the best substrates for guinea pigs. If you have a minute, please share it with your friends or other guinea pig owners that need help selecting the right substrate for their small animal.
If you need any other advice, please let me know in the comments or on social media. In the meantime, take a look at some of my other in-depth and paw-some guides on guinea pig care.