Choosing a safe bedding material to cover the floor of your guinea pig's home is vital to her health and happiness. Some pet cages have wire floors, but wire floors cause serious physical harm to a guinea pig's paws. A soft bedding material is ideal, but some dusty or scented bedding materials are dangerous to a guinea pig's sensitive respiratory system. Safe options are inexpensive and easy to find.
Recycled Paper Bedding
Recycled paper bedding is usually safe, as well as being a green choice. Make sure the bedding you get is nontoxic, as some guinea pigs will gnaw on it. Eco-Bedding is a 100% recycled paper bedding made of thin strips of paper that expand nicely into a fluffy floor cover. Another brand of paper bedding is Fresh World Bedding, which is recycled paper packed into absorbent pellets. You can buy these brands and other types of paper bedding at a pet store or online.
Fleece bedding is very safe for guinea pigs with sensitive respiratory tracts. It eliminates any dust and keeps the habitat dry by wicking away moisture. Cut a piece of fleece to fit the bottom of the cage. Pre-wash the fleece a few times to ensure it will wick the urine away. Put something absorbent under the fleece like towels, layers of newspaper, or a folded mattress pad. With fleece you must sweep up stray droppings every day and wash the fleece regularly, but you can use the same fleece for a long time.
Some wood shavings are dangerous to guinea pigs because they contain aromatic oils and are dusty. Cedar and pine shavings are not safe for guinea pigs. Aspen shavings are a safer wood shaving. Aspen is a hardwood that is virtually dust- and scent-free. Aspen can be a green choice if you look for recycled wood shavings.
One of the most popular brands of small pet floor covering is CareFRESH, a dust-free, scent-free, nontoxic bedding made from recycled wood pulp. It comes in several colors and in a natural gray hue. It is very soft and great for a guinea pig's sensitive paws. You can find CareFRESH at a pet store or online.
Timothy Hay Bedding
Guinea pigs need to eat timothy every day. This hay also makes a great floor covering material, especially when placed over another type of more absorbent bedding. If you are using timothy hay as bedding, you should consider buying it in bulk. You can order bulk timothy hay online or, if you have room to store it, buy it by the bale from a local farm.
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Kayla Richard has been writing from Rochester, N.Y., since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing arts from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport.