Your guinea pig has a sensitive respiratory system and delicate feet, so choosing the right type of bedding to cover the floor of his cage is imperative to his health. A variety of bedding products available at retail today are not suitable for a cavy. Avoid bedding made from cedar and corn cob, to name a few materials.
Avoid These Trees, Please
Bedding made from cedar or pine wood shavings has a pleasant smell that can mask odors caused by your guinea pig's urine. However, cedar and pine shavings can be highly irritating to a guinea pig's respiratory system and can cause an allergic reaction that can manifest in a chronic skin problem. It should never be used. According to the Guinea Lynx website, the phenols, or aromatic oils, used in the shavings to kill insects can also cause liver damage in your guinea pig.
Keep Corn Cobs on the Grill
Corn cob bedding has several drawbacks that make it an unsuitable material to use in your guinea pig's cage. According to Guinea Pig cages, it is prone to mold growth, and its small, round pellets can accidentally get lodged in your pig's anal or genital area, leading to medical problems such as infection and impaction. Because of their sizes and shape, guinea pigs may also eat the pellets, which swell when mixed with water. Once ingested, the material can cause an intestinal blockage.
Ignore Too Raw Straw
Straw is not usable for guinea pig cages because it won't absorb the moisture or ammonia odor produced when your pig urinates or defecates. The stiff, hard stalks of straw also don't make a very comfortable bed for your pig to lie on. And, according to the Adopt A Guinea Pig Site, straw can splinter easily and cause injuries to your pig's sensitive eyes or nose.
Jump Kitty Litter Clump
Similar to cedar and pine shavings, cat litter is not a suitable bedding for guinea pigs -- it contains chemicals that help it neutralize odors. And, according to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine website, it possess an uncomfortable, stonelike quality that can be dangerous if ingested. Clumps can get tangled in your guinea pig's hair.
The Suitable Substrates
Aspen wood shavings are acceptable to use as a bedding material for your guinea pig. They are not aromatic like other forms of wood substrates, according to the Purdue website. Purdue also names Carefresh, bedding made from wood pulp fibers, as a popular product used to line cavy cages. Meanwhile, although they need to be cleaned frequently, fleece and cotton towels are also safe for lining guinea pig cages, and they provide a comfortable bed for your pet.
Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images