What is the Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs?

When you take a trip to any pet store, the amount of bedding options available can be a little overwhelming.  What on earth should you choose?  And are any more suitable than others? How do I know what’s the best bedding for guinea pigs?

Well, let’s take a look at the different types available, and the pros and cons of each.

Hay Bedding

As you know, hay is a staple part of your guinea pigs diet, and is essential for him to have an unlimited supply in order to remain in good health.  Using hay as a bedding material ensures that your piggie has as much as he wants to eat, plus it also imitates their natural environment of long grasses for him to burrow through and play.

As you’ve probably noticed, here at SPS we are staunch advocates of trying to ensure that your piggies home environment imitates what he would have in nature – so for us, hay (timothy hay in particular) is the winner hands down.

The only thing you need to take care of with using hay as bedding is that it’s not particularly absorbent.  You’ll need to remove soiled bedding on a daily basis, otherwise you’ll end up with a smelly cage – not something that either you or your piggie will be very keen on.

Wood Shavings Bedding

Certain wood shavings are extremely hazardous to the health of guinea pigs, causing severe respiratory problems and even allergic reactions in some cases.  Cedar and pine shavings are definitely not recommended for this reason – even though they do smell nice and look inviting.  Some shavings are okay to use, such as Aspen shavings – but not only are they expensive – would you actually know the difference?

To be on the safe side, wood shavings should be avoided as a bedding product for your pigs.

Newspaper Bedding

A commonly used product by many to bed their piggies.  However, guinea pigs, as we know, love to chew – and they will happily scoff their way through newspaper if they are bored or feeling mischievous.  The newspaper itself is covered in ink – so do you really want your piggies ingesting it?  And when newspaper gets wet – as it will – it turns into a rather disgusting smelly mess that needs changing on a regular basis.

So, no – newspaper is not a bedding that should be top of your list to use, although many people successfully use it as a liner beneath another bedding such as hay.

Straw Bedding

In a word, no!  Straw is very coarse and can easily cause damage to your guinea pig.  It shouldn’t be used under any circumstances.

There are many other options that people use, including chopped up cardboard, hemp, towels, specifically created veterinary products such as vetbed – even cat litter!  But, to be honest, none of these really do the job anywhere near as well as hay.

So not only for ease of use, but for the best health and well-being of your piggie – here at SPS we recommend hay all the way to use as the best bedding.

And hey, if you use anything else to good effect, why not let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.

Till next time – love those piggies!