Guinea pigs are a special kind of pet. While many people know what they are or know someone who owned a guinea pig, not everyone knows how to care for one properly.
A huge part of owning guinea pigs is taking time to learn about their health, needs, and personalities. On top of needing toys to enrich their time spent in a cage, they also need to have the best bedding for guinea pigs so that they can play and sleep comfortably.
Bedding is very important for them as they will spend much of their day burrowed inside of it, and yes, some types of bedding are better than others. While you could simply buy the cheapest option you see available in the store, it is important for your guinea pig’s health and happiness that you chose something that is actually beneficial for them.
Today, we’ll introduce the top five bedding options for guinea pigs alongside a selection guide that will help you end up with the best option for your pet. Let’s get to it!
The Kaytee Super Sleeper is a soft, fleece bed that can be put on top of loose bedding to give your pet something special to snuggle up.
The best thing about this bed is how easy it is to set it up. All you have to do is put it in their cage, and your pet will be sure to start loving it. You can wash it in the machine, and it comes with straps so that you can secure it in place.
With the Kaytee Super Sleeper's open nature, your guinea pig will have to get more used to interacting with humans. If you have a shy pet, this could be a good way to help them become more used to being around people with little or no fear of upsetting them. They can still crawl underneath it if they want to!
Another good thing about this particular bed is that it is super easy to clean. All you have to do is take it out, shake it off, and toss it in the washer and dryer. Also, it will last through many washes.
Finally, it’s a great size for one or two guinea pigs. If you have a bonded pair, they may enjoy squeezing into this bed together to get some sleep.
One big drawback of this particular type of bedding is that wood and paper bedding will stick to it, and that can make the easy-to-clean factor of this bed less easy. You will need to shake off or remove paper bedding that gets stuck before washing it, or you could actually end up damaging your washer. Still, this isn’t too difficult to do.
Another drawback is that you cannot select which color you are sent, but the product may be sent in a number of nice colors including green, grey, pink, blue, and black.
Next up is a soft, foam-free bed that is available in three different sizes. It stands out for its waterproof bottom and washable exterior.
The Ware Manufacturing Safari Sleeper is available in multiple sizes, so you can easily get the right fit for one or two of your guinea pigs. Additionally, it has a waterproof bottom that will help keep it clean. The foam-free bed can be put through both the washer and the dryer, so keeping it clean is easier than ever before.
While some soft beds get lots of paper bedding stuck to them, this bed does not have that problem. Since the fuzz is less dramatic, less paper will be stuck, so it’s super easy to clean. Just toss it in the washer and voila!
The water-resistant lining on the bottom of the bed is a nice touch. Although your guinea pig will still likely use the bed as a bathroom sometimes, having the lining on the bottom keeps it dry for a more extended period of time even if the bed is sitting on damp bedding before you can change it.
Another great thing about this particular bed is its durability. Even after it goes through the wash many times, you’ll find that this bed holds up well. This can make a big difference since your pet will get used to having it around, so you want them to be able to use it for a long time.
Your pet is more likely to want this bed to be flipped over and to hide under it than to sleep in it. But that’s okay, isn’t it? The key is that your pet gets some joy out of having the bed around.
Once again, you don’t necessarily get to choose the color when ordering this bed. If you want to get a specific color scheme, you may want to look elsewhere to find a bed that will fit with your plans.
Fleece has become one of the most popular cage liners in recent years, and this is one of the best fleece options on the market today.
This reversible fleece cage liner is large and can be bought in a number of colors so that you can mix and match what type of look you want in your pets' cage. The superabsorbent liner is easy to clean, and all it needs is a weekly washing and daily spot vacuuming. With this little bit of care, you can keep your pets' cage super clean.
The fleece lining is reversible, so you can have two different designs in one product. This is nice for those who like to coordinate what the cage looks like for their own pleasure.
Another benefit of these liners is that they are super absorbent, but they stay dry. All you need to do to keep things clean is to vacuum up any droppings from the top of it every day. Then, wash the whole thing once a week to keep everything odor-free and tidy.
One problem with using fleece is that it can be too hot for summer or warm days. During these seasons, you may want to consider using a cooler loose bedding instead.
Another drawback of this type of fleece bedding is that some guinea pigs just hate it! When they can see their poo or pee piled up on the fleece, they may hide all day instead of being willing to come out into their cage. This isn’t good for them, so if your pig reacts like this you may want to look for another product instead.
This pine bedding is what comes to the mind of many people when they think of guinea pig or other small pet bedding, and there’s a good reason for that. Let’s take a closer look.
This pine bedding is enough to do two to three cage cleanings for even a relatively large cage, so you get a good value. The bedding is 99.9% dust-free and specifically made for small animals, so you won’t find any volatile chemicals in it that could cause health problems to your pet.
A little goes a long way with this product. While the bag seems small, it is packed in tight. This means that you can get multiple changes to your pet’s cage done with one bag.
The exact number of changes will be largely dependent on the size of the cage, but it’s still a value-driven product in this respect. Another plus of this bedding is that there is not too much dust in it, which would be good for your pet’s health. When you first open the bag, you may notice some dust, but the product doesn’t generate much when it’s in use.
Since the pieces of bedding are so small and light, they can easily be kicked out of the cage and onto the floor by your pet's normal activity. This may not occur depending on your cage's setup, but it is something that you should be aware of.
Another potential problem with regards to the actual size of the pieces in this bedding is that they can break down easily and begin to lump together. This type of lumping can generate smells, so you may need to remove lumps like this quickly.
This paper bedding is at least four times better at absorbing liquid than wood shavings. This makes it possible to spot clean for longer without having to do a full change.
This product is made from paper pulp, and it is a very small, soft-textured bedding option. The packaging is compressed so that you receive more bedding than it initially looks like when you receive the package, and you can store it in a smaller space.
This bedding comes in various color and scent options. You can choose from four different colors namely brown, blue, green, and white as well as three different scents including unscented, lavender, and summer storm. With these options, you can customize both the smell and the look of your guinea pigs’ cage with ease.
This bedding is known to be able to hold liquid up to six times of its weight. This is because the bedding actually contains long, recycled fibers. Each of these long fibers can absorb more liquid because of their shape, and the paper pulp, in general, can absorb up to two times more than wood shavings.
This super absorbent product is great for more than just its absorption powers; it is also incredibly soft, making it a fun place for your guinea pig to snuggle up. Since the shavings are so absorbent, you can do spot cleaning for up to four days before doing a full cage change of the paper shavings.
This makes it easier than ever before to keep things clean and orderly.
Another great thing about this product is that it generates little to no dust. Even when they are enjoying playing and digging in the bed, there isn’t much dust generated, so you feel good as they are safe with what they are playing and sleeping in.
One problem with this product is the inconsistent quality that it sometimes has. At times, it will be very soft and fluffy. At other times, it will be more like dull, shredded paper that your pet won’t enjoy digging into as much. Since this is a quality control issue, you should be able to make a return if faced with this problem, but that can still be inconvenient.
Another issue is that this bedding becomes stickier than some comparable options when it is wet. If you get the bedding wet, you may find that it’s tough to clean out, so you should be sure to change it before it’s too damp.
Next up on our list of the best guinea pig bedding options is the Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding, which is a highly absorbent and odor-fighting bedding that many owners love.
Carefresh is one of the most well-known brand names when it comes to small pet care options, and there’s a good reason for that reputation. Their products are reliable, well-sourced, and work just as they are supposed to!
This product is available in two different colors as well as many different sized packages. You can buy a long-term supply for a better value, or you can buy a smaller amount to test out the product for a short time so that you can decide if it is right for your pet or not.
This bedding is made of reclaimed, short-fiber pulp. This pulp does not contain any dangerous chemicals that can be found in other wood shavings or pulps, and it is perfectly blended to be absorbent, lightweight, and easy to use.
One of the best things about this particular blend is that it is free from things that are both dangerous and annoying. First, it is 99.9% free of dust, which means you won’t find as much dust settling in the room where you keep your guinea pig. Second, no dangerous oils, inks, or chemicals were used in the processing, so it is super safe for your pet.
Another big bonus is that this pulp-based blend is super absorbent. In fact, it is about three times more absorbent than regular wood shavings. With such an absorbency rate, you will not need to change the bedding as frequently; thus, saving you some money.
One issue that some owners have with this product is the inconsistent nature of it. Since every batch is a little bit difficult to process, this can cause differences in the texture of the bedding.
Additionally, although this bag is advertised as a 10-day odor solution, most guinea pig owners will find that they cannot keep the same bedding for 10 days without it becoming very smelly, wet, and unhealthy for their pet.
Next up we have a smaller brand that has created great bedding with their unbleached white paper solution. Will this bedding be right for you?
This unbleached white paper bedding is made of exactly that: unbleached white paper! The creator, Small Pet Select, shares that they make this bedding out of virgin fiber, which means that you don’t have to worry about it being treated with bleach or other dangerous chemicals.
The compressed bags are available in four different sizes so that you can save money by stocking up or just buy a small amount when you need it. Either way, it’s a relatively affordable option. Additionally, this paper bedding has no additives, dyes, or irritants in it that could cause problems for you and your guinea pig.
This white bedding is different than common tan colored bedding options because it is effortless to spot clean. While guinea pig poop can be easy to find and pick up, finding wet spots is never as simple as that. With the white bedding, you can easily see what is wet and replace it without changing the entire bedding out.
Another great thing about this mixture is that it is made from paper that has not been printed on. This removes the risk of ink or other print chemicals being included in the mix.
One big drawback to using this mix is that it really doesn’t have any extra odor-resistant effect. To keep your guinea pig’s cage from getting smelly, you’ll need to frequently change the bedding since it doesn’t have any neutralizing properties.
The next bedding is the GuineaDad Fleece Liner 2.0, a great fleece option that does its best to solve the problems that guinea pig owners usually have with fleece bedding.
This bedding is basically a long strip of fleece that has a pocket on top and a waterproof coating on the bottom. The fleece is a very soft and durable blend that will not lose too much of that comfort over time.
You can get this bed which guinea pigs will love to curl up inside in a few different colors and sizes. The bed itself is machine washable, so keeping it clean is easier than ever before even when your guinea pig is very messy.
Many people find that they have to use both fleece bedding and paper bedding together so that their guinea pig still has somewhere to burrow. Conveniently, the pocket on this fleece bed is the perfect spot for guinea pigs! They’ll love curling up inside the pocket even if they have more traditional bedding available. Additionally, the bottom of the fleece is waterproof, so it won’t leak or slide around all through the cage.
The only real drawback that people have with this bed other than the fact that it is fleece is that it can take a long time to dry because it can hold so much water. This is really a benefit, but that only becomes a problem while washing.
Fresh News is another company that has created a high-quality paper bedding for guinea pigs, but what makes it different from the others?
This paper bedding, as similar to others that we have talked about today, is made of paper pulp without any chemical additives. This specific formula uses baking soda to cut back the odors that might otherwise develop in your pet’s cage.
This product is made from recycled paper, but care is taken to ensure that nothing that was printed on or came in contact with ink is used with this bedding.
One great point about this bedding is that it, like some others, is compostable and biodegradable. This means that you can easily compost, burn, or recycle the paper bedding when you are finished with it. This can feel much less wasteful than simply throwing it away.
Another benefit for some owners is that this formula contains baking soda, which cuts back on odors. This can make a huge difference in how things smell around the cage.
While it was a positive, it is also a negative that this brand chose to include baking soda. Some people believe that baking soda is not a great thing to have around guinea pigs, but there have not been any conclusive studies about this. Regardless, you may not want this bedding if you aren’t comfortable with the baking soda inclusion.
There are hundreds of different bedding options out there for guinea pigs and other small mammals. Figuring out the differences between these options can be complicated and confusing, so we’ve written up a brief guide that will help you make the right selection when choosing between the various types.
It’s important to note before we get into the guide that every guinea pig will have personal preferences as well, so you may find that the bedding you want to use doesn’t seem to be working. That’s okay! Try a new one when it's time to change out bedding, and you’ll eventually find the perfect fit for your guinea pig.
Now, let’s learn about the different factors that you should consider when making your selections.
There are a number of different types of bedding products that you can mix and match in your guinea pig's cage to make them the happiest animal around. Remember that guinea pigs love to have something snug to curl up in, so you want to have this available to them.
The main types of guinea pig bedding are:
Some cages will have only one type of bedding in it while others may have a mixture of them all. The key is that you find a setup that your guinea pig loves that is also easy for you to maintain.
Rather than being for aesthetic purposes, the color of the bedding can be an important deciding factor when you are choosing which bedding to buy. That is why guinea pig beddings of all different types are available in a range of colors.
Most people are accustomed to seeing tan colored shavings in pet beds, but having a tan bedding material is not a requirement. That being said, it is helpful to you as an owner to have a light colored bedding when possible.
When the bedding is light in color, it gets easier to see when the bedding is wet and needs to be changed. Most bedding material is made to be absorbent, so you need to be able to tell the difference between slightly used and need-to-be-changed bedding. A light colored bedding that will get darker with use is one way to make this separation.
Besides that, you can simply choose whatever color bedding you find to be most appropriate for your pet. The key here is more than color; it’s comfort. So, while color is an important factor, it is far from the most important one. Keep it in mind, but don’t let the color of the bedding restrict you from choosing an option that you like.
Size is important in a few different ways depending on the type of bedding that you are investing in for your guinea pig. If you are looking for a loose bedding to fill their cage with, you will want to have at least four times the amount of bedding needed to fill their cage with a thick but loosely packed layer at all times. Since most guinea pig cages will need their loose bedding changed at least two times a week, having that much available makes it easy to do cleanup work.
If, on the other hand, you are looking at fleece or other beddings that are simply for your pet to sleep and play in, you want to choose something that is only about twice as large as your pet at a maximum. Guinea pigs like to snuggle up in a snug environment, so anything larger than this will not be comfortable for them to sleep in. So, choose a snug-fitting bed.
Size is something that is very reliant on your pet. If your pet is still growing, we recommend sticking to loose bedding for the time being because your pet can dig out their own snug sleeping area. Once they are fully grown, you can consider getting them a more permanent bedding option to add to their cage.
Finding the right material for your pet can be complicated because there are a number of different options that are commonly used as guinea pig bedding. In this section, we will run through the most popular bedding material options, and let you know why they do or do not work well for guinea pigs.
Many new guinea pig owners like the idea of using shredded paper as bedding because of how cost effective it can be. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst bedding options. The paper does not do a great job of absorbing liquid without becoming very wet, so it does not make for a good living environment and needs to be changed out on a nearly constant basis. Thus, it is not a great option unless you’re in a temporary pinch.
Fleece is a popular option because of its absorbent yet soft qualities that many guinea pigs seem to love. It’s a good option for many owners. Fleece needs to be cleaned up a few times daily if you want it to be clean for your pet to use, and not everyone is ready for this commitment.
It’s very easy to lift out, shake off, and wash, but doing so regularly may become exhausting for some owners. Our suggestion is to use fleece in combination with loose bedding. Using a fleece layer underneath the heavy solid area where your guinea pig will eat and drink is a good option as it can be easily removed and cleaned while your pet is not using that area.
All-in-all, you should only use fleece if you are ready to clean it regularly and pay close attention to when the fleece becomes soiled as fleece can absorb a lot of things and become a smelly, unsanitary mess in no time if you are not careful. Plus, guinea pigs love to sleep on something as soft as fleece.
Some store-made paper beddings are frequently used by guinea pig owners. These products are very absorbent but also more expensive, but you know that they will work. The big drawback of using these products is that they never look as clean as some other bedding options, but it works very well as a top layer of bedding in the cage and it is easy to change.
Wood shavings made from things like pine and aspen are popular among guinea pig owners. While pine shavings are the least expensive, they may be damaging to your pet’s liver, so they’re best avoided for the more expensive aspen shavings instead.
Wood shavings are gentle on your pet’s feet while being very absorbent, which makes them a good option if you don’t want to have to change out your bedding too frequently.
While the pellets can be hard for guinea pigs to walk on, using wood pellets as the bedding base is one of the best options. They tend to be very absorbent and easy to replace. Make sure that you choose 100% wood pellets that do not have any accelerant in them, or you could accidentally introduce a dangerous substance into your pet’s environment.
Every guinea pig is different, and this means that every guinea pig will need a different setup. If your pet knows how to use a litter box (yes, guinea pigs can learn how to!) or has a tendency to get infections, you’ll want to change their bedding set up a little bit.
Guinea pigs that are prone to infections will do better with an ever drier environment than a normal pet. Setting up dry tiles underneath layers of beddings will help remove some moisture. If your pet would be litter trained, setting up a bathroom area that combines hay, wood pellets, and other bedding material for them to use as a bathroom will be key to making a separation between where they sleep and where they do not.
The point is that you need to work with your pet, not against them, to create the most successful environment that will keep them happy and healthy.
There are a number of bedding brands that have become well-known for their guinea pig specific products. While you do not have to buy a product strictly from these brands, some people are more comfortable with a brand name than an unknown company since you have more assurances of the product's safety.
The most well-known brand when it comes to guinea pig bedding is CareFresh. They make a variety of loose bedding options from wood shavings to softer paper bedding that you may want to try for your guinea pig.
Their bedding is known to be natural, super absorbent, and even odor fighting. This means that you can keep your pet’s cage fresh-smelling and healthy by simply using the right bedding from CareFresh. That being said, buying a brand name product can get expensive over time, so think about this carefully.
Most guinea pig loose bedding options do not have a warranty included, but you can often get some type of money-back guarantee on fabric-made products such as fleece pads and small, round beds.
If you are buying a bed in addition to loose bedding for your guinea pig, pay close attention to whether or not there are any available warranties. If your pet has a bad reaction to the bedding or the bedding breaks quickly, this type of warranty could save you some extra money. Also, having a warranty on this type of product speaks wonders about the expected durability.
Now that we’ve gathered up information on the variety of beddings that are available for guinea pigs, you’re probably wondering which setups are most preferred for guinea pigs. There are a few different setups that seem to work best, and these are some favorites that are tested and true for some guinea pig owners:
As you can see, there’s a lot of different combinations of bedding materials that you can do. The key is that you need a very absorbent layer on the bottom, a fluffy absorbent layer in the middle, and a soft layer that the guinea pig will be comfortable on at the top. Beyond that, the specifics are up to you as long as they do not harm your pet.
Beyond bedding, you may be wondering what else should go into your guinea pig’s cage. Let’s talk about some more specifics.
Using a large cage is necessary and beneficial when you have a guinea pig. It’s easy to create the right cage size for them, and having a large cage will help with both odor control and with your pet’s happiness. When choosing a cage, make sure that any wire grid used is no bigger than ½” in size. Anything larger than this could actually allow your pet to get stuck inside and cause them serious injury or even death.
Having towels in the cage can help keep things cleaner. Loose long hair and other debris will stick to the towels, and your guinea pig may lay on them instead of in the bedding which will keep them clean as well.
Your cage should include a water bottle and a heavy-bottomed container for feeding. It needs to be heavy on the bottom so that your pig cannot easily knock it over!
In addition to the necessities outlined above, you also want to give your pigs something to play with when you aren’t playing with them. Hammocks, cat toys with bells, and non-toxic bird toys are all good options to give them something to amuse themselves with when they are in the cage.
It has already been mentioned a few times, but using hay as a top layer in their cage is a great idea. First, you can easily remove any damp hay daily, and you will not have to change the entire bedding as frequently because of this. Second, the pig will munch on the hay all day long, and guinea pigs are always happy when they are eating.
Guinea pigs like to curl up on something that is soft and dry. There are a lot of different options, but the most popular sleeping options for guinea pigs include:
If possible, include all of these things in your guinea pigs' cage setup. They will move things around how they want to, and you’ll be able to see what they like to sleep on. They may even sleep on different things depending on the day and the temperature.
To summarize, here are the best material types that you can use for bedding:
There are a few other options out there as well, but these are the best choices available to you and your pet for a happy and healthy life together.
How often you will need to change your guinea pig’s bedding will depend on the type of bedding that you use and how active your pet is.
If you are using newspaper or another bedding that is not very absorbent, you may need to change parts of it once or more per day. The bedding should not be left wet, and this is why you should try to choose something that is more absorbent.
If you are using very absorbent bedding such as Aspen wood shavings, you can probably change this out one or two times a week. Between these changes, simply removing any wet bits or dirty areas will suffice.
If you are using fleece, you will want to shake it out at least once daily. Additionally, those who use fleece usually find that having a few fleece bedding options that you can rotate throughout the day as they get dirty makes the cage easier to manage.
If you are using loose bedding, you will want to give your guinea pig a thick but loosely packed layer of bedding that is deep enough for them to burrow inside completely. Guinea pigs like to be snug in small spaces, so this will give them the opportunity to do just that.
When you are using fleece for guinea pig bedding, your best option is to combine it with another type of bedding so that you do not have to change out the entire setup as frequently. That being said, those who use fleece have found that it is essential that you have a few backup fleeces on hand at all times, and that you put the fleece under the food and water area where it will be most used. When it is a little bit dirty, pick it up and shake it out.
When the fleece appears wet or begins to smell, switch it with a backup fleece. You can then wash the dirty fleece in bulk. Changing this way and changing frequently will prevent smells from building up in your pet’s cage.
There are a significant number of things that you can use for bedding. These are our favorites, generally ranked from most favorite to least favorite:
While some may say that guinea pigs will learn to adapt to living without bedding, it is better for us as pet lovers to say "Yes, guinea pigs need bedding!"
Guinea pigs will be much happier and less anxious if they have somewhere that they can burrow up and hide while sleeping or just while feeling tired throughout the day. With the right bedding, they will feel safe and secure. This is what you should want for your pet, so you should definitely provide them with the right bedding options.
Our favorite bed for your guinea pig is the Kaytee Super Sleeper Cuddle-E-Cup because of its soft and warm exterior, as well as its size that can fit more than one guinea pig and the ease of washing it.
Still, you cannot use it without any other material, so we recommend pairing it with an affordable loose bedding such as the Kaytee Pine Bedding to make the most comfortable playing and sleeping arrangement for your special pet.
As an alternative, especially for those who prefer to just buy one product, the Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding is an excellent option because of its superior dust-free formula that is great at absorbing more than its weight as well as how easy it is to use.
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