Guinea pigs poop every six seconds. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. But if you’ve ever owned a guinea pig or two, you know what I mean. It seems like, for every pound of food you feed them, you get back two pounds of feces and a quart of urine. That’s why bedding or litter is one of the essential guinea pig supplies you will need. But all bedding materials are not created equally.
Sure guinea pigs are cute and lovable. But they’re also messy. One day you finish building that clean and pristine C&C guinea pig cage and within an hour it looks like the bleacher section in a post-Super Bowl football stadium. Although bedding is one of the most mundane guinea pig supplies, it is also one of the most critical in terms of your guinea pigs’ health. Bedding serves as the “toilet” in your cavy’s cage. It will help keep the cage clean and dry but, if not chosen with care, bedding can also be a health issue for your pigs.
Clay Cat Litter
When people think of bedding, many immediately think of the old-fashioned kitty litter. Clay bedding is very dusty and presents a respiratory health risk for your cavies. Clay cat litter should definitely be avoided.
Cedar shavings are a popular bedding material because the familiar cedar scent helps to cover odors. Unfortunately, that distinctive cedar scent comes from toxic cedar oils. Many small rodents are allergic to wood oils. These oils can cause respiratory problems, rashes and other medical problems. Cedar is a hazardous bedding material that should be definitely avoided.
Like cedar, pine also contains wood oil. Although not as toxic as cedar shavings, pine shavings still appear to represent a health risk for your pet. Some debate still exists regarding pine shavings. And conclusions are not as definitive as for cedar shavings. But, if you are interested in creating a healthy home for your pets, pine shavings should still be avoided because they pose at least a potential health risk for your pet.
Aspen is a hard wood. As such, it does not contain the harmful oils that are present in cedar and pine. This is evident because aspen wood (and the shavings) are not nearly as aromatic as the other two varieties. Because it is lacking harmful wood oils, aspen bedding is perfectly acceptable as a bedding material. The downside is that it tends to be a little pricier than cedar or pine shavings.
Paper bedding is made from recycled paper or from wood pulp fibers. This type of bedding is the preferred bedding material in terms of health, safety and performance. Because it is compressed during manufacturing, it is a low-dust bedding. It is highly absorbent. These types of bedding retard the formation of ammonia gas from urine—which can be harmful to your pet. Some brands also contain odor-reducing agents.
When it comes to guinea pig supplies, bedding tends to be one of the more unglamorous items. But it plays a very important role in terms of your guinea pigs’ health and welfare.
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