Small animal bedding is one of the most important additions to your cage in order to keep your hamster, bunny or a rat warm, healthy and odor-free. We cannot stress enough the importance of bedding so we’ll explain why you, as a pet parent, need to get the best bedding for your beloved pet.
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What makes the best bedding for your bunny, hamster or other small pet?
Let’s think about what purpose bedding serves and then go over the qualities which you need to look for in different types of beddings for pets.
The purpose of small pet bedding
First of all, bedding keeps your small pet warm. Most cages have plastic or glass bottom which is neither cozy nor warm. In addition, these are slippery surfaces, they don’t provide any burrowing options and this is why you need a certain layer of quality bedding on the bottom of your cage or tank.
Secondly, all small pets have their needs. They have to eat, drink water, play, pee and poo. The urine and poo are a vital part of your small pet’s life. However, that doesn't mean that they have to wallow in their excrement and that your home has to reek of poo and urine. This is why the bedding of your choice needs to be very absorbent.
So, apart from keeping your hamster or a bunny comfy, good quality bedding needs to absorb the urine and keeps the pet cage hygienic and with as little unpleasant odor as possible.
My bunny, for example, goes to the toilet in one corner only. I was amazed how clean the cage was for the first few days. Then, the granules I was using simply became full of tiny rabbit poo and the cage started to smell awful.
Although the particular bedding I got was very absorbent, it just couldn’t keep up with how much food and water my bunny had as part of its daily diet and it was time to change the bedding for the first time.
Half an hour was all it took for changing the bedding and washing the bottom of the cage thoroughly and it was nice and clean again with the gentle scent of lavender coming from the granular bedding I got used to buying.
There you go! You need bedding which will go easy on your pets’ feet, make them cozy and warm and absorb the unpleasant odor of their urine and feces.
Types of bedding for small pets - what to look for and what to avoid:
Choosing the right litter and cage bedding for your small pet, be it a rat, hamster or bunny, is very important but not very complicated, fortunately for all us pet parents.
You need bedding with as little dust as possible, one that’s absorbent and fits in your budget.
You need to avoid cedar and pine which are unfortunately sometimes sold in pet stores as well as online. It has been proven that phenols (aromatic hydrocarbons) that are found in these softwoods adversely affect the liver of rats and other small animals. So, the fact that the strong scents of cedar and pine cover up the odors of urine is completely irrelevant.
The use of aromatic pine or cedar may affect your small pet’s health in several ways. Long-term inhalation of these chemicals may compromise their immune system and make your pets prone to the development of all sorts of respiratory problems resulting from mycoplasma, as well.
Let’s consider the bedding which is good for your pet.
Aspen is a very good choice for bedding. Being a hardwood, there are no toxic phenols in it making it a safe choice for your bunny or hamster. The only problem with aspen is that it can be messy and difficult to vacuum once the happy and lively pet shoots it all around the cage.
Aspen is relatively soft and absorbent, so it will soak up urine and keep your rodent habitat clean and smelling fresh. Any drawbacks? The wood shavings may vary in size between brands. If smaller bits make it into the bag, you’ll get a cloud of sawdust when you pour the bedding into the cage. Also, dust can be a contributing factor when it comes to the development of the chronic respiratory disease.
These are a very popular alternative. They contain formulae which are providing great absorption and a pleasant odor throughout the week. I’m using this although, quite frankly, it’s pricey and I’ll look for a cheaper alternative soon.
I change mine once a week and thoroughly clean and dry the plastic tray before adding the new layer of granules. My pet pees in one corner only so I usually put a 1/3 inch thicker layer of bedding in that corner. The granules are easy to handle as long as they come without dust. One brand I tried was a horrible disappointment because of the dust so I threw the whole bag away.
Paper Pellet Bedding
Now we’re talking! This is an affordable and readily available option. Don’t forget that paper-based bedding will absorb urine quickly, and the cellulose fibers in the paper will turn a little rigid soon, which means that you’ll have to change it more frequently
The most popular used pellet bedding is mostly manufactured from recycled newspapers so it’s environmentally friendly. Other pellet bedding products on the market are made from different materials such as compressed aspen, wheat grass, and cellulose fiber.
I’ve even seen eco-friendly hemp bedding but the reviews are mostly less than stellar so I didn’t give it too much thought considering the fact that there are more than enough trusted brands with well-rated bedding products.
A final word of advice
Don’t blame the product if you are too lazy to change it when necessary! Bear in mind that even the best hamster or bunny bedding needs to be changed regularly. I recommend a change of bedding once a day to once in every few days, depending on the number of pets, the amount of mess they make and the quality of the bedding.
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Vitakraft Bedding is made from 100% recycled paper. It is non-toxic, unbleached and completely safe for your small pet. It is 99.5% dust free, which leads to less mess as well as a healthy habitat for your hamster, rat or a bunny as they won't be breathing in dust.
It will certainly keep your pet’s home healthy and sanitary while smelling fresher longer. The super-soft odor blocker formula absorbs moisture very fast and offers a reliable odor control for up to 14 days.
The Odor Blocker Formula successfully neutralizes the ammonia found in your hamster’s or bunny’s urine. By helping to eliminate odors, this bedding will provide a fresh and clean-smelling environment for your pet to enjoy as the pet owner.
The cage itself won't smell and the litter won't be wet on the surface for almost two weeks but we do recommend that you don’t wait for that long to change the bedding: while it neutralizes the urine odor, it won't make the poo disappear.
This Vitakraft product itself is nontoxic, biodegradable and proudly made in the US. It’s soft so you can expect a certain amount of mess, depending on how lively your pet is. Your pet’s coat might catch bits of bedding, which may then scatter when your pet runs around. On the plus side, it does vacuum up very easily.
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Kaytee Clean And Cozy Small Animal Bedding is highly effective with guaranteed odor control as well as 20% more absorbency than less quality bedding brands. It has been formulated with your cute small pet’s best interests at heart and they will appreciate it.
The absorption properties of Kaytee pet bedding guarantee that your small pet won't have to worry about wallowing in wet or dirty habitat. The odor control and absorbency properties make it ideal for use in cages for a variety of small pets such as rabbits, hamsters, and rats.
Kaytee Pet Bedding is a soft paper-based litter which is comfortable under their tiny feet and will make your hamster or bunny feel cozy and warm. How about your pet’s respiratory organs? Well, Kaytee bedding is specifically designed to be 99.9% dust free. This is a reassuring feature because many small pets get allergies and irritations due to the dusty environment.
Kaytee Lavender Scented Bedding is made from materials that don't contain harmful chemicals or by-products. It is a super-soft, colorfast bedding available in a wide variety of great scents and colors to add a touch of variety to your small pet's cage.
The scent of Lavender does wear off over time, but you should be cleaning your pet’s cage by the time the odor fades. Also, you clean soiled bedding out of the cage daily and add completely fresh bedding at least once a week. If you have more than one pet, change the bedding more frequently.
Each 500 cubic inch bag averages about 3 refills for a rabbit or guinea pig cage or about 11 fills for a hamster, gerbil, or rat cage. The paper material that makes up this bedding meets food contact standards set by the FDA.
This product itself will do a great job. However, not maintaining a clean cage and regularly changing the bedding will result in your pet developing respiratory problems due to ammonia build up in the cage. This is why you should regularly replace bedding with a fresh layer.
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So Phresh Paper Pellet Small Animal Litter will help you keep your small pet's cage home free from moisture and unpleasant odor. This pelleted paper pet bedding is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
It is made from 100% recycled paper that will not break apart when wet. It features great odor control and absorbency, with the absorbing capacity up to 3 times its weight.
Its combination of natural recycled paper fibers and baking soda neutralize ammonia and other pet waste odors. The paper substrate pellets, made from those natural fibers, are so absorbent that they will not break down on contact with the liquid.
They also won't cake together on the bottom of your hamster’s or bunny’s cage. The result is a super-soft small animal bedding which is cleaner, more hygienic, and all-around healthier for both your home and your small pet.
In addition, this bedding doesn't have as much dust, which is great for your pet’s respiratory system. This means that you can use this bedding for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, rats, mice, and hedgehogs.
This solid bedding formula is made from 95% soft post-consumer paper which will not cut or injure your rabbit. It is extremely safe to use in all environments and small animal beddings and will provide a sense of comfort for your animal.
This is not added fragrance bedding but it contains baking soda extract which will lock in all unpleasant odors rabbit’s or hamster’s pee and poo corner.
The fact that this bedding is 99% dust-free means that it will be easy to clean and won’t spread any dirt or dust during regular cage maintenance and bedding replacement. As always, we do recommend changing the bedding regularly.
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Fresh News Paper Small Animal Litter is highly absorbent and quickly removes odors and bad smells and refreshes the air thanks to its baking soda extracts.
Made from high-quality and soft recycled paper, this hamster, bunny and rat bedding is not only biodegradable but also much more absorbent than regular clay and wood. As a result, your small pet cage or outdoor rabbit hutch will be fresher for longer, and your bunny will feel safe and dry.
Fresh News Paper Small Animal Litter is one of the best-voted bunny bedding but can be also used for other small pets. The Ammonia Locker Technology helps to quickly eliminate unpleasant odors on contact, which will keep your pet’s habitat fresh
The soft and cozy texture works great for bunnies, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats. Made from recycled paper, this bedding can be composted, is biodegradable and helps to reduce waste saves trees.
Overall, this easy to manage pellets are soft and clean and have been infused with baking soda to help neutralize odors to give longer lasting freshness. It’s versatile, comfortable for your pet’s tiny feet and comes in a value pack.
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Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding is made from natural reclaimed paper fibers. It absorbs 3 times more liquid than some of the wood shavings marketed and uses a formula which has been proven in independent tests to neutralize ammonia odor for 10 days.
This small pet bedding will keep your pet’s habitat as well as your own home smelling fresh and clean. However, you need to change the bedding regularly for the optimal care of your hamster, rat, bunny or other small pet.
The unique material and manufacturing process aimed at making this bedding virtually dust-free. It won't fall apart or stick to the bottom of the cage, your pet will be saved from respiratory problems and you won’t need a face mask to clean the cage or handle the bedding.
Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding contains pieces which are the perfect size for your small pet to play, nest or burrow. You will get a great performance out of this bedding as long as you remember to adjust the layer thickness and replacement frequency to the size and the number of your pets.
In addition to being absorbent and keeping your hamster, rat or bunny cozy and warm, this product is good for the environment as well – it’s 100% biodegradable and compostable.
Once again, don’t forget to clean your pet’s cage thoroughly once in every 5-7 days and do a little spot cleaning when necessary. The Carefresh bedding will neutralize the ammonia odor but only up to the certain point based on how many pets you have and how much waste they produce.