Bedding Choices for Small Animals

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Some small pet owners tend to ignore the fact that their pet may be suffering by the bedding they have chosen.
Although many small pet owners like to go the cheapest route. This route can cause problems such as urinary infections, respiratory problems and other health issues later on in your pet.

It is important to make sure your pet has all the right needs to support a long and healthy life of happiness. So let us take a look at bedding choices below!


This type of bedding contains a lot of dust. When I got my first rat I used this type of bedding. I didn’t know much about rats at first but after research I realized that pine bedding with dust may be an overall bad choice.

The dust from the bedding can cause respiratory issues in your small pet. Charlie always sneezed but when I found out what dust can do to a rat, I immediately stopped using it.

Pine bedding comes in large shaved flakes or small granulated flakes. I have rabbits now and most of them are outdoors, so in the summer we use fine pine shavings from our local Running’s. In the winter we stuff our hutches full of nice straw to keep them warm and cozy.

If you are looking for a cheap bedding pine is by far the cheapest. But if you need a clean bedding, this isn’t for you. Rabbits and guinea pigs like to kick their bedding out of their cages. And pine can be very hard to clean up.


Aspen is cheap, smells good but makes a mess. Just like pine bedding. Aspen bedding tends to leave a residue on your hands after handling. I tend to shy away from this type.

Although it smells nice and is normally cut into small and soft pieces, this is only good for the owners who like the smell of the bedding without causing harm.

Downfalls of aspen? It can make a big mess just like pine bedding.


Bedding that is cedar contains harmful oils. Which if ingested can be very harmful for your small pet. Staying away from this bedding in my #1 priority.

Ceday chips are large chunks, which if your small pet ingests them can get lodge in their intestines. Which in turn leads to an emergency vet visit.

If you are looking for something cheap that smells good and you don’t mind your small pet ingesting the chips, then this bedding is for you.


Beddings like clean and cozy, carefresh , and others contain 99.9% dust free. There are a lot of brands that carry dust free bedding.

I use clean and cozy to place in my rabbit’s nest boxes a week before they are expecting. My mother rabbits absolutely love this bedding.

Most dust free bedding is soft and very comfortable for your small pet. This bedding is mostly made up of some sort of shredded paper. I am thinking it’s made up of toilet paper.

All of the bedding above can also be used to place in your small pets litter box.

Did you know? Rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits can be litter box trained? You can even leash train them and teach them some fun tricks.

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By | 2018-03-05T06:11:16+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Archives, Basic Care|23 Comments

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  1. Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens September 1, 2017 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    It is so important to be up-to-date with as much knowledge as possible for all of our fur babies. I love the dust-free options personally!

  2. Shelby @ For The Love of Paws September 1, 2017 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    For someone who doesn’t have small critters other than dogs, this is very interesting!! I never knew what the difference was in bedding, so this is great to know for future reference. 🙂 Thank you.

  3. Tenacious Little Terrier September 2, 2017 at 3:52 am - Reply

    I don’t remember what exactly we used for our hamster. Whatever the pet store said. It was flake-like. I feel bad now not doing more with them but we were little and didn’t ask for them so…

  4. Denise September 2, 2017 at 4:36 am - Reply

    It has been years since I had a Guinea pig, Rabbit or Hamster but we definitely did growing up. I learned so much reading about the different types of bedding. I had no idea there were so many different options but, thanks to you, I now know how important the choice can be.

  5. Alix Mitchell September 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    I don’t have small pets, but I’ve always dreamed about getting a rabbit one day. This is good infection to have in case I ever do get a small pet! I don’t like being around lots of dust, so I can only assume little creatures don’t like sleeping on dusty bedding either.

  6. Happy-Go-Doodle September 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information about bedding for small pets so that pet parents can make educated choices and create happy, healthy homes for their furry friends. The dust free bedding sounds like a cozy home for your rabbits!

  7. Hindy Pearson September 2, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I’ve only ever shared my life with dogs and cats, but I have read that bedding can cause some serious health issues. I guess many people just buy what they find on a pet supply shelf, not realising ingredients in the bedding can be harmful. Thanks for raising awareness and educating owners of small animals about what to look for, and what to avoid.

  8. Paroma Chakravarty September 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Your rabbit is seriously so cute! Such a thoughtful post on little pets who need our attention too!

  9. Stephanie Seger September 2, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Very informative! I can’t honestly remember what I used with my rat in college, but we use Carefresh now with my daughter’s gerbils. Marble and Oreo love it and it keeps their cage smelling nice. My daughter loves to add a little more than I would prefer because “they love to burrow and dig in it.”

  10. Debbie September 3, 2017 at 11:45 am - Reply

    I didn’t know there were so many different types of bedding for small animals! Or that there were so many potential health risks if you choose the wrong one?? Great information

  11. Heather Wallace September 3, 2017 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Great information on bedding for small pets! I used to have a rabbit and wish I had this information back then. He spent a lot of time out of the cage though. My friends rabbits were litter boxed trained. Time and patience!

  12. Kitty Cat Chronicles September 3, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    I never knew there were so many options for small pet bedding! I had a rabbit when I was a kid, but I don’t remember what we used for her cage bedding. Very interesting – thanks for the info!

  13. Irene McHugh September 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    My family had hampsters and guinea pigs when I was a kid. I remember we’d use newspapers as lining, and then we’d shred a bunch of newspaper to create most of the bed. I can’t remember what pet store bedding we’d put on top of the newspaper bits, but it was scented. Ugh, who knows how bad that was for the little ones. I’ll keep dust-free bedding choices in mind if we ever decide to get a guinea pig.

  14. Marjorie at Dash Kitten September 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    I like the sound of cedar! OK I love the smell as well so I’d pick that one!

    It is useful to have such information for small pets, some people don’t realise how much this matters to your own pet. This will help a lot of people!

  15. Rebecca Sanchez September 4, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

    This is really interesting and honestly, I hadn’t thought much about the bedding for small critters! So I am thankful for your educational piece – and learning more about dust-free options!

  16. Sweet Purrfections September 4, 2017 at 4:45 am - Reply

    Finding the appropriate bedding for small animals sounds as challenging as finding the right litter for cats. What the human likes may not be what the cat prefers!

  17. Cathy Armato September 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    This is important information. I had no idea that bedding could adversely effect small animals, I learned about it when I interviewed a guinea pig rescue. Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  18. Jana Rade September 4, 2017 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    A long time ago when I did have a rabbit, we just used hay. And sometimes, since my dad worked in a print shop, “paper shavings” from trimming printed pieces. There was no way of getting any fancier.

  19. Talent Hounds September 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    I can’t remember what I used for my rabbits and guinea pigs but I think it was hay or paper or pine shavings. Now I would do more research. Your bedding sounds comfy.

  20. Beth September 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    We use dust free bedding for our rabbit. She’s 11 years old and still going strong. I’m not sure if it because of the bedding, but that is pretty much all we have ever used for her.

  21. Jessica Shipman | Beagles & Bargains September 6, 2017 at 4:02 am - Reply

    This is a great break down! I’ve never had a small pet, but hope to some day when we have the space so I’ll definitely reference this post.

  22. Bryn Nowell September 6, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    This is really helpful information. I’m sure a lot of folks don’t realize the potential harm their bedding choices may be having on their small animals. Thanks for this helpful resource for them!

  23. Karen September 7, 2017 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Great information, especially those new to small pet guardianship. There are a lot of choices out there, and if people aren’t well informed going in, they can mean well wanting to do right by their pet, and as you said, end up harming them in the long run.

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