Hi everyone, today we are talking about guinea pig bedding! There are a multitude of different bedding types available for guinea pigs, however our vets also see a number of problems associated with some of these products. Ideal bedding should provide comfort and padding to prevent pressure sores, wick away moisture (urine), and be easily cleaned/changed. Bedding should not be dusty, mouldy, scented or otherwise irritant.
Our favourite bedding is Vet Bed. Vet Bed provides excellent padding and comfort for our small mammals, particularly those older arthritic guinea pigs. It is also designed to wick moisture away from the surface of the bedding, so that it remains dry. We recommend placing newspaper under the Vet Bed to absorb moisture. This bedding should be changed daily, simply shake the droppings/hay into the bin or outside, and wash. They can even go through the washing machine! However we recommend washing these separate to your other clothes as they can leave some fibres on other fabrics.
Vet Bed is available from BBEVS, with all proceeds going to The Fox Residence Guinea Pig rescue.
Some types of bedding we do NOT recommend include sugar cane mulch, saw dust/wood shavings (even the dust extracted ones can cause respiratory problems), straw (can cause stick injuries to the eyes) and lucerne hay.
Sugar cane mulch is often mouldy, which can result in microscopic spores that can be inhaled and lead to respiratory disease. Some guinea pigs may also eat this bedding, which may lead to gut issues.
Saw dust and wood shavings are popular in small animals. However, even the dust extracted products can cause irritation to the respiratory tract. Just like people, some guinea pigs appear to be more sensitive than others.
Straw is not recommended as it usually contains very hard and often sharp stalks which can cause hay stick injuries. It is also not an appropriate substitute for hay, as it has very little nutritional value.
Lucerne hay is only appropriate for young or pregnant guinea pigs, and so should not be used as bedding as it is likely your guinea pigs will help themselves to it!
If your guinea pig likes to burrow and hide in things, there are many suitable fabric snuggle sacks/hides/sleeping bags that are non-dusty and easily washed and reused. You can also use shredded newspaper as a material to burrow into.
If you have any questions about suitable bedding options for guinea pigs, or any other creatures, feel free to give the clinic a call!
Vet Bed is used in our hospital cages to ensure our unwell piggies are extra comfortable and snug!