Guinea pigs spend an extensive amount of time in their habitat, so you want to ensure that they have comfortable bedding. Absorbency is important too, to keep your guinea pig clean. Unfortunately, you’ve probably noticed that guinea pig bedding tends to smell.
Believe it or not, not all bedding is created equal — some cage beddings aren’t even safe for guinea pigs. That’s why we rounded up the top 10 guinea pig beddings that will keep your pet comfortable, clean, safe, and odor-free.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Paw Inspired Critter Box Cage Liner||
|Best Value||Kaytee Aspen Small Animal Bedding||
|Premium Choice||Small Pet Select Pine Animal Bedding||
|Kaytee Clean & Cozy Animal Bedding||
|Carefresh Small Animal Bedding||
The 10 Best Bedding Options for Guinea Pigs
1. Paw Inspired Washable Fleece Guinea Pig Cage Liner — Best Overall
|Key Feature:||Washable, moisture-wicking|
There is nothing more comfortable for your guinea pig than a fleece cage liner. The Paw Inspired Critter Box Washable Fleece Guinea Pig Cage Liner is our choice as the best overall bedding for guinea pigs. It is designed specifically for guinea pigs, with raised sides to protect the cage. You will no longer have to spend your weekends scrubbing dirty cage bottoms. When this liner gets dirty, you can shake it off in the trash and put it in the washing machine.
The inner liner absorbs moisture quickly to keep your pet’s cage dry, and an antibacterial coating keeps odors from building up. It’s also completely dust-free, so it makes less mess than other types of bedding. The only real downside with this cage liner is that it creates extra laundry. That said, if you’re not a fan of washing the liner, it can be vacuumed without sustaining damage.
2. Kaytee Aspen Small Animal Bedding — Best Value
|Key Feature:||Odorless, non-toxic|
Our recommendation as the best bedding for guinea pigs for the money is Kaytee Aspen Small Animal Bedding. It’s made with all-natural aspen shavings that are processed specifically to minimize dust and debris. Since aspen is a hardwood, it doesn’t contain aromatic oils that other wood shavings do. It’s completely scent-free and super absorbent to stop odors at the source. As a bonus, these shavings are 100% biodegradable, so you can feel good about using them.
While this bedding is designed to have minimal dust, it isn’t completely dust-free, so it’s not recommended for animals with respiratory issues. It also tracks a bit on their paws if you let your pet out of the cage.
3. Small Pet Select Pine Pellet Small Animal Bedding — Premium Choice
|Key Feature:||Eco-friendly, high-absorbency pellets|
Small Pet Select Pine Pellet Small Animal Bedding offers guinea pig bedding from a clean wood source. While wood pellets are often associated with irritants and chemicals, like those in wood stove pellets, these don’t have anything of the sort. The pellets are extremely dense, so they take up little space but have high absorbency. Odors are “locked in” to the pellets, and you won’t have to smell them.
Pine pellets are both compostable and biodegradable, making for easy disposal. The dense make-up of the pellets means you have to use few to get the job done. They also last a long time before they run out of absorbency, making them an extremely cost-effective choice for bedding. While a bag of this bedding is expensive, it lasts a long time, so it reduces your overall bedding costs.
Since these pellets are made of wood, there’s potential for sawdust. Wood dust isn’t ideal for animals with respiratory issues, so if your guinea pig has such issues, you may need to use something else.
4. Kaytee Clean & Cozy Natural Small Animal Bedding
|Key Feature:||Odor control|
The all-natural, recyclable bedding from Kaytee Clean & Cozy Natural Small Animal Bedding is designed specifically for odor control. If you’ve got a smelly guinea pig, you might want to give this bedding a try. With more absorbency than other paper beddings, this one holds up to four times its weight in moisture. It’s 99% dust-free, so it’s a safer option to prevent respiratory problems.
While this bedding is super-absorbent, it’s tricky to clean up. It expands significantly when it’s wet, so it becomes a soggy mess if you wait too long to change it. It’s super soft for your pet to lie on but tends to clump up as it becomes dirty. It does do a great job at odor control, but you may be trading smell for more labor-intensive cleaning.
5. Carefresh Small Animal Bedding, Confetti
|Key Feature:||Eco-friendly, odor control|
Confetti bedding provides superior odor control and absorbs more liquid than other bedding materials. The Small Animal Bedding, ConfettiCarefresh is no exception. As it’s virtually a dust-free bedding, your guinea pig can burrow to their heart’s desire. It’s coated with an odor control formula that stops nasty ammonia odors for up to 10 days. It doesn’t fall apart, and it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the cage when you remove it.
While this bedding is great for odor control, it’s not the best for comfort. Some guinea pigs find it hard and irritating to their feet. There are also concerns with the smell of the bedding itself. The formula used to prevent odors seems to have an unpleasant smell of its own.
6. Oxbow Pure Comfort Small Animal Bedding
|Key Feature:||Odor control|
Oxbow Pure Comfort Small Animal Bedding absorbs up to 300 times its own weight in moisture. While we don’t recommend that you wait this long to change your pet’s bedding, it does mean that it provides exceptional odor control. It’s super soft too, so your pet is sure to love it. Oxbow guarantees that its bedding is 99.99% dust-free. The bedding comes vacuum-sealed, so while the packages are small, they can expand up to 250% once opened.
This bedding does tend to stick to your guinea pig and subsequently track it around the house. This enables the potential spreading of feces and urine where it doesn’t belong, which isn’t ideal.
7. Rabbit Hole Hay Food Grade Paper Small Pet Bedding
|Key Feature:||Odor control, eco-friendly|
The most notable feature of Rabbit Hole Hay Ultra-Premium Food Grade Paper Small Animal Bedding is that it is made from food-grade paper. While most guinea pigs don’t eat their bedding, some do. If you have a nibbler, you might find comfort knowing that this bedding won’t cause harm to your beloved pet. This paper bedding is coated with an odor-control substrate and absorbs six times its weight in moisture. You won’t have to change out the bedding as frequently as you might with some other products. It’s soft, comfortable, and 99.9% dust-free.
The absorption of this bedding isn’t quite what it claims, though. It becomes wet fast, and once it’s soaked, it starts to smell. That said, you should be changing the bedding weekly, and it takes 6–7 days for this to lose its odor-fighting properties. This item is also expensive compared to most other options, which may rule it out for some owners.
8. Kaytee Pine Small Animal Bedding
The absorbency factor is the biggest advantage of using wood shavings as guinea pig bedding. Unlike paper bedding that gets soggy when it’s wet, wood naturally absorbs moisture. The Kaytee Pine Small Animal Bedding contains natural pine oils that prevent bacterial growth and add a fresh-smelling aroma to the cage. This bedding is 99% dust-free.
While pine bedding does a great job at controlling odors, it creates an odor of its own. For animals with sensitive respiratory systems, it can irritate their airways. It can also be bothersome for you if you don’t like your living room smelling like a pine forest. As with all wood chips, there is the potential for sharp edges that could scratch your guinea pig’s feet. It also tracks around the house easily, so it may cause more mess than it’s worth.
9. Kaytee Clean & Cozy Odor Control Small Animal Bedding
|Key Feature:||Odor control|
If you have an extreme odor problem, you might need extreme odor control bedding, like the Kaytee Clean & Cozy Extreme Odor Control Small Animal Bedding. This particular product has a 14-day odor-free guarantee. It’s super comfortable and absorbent.
While Kaytee claims that this bedding is 99% dust-free, it’s too dusty for burrowers and is likely to cause respiratory irritation. Most customers report that it doesn’t live up to its 14-day guarantee, as it starts to smell after about 5–7 days. It’s also not odorless. The bedding is scented with lavender and apple cinnamon, which can become unpleasant.
10. Sunseed Fresh World Heavy Duty Small Animal Bedding
|Key Feature:||Odor control|
Sunseed Fresh World Heavy Duty Small Animal Bedding offers a small animal bedding product with a 14-day odor control guarantee. This bedding is made from recycled paper that is 99.5% dust-free and capable of absorbing three times its weight in moisture. It’s compostable too, so you won’t have to worry about how to dispose of it.
Unfortunately, this bedding doesn’t live up to its guarantee. It is absorbent but starts to smell after about a week. It’s also extremely heavy when wet, so it can be tough to clean out of the cage. It has a gravelly texture that can be hard on little feet.
While it has its faults, it is fully unscented. If you’ve struggled to find a dust-free, unscented bedding option, this is still a good choice. It clumps up in a way that’s reminiscent of clumping cat litter, so it is easy to remove soiled bedding on a daily basis, even if you can’t avoid cleaning for a full 14 days.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Bedding for Your Guinea Pig
Types of Guinea Pig Bedding to Look For
There are three primary types of guinea pig beddings that most owners look for: paper-based bedding, wood bedding (aspen or pine), and fleece bedding. They are all on this list, not only because they’re the most common but also because they are safe and easy to use. But as with all products, each type has its own set of pros and cons. Which one you prefer depends on what you’re willing to live with. So let’s look at the basics.
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Paper bedding is popular because it’s absorbent, good at controlling odors, and comfortable for your guinea pig. While different brands are made of essentially the same material, they aren’t all equal in quality, making it hard for guinea pig parents to find an ideal product. Here is what to consider when buying paper bedding:
Although it rarely happens, it is important to note the potential for your guinea pig to ingest pieces of paper. When that paper becomes a wet ball in a guinea pig’s stomach, it can be dangerous and even fatal. If you notice that your guinea pig likes to nibble their bedding, it would be safer to find a different bedding material.
Fleece bedding is relatively new but quickly gaining in popularity. Guinea pigs love the comfort that fleece bedding provides, but you shouldn’t just use any kind of fleece. Fleece cage liners are pre-treated with under-layers that provide maximum absorbency. They also don’t have any dust, so there are no negative health effects on your pet. They are cheap in the long term because you can re-use them, but this comes with a downside.
Fleece cage liners have to be washed, which makes cleaning more labor-intensive. Most pet parents find that they need to own two liners so they can wash one properly and not leave the cage empty in the meantime. It can also be beneficial to line the underside of your fleece with a towel or puppy pad for extra absorbency.
Aspen shavings are slightly different from pine or cedar shavings because they don’t contain natural aromas. Unfortunately, this also means it doesn’t provide quite as much odor control as naturally aromatic woods. Wood shavings often contain sawdust, which can be harmful in large quantities. However, good-quality beddings will be rinsed and have the dust removed.
Other Types of Guinea Pig Bedding
While we haven’t included these types of bedding in our list, it’s prudent to note that there are other types of bedding options for guinea pigs.
A Tip for Odor Control
Along with odor-control bedding, it is essential to keep your guinea pig’s cage clean if you want to tame the smell. Small animal habitats should be cleaned once a week at a minimum to keep your pet healthy and avoid bacterial growth in the cage. If there are food or water spills, or the bedding becomes heavily soiled, you should clean it immediately.
Even simply removing soiled bedding on a daily basis without a complete bedding change will help keep odors at bay. Combined with quality, absorbent bedding, you should be rid of the stink for good!
These product reviews and buyer’s guide have given you everything that you need to know about guinea pig bedding. We recommend the Paw Inspired Critter Box Washable Fleece Guinea Pig Cage Liner as the best overall bedding for guinea pigs. This fleece liner ensures that your guinea pig will have ultimate comfort and dust-free bedding. Since the liner is reusable, you will spend less on bedding in the long term. The best value for the money is Kaytee Aspen Small Animal Bedding. It’s non-toxic, odor-free, and super absorbent, all with a budget-friendly price tag.
Remember to use the tips in this article while shopping for your guinea pig’s bedding, and keep the cage clean to reduce odors and bacterial growth. Committing to a cleaning schedule combined with good-quality bedding will help keep odors away for good.
Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay