Just providing living space and food to your guinea pig is not enough for them to lead a happy life. You will also need to make space feel warm & comfortable for them, and bedding plays a crucial role in it. Many people find aspen bedding as a choice in the market, but is aspen bedding good for guinea pigs?
Good bedding should be safe for your guinea pigs and, at the same time, should keep your guinea pig warm and comfortable. Aspen bedding fits right in all those aspects. However, the only downside is it can be expensive in the long run as you need to replace it every week.
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider while choosing a bedding for your guinea pigs.
Right from the cost, safety to how comfortable and efficient it is. Let us begin by having a look at what makes good bedding for your guinea pig, and then we can compare if aspen fits in the right category.
What makes good guinea pig bedding?
Choosing the right bedding for your guinea pigs can be a tough decision to take. Nothing is perfect in this world, and the same goes for bedding as well.
Every bedding have their own pros and cons, but few factors are universal, and any bedding you go with should have these in place:
- Comfort is the foremost important factor. The bedding should be soft for their feet and comfortable for a goodnight’s sleep.
- Absorbency is yet another factor to consider because guinea pigs are going to pee and poop around their cage. You don’t want their feet to remain wet in their pee, as it can cause health issues like bumblefoot.
- The safety of our guinea pigs is our topmost priority. We must ensure that the material we use is pet-safe. Avoid unsafe beddings like pine or cedar shavings as it can cause various health issues in guinea pigs.
- Temperature control is also a consideration, especially if the weather in your area fluctuates. Go with bedding that can balance out the needs.
- Being Economical is also crucial because, for many people, they have a limited budget to spend, and they cannot spend the entire budget on bedding itself. Good quality food is also equally important.
These are some general guidelines to follow while choosing a bedding for your guinea pigs, although some guinea pigs might have varying needs than others.
For example: If your guinea pig is allergic to paper bedding, you might need to use aspen or fleece. So, do keep that in consideration while choosing one.
Is aspen bedding safe for guinea pigs?
Yes, aspen bedding is mostly safe for bedding. It is made up of non-aromatic hardwood shavings, which are considered safe for small pets.
As the bedding doesn’t have any aroma like pine or cedar, it carries a minimal risk for our guinea pigs.
However, make sure you buy a reputed brand as some cheap brands often sell cheap quality aspen shavings that have a lot of dust in it.
Dusty bedding can be inadequate for your guinea pig’s health as it can lead to several health issues like Upper Respiratory infection, Allergy, etc.
I personally prefer Kaytee All Natural Aspen Bedding as it has excellent quality and is economical at the same time. One large pack goes for a few months, even when I replace it daily on my 2×3 C&C cage. I had used it in the past before I moved to Guinea dad fleece liners.
Can guinea pigs be allergic to aspen bedding?
Yes, there is a possibility that your guinea pig is allergic to aspen bedding. While not every guinea pig has one, but there are some rare cases where some guinea pigs showed allergic signs when their bedding was switched to aspen.
I would recommend looking out for symptoms of allergies in your guinea pigs first.
- Itchy eyes
- Coughing & Sneezing
- Itchy skin
- A runny nose
- Wheezing noise
- Labored breathing
If you find any of these symptoms in your guinea pigs, then you must consult a vet to confirm the allergy is due to bedding itself and not due to other health conditions.
If your vet confirms the allergy, then I would recommend you go with good quality paper bedding like Small pet select paper bedding.
These beddings are extremely good when it comes to quality and are reasonably cheap as well. If you like to go with fleece, you can go with that as well.
How good is aspen bedding for guinea pigs?
Aspen bedding is the right choice of bedding if you want to use a wood shaving type of bedding in your guinea pigs enclosure.
As pine and cedar are not suitable for your guinea pigs, aspen makes a perfect replacement for those.
Like everything else, it does have some pros and cons, which we need to consider before buying this bedding for your guinea pigs. Let us look at the pros and cons first:
- Safe for guinea pigs
- Absorbs the pee quite well and keeps the cage odorless
- Doesn’t contain any artificial coloring or chemicals
- Scent-free material
- In-expensive to buy in shortrun
- Available at all sizes as per your requirements
- Not super absorbent as compared to paper bedding and fleece
- Some guinea pigs love to toss the bedding around & out of the cage
- Can be costly in the longrun if you have a large C&C cage
- If you buy cheap quality or tractor supply pack then it may contain some dust which can be bad for your guinea pigs
Looking at the pros and cons, we can say that the pros of the bedding surely outrun the cons.
However, if your guinea pig is allergic to aspen then it might be a different story altogether. Apart from that one can definitely give aspen bedding a try if it fits into your guinea pig supply list or not.
You can always change it during your next shopping if it doesn’t fit right in.
Can guinea pigs eat aspen bedding?
Although it is not the best thing to eat, your guinea pigs can definitely chew some bedding shavings when they feel like doing so.
Aspen is entirely safe for guinea pigs to chew on. It is just your guinea pigs being curious about what the stuff is. Over time they might stop eating it.
My guinea pig keeps eating his aspen bedding: What should I Do?
I can understand it can be concerning for a guinea pig owner if their pets start doing something unusual like this.
Trust me; it is completely normal for your guinea pigs to chew on aspen. They sometimes do it out of curiosity and sometimes, due to a lack of chew toys in their cage.
Guinea pigs need some chew toys to chew on as they have this evergrowing molar, which they need to keep in shape, and thus, they are curious to chew onto things like beddings and sometimes even cage bars.
You can learn more about why guinea pigs chew their cage bars in our article.
I would also recommend you to get some chew toys and apple sticks for your guinea pigs to chew on so that they don’t chew the bedding or the cage.
How often to change aspen bedding
As you might have already known by now, that guinea pigs can create a lot of mess around their cage.
They need to go to the bathroom every few minutes, and thus your bedding will get soiled quickly. With a pair of guinea pigs in a standard size cage, I used to change the bedding in every 7-10 days timeframe.
I also spot clean the cage daily to make sure there is no waste buildup around the cage.
If you are planning to go for aspen bedding, I would recommend going with the larger pack size as it is economical and lasts for a while.
Conclusion: Guinea pigs and Aspen bedding
As a natural bedding material, aspen makes for perfect bedding material for your guinea pigs.
It not only replicates the natural environment closely but also does its job perfectly. It is Scent-free, safe, and comfortable for your guinea pigs, which is what you need.
However, it does adds to the monthly cost as you need to get the pack again and again. I would recommend giving it a try if you don’t like fleece bedding or wants to go with a natural bedding material for your guinea pigs.
Make sure you spot clean daily and change the litter as needed to avoid the waste buildup that can harm your guinea pigs.
Did you know having a poor quality bedding can make your guinea pigs cage smell terrible? We have an article which talks in-depth about Why do guinea pigs cage smell bad, and how can we fix it?
Sources: Preference of Guinea Pigs for Bedding Materials, Care of Guinea Pigs, Guinea pig housing, Suitable bedding for Guinea Pigs