BEDDING OPTIONS Choosing the safest most suitable bedding for your guinea pig is a must to ensure it remains healthy, happy and free from any respiratory illness or distress. When choosing a bedding you must ensure it is absorbent, free from dust and volatile oils and cannot be inhaled or consumed.Here in Australia there is a wide range of bedding's available for guinea pig owners, some are best used in conjunction with others. Newspaper for example should always be used with another bedding and not alone due to its low absorbency and insufficient odour control. It can however be used temporarily by itself but not as a permanent bedding material.Bedding OptionsChoose below is a comprehensive list of suitable bedding'sWoodPaperFabricHayWoodShavings are deemed a popular choice for many guinea pig owners. However any wood product should always be free from any aromatic oils as these can cause severe respiratory illness and in some cases the chemicals have been know to cause early liver disease especially in rabbits and mice. Do not use sawdust or cedar bedding's and carefully screen any pine bedding for these chemicals. Hysorb wood shavingsThese shavings are considered to be the best wood product to use. They are environmentally friendly, kiln dried and have under gone dust extraction preventing any potential respiratory distress.ProsHigh absorbencyDust extractedKiln dried100% Environmentally friendlySpecifically made as an animal beddingConsMay be expensive in the long term Price: Hysorb wood shavings are $7.00 - $12.00 and can be purchased via produce stores or pet wholesalers/warehouses. Aristopet Wood Pellet Eco LitterThis bedding is environmentally friendly, and is made from Australian pine and timber waste which is then compressed into a pellet form. It is a popular bedding due to its odour control, absorbency, cleanliness and ease . However owners must be aware that any wood pellet based bedding may be hard on your cavies feet. It may also clump and become damp when soiled, so it should preferably be changed when this does occur. Some owners mix it with another bedding material such as hysorb or polar fleece to reduce this.ProsHigh absorbencyBiodegradableEnvironmentally FriendlyOdour controlledDoes not clump or crumbleAbsorbs 4 times its own weight in water ConsMay be hard on cavies feetDangerous if consumed Price: Aristopet prices range from $5 -$28 depending on the bag size. Bags are available in 5kg, 15 kg and 20kg. Can be purchased via large pet retailers or via their website.Breeders Choice Pine Wood shavingsThis bedding is an all natural product made from kiln dried pine. It has undergone dust extraction and screening to prevent respiratory distress in animals. The weaker the pine smell the less aromatic oils are present making it a much healthier bedding. Due to its availability in relatively large sizes storage options may be a concern.ProsHigh absorbencyAll natural ProductDust ExtractedKiln driedConsLarge size may present storage concernsMust ensure aromatic oils (phenols) are not present before purchase Price: Comes in large sizes which may vary the price and availability of this product. A standard bale is a clear poly bale, which is stretch wrapped onto pallets. The larger sized bales are a “wool pack” size bale. This bedding is suitable if you wish to purchase a large amount in bulk. Can be purchased via produce stores or enquire availability at their websitePaperDepending on which paper bedding you use some may be more absorbent than others. Paper bedding's can be used in conjunction with other materials always find out which works best for you.Carefresh Unlike other bedding material, it works to suppress the formation of ammonia, the primary odour caused by pet urine. CareFresh absorbs 3x its weight in liquids from pet urine or water bottle leaks so cages can stay clean and dry. CareFresh Pet Bedding lasts twice as long as shavings so you save time and money. CareFresh Pet Bedding is softer and less dusty than other forms of bedding. It's cleaner and healthier for you and your pet. CareFresh has turned the pulp and paper industry waste into pet owners’ favourite brand of pet bedding. Pros Free of inks, dyes, clay, and chemicals used in the paper making processProcessed to remove potentially harmful aromatic hydrocarbons that exist in pine and cedar oilsCareFresh Pet Bedding is tested for contaminants and sanitized to 380 Degrees Fahrenheit to reduce bacteria, mold and fungus.CareFresh Pet Bedding provides unsurpassed odour control for your pet's habitat.ConsMay be expensive and needs to be used correctly Price: $25 - $35.00 Availability: Purchase OnlineNewspaper/Shredded PaperThese bedding's can be used on a temporary basis but never permanently. If using these bedding's always use them with another high absorbency bedding which is odour controlled. Newspaper and shredded paper bedding's are not absorbent and do not control odour. They also will need to be changed more regularly to prevent soiling and ammonia build up. Always use in conjunction with another type of bedding preferably one which is absorbent, dust free, and controls odours. Pros AffordableEasy to purchaseConsNot as absorbent as other bedding'sDoes not control odourHas a tendency to become very damp when soiledPrice: Relatively cheap, can be purchased in bulk lots at newsagents, friends/family or recycling facilities. FabricMaterial based bedding's should always be used in conjunction with another bedding. The benefit of these bedding's is they are affordable, can be re used, and keep the top layer dry making them last longer. Polar fleece must be modified and washed 2-4 times before first use, otherwise it will not wick away the urine and will become damp. This is a very common mistake that many owners make with fabric based bedding's, they do not use it correctly. Fabric bedding is also recommended for boars prone to impaction problems. They will have the benefit of a clean, smooth bedding compared to shavings and paper products which have a tendency to become stuck in the perineal sac when scent marking; it is also recommended for long haired cavies. Fabric bedding also makes it easier to detect illness. Any blood/ coloured urine will be much easier to see on a light coloured bedding compared to the darker colours of conventional wood and paper products. TowellingAn easy cheap and affordable bedding. Can be used underneath fleece and is very absorbent, it also includes the benefit of being re used. However it will become heavy when wet especially if a lot of urine is absorbed. ProsAffordableReusableCut to sizeAbsorbentDust/allergen freeSoft, easy to walk onIllness detection made easyKeep fur cleanReduces impaction problemsCons May get heavy when wetMust be used in conjunction with another bedding Price: Relatively cheap; prices vary depending on which brand you use. Can be purchased from manchester and fabric retailers. Polar FleeceA very popular bedding. This material wicks away urine keeping the top clean and dry. The urine is then absorbed by another bedding beneath. Must be used in conjunction with another absorbent bedding such as Breeders Choice or towels. Comes in a variety of colours and patterns adding a decorative touch to any cage. Fleece bedding must be washed 2-4 times before use and must be set up correctly in order to be effective. Many owners do not follow the guidelines deeming Fleece useless. It must be used correctly in order to get the full benefit. Pros AffordableReusableCut to sizeDust/allergen freeSoft, easy to walk onIllness detection made easyKeeps fur cleanReduces impaction problemsWicks away urine keeping it perfectly dryConsMust be used in conjunction with another beddingMust be used correctly to be effectiveHigh maintenance when preparing to wash/clean Price: Depends on how many metres you purchase. Price will vary depending on the colour and pattern. The average price for fleece is between $10- $30. This price is paid only once since fleece is reusable making it a very affordable long term bedding. It is also available at manchester and fabric stores. HaySimilar in characteristics with newspaper. It is not an absorbent bedding and should always be used in conjunction with another type of bedding that is absorbent. Must be replaced daily to prevent bacteria and mould growth. Pros Purchased in bulkUsed as a food source and beddingAll naturalConsMust be replaced dailyNot absorbent Must be used with another bedding materialPrice: Can vary depending on the type and area in which the hay is purchased. May be hard to find a good quality grass hay. An approximate price is between $8 - $16.