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Guinea pig bedding: what kind should you choose?

When searching for guinea pig bedding, there are a bunch of things to consider. You want guinea pig bedding that is affordable, absorbent, light weight, readily available, easy to clean, and, most importantly, healthy for your guinea pigs. After the criteria of being healthy is met, there are a number of types of guinea pig bedding that you can choose from depending on what you want.

Here are some of the many options you have for guinea pig bedding.  which will not harm your guinea pig along with information that can help you make your decision.

Aspen Wood Shavings

  • Health information: Aspen shavings are safe for guinea pig as guinea pig bedding
  • Cost: $1.50/pound
  • Absorbency: Aspen shavings can absorb up to four times its own weight
  • Odor Control: Aspen shavings have great odor control
  • Weight: Aspen shavings are light weight
  • Availability: While it can be tough to find in large quantities, you can find aspen wood shavings at most local pet stores or order them online
  • Ease of cleaning: Fairly easy to clean out using a scoop to remove only the guinea pig bedding that’s been peed or pooped on. By only cleaning out the used bedding, it will last a lot longer
  • More information: There are a number of types of wood shavings that are not safe for guinea pigs and other small animals. However, because aspen doesn’t contain the toxic oils that other shavings like pine and cedar do, it is safe for guinea pigs. It also is 99.9% dust-free which means there’s no dust particles that can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract of guinea pigs

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CareFresh Pet Bedding

  • Health information: CareFresh is safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: CareFresh is very absorbent
  • Odor Control: CareFresh has great odor control
  • Weight:  Carefresh is light weight
  • Availability: You can find CareFresh in most local pet stores, and you can order it online including on this website
  • Ease of cleaning: CareFresh is easy to clean by simply removing the used guinea pig bedding
  • More Information: This is one of the most popular types of pet beddings because it is safe, soft, and super absorbent. It is also dust-free and hypoallergenic, so it is safe for guinea pigs and other small animals. CareFresh guinea pig bedding is made from recycled paper, so you’re also helping the environment. Additionally, it comes in several varieties and even different colors depending on your preferences

Cell-Sorb Plus

  • Health information: Cell-Sorb Plus is safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: Cell-Sorb Plus is highly absorbent, about four times as much as wood shavings
  • Odor Control: Cell-Sorb Plus is great at odor control
  • Weight: Cell-Sorb is heavier than other beddings
  • Availability: Cell-Sorb Plus can be found in most local pet stores and can be ordered online
  • Ease of cleaning: It is just as easy to clean out as other types of bedding when a scoop is used. Plus, because it is highly absorbent, it lasts longer than other beddings
  • More Information: This is one of the most absorbent beddings available, so if absorption properties are high on your priority list, you should try Cell-Sorb Plus. It is so absorbent that it will even dry out feces. It is this that also gives it its superb odor-controlling properties
Guinea pig dozing off on guinea pig bedding
Guinea pig dozing off on guinea pig bedding

Kiln-Dried Pine Shavings

  • Health information: Kiln-dried pine shavings are considered by most experts to be safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.60/pound
  • Absorbency: Pine shavings are moderately absorbent
  • Odor Control: Pine shavings are moderately good at odor control
  • Weight: Pine shavings are lightweight
  • Availability: They are readily available in large quantities in pet stores or online
  • Ease of cleaning: Cleaning pine shavings is similar to other wood shavings. Simply use a scoop to remove used guinea pig bedding. However, because pine shavings are not as absorbent as other beddings and do not control odor as well which means it has to be cleaned out significantly more often than other beddings
  • More Information: There is a lot of debate in the pet world about the safety of pine. Although kiln-dried pine is considered to be safe because they don’t have the toxic oils that are present in air-dried pine. However, there is still debate over kiln-dried pine because it is not dust-free. Dust is an irritant for both guinea pigs and humans that clean out the cages

Wood Pellets

  • Health information: 100% wood pellets that have not been treated with any type of accelerant are considered to be safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.15/pound
  • Absorbency: Wood pellets are moderately absorbent
  • Odor Control: Wood pellets are moderately effective for odor control
  • Weight: Wood pellets are very heavy
  • Availability: Wood pellets can usually be found in large quantities at most hardware stores
  • Ease of cleaning: Can be a lot messier than other types of bedding because it dissolves into sawdust when it gets wet, which settles to the bottom and makes for a difficult clean up. It does, however, last a bit longer than wood shavings or paper-based beddings
  • More Information: The most important thing to be sure of when choosing wood pellets is that they are 100% wood. These wood pellets are usually used in wood pellet stoves, so many of them have accelerants added to them to make them burn faster. Many guinea pig owners do not like the wood pellets because they dissolve into sawdust when wet. Although it typically settles on the bottom and is not a problem, some owners would argue that any sawdust is bad for guinea pigs. Another thing to note when considering wood pellets is that they are a hard and can be rough on sensitive guinea pig feet, so they should be mixed with aspen or CareFresh to avoid causing foot problems

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Carefresh Natural Premium Guinea Pig Bedding

  • Health information: Carefresh Natural Premium is safe as guinea pig bedding
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: It’s is a great absorber – it absorbs 3x it’s weight!
  • Odor Control: Carefresh Natural Premium is great for odor control
  • Weight: It is lightweight
  • Availability: You can find Carefresh Natural Premium in many local pet stores or you can order it online on this website
  • Ease of cleaning: It is as easy to clean as wood shaving and other paper-based guinea pig beddings
  • More Information: Carefresh Natural Premium is made of short-fiber pulp that can’t be turned into paper



The following products are dangerous for your guinea pig, so do not use them as guinea pig bedding. They are included on this list as a warning, and we have included information under each to explain the dangers. If you are currently using any of these guinea pig beddings, you should make a switch as soon as possible to any of the beddings listed above.

Cedar and Pine Shavings

  • Cedar is toxic to guinea pigs. A story from one guinea pig owner reported that her two healthy guinea pigs died within a week of switching to cedar shavings as guinea pig bedding. These shavings contain oils from the wood that are toxic to guinea pigs and should be avoided at all cost
  • Pine shavings are also toxic to guinea pigs because of the oils in them, and can do a lot of damage to delicate eyes and noses with the high amount of dust that is present with the bedding. They also do not absorb moisture very well which can easily lead to a strong build-up of ammonia in the cage

Corn Cob

  • There are a number of reasons that corn cob should not be used as bedding for guinea pigs. The biggest problems occur when the guinea pig eats some of the bedding and then drinks water. The corn cob pellets do not break down in the guinea pig’s digestive system. Instead, they swell up with water and cause intestinal blockages

Guinea pig bedding: other considerations

When choosing a bedding for your guinea pig, be sure to take everything into consideration when looking at a bedding so that you find something that works best for both you and your guinea pig. It’s also important to keep in mind that while some types of bedding may appear to be cheaper, the amount that has to be used is greater which means it actually ends up being more expensive. For example, the cheapest one per pound is wood pellets but because they are so dense, it takes nearly four times as many wood pellets to cover the bottom of a cage as Aspen or CareFresh.