Can You Use Red Cedar Bedding For Guinea Pigs?

Red cedar bedding is not suitable for guinea pigs since it can cause liver damage if ingested. The fumes can also damage their lungs, and the shavings can cause irritation to their feet, resulting in an infection.

Guinea pigs (also known as cavies) depend on their owners to provide them with a safe and comfortable environment.

Cavy owners have a wide variety of bedding choices for their furry friends. As a result, it is very helpful to know which kinds of bedding are safe and which are unsafe to use.

Pet owners reach for red cedar shavings because of its ability to mask odor by its strong and potent aroma. Even though red cedar shavings might sound like a smart idea, you should never use this kind of bedding for guinea pigs.

Why Red Cedar Bedding is a Bad Idea

There are three reasons you should never use red cedar shavings as guinea pig bedding:


Red cedar shavings are poisonous to guinea pigs. Sometimes guinea pigs like to chew on their bedding to help with teeth care. However, if ingested, this could lead to many problems that would eventually lead to liver failure.

Even if the guinea pig does not chew on their bedding, it is easy for the shavings to end up in your cavy’s food. Guinea pigs like to dig, scamper, and play. This motion can kick up shavings into the air, resulting in red cedar landing in the food dish.

RELATED:  How Long Should Guinea Pig Teeth Be?

Lung Irritation

Potent fumes from red cedar shavings can enter your guinea pig’s lungs and eventually get into the cavy’s blood.

These fumes slowly but surely poison the guinea pig, leading to a slow and painful death.

Red cedar has a potent aroma with high toxicity. This toxicity is too strong for guinea pigs. It causes the guinea pig to have a sore nose, throat, and lungs, leading to a high risk of illness and infection.

Irritate The Feet

One final reason that red cedar shavings aren’t the way to go is that the potent acids these shavings give off can irritate and inflame the bottoms of a guinea pig’s feet. At this point, sore, inflamed feet can lead to additional illness.

Appropriate Bedding For Guinea Pigs

Although red cedar shavings are not appropriate for guinea pigs, there are many options out there. You should be on the lookout for safe bedding that is affordable and easy to clean up.

We will look at these options below.

Affordable Options

Affordability is a common concern amongst many guinea pig owners. Two options are the most affordable. However, that doesn’t make them the easiest to clean or the best at masking odors.

Shredded Newspaper

The most affordable option out there is recycled newspaper. If you get the newspaper every day and just chuck it after reading, a great way to recycle it could be to shred it.

Although it’s not the easiest to clean up and isn’t as absorbent as other options, it does come together when wet, making it bearable to clean.

Some pet owners put a layer of newspaper down at the bottom of their cavy’s cage. They then pour an inch or two of shredded newspaper on top. When the time comes to clean the cage, it’s easy to simply roll up the newspaper with the shavings inside. This method makes cleaning up easy.

RELATED:  Aspen vs Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs? Bedtime Brawl!

Paper Bedding

There are some pros and cons to this option. First, it’s affordable and can be easily purchased in bulk. It is soft and absorbent, keeping your cavy comfortable.

The downside to this bedding is that it has a large amount of dust. The bedding is usually dyed a pink or tan color. That means the manufacturer added dyes and chemicals to manipulate the product color. These dyes and colors leak into your cavy’s paws, fur, and even lungs.

The Easiest to Clean Up

In this day and age, everyone seems to be scrambling for more time. There never seem to be enough hours in the day. That’s why most people choose the easiest and fastest way to clean up their guinea pig habitat.


New to the market, fleece mats are becoming more and more popular. In a nutshell, they are absorbent, and you can line the bottom of the cage with them.

Moisture sinks to the bottom of the mat, keeping the surface dry. This allows the guinea pig to have a dry surface that will prevent their feet from getting wet. As a result, your guinea pig will be less likely to get sick.

The only problem with this mat is that you need to have two of them so that they can be swapped out quickly during cleaning.

To wash the mat, simply shake off the solids over the trash. Then, throw the mat in the wash. To keep them cleaner for longer, some pet owners use a litter box with pellets in it. This will ensure that the majority of feces end up in the litter box. One other great thing about fleece is that it mimics a more natural environment.

How Often Should I Change My Cavy’s Bedding?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on a few factors:

RELATED:  Can I Put Baking Soda in a Guinea Pig Cage?

1. Diet

The quality of food given to a cavy determines how often and how much they “go.” When provided with high-quality food and plenty of Timothy hay, guinea pigs go less often and have less waste.

As a result, cleanup doesn’t need to happen as often. Most guinea pig owners who give their guinea pigs high-quality food change the bedding once every week.

2. Cage Size

Guinea pig habitats that are smaller will need to be cleaned more often. It’s simple science. Some pet owners use a litter box so that the concentration of feces is in one area. This allows the owner to simply change the bedding in the litter box frequently and the bedding on a less frequent basis. This also allows the guinea pigs to stay clean and dry.

3. Number of Cavies

The more cavies there are, the more often their bedding will need to be changed.

4. Type of Bedding

Frequency also depends on the type of bedding you use. For example, if you use newspaper bedding, it will need to be changed every two or three days. If you use a fleece mat, it will need to be changed every week or so.

Avoid Red Cedar – Choose a Safe Option

Although red cedar shavings are not appropriate for guinea pigs, there are many safe and affordable options. Cleaning up after your guinea pig by changing their bedding frequently can help your furry friend stay healthy and happy.