What Kind of Wood Shavings Is Best for Guinea Pigs?

HomeCareWhat Kind of Wood Shavings Is Best for Guinea Pigs?

Among the wood shavings that are recommended for guinea pigs, Aspen is the safest option. Aspen wood shavings do not have an aroma like other wood shavings. They are also much more gentle on guinea pig feet.

Why Aspen Wood Shavings Are The Best Option

Aspen wood shavings are the best for your guinea pig compared to other common wood shavings for pets, including Pine or Cedar.

Unlike Pine or Cedar, Aspen wood is non-aromatic. This means that Aspen wood does not release harmful aromatic hydrocarbons or phenols that can negatively affect your guinea pig’s liver or respiratory system.

It also does not mask any scents made by your guinea pig, so you can accurately locate spots of waste in their cage.

The biggest benefit is that Aspen wood shavings provide very comfortable bedding for guinea pigs since the shavings are finer, unlike the sharper edges of Pine or Cedar. This means that your guinea pig’s delicate feet will not be injured by their bedding.

Although Aspen shavings are great, they aren’t the cheapest option out there. If you are looking for something cheaper, look for a paper blend with Aspen wood shavings for a more affordable and more absorbent option.

Safe Alternative Options

Other safe options include paper bedding, blends, and fleece. Paper bedding is soft and absorbent with minimal dust, so it makes a comfortable setting for your guinea pig’s cage.

Blends are bedding mixed with either paper or wood shavings. The benefits of using a blend are that they do a good job controlling odor and typically cost less. The paper in blends also makes this kind of bedding more absorbent than wood shavings alone. Do not use blends that mix paper with Pine or Cedar wood shavings.

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Another popular choice for guinea pig owners is fleece. However, if you choose fleece, ensure that doing laundry won’t be a problem for you! Fleece lining needs to be pre-washed multiple times before being added to the cage. It requires frequent laundering and maintenance throughout the week for your guinea pig’s health.

Wash the fleece several times before placing it in the cage so that it is ready to wick waste from your small pet. To keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and tidy, the fleece needs to be swept and cleaned daily.

Wash the fleece lining every 3-5 days with unscented detergent and without dryer sheets or fabric softeners. The benefits of fleece bedding include keeping your pet’s bum dry and its absorbency once wet. Fleece also comes in fun and vibrant colors that can brighten up your guinea pig’s space!

What Wood Shavings Should I Avoid?

Pine and Cedar wood shavings are very unsuitable and unsafe options for your guinea pig. Both types of wood shavings release phenols that can irritate the respiratory system of your guinea pig.

Phenols naturally occur in Pine and Cedar and can give off toxins that are likely to harm guinea pigs and other small rodents by causing allergic reactions and potential organ failure.

Pine and cedar give off aromatic smells that can mask your guinea pig’s urine, making it harder to clean. Because of the sharper textures of pine and cedar shavings, they can cause chronic skin irritation on guinea pig paws.

What Other Bedding Options Should Be Avoided?

When setting up your guinea pig’s cage, there are several bedding options to avoid, including the following.

Corn cob

Corn cob is prone to mold growth and can cause intestinal blockage if accidentally ingested by your guinea pig.

Cat litter

Cat litter is too harsh of a material for your small pet’s delicate feet. The material can induce bumblefoot in your guinea pig. This skin infection causes redness and irritation on your pet’s feet.

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Straw can contain sharp pieces and sticks that have the potential to injure your guinea pig’s sensitive skin. It is also not suitable for hay since there is no nutritional value to straw as a snack.


Never keep your guinea pig in a cage with exposed bare wire. Always keep their cage comfortable with soft bedding, like fleece or paper bedding. Leaving your guinea pig on bare wire can cause serious foot injuries.

Coroplast-bottomed cages are preferable to wire cages. In any cage, it is important to provide your guinea pig with a soft and comfortable living space.

To ensure your guinea pig is healthy, you must conduct your own research on which bedding would be best. You need to make sure your bedding is absorbent and that it can reduce toxic bacteria buildup that may harm your guinea pig. That is why fleece, paper bedding, and blends are the most popular and safest choices.

What If I Am Already Using an “Unsafe” Option?

Do your best to stay away from unsafe bedding options, but if your guinea pig is put in a situation with any of these choices, remove them immediately and transfer them to safe bedding like fleece or Aspen wood shavings.

If your guinea pig has already been introduced to harmful shavings or bedding, take them to the vet if any symptoms occur, like trouble breathing, skin or foot irritations, or any changes in behavior.

Monitor their diet and waste throughout the day and contact the vet if any abnormal behavior or concerns arise.

Audra Foulk
Audra Foulkhttps://guineapigparent.com
Hello, my name is Audra I'm the owner of GuineaPigParent.com, a website all about guinea pigs! I'm also a guinea pig owner myself, and I love learning and writing about these adorable creatures. Guinea pigs are such amazing animals, and I hope to share everything I know about them with as many people as possible! View Author Profile.

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