Choosing the right hamster bedding is very important for the health and well-being of your pet. Bedding is a fundamental part of a small rodent’s habitat. It provides the ground on which they walk with their delicate legs, keeps them dry, provides them with bedding and nesting material and allows them to dig and play. There are different types of substrate for your hamster’s cage. Below we’ll look at the main features of each to help you choose the best one for your hamster.
This is the most common type of rodent bedding used in cages. It’s usually made from natural, unflavored pine or poplar wood; because it’s a soft wood, it’s very absorbent and keeps your pet dry. It is also the cheapest and easiest substrate to obtain. It is excellent for animals especially when they want to dig and hide, you will often see them hiding food, just like they do in their burrows in the wild. It needs to be renewed frequently because it is not as effective at hiding unpleasant odors. Look for one that is free of dust that can affect the respiratory tract.
This substrate is more environmentally friendly, as it is produced from the waste of the corn crop. It has the advantage of absorbing through the lower layers, leaving the surface layers always dry. The material is 100% natural, it is heat treated to dry it and make it more absorbent and air treated to eliminate dust.
Recycled paper litter
This is one of the so-called “green” products, as it is made from recycled materials and is 100% biodegradable. It does not contain chemical additives and has the advantage of clumping when wet, which allows the removal of dirty and other parts to extend its use. It does not eliminate dust, is quite soft and loose, and may not be as attractive to dig with. The waste can be used as compost for plants or poured down the toilet. It is not as economical as shavings.
Wood pulp litter
The main advantage of this cage substrate is that it is super absorbent, up to 3 times its own volume. The type of pulp used is one that does not make paper, so it does not contain ink or solvents; it does not release dust and is very good at absorbing odors.
Wheat straw bedding
This is a 100% natural substrate. It is a high-fiber pellet product made from waste materials. This is an ideal choice for hamsters that like to eat the substrate, as it does not swell or create an obstruction and is actually good for dentures. This litter also absorbs from the bottom up, keeping the surface dry.
There are some myths and bad habits about hamster substrate that you should avoid. First of all, it’s important to never use cat litter as a substrate, as the dust it releases can cause irritation and obstruct the airways.
Similarly, kitchen or toilet paper is also not recommended when placing a bed in the cage, although it can be used to create a nest. Finally, avoid flavored carriers and those made from pine or cedar wood.
Choose the bedding that works best for you and what you can afford. Next, you’ll need to see if your hamster approves of it as well. If not, try another variety.