Are you struggling to pick between guinea pig cage liners vs. bedding?
When I was a novice guinea pig owner, I was overwhelmed by all the available options, so I spent a lot of time testing different materials and alternative bedding.
And I'm here to share my years of experience to help you choose between guinea pig cage liners and traditional bedding.
Just keep reading.
- Pet owners can choose between a wide range of bedding types for guinea pigs, each with specific benefits and drawbacks.
- Most disposable bedding options are cheap, but they're more expensive than reusable liners in the long run.
- You should weigh the pros and cons of bedding and liners to determine the best option for your piggy.
So, which one is the best bedding option for guinea pigs? Let's find out!
Guinea Pig Cage Liners vs. Bedding: A Detailed Comparison
Since all bedding options have benefits and drawbacks, I will compare liners to traditional bedding using several criteria. If you don't want to wait, look at the table below!
|Guinea Pig Cage Liners||Traditional Guinea Pig Bedding (paper, wood, hemp bedding, etc.)|
Cedar and pine shavings can be toxic
Paper is safe
|Odor Control||Excellent||Depends on the type of bedding|
|Dust||No dust||Little dusty to very dusty|
|Cleaning||Easy||Easy to messy|
|Texture||Soft and comfortable||Depends on the type of bedding|
|Maintaining Hygiene||Daily debris cleaning||Every couple of days|
|Cost||Can be expensive||Cheap|
|Eco-Friendly||Reusable liners for guinea pigs are eco-friendly||Paper and wood bedding generates a lot of waste|
Keeping the cage clean is vital for preventing common health issues like respiratory infections. And bedding that doesn't absorb well leads to a dirty cage and promotes mold growth.
Comparing liners to bedding, natural paper bedding is the clear winner for me. It absorbs urine quickly, keeps my guinea pig's feet dry, and controls odors.
High-quality fleece cage liners are my second-best choice because they have an absorbent layer to trap moisture inside. But fleece layers can lose their absorbent properties over time.
Of all available options, hay is one of the worst absorbent materials because it gets wet quickly.
You can check this video to see how different bedding types for guinea pigs absorb liquid.
Cavies are curious creatures, so they tend to nib on whatever bedding you put in the cage. And not all material is as safe as you think.
Liners - disposable or reusable - are a great option because they're made from all-natural materials and are non-toxic to cavies. But they can cause an intestinal obstruction if your piggy eats the bedding,
Paper, hemp, and hay are generally safe and won't harm your cavies, even if consumed. However, do not use homemade paper bedding because it can contain chemicals.
Aspen shavings are suitable, but wood beddings from pine or cedar are dangerous because they contain chemicals toxic to guinea pigs.
They can also trigger allergies, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. Vets from VCA Animal Hospital also warn, "Some types of wood shavings can even cause liver damage." (1)
So, be careful whenever you use alternative guinea pig bedding.
#3 Odor Control
Nasty smells are a problem with all bedding types. But the easiest way to control odor is natural guinea pig paper bedding combined with a bit of baking soda.
Wood shavings are another popular choice because kiln-dried pine shavings have a natural scent that neutralizes unpleasant odors.
On the other hand, most fleece liners get smelly pretty quickly. They need frequent washing and changing unless you want the entire cage to stink.
My secret is to use vinegar instead of laundry detergent to eliminate the smells. Or I rely on commercial liners with charcoal.
Dust can harm a guinea pig's respiratory system by irritating the lungs and making your small friend ill.
So, when comparing guinea pig cage liners vs. traditional bedding, liners take a point. There's no dusty cloud when you put them in the cage.
In my experience, wood-based bedding generates the most dust, depending on your brand. Paper and hay are less dusty, so they're suitable for guinea pigs.
Of all guinea pig cage bedding options, disposable liners are my winner in this category. Whenever the lining pads get wet, I throw them away and replace them with fresh ones.
Fleece bedding is also easy to clean because it's machine washable. Ensure you don't use fabric softener and use the correct temperature to keep the wicking properties.
Traditional bedding is the hardest to maintain. Paper, wood, and hay stick to the bottom of the cage, so you have to scrape the bedding mess whenever it gets dirty.
Fleece is the best option for cavies with sensitive feet - it's soft, comfortable, and perfect for snuggling. And it encourages natural burrowing behavior.
Second-best are liners because they have a smooth texture and won't poke your piggies' delicate feet. Paper is also equally soft but not as comfy as fleece.
#7 Maintaining Hygiene
A clean cage equals a healthy guinea pig. Liners are great for absorbing moisture and preventing bacterial or fungal infections inside the cage. But you have to pick poop and food debris on a daily basis.
On the other hand, if you use paper or wood shavings, debris gets into the deeper layers where your guinea pig can't reach them. And you get rid of the whole mess every couple of days.
Paper and wood shavings are relatively cheap, and you can find them in any pet store. However, you must change the bedding every week, which is expensive in the long run.
Fleece has the highest initial cost but is cost-effective because you can use it for a couple of years.
If you're worried about the environment, reusable fleece liners are the most eco-friendly guinea pig bedding option. Wood and paper are also eco-friendly but generate a lot of waste.
1. Can you use cage liners instead of bedding for guinea pigs?
Fleece liners are one of the best choices for guinea pig cages because of their absorbency properties, softer texture, and easy maintenance.
2. What is the healthiest bedding for guinea pigs?
Natural paper is the healthiest bedding for piggies because it's made from non-toxic material, absorbs well, and controls odors.
3. What bedding should guinea pigs not use?
Do not use untreated pine/cedar wood shavings, corn cob, raw straw, and cat litter.
So, what's the verdict? Comparing guinea pig cage liners vs. bedding, liners have a few more benefits than traditional options, especially if they're made of fleece.
However, whatever the bedding of choice, you should change it on a regular basis to keep the enclosure clean and your guinea piggy dry and happy.
What do you think about guinea pig liners vs. bedding? Which one is your personal preference? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
1. Owning Guinea Pigs [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/guinea-pigs-owning
2. Ellakkani MA, Alarie Y, Weyel D, Karol MH. Chronic pulmonary effects in guinea pigs from prolonged inhalation of cotton dust. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology [Internet]. 1987;88:354–69. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3107166/