Are you wondering, "Can I use puppy pads for guinea pigs?"
I had the same question when I was out of bedding for guinea pigs, and all I had were some disposable puppy pads.
So, I'm here to share my experience and talk about whether puppy pads can cause health issues in guinea pigs.
Just keep reading.
- Puppy pads are an acceptable alternative to traditional bedding options, but you should use them with caution.
- Always use puppy pads that don't contain chemicals or scents to avoid making your guinea pig sick.
- Guinea pig cage liners are an excellent alternative to puppy pee pads and are unlikely to cause health issues.
Are Puppy Pads Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Puppy pee pads are an excellent choice for absorbing urine and keeping your floors and carpet surfaces dry while potty training your puppy. But are they suitable for guinea pigs?
Good news! Most pee pads are a relatively safe option for guinea pig owners for short-term use. They can keep your furry pet comfortable and dry, thanks to the absorbent layers.
However, pads aren't the best guinea pig bedding and rabbit mats for cages, especially if they have added scents or other chemicals to control odors.
Moreover, using pee pads has some dangers that you should consider. So, let's discuss their benefits and drawbacks in detail! Or just check the table below.
|Benefits of Dog Pads||Drawbacks of Dog Pads|
|Easy to use||Eating pee pads can lead to intestinal obstruction|
|Absorbent layer||They get smelly quickly|
|Easy to maintain hygiene||Scented pads can cause respiratory issues|
|Relatively soft and comfortable|
Benefits of Puppy Pads For Cavies
The biggest benefit of pads is that they're easy to use. Whenever they get wet, I throw the disposable pads in the trash or the washable puppy pads in the washer.
Moreover, it takes less time to clean the cage when using pads. You don't have to scrub the shavings or the paper bedding from the bottom of the cage.
It's also easier to maintain cage hygiene, which is vital for a healthy guinea pig. As specialists from Northeast Animal Shelter say, "Any build-up of feces or urine can cause infections in your guinea pig." (1)
I also like pads because they're comfortable. And that's important because cavies have sensitive feet and need soft bedding to prevent feet issues.
Finally, puppy pads are absorbent bedding, which quickly soaks up urine, water, and other messes. High absorbency means that the risk of bacteria or mold growth is low.
Drawbacks of Puppy Pads For Cavies
So, what are the dangers of using puppy training pads for cavies? The main concern is that some guinea pigs eat their bedding when bored.
It's not a big issue if your cavy eats a bit of bedding when you're using traditional bedding materials, such as paper or softwood shavings.
But fabric pads can cause intestinal obstruction, which is life-threatening for small animals, such as cavies, according to vets from Vetlexicon. (2)
Moreover, cavies have sensitive noses, so they're prone to respiratory infections and allergies. Some pee pads for dogs have added chemicals to control odors, so they may cause respiratory problems. (3)
Also, I noticed that my cage started to smell quickly. That's because pads don't have the same smell absorbency as paper or wood shavings and have to be replaced every 2-3 days.
So, how can you line the cage with puppy pads without worrying about these drawbacks? Let's find out!
How to Use Puppy Pads in the Guinea Pig Cage?
First, you must decide what type of pads you want - disposable or machine washable. I prefer machine-washable bedding because it's better for the environment and is thicker and cozier than disposable one.
Then, you need to find pads that fit your cage. You don't want to trim them because they won't absorb well, and cleaning the dirty cage will be hard.
Moreover, make sure that the pads don't have any added chemicals, scents, or materials that can be toxic to small animals. Then follow these steps:
- Cover the cage floor with the pad. You can use double-sided tape to secure it to the bottom if you're worried about it sliding.
- Add another type of bedding on top, such as paper, hemp, shavings, or fleece. Use at least two inches.
- Spot-clean the cage daily to remove debris and refresh the top bedding if needed.
- Replace the top layer and the pee pads every 2-7 days or whenever you notice that the bedding is stinky and wet.
- Don't forget to wash the cage thoroughly at least once a week to prevent bacterial growth and keep your cavy healthy.
But do you have another alternative to puppy pads for guinea pigs? You'd be surprised by the variety of options!
3 Alternatives to Puppy Pads for Guinea Pigs
Pee pads are not the only absorbent material you can use to keep the guinea pig cage clean and smell-free. Here are my top three alternatives!
#1 Homemade Guinea Pig Pee Pads
Do you like making things by yourself? Then why don't you sew some waterproof pee pads for your cavy? All you need is a suitable absorbent material and a bit of time.
While preparing your materials, it's important to consider "how much bedding does a guinea pig need" to ensure their comfort and hygiene. Check the video below for more details!
#2 Cage Liners
Cage liners are similar to pee pads. But they're created for small animals, so you don't have to worry about potentially toxic materials or how to trim them without ruing the absorbency.
My favorite cage liner brand is Luftpets. It's waterproof, machine washable, and easy to clean. It's also a safe option for guinea pigs because it's made from non-toxic material.
Unlike some types of puppy pads, it's also thick enough to provide a comfortable surface for burrowing, napping, and playing. And it doesn't slip around the cage, so no need to tape it down.
Moreover, cage liners are reusable, so they don't generate as much waste as disposable pee pads.
Fleece is another great alternative to pee pads. It's soft, reusable, and dust-free, keeping your guinea pig warm, dry, and happy. I also like fleece because it encourages digging and burrowing.
The drawback is that fleece bedding is expensive. And you need to wash it often because it gets smelly. But it's one of the most absorbent options and is perfect for cavies with sensitive feet!
1. What is the best padding for guinea pigs?
Paper based bedding for guinea pigs is the best disposable bedding, while fleece and cage linens are the best reusable options.
2. What are guinea pig pee pads?
Pee pads are square or rectangular pads used in the guinea pig cage to absorb urine. They can be reusable or disposable.
3. What can I use instead of pee pads for my guinea pig?
You can use fleece, cage liners, or homemade pads instead of dog pads. Pet owners can also use disposable bedding options, such as wood shavings or paper.
Can I use puppy pads for guinea pigs? Pee pads can be an excellent short-term solution for keeping your guinea pig cage clean and dry.
However, disposable pee pads aren't the best bedding for cavies because they get smelly quickly, generate a lot of waste, and don't last long.
Moreover, you should ensure your cavies are not interested in eating their bedding because gnawing on pads can lead to intestinal obstruction.
What do you think about puppy pads for guinea pigs? Have you ever used them? Share your experience in the comment section.
1. Guinea Pig Care [Internet]. Available from: https://www.northeastanimalshelter.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Guinea-Pig-Care-Guide-3.pdf
2. Available from: https://goodcompanionsvets.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/vetstream_swagger/pet-health/pet/pet_info_print.php?vetstream-type=ZXhvdGlzL0d1aW5lYS1QaWdz&nodeguid=c2b3327d-17a0-431f-b344-0377e9205f2b
3. Hess L. Health Problems in Guinea Pigs [Internet]. vca_corporate. 2009. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/guinea-pigs-problems