shredded paper bedding for guinea pigs

Shredded Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs: Is It the Best Choice?

Are you curious about shredded paper bedding for guinea pigs?

Since I was looking for an affordable alternative to guinea pig liners, I tried shredded paper bedding.

After over a month of use, I'm here to share my experience and discuss its benefits and drawbacks. 

Just keep reading.

LUFTPETS guinea pig cage mat

Key Takeaways

  • Shredded paper is a suitable pet bedding, but you should use it cautiously since it can cause some health problems in cavies. 
  • Homemade paper-based bedding absorbs moisture well but is not as effective as commercial bedding brands.
  • You've got plenty of alternatives to shredded bedding, such as fleece liners, soft wooden shavings, and cage liners. 

Can You Use Shredded Bedding in the Guinea Pig Cage?

When I was doing my research on the topic, I discovered a lot of controversial information about shredded bedding.

So, before getting to the benefits and drawbacks of this type of bedding, let's talk about how safe it is to use shredded paper. 

Regarding housing cavies, Shannon M. Riggs says, "Appropriate bedding materials include recycled newspaper products, shredded paper, and aspen shaving." (1)

Shredded paper is made from old newspapers, junk mail, or recycled paper. It's a safe bedding option for guinea pigs because it's natural, good for the environment, and cost-efficient. 

However, the danger lies when you use paper with ink in it. Older newspapers have ink with nasty chemicals, which can harm small animals when ingested.

Nowadays, most newspapers use soy or water-based ink, which is non-toxic for humans and animals. But pen ink is another matter and can be minimally toxic to humans, according to Healthline. (2)

So, can guinea pigs eat their bedding? While shredded newspaper bedding is generally safe if the ink is non-toxic, it's essential to be cautious. But I would be careful with junk mail or opt for guinea pig bedding from plain paper.

And now, let's see what benefits and drawbacks shredded paper has! Or check the table below! 

Benefits of Shredded Paper Drawbacks of Shredded Paper
An absorbent bedding option It's a bit messy and gets smelly quickly
Using recycled products reduces landfill waste and is better for the environment. It takes time to get the cage clean
Low in dust It can contain traces of chemicals 
Safer than wood shavings It's not the perfect bedding for sensitive piggy feet because it has sharp edges.
Cost-effective and easy to acquire  
Provides stimulating entertainment  

Benefits of Shredded Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs

I like using shredded paper in the guinea pig habitat because it absorbs moisture from urine and keeps the cage and my piggy clean. But here are other benefits you should consider:  

  • Natural paper bedding has a high absorbency level, so it's easier to maintain a clean cage. 
  • Low in dust particles. It's not entirely dust-free but doesn't generate as much dust as cat litter. 
  • It encourages natural burrowing behavior and provides mental/physical stimulation. 
  • It's easy to make and acquire, so you don't have to worry about delivery times when ordering.
  • No added chemicals for odor control that can trigger your cavies' sensitive respiratory system. 
  • Eco-friendly bedding. It's perfect for pet parents who want to reduce their pet's carbon footprint.  
  • It's a safe option for some types of wood shavings, such as cedar or pine shavings. 

But shredded newspapers or paper have a few drawbacks that piggy parents should know. Let's see them. 


Drawbacks of Shredded Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs

Paper is a type of disposable bedding that turns into a sticky mess once it absorbs enough moisture. And it takes time to scrub the mess from the cage. Other drawbacks include: 

  • Unlike softwood shavings, such as aspen bedding, shredded newspapers don't control strong odors. 
  • Reputable brands can last up to a week, but recycled paper bedding from newspapers will last 4-5 days before it gets smelly.   
  • You'll find small pieces of paper all over the house because guinea pigs love to dig in it and scatter it all over the floor. And it generates a lot of guinea pig waste! 
  • Cavies can eat the paper, which can cause some health issues (nasty chemicals, remember!).
  • Homemade shredded bedding can be rough on cavies' sensitive feet, so you must watch for foot issues. 

Still, shredded products can be a cheap alternative to commercial litter pellets and reduce the overall cost of guinea pig care. But how do you make this type of guinea pig bedding? Let's find out! 

While exploring various bedding options, you might also wonder, "Are puppy pads safe for guinea pigs?" This is an important consideration, especially when seeking alternatives that are both cost-effective and safe for your pet's habitat.

How to Make Shredded Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs?

Even guinea pig parents with no DIY skills can make shredded paper bedding for their floffy pets. Read the instructions or watch the video below:

  • Take some plain paper and shred it into pieces.
  • Add warm water and wait for the paper to absorb it.
  • Squeeze the excess water and wait for the paper to dry. 
  • Break it into tiny pieces.

And now, let's talk about how many paper bedding materials you need to prepare for C&C cages. 

How Much Shredded Paper Do Guinea Pigs Need? 

Generally, you need to cover the cage's bottom with a 2-3 inches deep layer of bedding. If you're using premium paper bedding, you'll need a bag or two per month for your piggy cage. 

However, shredded paper gets wet and smelly in a couple of days. So, you'll need to change the bedding more often, which increase your monthly and yearly cost. 

Moreover, don't forget to consider your cage size. You should stock a few extra bags of paper bedding if you have a larger cage. 

Now, let's explore what other effective bedding options are available, including the best guinea pig bedding for odor control.

Alternatives to Shredded Paper Bedding for Guinea Pigs

Luftpet cage liners for guinea pigs are one of my favorite alternatives to shredded paper. They're washable, don't stick to the bottom of the cage, and make spot cleaning easy. 

Other alternatives include:

  • Fleece cage liners
  • Fleece bedding
  • Guinea pig fleece bedding
  • Softwood shavings, such as aspen or ash
  • Kiln-dried pine shavings
  • Bath mats 
  • Hemp horse bedding


1. What not to use for guinea pig bedding?

You should avoid certain types of bedding, such as unprocessed pine shavings, cedar wood shavings, cat litter, and corn cob.

2. Why do guinea pigs need paper bedding?

Paper bedding is one of the best guinea pig bedding options because it's soft, absorbent, and low in dust. It's an excellent choice for guinea pigs with delicate feet or respiratory diseases. 

3. Can guinea pigs have toilet paper bedding?

Guinea pigs can have toilet paper as bedding. But it won't last as long as other popular options, such as fleece bedding liners or wood-based bedding.


Shredded paper is acceptable bedding for guinea pigs when used with caution. It can absorb moisture, provide mental stimulation, and keep your pets warm. 

However, I recommend using it as temporary bedding. It's a bit messy to clean it from the bottom of the cage, and its sharp edges can be a problem for your pet's delicate foot pads. 

What do you think about shredded paper bedding for guinea pigs? Have you ever tried it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


1. Riggs SM. GUINEA PIGS. Manual of Exotic Pet Practice. 2009;456–73.

2. Ink Poisoning: Possibilities, Symptoms & Treatment [Internet]. Healthline. 2019. Available from:


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.