best bedding guinea pig C&C c and c cage article cover

With so many guinea pig bedding types to choose from in pet stores and online, it can be tricky to know which way to turn. If you’ve found yourself asking the question ‘what is the best bedding for an indoor guinea pig cage?’ then you’re certainly not alone. 

Well, fear not, because here at Kavee, we’ve helpfully found an answer to this important question by looking at all the different options available! Pitting different bedding types against one another, we’ve marked them on their overall cost, environmental impact, and the effect they may have on your guinea pig’s health and wellbeing.

Guinea pig on Kavee dalmatian fleece liner for guinea pig cages

The safety of guinea pig bedding

First things first, it’s important for any piggy parent to know that no matter which bedding type you choose, you MUST ensure that it’s safe for guinea pigs. The safest bedding type to use is always bedding that’s marketed specifically for guinea pigs, either from reputable guinea pig companies or pet shops.

It’s also vital that you learn what bedding types or cage arrangements are NOT suitable for your guinea pig from the offsetThese include:

  • Wire or mesh flooring. Unfortunately, you’ll see a lot of wire or mesh floored cages online and in pet shops but this type of cages aren't suitable for guinea pigs. Wire flooring can cause inflammation of a guinea pig's soft foot pads, which can lead to dangerous infections such as bumblefoot (in a C&C cage, you get a sturdy coroplast base to prevent this issue!).
  • Newspaper or puppy training pads. While these can form the base of a guinea pig cage's substrate, they should always be covered with a different type of bedding as they become easily waterlogged, again causing inflammation of the paws.
  • Silica gel and clumping cat litter. Guinea pigs are curious animals and will often try to eat new objects they find in their environment. Your piggies are likely to try and eat cat litter, which is often designed to expand as it soaks up moisture and, if ingested by your guinea pig, could cause painful and dangerous intestinal blockages.
  • Wood shavings that aren’t dust extracted. These are a very popular type of bedding for guinea pigs, but you must never use wood shavings that you have made yourself or that aren’t dust extracted. Fine dust can cause irritation and infection in a guinea pig’s lungs.
  • Sawdust. As sawdust is made up of much smaller particles than wood shavings, it’s not suitable for guinea pigs. Sawdust is often marketed for smaller rodents such as mice and hamsters but, as we’ve already mentioned, dust can cause irritation and infection in a guinea pig’s lungs.
  • Straw. As straw is stiff and brittle, it’s not suitable for guinea pigs. Piggies may love to eat and burrow in soft hay but they definitely don’t eat straw and the sharp ends can lead to dangerous eye injuries and infections  

Once you've figured out that the bedding is safe, you need to make sure it stays that way by keeping it cleanIf you leave your piggy to live in damp, dirty conditions, they can develop health problems like respiratory infections and inflamed paws, which can lead to bumblefoot.

You should also ensure that your guinea pig’s cage has at least one area on top of their bedding where they can burrow in hay and have some foraging fun.

The different types of guinea pig bedding

Let’s find out a bit more about the different types of guinea pig bedding available. 

Option 1: Fleece Liners

Fleece liners are a type of safe, soft, cosy and eco-friendly bedding for guinea pigs. Multi-layered and ultra absorbent, these clever liners are designed to wick moisture away into the lower layers, keeping piggies dry and comfy at all times. Conveniently, fleece liners are also machine washable and easy to sweep for spot cleaning in between washes. They come in a variety of colours and patterns and, as you can tell from the below picture, guinea pigs love to cuddle in them!

fleece liner cute guinea pig sleepy sleeping

Option 2: Wood Shavings

Wood shavings are a popular bedding option for guinea pigs but despite their popularity, it’s important to know that some wood shavings simply aren’t safe to use. As we’ve already mentioned, fine dust can cause piggies to develop dangerous respiratory infections so you must always use shavings that have been dust extracted and kiln dried.

Aspen shavings are considered the safest, while pine and cedar shavings can contain nasty chemicals which aren’t good for guinea pigs.

Wood shavings for guinea pigs

Option 3: Paper Bedding

Paper bedding is becoming increasingly popular but since it comes in so many forms and gets processed in many different ways, it can be difficult to ensure that you're buying the safest quality paper bedding for your piggies

Some companies use reclaimed and waste paper, which is better for the environment than making paper solely for the manufacturing of bedding. However, some waste paper can contain inks, dyes and chemicals that could cause harm to guinea pigs. If you opt for paper bedding, ensure that it's free from nasty toxins and chemicals.

Paper bedding for guinea pigs

Option 4: Litter Pellets

Litter pellets are constructed from hard paper or wood pulp. Pellets are very absorbent and soak up moisture but, when dry, can be very tough on your piggy’s delicate paws and can sometimes cause inflammation.

Pellets that are suitable for guinea pigs can be hard to find and it’s also worth knowing that this type of bedding can work out as being more expensive than other bedding types.

Litter pellets for guinea pig bedding

Guinea Pig Bedding Comparisons

How to compare the different guinea pig bedding options

Round One: The Price of Guinea Pig Bedding

We've calculated the quantity of bedding needed for one year based on a 4x2 grid C&C cage for two guinea pigs. It’s worth knowing that these calculations are based on the assumption that if you use wood shavings, paper bedding or pellets, you would completely change your guinea pig bedding weekly, allowing for top ups during the week. 

However, at Kavee, we recommend that you clean your fleece liners at least twice a week, meaning you’d generally need to use two fleece liners in your cage each week. As we’ve already mentioned, fleece liners are machine washable, and so the cost of each wash cycle will vary depending on your energy supplier, but here we're averaging it at 0.23p. If you were to wash your fleece liners twice a week, this would cost £24.44 a year on average. Even if you decided to buy three or four liners in order to rotate them, that would still come out as a cheaper option long-term than the other bedding types.

Yearly Bedding Costs

Fleece liners


Wood shavings


Paper litter


Litter pellets



Round 1 Verdict: Wood shavings and fleece liners are the two most cost effective bedding types, with litter pellets being the most expensive. Fleece liners come out as the most cost effective bedding option overall. Read this blog for more information on the total cost of guinea pigs.

The different costs of guinea pig bedding

Round Two: Environmental Impact of Guinea Pig Bedding

All of the guinea pig bedding options we've listed are single-use, except for one: fleece liners. If you've opted for wood shavings, pellets or paper bedding, you're likely to produce 52 bags of waste a year. As most guinea pig parents don’t have the facilities to compost this amount of waste, it’s fair to say that it's likely to end up in landfill. In comparison, reusable & washable fleece liners can last a number of years, significantly reducing the landfill waste produced by your household

Another environmental point to consider is that all wood and paper based beddings are highly processed to ensure they’re safe for use. Even if the material is recycled, the process involved is likely to use lots of water and fuel to dry them at high temperatures. Then, there’s the likelihood of wood shavings coming from an unsustainable source! Have a think about the natural resources required to grow trees and the delicate woodland ecosystems which are sadly destroyed when wood is harvested.

Of course, fleece also has an environmental impact, but this can be minimised. Yes, fleece is constructed from synthetic fibres but it's not a single-use product and won't produce weekly waste that ends up in landfill. The process of washing fleece liners uses a reasonable amount of water but opting for an eco-setting will ensure you use the least amount of water and energy possible.

Wood shavings score worst when it comes to environmental impact. That’s because finding sustainably sourced but high quality guinea pig safe wood shavings can be difficult. Whereas paper bedding and wood pulp bedding are often made from recycled materials, this is rarely the case with wood shavings.

Round 2 Verdict: The truth is that no single bedding type - not even fleece - gets a perfect score in this round but reusable & washable fleece liners create the overall least volume of waste in comparison to other bedding types.

Outcome of all the different guinea pig bedding types

Round Three: Effect on Guinea Pig Health 

Nothing is more important than your fur baby’s health, so let's look at how all the different guinea pig bedding types listed above compare when it comes down to your pet's health.

Fleece Liners

Fleece liners that are designed specifically for guinea pigs are dust-free, reducing the risk of your piggy suffering lung irritations. They're also usually designed to wick moisture away, so that your piggies are never left to sit on a soggy floor, which could irritate your sensitive piggy's paws.

Plus, as long as you change your liners twice weekly and add extra absorbent layers like pee pads in heavily used areas, dampness shouldn’t be an issue. It’s also important to use gentle, non allergenic detergents for washing your liners as harsh detergents could irritate your guinea pig's skin and feet. You should opt for natural cleaning products such as white vinegar and hypoallergenic detergent

Wood Shavings

While wood shavings are widely used as guinea pig bedding, ones made from pine and cedar can contain chemical nasties that can be toxic to guinea pigs. All untreated & dusty wood shavings can cause guinea pig health issues like respiratory diseases and liver disease. The process of kiln drying removes these toxins so only kiln dried shavings that have also been dust extracted should be purchased as guinea pig bedding. 

Low quality wood shavings may also contain larger chunks of wood that can be sharp - make sure you remove any large or sharp pieces of wood to reduce the risk of injury to your guinea pig. There’s also the risk that some wood shavings contain fungal spores, especially if they’re stored in damp environments such as outhouses. It’s something to consider, given that guinea pigs are highly prone to fungal diseases, including ringworm that can be passed from guinea pigs to humans too.

Paper Bedding

Reputable brands extract dust from their paper bedding, lowering the risk of sharp edges which can injure your piggy. But you still need to watch out that paper bedding doesn't contain any chemicals or dyes that could harm your guinea pig. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to check whether chemicals in the bedding are safe, especially with colourful or recycled paper.

Litter Pellets

Litter pellets are hard so they’re more likely to cause irritation to your guinea pig’s paws. It can also be hard to find pellets that are marketed as safe for guinea pigs. Many litter pellets are produced specifically for cats and are therefore made from unsuitable wood types such as cedar and pine which can contain chemicals that are toxic to guinea pigs. Cat litter is also often designed to reduce odour and these chemicals can also be harmful to piggies.

Round 3 Verdict: Your prime health considerations when it comes to guinea pigs should be avoiding respiratory infections and foot issues including bumblefoot. For this reason, paper bedding and fleece liners score top as they’re dust free and provide a soft layer underfoot.

what is the safest bedding for guinea pigs

Round Four: Storage and Tidying Guinea Pig Supplies

Once you’ve chosen your guinea pig bedding, don’t forget that you have to store it before use. If you’re short of space in your home and hate clutter, storing your guinea pig bedding can turn into something of a headache. Especially if you look into bulk buying single-use bedding!

Think carefully about where you’d store bulky, unsightly bags of wood shavings, paper bedding, or litter pellets. They can also be messy and need regular sweeping or vacuuming - great if you have endless time for cleaning but not so ideal if you’d prefer to spend your free time playing with your piggies.

Fleece bedding liners, instead, are easy to store - they can be quickly rolled or folded making them easy to store between uses. Here at Kavee, we reckon our fleece liners are stylish enough to be left out or rolled up beside the cage between uses. Let’s face it, they’re infinitely more aesthetically pleasing than bags of wood shavings!

But if you’d rather they were out of sight, simply pop them into a basket or pretty storage boxes for C&C cagesAnother practical bonus is that once you have fleece liners you also don’t have to remember to buy bedding regularly. You can cross one thing off your shopping list!

Round 4 Verdict: Fleece liners for guineas pigs are compact and easy to store between uses making them ideal if you don’t have loads of storage space. Style wise, they’re nicer to look at than bulky bags of paper bedding or wood shavings too.

Outcome of guinea pig bedding comparison for storage

Final comparison of guinea pig bedding

Comparison of guinea pig bedding

The overall winner is...

After four rounds, we found that the best bedding type for indoor guinea pig cages is... FLEECE! Soft, eco-friendly, cost effective and safe for your piggy, fleece liners came out well and truly on top. 

Here at Kavee, we truly believe that our C&C guinea pig cages combined with our absorbent, cosy fleece liners are the ideal home for your furry pals.

Fleece liners are the best guinea pig bedding

C&c cagesFleece linersGuinea pig careGuinea pig health

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