Litter, Bedding and Nesting Material for Your Small Pet

February 12th, 2013 posted by PETsMART.com

guinea pig Litter is the material that is used on the floor of a cage to absorb and collect waste. Some manufacturers refer to this as “bedding.” Some material that is used for litter might also be used for bedding. Nesting material typically refers to material the pet uses in his favorite sleeping area to make a soft bed for himself.

Types of Litter/Bedding

The bottom of the cage should be covered with a litter material to absorb odors and collect waste. A variety of small pet litter is available, including aspen bedding, pine shavings, cedar shavings, corncob, wood chips and clay. Alternative bedding, such as All Pet Pelleted Pine Bedding, Swheat Scoop and Care Fresh are also available. Aspen or pine bedding contain low amounts of aromatic oils, whereas cedar shavings contain a more concentrated amount. Since aromatic oils are dangerous to many small pets’ respiratory systems, consult with your veterinarian about which type of bedding is best for your small pet. Corncob bedding is not recommended because it can cause impacting when ingested. Standard clay kitty litter and sand are options, but tend to be too coarse for little feet. Cat litter can be used with the larger small pets, such as guinea pigs or rabbits. Litter should be free from additives such as deodorants that would be too strong for small pets. Cat litter can be placed under the aspen bedding to reduce odors and make it more absorbent. //

Changing Litter/Bedding

Litter must be changed at least once a week. It could be deadly to confine the pet to a cage that has a high concentration of ammonia fumes. The strong urine smell can also be reduced if the soiled corner of the cage is scooped out daily.

Types of Nesting Material

Small pets need to be given nesting material, to build a comfortable nest. Use only approved material that is labeled safe for small pets. Never give a small pet just any type of wool, cotton, fiberglass, felt or aquarium filter material for nesting. Unapproved nesting material can be swallowed and has caused many deaths by blocking the stomach of a small pet.

Changing Nesting Material

Small pet nesting material should be changed at least once a week. Too much urine build up in the nest raises the level of ammonia in the air, which can lead to respiratory disease in small pets.

Don’t miss our great feature on the guinea pig “Family Pets — The Guinea Pig “.

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