There are many different types of bedding for small pets on the market, however not all of them are not appropriate for hamsters.
Hamsters need bedding in their cages because it provides a soft, comfortable surface for a hamster to walk on and it absorbs their urine.
Hamsters also enjoy digging and making nests in their bedding, so it is important to pick the right kind that is practical but also, that your hamster can enjoy.
The best types of bedding will be sterilized and dust-free for the benefit of the hamster.
It is also best to use dye-free and fragrance-free bedding – the fewer chemicals in a bedding, the better it will be your hamster.
Most good bedding options available for a hamster are also biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
One popular option for bedding is wood shavings made specifically from Aspen or wood pulp. This type of bedding is gentle on a hamster’s feet, will not contain harmful chemicals, and is readily available at most pet stores.
While there have been problems in other countries across Europe and the USA in terms of finding chemicals in the bedding, most US bedding has been shown to be safe and you can always check the packaging for chemical-free bedding.
There is also bedding available in the form of recycled paper. This bedding usually comes in the form of pellets of paper that are especially good at absorbing moisture and are longer-lasting than wood shavings.
It is also possible to make bedding for a hamster instead of purchasing it. Hamsters enjoy shredding paper, so strips of toilet paper or paper towels can be used for bedding.
It is important that any paper towels or toilet paper used be soft and ink and fragrance free. If a hamster ingests some of this type of bedding, it should disintegrate without harming the hamster.
There are several kinds of bedding available that one should avoid using. This includes towels and blankets.
While this may seem like a good way to save money and be environmentally friendly, towels and blankets quickly become dirty and wet and then pose a health hazard to hamsters and humans alike.
Similarly, bedding made from cotton or wool should be avoided because if a hamster ingests some, it can cause stomach and intestinal blockages.
Also available are beddings that are to be avoided include certain wood-based beddings.
Under no circumstances should one use pine or cedar: this wood contains a substance called phenol that, when combined with the ammonia in urine, can produce toxic fumes.
Pine shavings may also contain chemicals harmful to hamsters. Both pine and cedar can also irritate the hamster’s feet because of their roughness, as well as causing respiratory problems. For this reason, sawdust should also never be used.
Corn cob-based bedding is also available, but should be avoided because it can go mouldy and hamsters may be tempted to eat it, which can cause problems because the bedding swells when wet. Corn-cob bedding is best used in bird cages.
Using the correct type of bedding in a hamster’s home is vital. It is always important to lay a thick layer of bedding – 2 inches thick is recommended.
A hamster’s bedding will need to be changed regularly; once per week should be sufficient ut twice per week is suitable for many.
If the hamster’s bedding becomes wet, however, it should be replaced with fresh litter as soon as possible.
One should always remember that a hamster’s cage is his home, and a comfortable hamster will be happier and live a better life.
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