This article discusses the best hamster bedding you can get for your pet.
Traditionally, wood shavings are a popular option for hamster bedding. However, some types of shavings sold in pet stores are actually harmful to hamsters. For example, bedding made from pine or cedar contain chemicals that can damage your hamster’s lungs in the long run.
Unlabeled wood shavings are also frequently made from these two materials and should be avoided. Always check the labels on the product to make sure that there isn’t any pine or cedar in it.
Other than pine and cedar shavings, scented bedding may contain harmful chemicals and are not that great for your pet hamster’s sensitive nose even if they smell great to you.
Your hamster spends literally all the time in their bedding so it’s important to get something safe and healthy for it. Here are some of the best bedding you can use for your hamsters and other small pets.
Carefresh Ultra and Carefresh Colors
Carefresh Ultra is the first bedding I got for my hamsters and the one I like best. If you look at some of our earlier hamster pictures, they all have Carefresh Ultra bedding in them! This bedding is also pretty popular among other hamster owners.
Carefresh Ultra is made with white cellulose fiber and free from dyes, ink, and other chemicals. Because it’s white, it’s also easy to spot any soiled bedding which you can then remove (a.k.a spot-cleaning). By spot-cleaning, you can go longer between bedding changes/cage cleaning before the cage starts smelling bad or looking dirty.
In my opinion, this bedding absorbs odor very well. And according to the manufacturer, it’s absorbs odor three times more than traditional bedding.
The only downside to this is probably the cost since Carefresh Ultra is quite expensive compared to other types of bedding like Aspen. Some hamster owners get around this by mixing the more expensive Carefresh with other cheaper (but still safe) alternatives.
Carefresh Colors is another bedding that I like a lot and my robo dwarf hamsters are using this at the moment. It comes in many colors and looks really attractive in a hamster cage or tank, especially if you get matching colors with your cage or accessories. Although Carefresh Colors has dyes in them, the dyes are pet-safe and the bedding absorbs odors just as well as the Ultra.
However, with Carefresh Colors, you won’t be able to see soiled bedding as easily as the white Ultra so it’s not as easy to spot-clean the cage. Similarly, it’s a little pricier compared to other beddings.
Some owners have mentioned that both Carefresh bedding can be quite dusty but I haven’t really observed the same thing. If this is a problem for you, the next bedding (below) might be a better choice.
Kaytee Clean and Cozy
Kaytee Clean and Cozy is another bedding that’s popular with hamster owners. This is supposedly fluffier and softer than Carefresh but I haven’t actually used it myself.
According to other owners, this is highly absorbent and less dusty than Carefresh. It’s also cheaper if you compare the amount of bedding you get for the price.
If you decide to get Kaytee Clean and Cozy, make sure it’s the unscented version because they also sell scented ones under a similar name.
Although I’m not using this right now, it’s one of the bedding I’m going to try next when my existing stock runs out.
Update 20 September 2013: I’ve just switched to Kaytee Clean and Cozy and it really is as soft and fluffy as everyone says. It looks like shredded tissue and feels like it too except it controls odour (although not as well as Carefresh). It’s also completely dust-free and expands a lot from it’s original compressed packaging. I’ll probably be using a combination of this and Aspen from now on!
If price is a concern, aspen bedding would probably be your best option. Aspen is one of the few wood shavings that are not harmful for hamsters. Compared to the other bedding, this is much cheaper for the amount of bedding you can get.
However, Aspen bedding is not as soft or absorbant as Carefresh or Kaytee Clean and Cozy.
There are many brands of Aspen bedding and Kaytee has it as well. Because it looks very similar to Pine, Cedar, and other wood shavings, be sure to check the label if you’re getting it from a pet store.
PS: I found a great video that reviews and compares Carefresh Ultra, Aspen bedding and Kaytee Clean and Cozy. (Note: Prices mentioned in the video may not be accurate because of differences in location)