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Can you use shredded paper for guinea pig bedding?

When it comes to choosing guinea pig bedding, it can be hard to know where to start. There are multiple safe and affordable options for your cavy’s home. Some of these options can even be found around your home.

You may have heard of using shredded paper as guinea pig bedding. Shredded paper can be a safe and affordable option for your cavy’s bedding. The best option is shredded newspaper, as the ink in this paper is soy-based, meaning it is non-toxic. However, shredded paper does have its downsides; for example, it is not very absorbent. 

Read on to learn all about using shredded paper as guinea pig bedding. 

Pros and Cons of Using Shredded Paper as Guinea Pig Bedding

There are numerous pros and cons to using shredded paper as guinea pig bedding. These include:

pros and cons of shredded paper for guinea pig bedding
pros and cons of shredded paper for guinea pig bedding


  • Affordable

Shredded paper can be a low-cost, or possibly free, way to provide bedding for your piggies. You may choose to shred up junk mail, old schoolwork, or paper that you plan to recycle. These items are free and are probably lying around your house right now. 

  • Comfortable

This bedding option will likely be a favorite among your piggies! Guinea pigs usually find shredded paper quite comfortable, and you can always put more pieces down to ensure there is enough cushion. Guinea pigs may also use this type of bedding to burrow, making it an enriching choice.

  • Sustainable

Using shredded paper as guinea pig bedding is a great way to repurpose old paper that you have lying around. If you do not have the option to recycle, this makes for a great and sustainable choice. 

  • Easy Clean-Up

Shredded paper clumps together once it gets wet. This typically makes for easy clean-up, as you can remove the bedding in chunks rather than individual pieces. No more spilling bedding everywhere on cleaning day!


  • Non-Absorbent 

Shredded paper is not the most absorbent bedding option out there. It often gets very saturated in urine, which can lead to numerous health problems for your piggy. If their bedding is too wet, they become wet, which makes them very cold. This can quickly lead to hypothermia, especially in the winter months. Additionally, too much dirt and moisture can make cavies more prone to a nasty infection called bumblefoot. 

  • Quickly Develops an Odor
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Since shredded paper is not very absorbent, it can quickly develop an odor, which can be unpleasant for both you and your piggies. A strong odor can mean that you need to change the bedding more often. If you don’t, it might attract flies to to guinea pigs. In the worst case, the bad odor can even lead to respiratory problems for your guinea pigs. 

  • Maintenance 

Shredded paper has to be changed frequently, and this is due to its poor absorbency and tendency to develop an odor. You may find that you have to replace the bedding several times a week, which is not very practical for someone with a busy schedule. As soon as your guinea pigs urinate on this type of bedding, it will be unlikely to absorb any more in that spot. This means you will also be doing more spot-cleaning.

  • Potentially Toxic

Some forms of ink can be toxic to your guinea pig. In order to avoid potential toxicity from this kind of bedding, it is advisable to use either plain paper or newspaper. The ink used for printing newspapers is soy-based, making it safe for your piggy to be around. 

How to Choose a Good Bedding for your Guinea Pig

Finding the perfect bedding for you and your guinea pig can be tricky. There are a few steps that you can take to start heading in the right direction. 

Do Your Research

Start by reading reliable articles to learn about the pros and cons of each type of bedding. It may also be beneficial to read forums on small pet websites so that you can hear directly from other cavy owners.

Visit the Store

Visit your local pet store and take a look at the bedding options they have. This will help you get a better idea of what each bedding option looks and feels like. You may also ask one of the employees for their suggestions. 

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Trial and Error

Try multiple bedding options that you think may be a good fit. See if they work for you in terms of maintenance, odor control, and cost. Also, make sure that your guinea pigs seem happy. It may take some time, but you will eventually find the bedding that works well for you. 

Recommended Bedding for Guinea Pigs 

If you have decided that shredded paper is not the best option for you and your piggy, there are several other options to choose from. Of course, all of these options have pros and cons, so it may take some time to find the right fit. 

fleece bedding for guinea pigs
fleece bedding for guinea pigs


Fleece is a favorite among many guinea pig owners. It is reusable, absorbent, odor-resistant, and easy to spot clean. It is also quite comfortable for your piggies. However, it can get pricey. 

One of the most popular options is Guinea Dad cage liners. They are made from fleece, and there are several size options available, meaning they can be purchased to fit any cage. You can find this brand on Amazon. 

Commercial Paper Bedding

Several small pet brands manufacture paper bedding. This is a strong choice because it is guaranteed to be non-toxic. Additionally, it comes ready to use, meaning that you do not have to take the time to shred your own paper.

Carefresh small pet bedding can be found on Amazon and at most pet stores. Not only is it safe and affordable, but it also comes in a variety of fun colors to spice up your guinea pig’s cage. 


There are several options to choose from when it comes to guinea pig bedding. While shredded paper is a good option for some, several other viable options are available. However, there is no need to get overwhelmed- there are plenty of ways to find the perfect fit for you and your cavies. Try asking fellow guinea pig owners, researching online, and visiting your local pet store; you never know what you might find!