Getting a cage ready for your mouse is a pretty big deal. You will want to keep them warm, clean, and give them somewhere to nestle into. Let’s take a look at aspen bedding. Is aspen bedding safe for mice, and it is easy to clean?
Aspen bedding is safe for mice and is relatively easy to clean. Aspen shavings don’t contain phenols, which are aromatic toxins that can hurt your mouse’s respiratory tract, and they don’t have hard edges that can damage your mouse’s eyes. Aspen is also a great substrate for your mouse to burrow into.
Safe For Mice
When bedding is the most important factor to a mouse’s well-being, why aren’t all beddings considered safe?
Pine and Cedar
Mice have tiny little respiratory systems, and the smallest irritant can cause a big problem. Pine shavings and cedar shavings have been taken off the market because they contain phenols. Phenols are a type of toxic acid. When your mouse breathes these in, the acids can damage the lining of the lungs and trachea.
These phenols are the same things that make Pine-Sol a great disinfectant, and why cedar keeps fleas and moths away. Harsh cleaning acids and bug repellants shouldn’t be something your little friend is breathing in all day long.
Corn Cob Litter
Made with natural corn cobs, you would assume that this would be a great bedding alternative. The fact that it is natural, however, is why this isn’t great for your mouse. As the corn cob litter absorbs the urine from the bottom of the cage, it starts to mold which isn’t good to breathe in.
Corn cob litter also has a clumping effect. This might be great for cleaning a litter box, but if your mouse eats some of the bedding, you don’t want it clumping together in their little stomachs.
So what makes aspen so great? It doesn’t contain phenols, it doesn’t mold, and it doesn’t clump.
The best method to prepare the wood to clean it involves boiling the wood, steaming the wood, and baking the wood.
Once it’s completely dry, the shavings are sifted to remove dust, bugs, or any other particulates that shouldn’t belong in the bedding.
This is how aspen shavings are prepared for cages.
Other beddings can continue to break down until the original material has turned into dust, and dust shouldn’t be inhaled by a mouse because it can block the trachea.
Aspen won’t break down into small particles.
Even though it’s a wood material, it is a much softer wood. While your mouse is burrowing into the bedding, the risk of eye damage is drastically reduced.
Pine and cedar on the other hand, can scratch your mouse’s corneas, and this is one of the most common injuries in mice!
Easy to clean
Aspen bedding is incredibly easy to clean and won’t take much time at all.
On a daily basis, use a scoop or gloves to remove any visibly soiled areas and replace those areas with fresh bedding. You will want to keep an inch or two of bedding in the bottom of the cage all the time.
Once a week, remove all the bedding and replace it with fresh shavings. Aspen is great at retaining moisture and odors, so even if your mouse hasn’t soiled an area, it could still be holding onto those odors!
Do you want to make the daily clean-up easier? Train your mice to use a litter box. No, not the one your cat uses. A litter box for a mouse is a low-sided container that has a liquid-absorbing substrate in it, like aspen!
Training your mouse to use a litter box won’t happen overnight, but by following these steps you’ll have your mouse litter trained in no time!
- During daily cleanings, take note of where your mouse likes to poop. If it’s in one general area, put the litter box in that spot.
- Scoop any poops left outside the litter box back into it. This will show your mouse that the litterbox is where their business goes.
- Simply dump the shavings from the litterbox and refill daily!
It’s important to let your mouse choose where they want the litterbox to go! Mice will typically choose one spot to “go”, and once you find that one spot, don’t even think about putting the litter box anywhere else.
Keeping your mouse warm, comfortable, and clean are all very important. If you want the best bedding for your mouse, aspen is the best.
It’s not sharp enough to damage their eyes, they don’t have any harmful phenols that would damage their respiratory system, it’s sifted to remove dust so it doesn’t block their tracheas, it’s great at holding smells and liquids. What more could you want from bedding?
If you’ve read this far, we’ll leave you with a secret: it’s also way cheaper than the other types of bedding!