Can I Use Newspaper For Guinea Pig Bedding? Is it Safe To Use?

newspaper bedding

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Because paper bedding is so often used for guinea pigs, it makes sense to wonder if newspaper might work, too. After all, what is the difference? We are often asked Can I use newspaper for guinea pig bedding?

The simple answer is no. Newspaper contains high levels of ink which when wet can release into the cage and get on their skin causing health issues. Guinea pigs also chew and eat bedding and swallowing ink is not good for your guinea pig.

Newspaper is printed with tons of ink. This makes it unsuitable for guinea pigs, as ink is toxic to the little guys. 

pinterest pin-can i use newspaper for guinea pig bedding

Of course, your guinea pig should not be eating their bedding anyway. This alone can cause serious health issues. Ink can also rub off on your guinea pig, and when it gets wet it will leak. 

Even a small amount of ink can affect your guinea pig seriously. This in mind, newspaper bedding should never be used for guinea pigs – or any other small critter, really. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that have been found to work nicely, and safely. 

Paper Bedding For Guinea Pigs Is Affordable And Comfortable

Paper bedding is some of the most affordable guinea pig bedding available. There is a catch, of course – paper bedding requires replacement fairly frequently.

It stands to reason that, while newspaper should not be used due to the ink, any other sort of paper containing ink is also a ‘no’. Computer paper with text or images, for example, or which has been drawn on with marker, pen or the like. 

Can I Use Newspaper For Guinea Pig Bedding? Is it Safe To Use? 2
Guinea Pig bedding comes in all types of materials and colors these days

Instead, go for blank papers, free of ink of any variety. Your standard computer paper can make a fine choice. Brown paper bags – the sort you store your lunch in – are another option.

Both of these papers are reasonably soft, springy, and absorbent, and on-hand easily.

Either tear the paper up or put it through a paper shredder. You can also buy high-quality paper bedding at stores and online. 

As with any bedding, it is important to ensure that your guinea pig is not eating the material. This can result in compacted paper in their belly, and cause health issues that are severe. When introducing paper bedding to your guinea pig, keep an eye on them to make certain they are not eating the material. 

Natural Paper Bedding For Guinea Pigs Is Eco-Friendly Quality 

This is a slightly more costly paper bedding choice, for those looking for an eco-friendly, hamster-safe option. Natural paper bedding is indeed this.

While your hamster should still not eat their bedding, natural paper bedding is less harmful to them than other bedding types, usually.

Along with this, natural paper bedding is comfy for guinea pigs, has great odor control, and is expendable. Just make sure to get a decent quality brand, since the lowest quality brands are prone to being dusty. 

Aspen Wood Shavings Make A Great Guinea Pig Bedding Material

Some opt for wood shavings for their guinea pig bedding. These can make a sound choice, so long as you are using the proper wood variety.

Cedar and Pine, for example, should not be used for guinea pigs. When mingled with urine, these aromatic woods create fumes that are toxic. 

We know lots of people who love Aspen bedding and they love the smell it gives off. A natural look and a clean fresh appearance is a big attraction for using Aspen wood chips for your guinea pig bedding. Here’s the link to Amazon for the one we recommend.

The most highly recommended wood bedding option is aspen wood, because it has no harmful aromas or toxins, and it is also largely dust-free. 

Of course, the aspen bedding for your guinea pig must be of reasonable quality.

It is strongly advised to never obtain aspen wood shavings from a lumberyard instead of a pet store. These wood shavings have not been sanitized for bugs, mites or other unpleasantness.

Clearly these are not things you will want to be introducing your guinea pig to. 

Instead, purchase some aspen wood bedding at a pet store or online. There, all you may need to avoid is the very cheapest choice, as it is generally of poor quality. Most aspen wood bedding at pet stores or online will be both affordable and of good quality. 

The biggest shortcoming of aspen wood bedding is that it is not as absorbent as some. This means it will need to be changed out a bit more often. 

guinea pig bedding
Traditional wood chip bedding is still used by many people and hated by others!

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Large Granule Paper Bedding Pellets Are Excellent For Guinea Pigs

Large granule paper bedding is both eco-friendly and really effective. Also known as strand paper bedding, this is made from reclaimed paper mulch, which has been processed to eliminate toxins and the like. 

The material is known for its impressive absorbency; up to 3 times its weight. This translates into incredible odor control as well.

Another huge bonus of strand paper bedding is that it is safe if it is ingested. The material is also especially soft for sensitive guinea pig paws. 

While strand paper bedding is not necessarily expensive, it is still more costly than some other bedding alternatives; an investment that is arguably worthwhile. 

Crumble Paper Bedding Is A Cozy And Absorbent Choice For Guinea Pigs

If you are looking for a really affordable bedding type, you may wish to consider crumble paper bedding. Crumble paper bedding is known to be particularly soft, making it very cozy for guinea pigs to burrow into. 

This kind of bedding is also an excellent odor-blocker. This is in part thanks to its great absorbency. There is no dust, and there are no by-products.

The main con to crumble paper bedding is that it gets heavy and needs to be changed somewhat frequently. 

guinea pig sat on sawdust
guinea pig sitting on wood shavings on white background

Homemade Paper Pulp Guinea Pig Bedding For The Crafty 

The final guinea pig bedding listed here is one you can make at home. The process is quite simple and results in a guinea pig bedding that is both thrifty and of decent quality. 

First, get some gloves, a bowl, a colander, cooling sheets, and – of course – paper. White paper and brown paper bags will do. You can choose one or the other, or combine them. 

Tear the paper up into small pieces or use a shredding machine. It is up to you how much paper to use – it depends on how much paper bedding you want to make at this time. 

Soak the paper in water. Warmer water tends to break the paper up more quickly. Some opt to let the paper and water soak overnight. 8 hours will suffice. You can break the paper up into even smaller pieces both before and after you let it soak. This will help it begin to take form as a pulp. 

Once the paper has finished soaking, strain it in a colander and then put clumps of the material on cooling sheets to dry.

The drying process may take a few days. At the end of this, crumble the clumps into a paper bedding pulp. Lay this out on towels to allow it to dry further; you can add baking soda for increased odor control. 

cute guinea pig
Your cute Guinea Pig deserves the best bedding to sleep on


  • How often should you change guinea pig bedding? We recommend changing their bedding every 4-5 day
  • Can guinea pigs die from a dirty cage? Yes, Guinea pigs are very susceptible to respiratory infections, caused by bacteria growing in a dirty and damp cage. Guinea pig flu/cold can be fatal.
  • Should I remove droppings? We constantly remove our guinea pig droppings with a paper towel or plastic scoop to ensure their cage is kept clean. This is part of our morning routine.
  • Can you use straw as bedding? You can use straw but it will only be useful as bedding. However, if you use hay this can be used for bedding and be used as part of their diet. So, hay is a better option as guinea pigs won’t eat straw.

Conclusion: Can I Use Newspaper For Guinea Pig Bedding?

We hope we have answered your question ‘Can I use newspaper for guinea pig bedding?’ and we hope you found an alternative and affordable solution to your guinea pig bedding.

As mentioned before we use Carefresh bedding for all our small pets and find it good quality and affordable and it’s delivered next day from Amazon. No struggling to carry it around the shops.

As you can see, paper bedding in all forms is very common for guinea pigs. Because guinea pigs tend to go through their bedding quickly, the affordability really is a huge part of the appeal. You can clean out and refill the cage without burdening your wallet unduly. 

Further, the absorbance of paper bedding is greater than that of the more costly, higher quality aspen wood alternative. This also translates to more powerful odor control. 

Give paper bedding for your guinea pig a try. Perhaps compare it to aspen wood, or even the lesser-known but just as viable hemp bedding.

You are sure to discover the right bedding – one that is both ultra-comfy for your guinea pig, and convenient for you day-to-day.

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