The bedding you choose for your rat is the most important decision that you may make. You want the bedding to be comfortable, safe, odour free and clean. As well as that, you want the bedding to be able to absorb urine to help keep your rat dry and healthy.
Do Rat Cages Need Bedding?
Bedding is an essential thing that you should have in your rats cage. One of the main reasons bedding is important is because it helps to absorb up urine and moisture from faeces. You want to use a bedding that won’t smell and will hold moisture for up to a week. The other reason for why bedding is important is so your rat can make a nest to sleep in. If you’re using a loose bedding than you don’t need to worry as much, but if you’re using cloth bedding, you will need to add things into the cage for them to be able to rip up to make a nest with.
Types of Bedding That Can Be Used for Rats
There are a few different types of bedding that can be used such as pellets, shredded paper, aspen, carefresh and cloth. When choosing a bedding you need to make sure that they have no dust, unscented, safe and non toxic. These options are the most common and are ones that are more preferred and safe to use.
Pellet bedding: One of the most popular pellet beddings used is ‘Yesterday’s News’. It’s manufactured from recycled newspaper which means it’s great at absorbing moisture. The only downfall to this method for bedding is that once it gets wet it tends to crumble and become dusty once its dried out again.
Shredded paper: If you’re using shredded paper as bedding, it’s important to use paper that has non toxic ink. Paper is great at absorbing moisture but once it becomes wet it tents to get mushy. With that, you just have to watch as the colouring from the ink may ‘bleed’ onto your rat and colouring them.
Aspen: Aspen is a safe hardwood that is commonly used. The one downfall to using aspen is that it can be quite messy. Aspen also goes quite well with paper pellet bedding.
Carefresh: Carefresh is another paper bedding you can use. It’s made from renewable wood fibre and is dust free. The paper is biodegradable and easy to clean.
Cloth: In my opinion and from my experience, I think cloth is the best option for bedding. It’s important to not use any perfumed fabrics and when washing to use a detergent that doesn’t have a scent as rats are sensitive to smells. The cloth I’ve found best to use is fleece. Cloth doesn’t have any dust and it’s softer.
A tip I recommend and I do with using cloth is put a puppy pad underneath the fleece as I find that helps with holding the moisture and helps keep it cleaner for a little longer. As well as that, you should put some paper, paper towel and/or cloth in the cage as well for your rat to use to make a nest.
Bedding to Stay Away From
When choosing a bedding for your rat, you want it to be safe. The bedding that you should stay away from are cedar or pine, clay cat litter and corn cob bedding.
Cedar and pine bedding: Cedar and pine bedding is the most popular sold in shops but is the most harmful. They may smell good but they give off poisonous fumes that are harmful and toxic and will make your pet rats sick.
Clay cat litter: Some cat litters are too dusty to use and you shouldn’t use as it can go into your rats respiratory system and cause problems. Some cat litters can also form clumps in your rats stomach if they eat any and make them sick.
Corn cob bedding: Corn cob bedding is another type of bedding you should stay away from. It tends to get mouldy and rot when it gets wet. It can also cause issues when swallowed.
How Often Should I Change My Rats Bedding?
Keeping your rats cage clean is important for stopping odours and makes it a better environment for your rat to live in. Depending on the bedding you use, you may need to clean your cage everyday, but normally every few days will be fine.