Can You Use Shredded Paper For Guinea Pig Bedding?

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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As humans, we ultimately crave comfort, relaxation and happiness in our life. So does your furry pal. A shredded paper bedding is anything from relatively cheap to super soft and comfortable for guinea pigs. Also, paper can be found almost everywhere and you can shred them with scissors or a shredder to make cozy bedding for your cavy friend.

Can you use shredded paper for guinea pig bedding?

Indeed, shredded paper is a safe, easy-to-use and less expensive bedding option for your guinea pig. However, make sure the paper is plain and ink-free because the ink is toxic to guinea pigs. When this paper is chewed or dampened with your pig’s urine or drinking water, the ink will be released. This ink can cause various health problems if swallowed and can even stain your cavy’s fur or cage.

Furthermore, shredded paper often requires more frequent changing than many other types of bedding. Some paper may contain scent or little dust particles that can be inhaled by your guinea pig often leading to respiratory ailments.

However, many commercially available shredded paper bedding has been manufactured to address this problem, hence, ensuring an improved quality. Most newspaper industries have now switched to the use of inks with low toxicity.

Pros and Cons Of Using Shredded Paper For Guinea Pig Bedding


Comfy, Inexpensive and Readily Available

Paper bedding isn’t some fancy kind of bedding made for special material. It is simple and provides the most important benefit any bedding can offer, which is comfort. It helps to lessen the pressure on your cavy’s body encouraging a better rest. Besides, you can get it at a very affordable price, making it a good bedding option especially if you are on a budget.

However, It may be inconvenient for folks who just want to set up their pig bedding and sit back for several days to a whole week before changing it. Paper bedding is usually soggy after few days. If this bedding is not changed regularly, your pig’s cage eventually turns into a breeding ground for all sorts of microbes, leading to skin irritation or other diseases.

Also, shredded paper bedding is very porous and poor at trapping air. While this can be a plus for proper ventilation, during winter, highly compact bedding is needed for better insulation and warmth. If you are using paper bedding particularly, you may seek other alternatives to warmth such as providing your cavy with small wooden houses, and blankets. Heat pads or lamps should be used with great caution because of the high flammability of paper.

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly

Using biodegradable, eco-friendly and compostable bedding makes a big difference all-round. In as much as it minimizes environmental impact, sometimes guinea pigs can resort to eating their bedding when bored, but since the paper is biodegradable, it means less harm for them. Still, this doesn’t make chewing paper right for guinea pigs.

Paper bedding is fluffy and does a good job of mimicking guinea pig’s natural habitat, allowing them to burrow, tunnel and sleep comfortably.

Used paper can be repurposed as compost as it is rapidly decomposed in the soil to supply nutrients to plants.

Highly Absorbent

Unlike wood chips or some other bedding, paper bedding tends to suck up water much more easily. This will help to keep your cavy’s cage dry, but in a case when this paper is exposed to a lot of water, the structure of the paper will be altered, causing them to clog together to form a dense, heavy mat that is difficult to scoop up from the cage.

Opting for absorbent bedding is advised because it will prevent your guinea pig fur from getting drenched, consequently keeping your cavy comfy, warm and healthy, while reducing microbial activity to the barest minimum.



Paper bedding has a lot of good qualities but “reusable” is not one of them. They can easily get messy and must be changed very frequently. A maximum of one week interval should be between the replacements. However, this can vary depending on various factors such as the depth of the bedding, the guinea pig habits, or the number of guinea pigs in the enclosure.

Though paper bedding is non-reusable, they can be repurposed as compost. This is a great way to enrich the soil with nutrients for plant growth, consequently minimizing environmental impact.

Unhealthy For Chewing

Paper is fairly palatable to guinea pigs and it is very likely that your cavy, who may basically be bored, decides to eat it. This can make him sick especially if the paper contains ink. In rare cases, where your guinea pig swallows a considerable amount of paper, this can lead to mechanical obstruction of the GI tract, and hence, it is advised to keep a close eye on the little guy, so he doesn’t fall victim.

Difficult To Clean And Change

The pieces of paper often litter all around the cage and even outside, this makes changing the bedding more of a hassle. Paper bedding can become messy when wet and may stick to your guinea pig’s body and cleaning them up can be stressful.

Moreover, this bedding requires regular cleaning and changing to ensure that your cavy is living in a healthy and comfy habitat, and because it is fluffy in nature, you will likely have a hard time spot-cleaning it.

Poor Odor Control

This is just another reason why this bedding needs regular replacement. Many manufacturers choose to address this issue by scenting their paper and that as well, is not good for the health of your guinea pigs as their nose is more sensitive to smell than humans.

Do well to make your guinea pig habitat properly ventilated. You can place their cage close to the window to receive fresh air and get rid of any odor.

Our Top Picks

Personally, I would recommend Carefresh paper bedding. It is a great bedding choice for any small animal. There are several types but make sure you go for the all-natural as it is free of coloring and scent. You can get this product at an affordable price here at Amazon. Below are some important benefits of this product. Trust me, it is worth every buck.

  • Soft and highly absorbent
  • Free of oil and dust
  • Cost-Effective
  • Free of toxic chemicals
  • Biodegradable and compostable
  • Without scent and coloring
  • Excellent odor control

How To Set Up A Guinea Pig Cage With Paper

Setting up a comfortable habitat for your guinea pig is the first step to ensuring that they live a healthy and happy life. An ideal guinea pig cage should be easy to clean, spacious, well-ventilated, and inexpensive.

Place the shredded paper on the floor and spread it evenly across the entire surface of the cage. Make sure the bedding has a depth of about 2-3 inches. Next, add basic items like their food bowl, water bottle, hay rack, chew toys, wooden house and tunnels, and litter box. Separate the litter box from their dining area and create a separate space for sleeping as well.

If your guinea pig is new to paper bedding and feels uncomfortable. Don’t worry! With time, he will adapt to his newly found habitat.


I hope this article completely answered your question. Yes, shredded paper can be used for guinea pig beddings. But to secure the health of your guinea pig, you should confirm that the paper is free of ink, coloring, dust and scent. Ink and synthetic dye are toxic to guinea pigs while dust particles and scents can result in respiratory irritation when inhaled by guinea pigs.

Every bedding option has pros and cons, therefore, it is necessary that you apply caution in deciding what bedding is best for your guinea pigs. However, proper hygiene is key to ensuring your cavy is safe and sound while using any type of bedding.

Also Read : How To Comfort A Dying Guinea Pig In 8 Illustrated Steps

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.