Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is using pine bedding for guinea pigs suitable for their health?

I'm confused on the fact that people say pine is good to use or its bad for them. I have a guinea pig that has been using pine for a while now (4-5 months) and she hasn't been having any sort of problems. She sleeps comfortably, buries her food in it, and it keeps the dreadful odor out from the house. I'm worried that some problem may occur soon into the future and my guinea pig may have resipitory (sp?) problems and I don't want anything of that stuff to happen. Please, should I switch her bedding into something better and less harmful? I love her so much and I would be a total fool if anything would come to her. =(

Is using pine bedding for guinea pigs suitable for their health?
Kiln dried pine is fine for them however if the pine your using isn't kiln dried pine then yes it is harmful for guinea pigs and can cause respiratory problems (ceder bedding as well should never be used for guinea pigs). So check the package and make sure that it's kiln dried pine. If you want to switch, and this would be the best thing to do even though kiln dried pine is okay, it isn't the best. So you might want to consider using Aspen or fleece as bedding. Aspen bedding is even better then Kiln dried Pine and fleece is better than both and has no health risks. However fleece works best if you have a C%26amp;C cage and there is quite a bit to learn about how to set the fleece up so that it works correctly as bedding. Check out these links if you want to know more about using fleece as bedding.



(This is a link about C%26amp;C cages just in case you haven't heard of them before) http://www.guineapigcages.com/

EDIT: to answer your other question, yes 100% natural pine is harmful, that's the kind you don't want to use.
Reply:just as a rule of thumb since i have small birds, perfumed and scented things can cause respiratory infections....so i don't use anything heavy around them....

i am going to take a guess here %26amp; try to help.

(some people use shaving for bird cages, i don't too messy when they fly...anyways)

since the G Pig is a small animal i would not suggest pine scented shavings. go for the natural shavings with no pine. i think the pine oil is added to please the human nose. if the cage smells poorly clean it more often. really try to find another bedding material. i think they make unscented wood shavings, natural/organic.

another helpful tip that i think will cross over well is this:

scrub the cage with baking soda (arm%26amp;hammer) vinigar and water. the soda will help remove dried on goop, and deodorize. the vinigar will cut through anything else and also deodorize...and it will help disinfect. they will not harm the G Pig and you can use it to scrub her water and food dishes too.

i hope this helps. stay away from the scented stuff.
Reply:My sisters guinea pig was kept on a mix of pine and crown bedding and lived for 7 years.

I used aspen bedding for a few months but I had to drive 30 miles to get it and pay $20 for one bag. Now I use kiln dried pine and carfresh bedding. I would use aspen if I could find it for cheaper and closer to me.


If it says that it is 100% natural pine that means that it is NOT kiln dried pine
Reply:My "rule of thumb" is that soft woods are bad for small animals. Kiln dried pine is okay, but make sure it isn't simply heat-treated pine, this kind still emits phenols which cause respiratory problems. The best wood shavings (untreated) though are hard woods like aspen.

I'm more of a Yesterday's News person myself, it doesn't stick to things like wood shavings do.
Reply:using pine will give the guinea pig upper respiratory problems even tho is smells good believe it will give the guinea pig sick and or possible die. try yesterdays news for small animals like guinea pigs it's much safer than the pine bedding.
Reply:Pine and cedar shavings emit aromatic hydrocarbons. That's what gives them their characteristic strong smell. It is theorized that some small mammals develop respiratory inflammation after prolonged close contact with aromatic chemicals. I know some people who have used pine and cedar shavings and their g. pigs are not harmed. However, I see a lot of g. pigs with upper respiratory problems and can't say for sure whether or not it is their pine or cedar shavings. As a result, I always recommend paper bedding (Care Fresh, Yesterday's News, paper towels, paper from your paper shredder, etc.). It may not be necessary to switch but it won't hurt and paper bedding is easy to change, although you're right, it doesn't absorb urine as well as wood shavings. Hope that helps!
Reply:Beyond what everyone else has said the phenols in pine can cause damage to the organs after long term use, kidneys work at flushing toxins from the body and the phenols are a constant bombardment of toxins and eventually the kidneys fail.

I have heard of quality aspen or fleece being best for guineapigs.
Reply:Pine contains aromatic oils that can cause longterm permanent respiratory damage and even death! People who say to use pine are either trying to sell you some, or they use it themselves and they feel to guilty to admit it's the wrong stuff, or they're too lazy to do their research :( I wouldn't use red cedar or pine for any small animal because of the potential hazards, but guinea pigs are much more prone to problems than other small animals!

The safest bedding for a guinea pig is either carefresh, unscented Yesterday's News cat litter (they sell the same product as "small animal litter" but you get less for the same cost and the product is identical), cellsorb, or basically any nontoxic, petsafe, paper-based litter that is dust free and unscented. Absolutely must be unscented!

If there is dreadful odor present, something is wrong. Those animals don't smell unless they are sick or their home is dirty. The pine also doesn't really do much to absorb... it just covers smells with the oil.

Hope that helps!
Reply:I would recommend switching her bedding. Guinea Pigs and other rodents have very sensitive respiritory systems, and pine bedding can be HORRIBLE for them. It can cause respiritory infections, etc... and, if these are not treated soon, RI's can become fatal in rodent type animals. I used to use pine bedding on my rats as well, until I learned how bad it can be for them. Your best bet is to change is now, before anything DOES happen. Better safe then sorry later, as some RI's can go undetected until it's too late. Best of luck, and definatley look into a different type of bedding!
Reply:Pine is not the best or the worst bedding you can use. It is closer to the bottom end though. There are better alternatives to using wood shavings. If your guinea pig is litter trained, or uses one area of the cage to poop and pee, then you can use blankets as bedding. If not, then switching to aspen, carefresh or even shredded paper can be better. You could mix pine with aspen to cut costs if needed. If you do continue using pine, make sure to clean the cage often.
Reply:it's costly -use wadded up newspaper and straw.
Reply:Softwoods, such as pine and cedar contain high levels of phenols.

These are known to cause respiratory disease in many small animal species, including guinea pigs. They can also cause allergic reactions, eg skin allergies. In some cases they may even be fatal.

Most pine bedding is therefore potentially dangerous to your piggies health.

However, kiln dried pine has lost most of the phenols, making it much safer - but also more expensive.

If the bedding is kiln dried it will specifically say so on the packaging. If it does not state "kiln-dried" then it is not.

It is better to find a safer bedding, such as hardwood beddings (eg aspen) or paper based bedding (such as carefresh or megazorb).

Glad to hear you are going to stop using the pine!

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