Chinchillas need bedding in their cage to roam freely without getting injured or developing foot infections. Fleece is the best for keeping the cage clean and odorless.
Chinchillas can be litter-trained with proper training and patience. That means, they can learn to use a single part of their cage for pooping.
Unfortunately, that is not true for peeing. For that, you need bedding. And you need the right bedding to make cleaning easy.
Chinchillas also need bedding to walk on, sleep up, and roll around in.
This article talks about the various types of bedding available in the market, why bedding is important, and what the best type of chinchilla bedding is.
Why Do Chinchillas Need Bedding?
Chinchillas need proper bedding to feel comfortable when resting. Bedding helps keep chinchillas safe from the rough steel bars of the cage floor.
In the wild, chinchillas live and walk on grass and rocks. Withouth bedding, pet chinchillas would walk on steel bars which is both difficult and painful for their soft paws.
Bedding has two functions in a chinchilla cage setup:
- It provides comfort to the chinchilla.
- It keeps the cage clean from excessive urine.
Chinchillas urinate a lot, which is why you need urine-absorbing bedding to keep the cage clean and dry. The bedding should be free of toxins and should be made of soft materials so your chinchilla is both safe and comfortable.
In the absence of bedding, chinchillas’ paws get tangled between the steel bars leading to fractures. Walking on the steel bars can also lead to pododermatitis.
Putting bedding in the cage helps reduce the chances of foot diseases and infections.
Best Chinchilla Bedding
Aspen shavings and fleece liners are the two most popular chinchilla beddings as they are hypoallergenic, safe, and great at absorbing water. Avoid using corn cob and towels as they are not suited for chinchillas
There are a variety of beddings available for chinchillas. Before selecting bedding, you need to know what is safe, and what is not.
Some beddings are toxic, which is why they should be avoided at all costs.
Aspen shavings are one of the most used bedding options for chinchillas. It is cheap and available in all pet stores. These shavings are great at absorbing urine, making them an excellent choice for bedding.
Aspen shavings are free from any harmful resins making them a safe option. They do accumulate dust which can be irritating to chinchillas though.
One of the biggest downsides of having wood shavings is that they are not reusable. Once your aspen shavings are used, you have to throw it out.
You cannot put them back inside your chinchilla cage as this will cause a buildup of bacteria.
It is difficult to clean a cage with aspen shavings because of the volume of small wood flakes.
Among the best options for chinchilla bedding are fleece liners. They line up perfectly with the cage and are extremely water-absorbent, making them great for chinchillas.
Fleece liners’ water-absorbing ability is higher than aspen shavings.
Fleece liners are reusable and can be used again and again. They are easy to clean as they can be washed in a washing machine. You can also vacuum the fleece to remove any poop.
They look better than other beddings and give chinchilla cages a clean look. Fleece liners are also soft and cover the entire bottom of the cage without leaving any gaps.
The only issue with fleece liners is their price. They are more expensive than the other bedding options but are a one-time investment.
Newspaper is probably the cheapest bedding option of all. Stuff shredded newspaper (or any other type of paper) inside your chinchilla cage, and you have bedding.
This method is not recommended as newspapers contain ink. Most ink is poisonous to chinchillas.
Newspapers are not good at absorbing urine and accumulating dust. Chinchillas also eat the newspaper, which exposes the steel bars under it, in turn eliminating the purpose of bedding.
Corn cob is an inexpensive bedding option. It is not poisonous to chinchillas and absorbs urine well.
But, corn cob is tough to walk on and is hard on the soft chinchilla paws. It can also accumulate bacteria and build up mold, which is hazardous for chinchillas.
Cedar gives off an extremely pleasant aroma which is why it was used as chinchilla beddings in the past. The problem with cedar shavings is that it is unhealthy for chinchillas. The shavings have been known to cause allergies, infections, and respiratory issues.
Towels and Fabrics
The most common homemade chinchilla bedding options are towels and other fabrics. They absorb water well, and many chinchilla owners use them instead of proper bedding options.
Fabric is reusable, easily available, and easy to clean, making it a good alternative for chinchilla bedding.
Low-quality towels and fabrics do more harm than good. Chinchillas eat the small strings of a towel, which can result in choking. The loose threads can also tangle their feet, trapping them.
Using high-quality towels can help prevent loose threads making it a great and affordable option for your chinchilla cage.
When to Change Your Chinchilla Cage Bedding?
You should change your chinchilla cage bedding once forms mold or gives off an odor. If you’re using reusable bedding, clean it thoroughly before putting it back in the cage.
Chinchilla beddings are great at keeping your chinchilla’s small feet safe from the steel cage underneath. But, bedding turns bad after a while, so you need to replace it.
If you fail to replace the bedding, it will build up bacteria resulting in illnesses and diseases. Chinchillas can die if you leave the bedding unchanged for a long time.
It is recommended to have multiple fleece liners instead of a single one. Vacuum the fleece liner thoroughly to remove any poop nuggets before washing it.
Put the fleece inside the washing machine and let it wash in cold water. It is important to use cold water to wash the fleece to ensure it doesn’t shrink. Remove the fleece and dry it off.
Put it back inside the cage once it has dried off.
In the case of non-reusable chinchilla beddings, change the bedding regularly when you notice the following:
- The bedding quantity has dwindled and the steel cage is visible.
- The bedding starts to give off a powerful odor.
- It starts changing color and getting moldy.
- The bedding starts to break apart (especially in the case of a newspaper or recycled paper).
Change the bedding at least once a week or more, depending on how quickly your chinchilla requires it.
It is vital to cover the entire cage floor with bedding. This is done to prevent any filth, urine, or poop from reaching the bottom and contaminating it with bacteria.
Chinchillas need bedding in their cages to stay comfortable and healthy. There are several options for bedding you can choose from, with Aspen shavings and fleece liners being the safest and best options.
They are great at absorbing liquids and do not pose any harm to chins. Some widely used chinchilla beddings are not safe and should be avoided.
Related: Chinchilla Supplies List
Do Chinchillas Need Bedding?
Yes, chinchillas require proper bedding inside their cage to walk around the cage easily. Without bedding, chinchillas can develop dangerous paw infections and diseases that can be fatal. Your chinchilla can also get its paw stuck in the steel bars, which can cause fractures and injuries.
What Bedding Is Best for Chinchillas?
Aspen shavings are the most economically viable option as they are readily available and are excellent at absorbing urine. They are not poisonous and are perfectly safe for chins. Fleece liners are the best chinchilla bedding due to their reusability and water-absorbing qualities. They are more expensive than aspen shavings which you should consider when selecting bedding for your chinchilla cage.
Is Pine Bedding Safe for Chinchillas?
No, pine shavings are not safe for chinchillas and should be avoided. They are not good at absorbing water and contain a resin that is harmful to chinchillas if ingested.
Do Chinchillas Urinate on Bedding?
Yes, chinchillas do urinate on beddings. They usually urinate in a specific area of the cage but can pee on other areas. High-quality bedding can help absorb the urine and remove the smell.