Wood bedding such as aspen or pine shavings is very popular for small pets. So, as a guinea pig’s owner, which one should you use? So, you may ask, Aspen or pine bedding for guinea pigs: Which one is better?
Aspen bedding is better in terms of being odorless and having no volatile oils compared to pine bedding. On the other hand, kiln-dried pine bedding is better in aspects of price, softness, and super absorbency. However, if you can ensure that pine shavings are kiln-dried, it will be safe for guinea pigs.
Both bedding materials are great to control odor and user friendly. They can be used for indoor guinea pigs and are the best choices for outdoor guinea pigs.
However, you must ensure the quality of the product and the safety of your guinea pigs when you buy.
Let’s take a look at the difference between aspen and pine bedding for guinea pigs with their pros and cons. And, try to find out which one you should buy.
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Why is aspen bedding better than regular pine bedding?
If we compare the wood bedding that is available for small pets, you can see there are a lot of aspen bedding that’s safe for guinea pigs.
But, most of the pine bedding materials aren’t safe for guinea pigs because of the aromatic oil they contain.
Aspen bedding is better than regular pine bedding as it comes from non-aromatic hardwood and doesn’t contain any volatile oils and scents.
You can’t use regular pine bedding as most of them contain aromatic oil a bit even after going through processing.
But, kiln-dried pine bedding is different, because it is prepared specially for guinea pigs and there are no oils.
Aspen or Kiln dried pine bedding: Which one is better?
Let’s compare aspen with kiln-dried pine as bedding.
Guinea pig’s bedding should be highly absorbent to prevent moisture and foul smell. Kiln-dried pine bedding is more absorbent than aspen bedding because of the nature of the plant.
2. More economic
Wood bedding is usually expensive as they are heavy and need excessive shipping cost. If you compare aspen and pine bedding, then aspen bedding will cost you more.
3. Maintenance cost
Whether you get kiln-dried pine or aspen shavings, you need to keep buying the product regularly.
As you can’t reuse the shaving, you have to replace it with new shaving every day. So, when your package becomes empty, you have to buy the new product.
So, both of them have a maintenance cost. But, you don’t need to pay for laundering because there is nothing to wash that you have to do with fleece bedding.
4. Quantity of dust
Both aspen and pine bedding comes from wood and those shavings contain a lot of dust. But, if you get those wood shavings from a good brand they shouldn’t contain any dust.
When they prepare it for small pets such as guinea pigs, they filter it to remove all the dust particles.
However, if you get pine or aspen bedding with dust, your guinea pigs will become sick due to respiratory difficulty
5. Amount of aromatic oils
Naturally, aspen and pine shaving contains aromatic oils (phenols). It’s dangerous for your guinea pigs when they inhale the smell that comes from it.
It will cause serious problems too fast if your guinea pigs don’t get enough ventilation along with the smell.
However, kiln-dried pine and aspen shaving for guinea pigs go through special processing to eliminate the volatile oils.
So, both of them are harmless if you can ensure the quality. Check out if your product has a kiln-dried label on the pack.
6. Less smell
It’s essential that the bedding you use for your guinea pigs doesn’t have any added smell. Wood spread smells natural because of the volatile oils they contain which we have already discussed.
But, you get oil-free wood shavings for your little guinea pigs. So, the question is can they smell even after packing?
The answer is yes. Pine shaving may contain a pleasant aroma. So, be aware of it. I will suggest you stay away from that product if the smell is strong.
On the other hand, aspen is a better pine in this aspect as the product doesn’t contain any smell usually after packing.
Aspen bedding isn’t fluffy and soft like kiln-dried pine for your guinea pigs. But, it’s not hard or rough.
So, there is no problem with their comfort. You can add extra hay on the floor to make the bedding more comfortable.
8. Safer for guinea pig’s health
If you can ensure pine and aspen shavings are kiln-dried and dust extracted, it will be safe to use for your guinea pigs.
Not only that, many pet owners and pet stores use these bedding materials without any health issues for guinea pigs.
9. Odor control
In terms of controlling the odor of both aspen and kiln-dried pine, bedding is great. Though some owners found that certain kiln-dried pine has better odor-controlling capacity.
But, I can assure you that both of them can control odor more than fleece. Controlling odor is necessary because it not only irritates you but also guinea pigs may become sick.
A good bedding product should last well between cleanings and replacement. Both aspen and lin dried pine shaving last the same duration and also last very well until the cleaning schedule comes.
11. Maintenance work and cleaning
Regular maintenance work may bother you. But, aspen and pine shavings reduce the amount of work. You don’t need to change, clean, or do poo-picking the bedding so frequently like other bedding.
Poop will go under the shaving and prevent them from coming in touch because of the nature of shavings. You only have to replace the part of the shaving that gets wet or contains poop.
Do it regularly to keep the cage clean and your guinea pigs healthy. You need to replace the whole bedding every 5-7 days.
Aspen and pine shaving both can be composed. But, pine shaving needs more time to rot down than aspen.
Besides, guinea pig’s poop works as a great fertilizer. Both bedding materials are environmentally friendly, as you can use the compost for your garden.
13. Added colors and chemicals
Good brands don’t mix any unusual additives, colors, or chemicals while preparing the kiln-dried pine and aspen shavings. That may be a problem with some paper beddings.
You can’t reuse pine or aspen bedding once you spread it over the floor of your guinea pig’s cage.
You can’t even wash the shavings like the fleece. But, even though you can reuse them, you can put those in your garden, as they can be composted.
15. Ease of cleaning
You only have to take out the dirty aspen or pine shaving from the cage when you clean it. So, both of them make it easy for you to clean the cage.
But, when you replace the whole bedding, it may take a little bit more time than fleece, because you have to remove and then replace a lot of shavings.
However, aspen or pine shaving gets stuck to fleece or any cloth type material that you put in the cage. It will need an extra effort to clean those.
16. Less messy
The cage and whole room can be messier when you use kiln-dried pine or aspen shavings due to the small shavings.
So, you may have to clean the room regularly. If you use fleece, you don’t have to deal with this issue.
17. Risk of allergy
Some guinea pigs may be allergic to aspen or kiln-dried pine shaving. If your guinea pig is like that, don’t use this bedding. But, don’t be afraid, many owners use them without any issue.
Besides, if you have hairless guinea pigs, both pine and aspen shavings are harmful to them. Those shaving will hurt their delicate skin and cause infection and allergy.
18. For outdoor cage
If you have an outdoor hutch for your guinea pigs, aspen or kiln-dried pine bedding is the best choice, as fleece and paper can’t be maintained properly outside. As most of the outdoor hutch is made of wood, wood bedding compliment that as well.
Aspen vs kiln-dried pine bedding: Which one should you buy?
Aspen and kiln-dried pine are almost similar kinds of bedding. You can buy any of them. But, as there are very few kiln-dried pine bedding that maintains the quality for guinea pigs and also it’s not widely available, most of the owners consider aspen bedding over kiln-dried pine.
You will also find a variety of aspen bedding from different popular brands as well. Whatever product you buy, make sure it’s kiln-dried, dust extracted, and has no aromatic oils, added chemicals, scent, and colors.
Our recommended aspen bedding:
Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding
Our recommended aspen bedding:
Living World Pine Shavings
Most of the good-quality aspen bedding has no aromatic oils which is a problem with pine shaving. However, if you can choose kiln-dried pine bedding from a well-known brand, it won’t cause any health issues. Moreover, kiln-dried pine bedding is more absorbent and softer while aspen bedding is better for not having any smell.
Another important thing is Kiln dried pine bedding is more affordable than aspen bedding. Both beddings need to keep buying. However, they can be composted, are easy to use, and can control odor very well.