What To Use Instead Of Sawdust For Guinea Pigs (7 Alternatives)?

As you can’t use sawdust for guinea pig’s bedding, you may wonder what can be a perfect alternative to it. What to use instead of sawdust for guinea pig’s bedding?

Use aspen wood shavings, Kiln dried pine, Carefresh, or fleece to make guinea pig’s bedding instead of using sawdust. These are dust-free, good absorbent, and friendly to guinea pigs’ health. Sawdust is dusty and fine that can cause serious respiratory illness to your guinea pigs.

In this article, I will be sharing with you the alternatives to sawdust for guinea pigs’ bedding.

Why do you need an alternative to sawdust?

What To Use Instead Of Sawdust For Guinea Pigs (7 Alternatives)

Often we get confused guinea pigs bedding with other small pets bedding. But, guinea pigs are so sensitive and need special materials in their cage. Like many other products, you can’t use sawdust for guinea pig’s bedding. But, why should you not use sawdust for guinea pig’s bedding?

It’s not recommended to use sawdust in the guinea pig’s cage as it’s too dusty and causes breathing problems for your guinea pigs. However, sawdust is also allergic to house owners and other pets.

Let’s take a deep look into the reasons for which you should consider a substitute to sawdust.

Its too dusty

Dust extracted bedding is necessary for guinea pigs as they are sensitive to dust. But, sawdust is fine and dusty that makes it the wrong option for piggies.

Moreover, you must avoid any kind of dusty materials in the guinea pigs cage.

Sawdust is also bad for other pets in your house.

Cause breathing difficulty

Guinea pig’s respiratory system is sensitive.

Sawdust is so dusty that they can’t breathe properly. They can’t even tolerate the smell.

It will cause breathing problems that can lead to serious conditions.

Affect guinea pig’s lung

Inhaling dust can block the airway of your piggies and cause respiratory illness.

Besides, long exposure to dust will lead to lung infection and other respiratory problems for your guinea pigs. In serious cases, it can be life-threatening.

Allergy to human and animal

Many people are allergic to sawdust. So, if anyone at your home has allergic to dust, you may have serious troubles. Moreover, if you have other pets, they can be allergic to it as well.

Top 7 Alternatives To Sawdust For Guinea Pigs

You may have heard that you can use wood shavings for guinea pig’s bedding. But, now you know you can’t use sawdust. So, is there any alternative to sawdust for guinea pigs?

Wood shavings you use for guinea pigs’ bedding must be dust extracted and free of volatile oils. Moreover, it should absorb moisture well and prevent foul smelling from the cage. You can also use paper shavings or a fleece blanket for the bedding which also works great.

Let’s take at the top 5 alternatives to guinea pig’s bedding.

1. Kiln-dried Pine shavings

Kiln-dried pine shavings are a great alternative to sawdust because they don’t have drawbacks like sawdust. However, they are extremely well absorbant and keep the bedding dry. Moreover, they have no added chemicals or scents.

Regular pine shavings contain dust and aromatic oils that are dangerous for guinea pigs’ health. Pine shavings that are specially prepared for guinea pigs are free from dust and aromatic oils. When you buy the product, get the product with labels of kiln-dried and dust extracted.


Affordable price

Last longer



No aromatic oils

Great absorbancy

Keep bedding odorless

Easy to use


Sensitive for hairless guinea pigs

Little bit messy

Need to keep buying

Learn more about kiln-dried pine bedding.

2. Aspen wood shavings

Aspen wood shaving is a good alternative to sawdust for your guinea pig’s bedding. These hardwood shavings don’t have volatile oil that’s harmful to piggies. Aspen shavings are dust extracted as well. The price is also very reasonable. These wood shavings can absorb pee and faces well and keep the cage-free of odor. However, it is not good absorbent as kiln-dried pine.

If you aren’t buying especially made aspen shavings for guinea pigs, it may have dust and aromatic oil.

If you don’t find the perfect product in your local store, you can order online.


Absorb moisture well

No initial setup cost and work

Fair price

Can control odors

Dust extracted

Free from volatile oils

No added scent or chemical


Less absorbancy than kiln-dried pine

Need to buy regularly

Maybe allergic to some guinea pigs

Sensitive for hairless guinea pigs

3. Hemp bedding

Hemp bedding is also a wood-based bedding option for guinea pigs and also a good substitute for sawdust. It’s made from the fibers of the hemp plant. Wee and moisture pass through the top layer very well. Use inkless newspaper at the bottom layer to get better absorbency. It can also control odor greatly. So you get a dry and hygienic cage environment.


Provide natural environment

Reasonable price

Absorb moisture well


Absence of harmful chemicals

Control odor extremely well

Low dust

Longer lasting

Decomposes faster

Less messy

Keep cage warm


Need to keep purchasing

Need hay to give softness to guinea pigs

4. Fleece bedding

Fleece is a great bedding option for guinea pigs. Though fleece is a cage liner, it can fulfill all of those criteria that ideal guinea bedding requires that bedding may not provide.

It’s completely opposite from sawdust. Fleece isn’t dusty and can be suitable for those owners or piggies who have allergic tendencies. Besides, it can wick away urine and other wet stuff.

For absorption, you can use the absorbent that you get with the products or use a towel or puppy pads.

This combination works great and gives your guinea pigs wet free environment.

However, you need to clean and change the fleece from time to time. You need to maintain it regularly.

Another great advantage is it’s washable and also longer lasting than other bedding.

However, the only drawback is its initial cost.


Soft and comfortable




Reasonable price

Longer lasting

Good absorbency

Keep cage warm

Not messy

Not need to buy regularly


Frequent washing

Little bit high initial cost

May produce a bad smell after a while if you choose the wrong product

5. Natural paper-based bedding

Natural paper bedding is yet another great alternative to sawdust. These beddings are soft and cozy. There’s no additive and dust as well. The absorbance of the natural paper bedding is extremely great. It also controls odor well and gives you a sound environment. However, paper bedding is a little bit high in price.

Use 100% virgin paper bedding for guinea pigs as they are the best.

You may consider shredded paper bedding for your piggies. However, it has so many limitations and needs to use carefully.

Paper bedding that contains ink such as a newspaper can be harmful to guinea pigs. So, consider natural paper bedding that is specially designed for guinea pigs.


Soft, fluffy, and comfortable

Great absorbent


Low dust

Good odor

No added chemicals

Natural odor control


Can be composted


Little bit costly

Can be messy

Need to buy regularly

6. Confetti paper bedding

Confetti paper bedding is one of the most popular guinea pig bedding and a great alternative to sawdust.

We recommend using Carefresh bedding because it is made of reclaimed natural fibers and is good for guinea pigs.

It’s specially processed for guinea pigs that look like shredded cotton.

So, these bedding materials are soft for your piggies’ soft paws.

It’s also free of dust and odor. Moreover, paper bedding is good absorbant and keeps the cage clean. This product can also control odor really well.


Nontoxic and safe

Biodegradable and compostable

Dust extracted and unscented

High absorbency

Good odor control


Little bit pricey

Need to keep buying

7. Wood pulp bedding

Wood pulp bedding is a good substitute for sawdust. It has great absorbent properties. This product is non-toxic and safe for guinea pigs. Besides, dust is extracted from this virgin wood pulp. So, your piggies don’t face any respiratory issues.

Do guinea pigs eat sawdust?

Guinea pigs may decide to eat sawdust sometimes if you are planning to do that inside their cage. This will result in gut issues and can be dangerous for their health. Even if they don’t eat, sawdust causes respiratory illness. So, you must keep your guinea pigs away from the sawdust and don’t use it for bedding or any other purpose.


Sawdust is bad for guinea pigs’ health and you can’t use it to prepare for bed for them. If you are looking for something similar to sawdust, aspen shavings, kiln-dried pine, and hemp bedding can be great alternatives. Natural paper bedding and fleece are popular bedding options for guinea pigs as they work well for indoor guinea pigs and owners.

Scroll to Top