Hello, my name is Valerie and while I am the owner of a dog named Bentley, I am also a lover of all things animal, so when my friend showed me her dwarf hamster, I was fascinated.
I decided to do some research into bedding for the tiny creatures and found out some interesting facts about the best bedding for dwarf hamsters.
Why do Dwarf Hamsters Need Bedding?
Hamsters need bedding so they can build a nest. Dwarf hamsters need bedding which is deep enough for them to completely burrow into.
Bedding is the material which you would use to line the hamster cage with so care needs to be taken as to what type of bedding is the best, and what could hurt the little creature.
Dwarf hamsters are the tiniest of the species so care must be taken to ensure that they are safe. Bedding can be bought in any pet shop and also at several online stores, although you should only buy from a reputable dealer.
Let’s Look at What NOT to Use First
Straw should never be used for a hamster bed because it is sharp and can hurt them. Because hamsters tend to chew most things, straw can become lodged in their throats and this can prove fatal.
Material and wool are not suitable because the hamster will chew them and swallow the items. They will not dissolve in his stomach and cause a blockage. He may also choke on them.
Mouldy or dusty hay. This will cause an infection or affect the respiratory system.
Pine and cedar chips. Both of these have been listed as unsuitable for hamsters of all types, mainly because of the potential toxic effects.
Both of them produce fumes and dust. Long term exposure to pine dust damages human lungs so it seems obvious that a small creature will be affected.
Fluffy, cotton wool type bedding. You will see this sold in some pet shops and should avoid it for your dwarf hamster.
Your hamster is going to try and eat most things and the fine fibres can become caught up around tiny feet and injure him.
Fabric scraps. These are normally dyed and this is not good for your hamster to chew on. Avoid this as the ink will harm a hamster.
The bottom line with bedding is that if you have any doubt about whether the fabric is alright or not, then do not use it. Better to be safe than sorry with your furry friend.
And what is good to use
There are many different things which will make great bedding for your hamsters.
Because your hamster will come into contact with the bedding for most of the day, it pays to be sure that you use something that he not only likes, but something that will not hurt him.
Paper is widely recognised as the best bedding, although it is not the only thing you can use. Shredded soft paper is best.
Undyed and unscented toilet paper. This is fine to use. You should tear it into strips first.
Aspen bedding. This had had all the dust removed so is safe for your hamster’s lungs. It is also very dense so your hamster can burrow to his heart’s content.
Chipped paper and pellets. These should be made of paper, wood, vegetable or grain products so they are absorbent.
Hay or dried grass. This can be found at many pet shops, and both are suitable for small animals.
Wood shavings. Wood shavings are very often used.
Try to find Aspen shavings, and stay away from cedar as they will cause respiratory problems such as nasal and bronchial irritations.
Shredded cardboard. Although this is perfectly safe to use, your small hamster may find it coarse and therefore uncomfortable.
Any softer type of cardboard will work well.
The inside of toilet rolls and kitchen paper will be work as long as they are torn or shredded into short strips.
One thing to remember is that your hamster will have no problem gnawing away at his bedding, in fact, he enjoys doing it, so you need to be sure that what he chews is safe for him.
If you have a paper shredder then you can shred your scrap paper and use this for bedding. You should take care to shred the paper into short strips.
Normally they are shredded into long pieces which could tangle your hamster, buy if you shred small pieces there should be no problems.
Make sure that you accidentally do not let any staples fall into the shredder, so best tear them off before you even start shredding.
How Deep Should Bedding be?
For your dwarf hamster the bedding needs to be 2 – 3 inches deep. This will allow your hamsters to burrow and dig as often as they like.
Don’t be tempted to just cover the base of the cage as they require more than that to be comfortable.
Having a good covering also means that once you have cleaned out the bedding (part of your daily routine) there is still a good amount left for him.
What About Scented Bedding?
It is best not to use anything that is perfumed. The chemicals in scented things will more than likely affect his respiratory system and make him ill.
There are plenty of other things which are safe and easily available.
Also, stay away from anything which is excessively dusty as this will also affect the respiratory system.
Best Bedding for Dwarf Hamsters
Paper has for a long time been the bedding of choice. This has the advantage of being cheap and readily available.
What is important to note about paper bedding is that it has the fewest health risks associated with it. Softer types like kitchen paper work well as they are absorbent.
1. Carefresh Complete Pet Bedding
It’s twice as absorbent as wood shavings and is very low in dust so won’t affect your hamster’s breathing.
The bedding is made from 100% reclaimed natural fibre and is easy to keep clean.
It has been designed with the ultra-small pet – such as the dwarf hamster – in mind and will give him a safe place to dig around in.
The odour control works very well at concealing the ammonia smell you may get with hamster urine.
In fact, it may be as long as six days until you smell it again, so really does a great job of keeping the cage and the room smelling fresh.
2. Small Pet Select Premium Soft Paper Bedding
It is 100% safe and does not contain any harmful additives or chemicals.
You will find that even though the bedding is soft and comfy, it is also super absorbent.
The bag comes vacuum packed and will expand to three times the size when it is opened.
It’s made from unbleached paper which has never been printed on so no risk of contamination from ink.
The bedding is also soft to walk on so won’t harm those tiny feet. Because it is all paper, there is no dust so no harm to the respiratory system.
Overall, this bedding does a great job at odour control, so the cage should stay fresh and sweet-smelling.
3. Carefresh Confetti Small Pet Bedding
The bedding is very soft and cosy and stays dry more than twice as long as wood shavings.
It’s is also very good at controlling odours, with a 10-day odour control guarantee.
It is also very clean and low dust, easy to scoop out any droppings.
The bedding is designed specifically for small animals and is made from scratch, using high quality materials.
It comes in multi-coloured as well as plain brown so you can mix-and-match or stick to the plain colour, depending on your décor. It also comes in a 60L bag which should last a decent length of time.
Well, I’ve learned a lot about hamster bedding, particularly regarding dwarf hamsters.
It is very important that the bedding serves a good purpose as the tiny creature will be using it most of the day.
Bedding needs to be non-toxic as well as soft and fluffy.
Some things are suitable to use as bedding, while others are a definite no-no and will harm a dwarf hamster.
It is best to avoid something that you are not sure of, because there are plenty of other materials that are suitable. When in doubt, don’t use it.
Because dwarf hamsters are so very tiny, things affect them more, so keeping bedding dust-free and soft, with no perfume or sharp edges must be a priority.
A soft, sweet-smelling bedding base will mean a happy hamster as well as a happy pet owner.