What is the best bedding for rats? The best rat bedding material will not harm your pet, but many people unknowingly choose something that can be harmful towards their new friend. Popular options include aspen, cedar, newspaper, and even fleece. But which of these choices is an excellent choice and which one of this material is a wrong choice—that can make their rat sick? Take a guess and see if you were right when the answers as I reveal the answers below.

Bad Choices for Rat Bedding Material

It’s true, there are good choices, and there are bad choices when it comes to choosing a bedding material for your pet rat. We’re going to start off with the lousy bedding materials first. Why? So we can get them out of the way and just avoid them period.

Cedar & Pine Bedding for Rats are Bad

Cedar and pine are favored by some people because they smell good. It’s popular because the smell of cedar or pine can help cover up the hint of urine and other rat related odors. They probably don’t know that the scent is harmful to their pet rats. The phenols that make it smell good can lead to respiratory problems for rats.

Clay Kitty Litter is Bad

a tray of cat litter. cat litter is actually a poor choice for bedding materials for rats

Many uninformed people think clay cat litter is a good idea. Kitty litter is actually a horrible idea. They’re too dusty to be used to line entire bottom of a rat’s cage. Not only is the tiny dust particles bad for your rat, but it’s also bad for you as well.

You should only use kitty litter for litter boxes—in small amounts.  Even then, you need to use large granules. Find a brand that is non-dusty and no clumping.

Corn Cobbing

Another poor choice for bedding material is corn cobbing. This stuff is no good when it gets wet (which it will). Web corn cobs will rot when it when it gets wet from moisture and liquids. Damp corn cobs also promote bacteria and mold growth. Aside from those problems, the odor given off by wet corn cobs is quite unpleasant.

Good Choices

With the wrong choices out of the way, let’s get to the right stuff. Regardless of which type of pet rat you have, any of these choices will do.

Shredded Newspaper Bedding

what is the best bedding for rats? shredded newspaper fits the bill just fine

An inexpensive option is shredded newspapers—it gets a lot cheaper if you already have a paper shredder. If you use newspaper, you have to change it often. Don’t let it stay wet. Make sure you use newspaper that doesn’t use toxic ink. One other problem with shredded paper is the ink will leave a stain on lightly colored rats.

Aspen Bedding for Rats

Aspen bedding is the perfect replacement for cedar. It doesn’t contain harmful phenols like cedar or pine. The only bad thing about aspen bedding is it can be difficult to clean, and it can also get a little messy.

Fleece Rat Bedding

Fleece and any cloth, or old pieces of clothing can be used as bedding material for pet rats.  This is a perfect option if your pet is allergic to the other items. It’s also a good choice if you have any allergies to the other bedding materials.

Another nice thing about fleece and pieces of clothing is you can reuse them. You have to clean and wash them properly though. When washing it, make sure to use very hot water and hypoallergenic detergent. Avoid using any perfumed fabric softeners or detergents because they can irritate a rat’s respiratory tracts.

Pellet Bedding

Another option that seems to be popular these days is pre-made bedding pellets. Many are made from recycled newspaper and other materials that are safe for your pet rat. Just to be safe, double check the packaging first. These are nice because they are easy and convenient to use and to change.

Do They Need Bedding?

You might be asking if pet rats really need bedding and the answer is yes, they do. Bedding is as essential as the cage and the food. The bedding also needs to be changed often. If you do not change them regularly, or when they go bad, it can become dangerous for you and your pet. Dirty bedding materials can build up ammonia and bacteria that are harmful to both rats and humans. Bacteria build-up from fecal matter is especially dangerous.

With the question of “what is the best bedding for rats?” answered, you now know which one is the best option for you and your new rat friend. Remember, stay away from cedar, kitty litter, and corn cobs.  Consider aspen, newspaper, and pre-made bedding pellets.  And always keep the bedding clean and change them when needed.