Any materials used for hamster bedding, also referred to as substrate, should be digestible and non-fibrous. The following are commonly used choices for bedding materials:
- Pelleted/Chipped Paper Product Litter - Litter (pelleted or chipped) made from paper products, wood, compressed vegetable or grain products is absorbent and is generally considered the safest type of bedding.
- Wood Shavings - Wood shavings are often used, and Aspen shavings are recommended. Cedar shavings should not be used because they give off fumes that can cause nasal and bronchial irritation in your hamster.
- Shredded Paper - Shredded paper (such as paper towels and plain paper) is also suitable, as emergency bedding it doesn't absorb very well and gets damp easily. Avoid using shredded newspaper should not be used because of the inks contained that type of paper.
In addition to bedding, your hamster requires nesting material, which he will gather and make into a nest in which to sleep. Selection of bedding material is of utmost importance, because hamsters may die or be injured as a result of some unsafe commercial nesting products. Any materials used for hamster nesting material, like bedding, must be digestible and non-fibrous.
- Paper Tissue - Shredded paper tissue, toilet paper or paper towels (unscented) are a safe choice for bedding material, and they are also inexpensive and readily available. However, it gets damp easily which may result in frequent changing.
- Recycled Paper - This is a coarser nesting product, which is made of recycled paper and is also safe and popular with hamsters.
- Meadow Hay - Meadow hay and dried grass can be used as hamster bedding, but anything that is used must not have been sprayed with chemicals.
- Other Materials - Do not use fabric scraps, but shredded cardboard is safe but may be coarse and not very comfortable for your hamster. When deciding what to use, keep in mind that anything you use must be digestible and non-fibrous.