Hamster Bedding Guide

If you don’t already know, you should never use Pine or Cedar bedding for your pet hamster. Cedar bedding is a rough material that can cause splintering, chapped feet and is almost impossible to correctly digest. Worse yet, cedar reacts to urine, causing toxic fumes called phenols to be released as long as it is in contact with the ammonia. While pine may be a bit softer on a hamster’s feet, it often goes through a curing process that leaves dangerous chemicals on the product. Unfortunately there are not usually warning labels on these two types of bedding, potentially leading many new hamster owners to believe they are safe for their pets, but this is not the case. Rather than pine or cedar bedding consider the following alternatives.

Please note: None of the websites used for pricing are officially endorsed by Hamsterific.com, they are merely used as guides to indicate to you what a normal price might be for the listed product. Prices are of course subject to change.


Aspen fresh is a pelleted aspen product that has garnered favorable reviews for its absorbency and odor control. It has a natural ability to inhibit mold growth. It is 00% biodegradable, and flushable in small quantities.



This bedding has a low amount of wood oils and may be preferred for animals with sensitive respiratory systems. Compared to some of the other bedding here, aspen is not quite as absorbent or effective at odor control. However, it is widely available, usually inexpensive, and a good alternative to other wood shavings.


Another pelleted aspen product similar to the others, touted for its absorbency and odor control. Safe if ingested. Resists mold growth, superior odor control, biodegradable and highly absorbent. Safe if ingested.


Manufactured from 100% wood pulp fiber, is a lightweight, fluffy bedding, although it is not very attractive in appearance. It is dust free and very absorbent, and has no inks or dyes and is biodegradable. Doesn’t disintegrate when wet.



Made of environmentally friendly, recycled paper, with the natural mineral gypsum added for outstanding odor control. Completely eliminates ammonia odor for up to 3 weeks, and absorbs 400% more liquid than wood shavings. Cell-Sorb is most effective when you stir the bedding 3-4 times weekly. It’s flushable in moderate quantities, biodegradable, and can be composted, or spread over lawns and gardens as a fertilizer. However, it can be harder to find.


A pelleted straw litter product made from winter wheat and other plant fibers, heat treated to kill fungus, molds and insects. Absorbent, dust free, toilet flushable, won’t track and is odor controlling.


Pelleted product made from 100% recycled paper fiber. These small pellets are biodegradable and can be incinerated, composted, or landfilled. Because the litter doesn’t cling to the sides of the cage or litter box, it is easier to keep the cage
lean and dry. It absorbs moisture from bottle leaks and claims to last twice as long as other litters. If it should get wet, it won’t break apart. Non-toxic and dust free. The natural fibers have been sterilized so your pet gets the highest level of protection against bacteria, mold, and fungus. It is super absorbent, eliminates odors, and neutralizes ammonia. Depending where you are it can be hard to find.


This is a white softwood based product, but the manufacturer states that the processing removes 100% of the dangerous aromatic hydrocarbons (along with resins, oils, tars, acids and water). It comes in a granular form, which expands as it absorbs moisture and is said to be very absorbent.


Litter made from recycled newspaper, now available in a softer, looser pellet designed as bedding, as well as the original larger pellet. Very absorbent (the pellets degrade as they absorb moisture) and no dust. Usually easy to find.

 Special thanks to IvoryRain for the information provided for this article.