Best Bedding For Rats Compared (Updated 2017)
Updated - February 2017
Rat bedding is one of the most important additions you'll make to your cage, keeping your rats warm, odor free and clean it's a huge consideration for all rat owners.
In this article we'll be comparing the best bedding for rats, giving you a chance to decide for yourselves what bedding best suits your needs.
Choosing The Best Bedding For Your Rats:
Choosing the right bedding for your rats comes down to a few factors, but the most important one is preserving the health and quality of life for your rats.
There's many different types of bedding you can use, and each has their own pros and cons, while some should be avoided at all costs...
Types of Bedding:
Wood shavings which includes sawdust are often made from Pine & Cedar trees which are long-known to cause liver and respiratory issues in rats.
This kind of bedding is common in pet stores, but should be avoided for better options you can get online.
Clay bedding is generally found in cat litters, which can be used for rats, but generally clay is considered a little too dusty for rats.
For this reason clay isn't a popular choice among most rat owners, but it can be used in combination with other safe bedding choices.
Corn bedding is susceptible to growing molds when sodden from urine or water.
This makes corn a tricky bedding, unless you're on top of changing your rats bedding regularly it's not an ideal choice.
Aspen unlike Pine and Cedar is a safe wood that's often used for rat bedding.
Aspen is popular among certain rat owners because this hard wood goes great with paper pellet bedding to give your rats a more diverse cage environment.
Paper Pellet Bedding
Paper pellet bedding is the popular choice of most experienced rat owners, this type of bedding is often the most absorbent and it's usually the most dust-free.
This makes paper bedding the obvious choice for health reasons, it's also fairly cheap and is often made from recycled paper, making it eco-friendly as well.
What to look for:
Once you've decided what type of bedding, or which of the types you'd consider it's important to factor in the following considerations as well:
- Quantity - Generally the more you can get for a good price the better.
- Quality - Does the bedding contain any nasty chemicals? Is it dust free?
- Cost - Is the price within your budget?
- Value - Is the deal a good value for money or is it overpriced?
- Effectiveness - Does it do what it claims? Is it absorbent enough?
Tip: If your primary concern is your rats health then the best beddings are going to be 99.9% dust-free and contain the fewest chemicals compared to other brands.
Signs that you should change your rats bedding brand:
Did you know that if your rats get persistent porphyrin it could be due to bedding that contains too much dust?
Other signs that it might be time to change your bedding might be that your rats cage smells very quickly, usually anything under 2-3 days is a sign that your bedding might not be absorbent enough.
Lastly, it might be a good idea to change your rats bedding brand if your rat has ever had a respiratory infection... This is because while these are common in rats, one of the primary causes is bedding!
What brands are recommended?
There are several recommended brands, some of which you'll see us compare and review below... But to name some of the most trusted brands here's a brief list:
- Eco Bedding
- Yesterday's News
- Aspen Supreme
These brands are all good, some aren't always available, but if you aren't satisfied with the choices we outline below then feel free to check the ones we aren't reviewing out at your own discretion using our recommendations for 'what to look for' above.
Best Bedding For Rats Compared:
These are in our opinion the best rat bedding products that we've used, but they're not all created equal.
We'll be comparing the pros and the cons of each, and assigning each bedding a rating out of 5 to help you with deciding what the best bedding for your rats is going to be.
Healthy Pet: Natural Paper Bedding
The Healthy Pet: Natural Bedding by CritterCare is one of the most popular beddings and for a good reason.
Offering you and your rats a 99.9% dust-free product, that's made from recycled wood-pulp is definitely different to a lot of other products out there.
Don't misunderstand though, wood-pulp is not the same as wood chip bedding. Meaning, no pine and no cedar, so it passes our quality checks!
The main difference is that wood-pulp is a paper 'like' product that's made from corrugated cardboard. Making this particular bedding a little longer lasting than regular paper bedding.
It's also still very absorbent since it's made from a cardboard base, which means it's still very efficient at masking odor and keeping the cage dry in places where it might not usually be.
- The brand is trusted.
- Bedding is virtually dust-free.
- Absorbent thanks to being a cardboard based product.
- Available at a good quantity for a good price.
- Not going to be as absorbent as a regular paper bedding.
- Not all batches are as good as the last, sometimes they've arrived dusty.
- Not easily available outside the U.S.
- Not guaranteed to be totally chemical free.
Yesterday's News: Cat Litter
Yesterday's News Cat Litter Bedding is actually pretty awesome for our rats, it's 99.7% dust-free and it's a paper based product.
The pellets themselves are very soft, which is definitely a plus if you have rats who enjoy jumping around the cage.
Another big plus, is it's not scented meaning there's absolutely no added chemicals. While being very absorbent itself, it means the smell doesn't get horrendous quickly.
If you want a solid all round bedding that's free of anything harmful this is one of the best ones you're going to get for price and quantity. It was product of the year in 2012 and the fact it's still going strong proves it's excellence.
- 99.7% dust-free.
- No added chemicals.
- Paper based bedding which is great for absorbency.
- Available for a good price, in good quantities.
- Product of the year 2012.
- Not guaranteed to be 99.9% dust-free.
- Doesn't look 'pretty' if that matters to you.
- More expensive than CritterCare.
Back2Nature: Small Animal Bedding
Back2Nature Small Animal Bedding by FibreCycle is another popular bedding for rats, and this is because it fits all of the criteria very well.
It's 99.9% dust-free and it's free of chemical additives, and is guaranteed to have been produced by no chemical means.
This makes this bedding the healthiest on the market for rats, however the price reflects that. Being almost twice as expensive pound for pound as other brands.
If it's a question of quality and you can afford the expense then it's very worth it.
You can always combine this bedding with another bedding, to get the best of both worlds which is still a common practice among rat owners who are more cash strapped.
If I had to give this brand a one word review it would be outstanding and that's why we continue to recommend it in other articles on the site.
- Paper based product.
- 99.9% dust-free.
- Free of chemicals at every step of manufacturing process.
- Eco-friendly shipping.
- As absorbent as any other good paper based bedding.
- More expensive than other brands.
- Even more expensive outside of the U.S.
While there's hundreds of bedding products on the market, we've reviewed the 3 that we've personally found to be the best for rats.
We've also given you the tools to go out there and look for yourself at the other options available, also giving you the means to decide whether a particular bedding fits the 'good for rats' stamp of approval.
Of the 3 products reviewed, they're all well above average in terms of quality, with varying prices and benefits.
If you've got the means, buying the best is obviously best, however either of the other two beddings are RatCentral approved!
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments and we'll be happy to help you if we can!