July 27, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Degus have some special needs when it comes to bedding. Before choosing to bed, get a piece of complete knowledge about them.
Otherwise, you will end up with a sick pet.
You have to consider your degu’s cage type before choosing bedding. If you have a cage with open bars that have nothing on the sides.
Then small beddings will be easily kicked out.
However, if you have a terrarium or other cage that has solid vertical sides, then small pieces of bedding will not be a problem.
You can provide them with certain substrates to make their cage more interesting. I will discuss in detail which kind of substrates you should use.
You should be aware of the dust in the bedding of your degu. A lot of dust can cause respiratory problems in them.
If your degu starts sneezing and has breathing problems, you should consider switching to another material of bedding.
The substrate is something like carpet or rugs in your home. This is because degus don’t like to run or walk on a metal tray.
On the other hand, bedding is something like a blanket in your home. It is useful in providing warmth and comfy to your pet.
There are a lot of different kinds of beddings available in pet stores and online. Not all kinds of beddings are suitable for degus. So you have to separate the good and bad types.
The same goes for substrates.
Degu cage bedding guide
It is important to consider certain factors before buying bedding. You have to buy bedding that should be non-toxic to your degu.
It’s less important to worry about the absorbent properties of the material. Cage bedding- real bedding, not covering the entire floor.
Some factors that you have to consider before buying are
- Risk of injuries
Some cage beddings look nice and beautiful but when ingested they can cause internal injuries. Sharp edges of bedding material can cause injuries on the feet of degus.
Moreover, cloth fibers can get tangled in your pet’s feet or neck. This can cause life-threatening injuries.
- Break easily and water-soluble
This factor is related to the risk of hurt to your pet. If your degu breaks or chews the bedding. This should be digested and doesn’t cause impaction.
Bedding suitable for degus
Degus love to build nests and fill them with sticks, twigs, shavings, and anything they find in their cage.
The substrates are also used by degus for their nesting boxes.
Still, if you want to give your degus comfy, soft bedding then you can find them at many places.
A bedding material doesn’t have the same absorbent properties and odor control properties as substrates.
The paper-based substrate can also be used for bedding purposes. You can also use toilet paper or any stripes of paper for bedding.
Paper is very soft and your degus can tear it easily to make their nest. You should be aware of ink-based papers.
These can produce toxic effects on the health of your degu. Paper-based bedding is also a budget-friendly option.
Hay is sometimes used as a bedding material. However, it can get mold. It can also transfer dust to your degu.
Furthermore, hay also contains mites that can be transferred to your degu.
A lot of pictures have been shared by the people on the internet of degus having fleece bedding. Fleece can be used as a bedding material.
But you have to regularly wash the fleece bedding so that it doesn’t smell. If your degu doesn’t start chewing the bedding, then fleece bedding is okay.
But in starting you have to keep a close eye on them. In case, if they start chewing immediately change the bedding material.
Bedding to avoid degus
There are certain types of bedding materials that are not suitable for degus. The bedding that looks nice and soft can be dangerous for your pet.
Bedding can be chewed and then digested by your degu. This can cause digestive problems in them. Moreover, the fibers can tangle between their legs and neck.
This can lead to serious complications.
It’s best to avoid the beddings of the following materials.
This type of bedding material contains too much dust. It can cause respiratory problems. Moreover, it will be easily kicked out and will make a mess.
As you know, degus can chew anything without thinking. So, if they ingest wood pellets they can swell in their digestive system. This is extremely dangerous.
Moreover, if your degus walk on these hard lumps their feet can be injured.
Cat litter if ingested will also swell in digestive problems. This is again very dangerous for your pet.
The other beddings that you should avoid are
- Cotton balls
- Felt stripes
- Coconut fibers
You should also avoid beddings made up of
- Cotton batting
- Polyester stuffing
Check out to make sure that the bedding you choose doesn’t contain pine or cedar oils. Your pet spends a lot of in contact with their bedding.
Wood’s natural oils are not good for your pet’s skin and digestive tract.
All types of natural bedding and bedding free of chemicals are the best.
Changing your pet’s bedding
When I change the bedding of my pet, I take out all the bad stuff and clean out the tank. I use a mild organic cleaner for cleaning purposes.
Before placing it back, I make sure that it’s dry. I mostly air dry for at least 15 minutes.
I hide some sunflower seeds and other treats in their bedding. I also cover the bottom with a handful of Timothy hay.
I mostly found their stash that they hide on weekly basis. I add some treats to their bedding to stop them from getting mad at me.
Fluffing the bedding
Don’t forget to fluff your pet’s degu. I have designated a degu fork to fluff their bedding. This helps to move the waste and dirty bedding to the bottom.
And it moves the clean bedding to the top providing premium comfort to degu.
What is the difference between substrate and bedding?
The material that is used for the lining up of the cage floor is called a substrate. But it is sometimes mistakenly called bedding.
Bedding is used as nesting material. The use of substrate is to keep the cage clean. It also creates a soft walking area for degus.
Sometimes it is also used for nesting material.
What are the pros of having straw bedding?
Straw bedding contains little to no dust. Oat straw has highly absorbing properties. If a straw is chopped into small pieces, it makes excellent bedding material.
Moreover, it serves as a good chewing material. Moreover, it is budget-friendly and easily available.
Which type of bedding is suitable for degus?
In my opinion, paper-based or wood pulp beddings are the best ones. You can also make your bedding by shredding ink-free paper.
You can also use toilet paper. Never use pine or cedar shavings, cat litter, or sawdust as bedding or substrate.
Degus need special kinds of bedding for them. Bedding is like a blanket in your home. I would suggest you choose to bedding wisely.
Because non-suitable bedding can cause respiratory problems and injuries to your pet. The bedding of your pet should be non-toxic.
There are certain factors that you have to consider while buying bedding.
You have to check if the bedding is soft or not. Beware of sharp edges of bedding. These beddings can hurt your pet’s feet.
Now if we talk about beddings suitable for degus then these include paper-based beddings, hay, and fleece bedding.
Paper-based bedding consists of shredded paper. You can use toilet paper or ink-free shredded papers. Moreover, this is also a budget-friendly option.
But don’t ever use ink-based papers. Ink when ingested can cause several health complications in degus.
Hay can also be used for bedding purposes. But it contains mold. It will also transfer dust and mites to your pet. So in my opinion, hay is not a safer option.
Fleece bedding is also another good option. But you have to wash the fleece bedding regularly. These beddings shouldn’t be dirty.
If your degu doesn’t chew the fleece, then you can use fleece bedding. If they do so, then change the material immediately.
The beddings that you should avoid at any cost include sawdust, wood pellets, and cat litter.
Sawdust bedding has a lot of dust in it. This airborne dust can cause a lot of respiratory problems in degus.
Moreover, it will create a mess.
Wood pellets are not recommended at all. Hardwood lumps can cause injuries on the feet of degus.
If ingested, they will swell and is potentially dangerous.
Similarly, cat litter when ingested also swells. This is also dangerous for degu.
So, I would suggest you go for paper-based bedding.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.