July 29, 2022 by Umair Shahid
Every animal needs comfort in life, and your chinchilla is no different. These social animals are worth caring for and need the utmost peace for a healthy life.
Bedding is one of the important domains you must look for while petting a chinchilla.
Newspapers offer a good alternative cage bedding but, in my opinion, not the ideal one. Accidentally ingesting the newspaper can cause digestive issues.
Most of the owners do look for more affordable bedding options. You can use full or shredded newspaper as a good bedding material, but with caution and care.
Using a cage with a built-in pull-out tray is a better idea so that your furry friend can’t access the newspaper and pull it out.
Newspapers contain a variety of processing chemicals and inks that are not suitable for your chinchilla’s health in any way.
Exotic animal experts always strive to make things understandable for both the owner and the pet. They recommend getting safer choices, such as fleece or wood shavings.
Newspapers do offer a lot of absorptive ability, but the harmful effects of eating them cannot be overlooked.
Regular cleaning and removal of wet bedding material always result in better health and management of chinchillas.
Newspaper For Chinchilla Bedding
Newspaper & Chinchilla’s Chewing Behavior
As I’ve mentioned earlier, newspapers are an affordable and better bedding choice. But the problem lies in using newspaper and tackling your pet’s instinctive chewing behavior.
No, but seriously, chinchilla can start munching on almost anything, whether it is wood, plastic, or paper.
It is their chewing behavior that enables you to be extra careful and make the room chinchilla-proof.
Cardboard and newspaper are their favorite items to chew, so you must limit their access cleverly. You can either stop your chinchilla to munch on it or don’t use newspaper bedding at all.
Chewing on a wet and contaminated newspaper can make your chinchilla seriously ill and make her digestive system out of order.
The Harms of Newspaper Bedding
The safety of newspaper bedding also comes with its negative impacts. The majority of the newspapers available are made of recycled and processed paper.
The industries use glues and chemicals to make the newspaper recyclable and user-friendly. But the end product is certainly not according to the animal’s health & safety.
The presence of glue, dyes, and ink is why veterinarians don’t recommend newspapers in every circumstance.
The harmful inks used to print the newspaper can disturb the health of your chinchilla with excessive ingestion.
Just like with cardboard, newspaper eating can lead to choking and intestinal blockage.
There are sure benefits of using newspapers, but you must stay aware of the ingestion effects it can cause.
What About Wire Mesh Bottom Cages?
Most people consider creating a barrier between chinchillas and newspapers by placing them in wire mesh bottom cages.
Although they do secure and prevent the newspaper from getting chewed on, but may not be so comfortable for your chinchilla.
The reason why I am emphasizing not to consider wire mesh is the soreness it causes on your chinchilla’s feet.
Staying on it for too long may lead to bumblefoot disease that is pretty hard to treat. Additionally, your chinchilla may slip through the wire mesh and get injured while struggling to get out of it.
If you’re someone planning to have a wire mesh, consider getting one with small sieves. It can prevent your chinchilla from eating the newspaper with an additional perk of providing no slipping & injury chances.
Precautions In Using Newspaper for Chinchilla
Still, have a mind using newspaper as a bedding material? Sure, you can use it wisely and safely.
The main thing every exotic animal expert will advise you is that the newspapers are safe to use. But the condition of no ingestion is still implied. In that respect, you must use a wire mesh or pull-out tray.
Another important take-home advice is the regular cleaning of the newspaper bedding. It is an excellent absorbent of urine, but if you let it stay there, it will produce a foul odor and keep contaminating the cage.
It is always ideal to change the newspaper every day to keep your chinchilla’s cage stay fresh and clean.
What About Other Bedding Options Available?
Of course, newspapers can work in maintaining a dry cage, but there are better options to try in terms of bedding.
These improved bedding materials are not only easy to use but also offer reusability. As a veterinarian, I recommend you try a high-quality fleece as a bedding material.
Fleece liners are easy to clean, soft and your chinchilla’s all-time favorite bedding. In contrast to aspen shavings, there is no need to buy fleece over and over again.
Aspen shavings are also a great choice and many chinchilla owners do use them every day. If you want to save a ton of money and want alternative bedding to newspaper, try to use fleece liners.
Why newspaper is not recommended for my chinchilla?
The newspaper contains harmful printing ink and processing chemical residues that are not suitable for your chinchilla’s gut. If ingested in large amounts, they can cause havoc in your pet’s sensitive digestive system.
How to stop my chinchilla from eating newspaper bedding?
If you want to use the newspaper as bedding, try to restrict the access of your chinchilla to prevent him from pulling out and eating the newspaper. You can use a rightly sized wire mesh or a pullout tray for this purpose.
What to do if my chinchilla ingests newspaper bedding?
The mild munching and eating of the newspaper don’t pose a significant risk, but that’s certainly not the case if too much is ingested. As a veterinarian, I advise you to immediately take your pet to a nearby vet for proper examination and intervention.
Which one is the animal expert’s recommended chinchilla’s bedding material?
Fleece liners top among the other bedding materials, such as newspaper and wood shavings. Fleece is non-toxic, easily washable, and long-lasting. Nevertheless, newspaper and wood shavings can also be used by taking proper care and regular cleaning.
You can surely use newspaper as a bedding material for your beloved pet. Although, exotic animal experts don’t recommend using it due to health hazards.
If you’re currently using wood shavings or fleece, I suggest you just stick to it. Both fleece and aspen shavings look far better than a newspaper in the cage and offer much more comfort to your chinchilla.
At the end of the day, the choice of choosing newspaper, fleece, or wood shavings is up to you. In my opinion, fleece is a premium option in contrast to the newspaper for easier cleaning and environment-friendly stuff.
Besides, these bedding options also eliminate the use of wire mesh bottom, and that is a great deal in itself.
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.