Choosing the best bedding option for your hedgehog is not as complicated as it might seem. Despite their more exotic origins, their basic requirements are very similar to that of a guinea pig.
You do have many bedding options available to choose from. Some better than others (in our opinion). But they'll all make great bedding options for your hedgehog.
We'll be going through a list of our favorite bedding options, beginning at our favorite then working our way down the list.
Let's jump right in!
Fleece Cage Liner
Fleece is quickly becoming a popular bedding option within the hedgehog community. It's not only safe, soft and comfy, but also very easy to clean. They're also reusable which is why they sit at the very top of our list for best bedding option for your hedgehog.
It's important to mention that you cant just grab a fleece blanket and throw it in your hedgehogs cage. It does need to be properly prepared specifically for use with animals. You can make a cage liner yourself, or save yourself the hassle by buying one here.
The fleece liner itself will be made with two outer layers of fleece and an absorbent layer in the center. The fleece will also need to be properly "wicked" to allow liquid to pass through the fabric into the absorbent layer.
You'll also want to purchase at least two liners to seamlessly switch between the two during washes. As long as you keep up with cleaning them frequently, a well made fleece cage liner could last you years.
Final note, if you're like most and only have one washing machine, you'll want to get a washing bag as well. We like to quickly hose our fleece off with a garden hose outside to get the big stuff off, but then stuff into a washing bag and put directly into the washing machine.
The higher upfront cost for these liners is well worth it in the long run. Not only are these fleece liners good for years, they also happen to be safe, comfy, and fairly easy to maintain.
Definitely our number one choice!
Eco-Bedding is another excellent bedding option for your hedgehog. It's essentially crinkled paper that is incredibly absorbent but also allows for natural burrowing and nesting.
You'll want to start by putting in far less than you might think. Your hedgehog will start to burrow and the bedding will start to expand. If you put in the same amount you would with traditional paper bedding you'll come back to cage full to the top!
It's also quite absorbent so you shouldn't have any issues with wetness anywhere in the cage. It's also sold with built in odor control, but you'll still need to do a full clean at least once a week.
It's a bit more difficult to find than conventional bedding, but you can purchase online here.
Conventional paper bedding is another good bedding option and probably the most easily found in pet stores. There's probably dozens of paper bedding options at this point and honestly, they're all fine options.
We tend to use the Oxbow Pure Comfort but anything from Care Fresh and Kaytee is also perfectly fine. They should all create very little dust, soft and comfy to the touch, and come in a variety of colors.
This is going to be the absolute last option you can use as bedding for your hedgehog. It's going to be easily found, incredibly low cost, but is the last option for a reason.
First off, you'll have to be very careful in the wood shavings you go with. Aspen will the safest of the wood shaving options, but slightly more difficult to find. Pine shaving are the second option, but not ideal. There are potential concerns about the heating process to rid them of potentially harmful chemicals, so we'd generally only use as a last resort.
The other popular shaving you'll see is cedar. Never use cedar shavings as bedding for your hedgehog. Cedar is toxic to your hedgehog and can serious health issues.
I know wood shavings are the easiest and cheapest bedding to find, but we'd recommend it only as last option.
Bedding to Avoid
As we've discussed, you have many different bedding options available for your hedgehog. Whether that be fleece, paper, or wood shavings. There's really only one bedding that you need to absolutely avoid.
Cedar wood shavings contain toxins that are dangerous to nearly all animals and is even used as a natural insecticide. Cedar shavings can cause serious long term health issues for your hedgehog and should never be used as bedding.
I know it's cheap, easy to find, and actually smells pretty nice. But please avoid it. You have so many options available to you, there's no reason to even considering using cedar.
How Often to Clean Bedding?
How often you need to clean your hedgehogs cage will depend a great deal on the bedding you decide to go with. At the very least, we generally recommend a full cleaning at least once per week. Depending on your circumstances you may have to do this more frequently and this will be on your best judgment.
If their cage starts smell or looks dirty, it's time to clean.
If you decide to use fleece you'll end up cleaning a bit more frequently. We tend to clean every 2 - 4 days, but can be long if you also incorporate smaller fleece pads where they tend to poop more frequently.
Regardless of the bedding, you'll want to spot clean at least daily to remove any poop you see or any other mess they have made. You'll also notice quickly that they tend to poop almost exclusively on their wheel. This might be a bit gross to clean, but it saves you from having to clean the fleece nearly as often.
Hopefully after all that you see just how many options you have available to you. We definitely have our own personal preference towards fleece, but the other options are perfectly safe alternative for your hedgehogs.
Just be sure to avoid cedar at all costs, and ideally avoid pine, but besides that you have pretty much free reign in your choices.
Despite the upfront cost for the fleece, it will likely be the cheapest option in the long run and will likely last the entire life of your hedgehog if properly maintained.
If you still have questions, or would like to discuss adding a hedgehog to your own family, please feel free to contact us here.