El Centro, California (NAPSI) - The next time you consider expanding your family to include a hamster, Guinea pig, bunny or other small pet, you won’t be alone.
Some 16 million U.S. families currently co-habitate with small pets, according to the American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey.
Of particular importance for small pets is their living environment. Unlike dogs and cats, which enjoy more mobility, most small animals are confined to enclosures that become their entire world.
Each item that goes into the pets’ living spaces requires careful consideration, especially the bedding, as there is a wide variety of options, including wood shavings (pine, aspen and cedar), paper (reclaimed sludge-based and sludge-free), corncobs, pellets made of wood, paper, wheat and other fibers, and crinkled paper. They’re not all alike, however. Some bedding products may actually contain toxins. A review by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health of previous testing confirmed that beddings made using reclaimed pulp fibers are “…more likely to contain detectable levels of dioxin than other products such as wood shavings or by-product papers.”
Reclaimed pulp beddings are made with fibers collected from pulp mill sewage systems. Though the paper industry has made efforts to rid their waste streams of the most troubling compounds, tests conducted by independent laboratories showed detectable amounts of dioxin in samples of the reclaimed pulp paper beddings tested. In addition, pellets made from recycled newspaper also tested positive for dioxins. Both of these types of beddings are widely used by consumers.
What To Look For
When you choose small-pet bedding, there are certain functional features to look for, such as absorbency, odor control, limited dust and ease of use. The price per use of these beddings varies, with pine typically being the most cost effective, followed by aspen and cedar, corncob, paper and various pelletized products, in order of least to most expensive. Safety is also an important consideration, and it is recommended that pet owners focus on bedding that is all natural, sludge-free and dioxin-free.
With that foundation, then make your bedding choice based on what is most important for you and your pet.
You can access free, downloadable small-pet bedding information, and many pet care facts and tips, at the website of the leading provider of animal bedding in the United States, American Wood Fibers (AWF): www.awf.com/smallpetcare.