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Small Pets Bedding

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.

Creature Comforts

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.

Learn More

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.