The Hazards Of Cedar And Pine Bedding
16 January, 2017

Guest Blog by Andrea Babb, The Other Pets Animal Resuce

When Fred, the Djungarian Hamster, was relinquished to his local shelter, the staff members weren’t sure how long he would live.  He was mostly immobile and hadn’t opened his eyes in over a year.  This was completely unacceptable, since Fred was only a year old.  Luckily, it didn’t take the staff long to figure out the cause of his many health issues: his cedar-pine mixed bedding.  Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence.  Rodents all over the world are suffering in the exact same way, if not worse.

Some bedding can be very dangerous to small pets         

If you walk into a pet store today, and make your way into the rodent aisle, you will find the shelves stocked full of Cedar, Pine, and Cedar-pine mixed bedding.  Most shoppers would think that since there is such a wide array of these bedding types that they are more than likely the best choice.  Unfortunately, their natural assumption is very wrong, and very dangerous for most hamsters, gerbils, rats, and even rabbits.   That is because most of these animals are highly allergic to the chemical compounds called Phenols, which are found in Cedar and Pine shavings.

The wrong bedding can cause allergic reactions to pets

Common allergic reactions to cedar and pine bedding are severe eye irritation, infertility, reproductive issues, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, and gastrointestinal issues.  When exposed to Phenols long term, these symptoms can be life threatening and downright dangerous.  While the public can’t force pet stores to sell animal safe bedding, shoppers can make healthier choices when it comes to their small rodent family member.

Aspen shavings and recycled paper are the safest alternatives

Two of the safest alternatives are Aspen shavings and Recycled Paper.  Both of these alternatives are inexpensive, readily available at most pet stores, and are 100% safe for your pet.  Recycled paper is slightly more expensive than wood shavings, but is more absorbent, has zero odor, and is environmentally friendly.  It is also really soft to the touch, which will make your pet very happy.

Recycled bedding improved the health of a hamster

After switching Fred, the hamster, to recycled paper bedding, he opened his eyes for the first time in over 12 months.  Since then, he has increased mobility, less pain, the ability to see again, and has even gained a little weight.  His personality is finally able to shine through, and he now has the life he deserves.

It’s important, and crucial, for your pet’s well- being to make the healthiest choice when it comes to their bedding.  They will live longer and be happier, and you will have the confidence and reassurance that you are providing the best atmosphere possible for your pet.  It’s the least we can do for them since they bring so much love and joy into our lives.

Andrea Babb is a freelance writer who owns and manages The Other Pets Animal Rescue, an exotic pet and farm animal rescue located in Hardin County, KY and Kaiserslautern, Germany.

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