You might have heard or seen some people using toilet paper as hamster bedding and wondered if it’s safe. This is a concern because things that are designed for humans are not generally safe for animals.
To clear your confusion, toilet paper in the USA is safe for hamsters as long as it doesn’t contain any synthetic fragrances or chemicals and you remove all wet, clumped-up pieces before your pet can choke on them.
How is toilet paper safe for hamsters? How do hamsters react to toilet paper? Is it good bedding material? Do hamsters eat toilet paper?
Read on to discover the answers to all such questions and learn which bedding material works the best for hamsters.
Bedding for Hamsters
Creating a comfortable living space for your pet hamster should be one of your top priorities. To do that, you must choose appropriate bedding to add to their cage.
But what makes a material appropriate for hamster bedding?
The answer depends on the type of hamster you have. Different hamster species live in different environments, affecting their survival instincts and habits.
Hamsters in hot and dry climates dig homes for themselves underground, while the ones living in grassy plains use grass to make their nests.
Some important characteristics you should look for in hamster bedding are as follows:
- The material should absorb liquid properly and lock in the smell. You might experience unpleasant odors lingering around the cage if the bedding doesn’t absorb your hamster’s waste properly or stays wet for a long time.
- Hamsters accidentally consume pieces of bedding while pouching in their cheeks to make a nest. Hence, the material should be safe enough to pass through their digestive systems.
- The bedding should be soft and warm enough so that your hamster can snuggle and feel at home.
- You might need to change the bedding frequently to keep your pet and cage clean and healthy. Look for hamster bedding that is widely available all over the USA at reasonable prices.
- Search for hamster bedding that doesn’t accumulate dust or contain toxic chemicals. Any such material can harm your hamster’s respiratory system or overall health.
Is Toilet Paper Bedding Safe for Hamsters?
Toilet paper doesn’t harm your hamster, even if ingested accidentally. This is because modern toilet paper in the USA dissolves in water after a while.
It breaks down easily in a hamster’s stomach and passes out without causing harm.
However, your hamster may experience an upset stomach if it ingests scented toilet paper. Plus, clumpy toilet paper pieces stick to your hamster’s pouches or cause digestion problems if it reaches their stomach.
So, avoid using scented toilet paper for hamster bedding and remove any clumpy pieces before your hamster can pouch them in their cheeks.
While toilet paper isn’t necessarily harmful to hamsters, it isn’t the best material for hamster bedding. Read the reasons to know why.
Toilet Paper Can’t Control Odor
Toilet paper is not a very good choice for odor control. Using toilet paper for hamster bedding will make the cage smell too much. You will have to clean the cage daily to get rid of the lingering smell.
Toilet Paper Do Not Facilitate Burrowing
Hamsters love to have something to dig into. Since toilet paper isn’t sturdy enough, your hamster will be unable to exercise their burrowing skills if you only use toilet paper as their bedding.
Try sturdier materials like Aspen and top it off with tissue paper to build a warm and comfortable hamster bedding.
Toilet Paper Are Better For Nesting
Hamsters love to build their nests with soft and light materials like toilet paper. Pieces or stripes of toilet paper in their cage encourage them to build a warm, snuggly nest.
Hence, you can use toilet paper to supplement a sturdier material for hamster bedding, like Aspen or paper.
What Kind of Toilet Paper Is Safe for Hamsters?
The best type of toilet paper to fill your hamster’s cage is plain and unscented. Kitchen rolls are also a good substitute for toilet paper; they are less absorbent and break apart more quickly than other materials.
Say no to scented toilet paper if you don’t want to risk your furry friend’s health. The ideal depth of toilet paper bedding should be around six inches or more to allow enough space for hamsters to burrow.
What Do Hamsters Do with Toilet Paper?
Your hamster will absolutely love the toilet paper in its bedding because it’s soft and cuddly – a material perfect for building a cozy nest.
You might even see your pet shove the toilet paper in their cheeks! Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean the hamster wants to eat it.
Hamsters have the habit of pouching things in their cheeks they need to build their nest. They do the same with toilet paper too!
Remember not to put in fleece, cotton, or other artificial fibers that stick to their teeth or hurt their cheeks.
Moreover, they will keep adding bits and pieces of toilet paper to their nest, even if it already has enough.
This is because hamsters like deep space to burrow into, and toilet paper often mats up because of being highly absorbent. Instead of filling a lot of toilet paper into their cage, you can also add paper towels.
Is a Toilet Roll Tube Safe for Hamsters?
Yes, a toilet roll tube is a super-fun accessory for hamsters.
- They can enjoy tunneling through the tube, especially if you join many of them together.
- Your hamster can enjoy chewing on the tube when bored.
- These tunnels of toilet roll tubes also make a good hiding place for them.
However, your hamster can get stuck in a tube if it’s too narrow for its size. Cut down a line through the middle of one side so your hamster can play without getting stuck.
What Should You Use for Bedding Instead of Toilet Paper?
You can use Timothy hay as a snack and bedding for your hamster. Many hamster food formulas also contain hay, so it’s totally okay if your furry friend decides to enjoy breakfast in bed.
This hay makes a soft nest, perfect for hamsters that want to burrow into their beds. However, it isn’t as absorbent as some of the other bedding alternatives.
You can buy Timothy hay for a reasonable price from any nearby farmer across the US.
Paper towels are more resistant than toilet paper and do not clump as much when wet. You can get paper napkins in different colors to decorate the cage.
An important point to note here is that paper towels are more expensive than Aspen. Also, ensure you get unscented paper towels to protect your hamster from strong fragrances.
This is the only safe wood bedding you can use for hamsters. It can lock in the odor effectively. Plus, Aspen is available at reasonable prices in several shops across the USA. But you must brush your pet regularly because wood shavings can stick to the fur.
Granules is another bedding safe for hamsters. However, you shouldn’t use this material alone for hamster bedding because it isn’t hard enough for hamsters to burrow.
You can use granules as a supplement to other sturdy materials like Aspen and paper, and that too if they are unscented.
Bedding Material Actually Harmful for Hamsters
- Pine and cedar shavings might seem like good options for hamster bedding because of their pleasant smell. But they are harmful to animals and even cause allergic reactions in humans if used in large doses. They emit phenols and other toxic substances that can damage your pet’s trachea and lungs.
- You shouldn’t use cat litter as the only or primary bedding because they are either too dense or not dense enough. It doesn’t allow your hamster to burrow and nest properly. Also, clumping cat litter exposes your pet to the risk of internal blockages if ingested.
Do you still want to leverage its odor-control properties? You can spread a thin layer of cat litter at the bottom of the cage and top it off with a safer hamster bedding.
- Fluffy cotton bedding is also unsuitable for hamster bedding because it’s not water-soluble. Your hamster may experience internal obstructions if it ingests small pieces of its fluffy bedding. Such bedding also holds the risk of entangling your hamster’s limbs.
- Hamsters have delicate noses that can’t tolerate strong fragrances. Hence, you should avoid using any scented material for hamster bedding. Bedding infused with synthetic fragrances can also prove to be poisonous for hamsters.
Although not harmful to your furry little friend, toilet paper doesn’t absorb liquid properly or eliminate unpleasant smells. This means that your hamster’s enclosure might smell all the time, which won’t be pleasant.
If you have to use toilet paper and can’t find an alternative, remember to change it regularly so it doesn’t cause your furry friend any discomfort.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more