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Is Sawdust Bad For Guinea Pigs ?

Is sawdust bad for guinea pigs ?

  • No

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • Yes

    Votes: 13 92.9%

  • Total voters
    14
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ASTRID

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Just needed some answers as some people say it's bad for them is it true ?
Thanks in advance x
 
P

piggyfan

I think opinions are going to be very divided on this. Personally, I would never use it. I believe it is dusty even if it is dust extracted and this can cause respiratory conditions. I have also known the roughness to contribute to bumblefoot in guinea pigs. This is just my opinion and you are going to get opposite views. I really love vet bed. I feel it is such a lovely bedding for guinea pigs as it is made especially to be a bedding and really wicks away urine yet it is soft and cosy too.
 

ASTRID

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Thank you piggyfan I'm at a loss because I woulden't do anything to detriment their health but they never get foot saws and don't have any problems breathing but I'm still worried x
 

Elwickcavies

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Wood shavings and sawdust are not recommended for several reasons, including dust, which can cause breathing problems, rough texture (shavings), which can ulcerate the feet, oils (with a strong smell) that can affect the skin and respiratory system. There are still plenty of people that use wood shavings, but I think there are plenty of great alternatives. I really like fleece in combination with a dustbuster to suck up all those poops easily. Spot cleaning once a day and washing the fleece once a week works a treat. A lot of my piggy friends like Fitch, which is a recycled paper product and is very soft and absorbant, or Megazorb, a similar thing. Before I got into fleece, I used barley straw, which is lovely and soft and wicks away the wee quite effectively. Some people swear by a thick layer of newspaper, with hay on top. You could look into one of these if you are worried. x
 

Claire W

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It is a hard one and you are going to get divided opinions.

Do you mean sawdust or wood shavings? The reason I ask is because sawdust and shavings are two different things. Sawdust is fine and dusty wood which isn't suitable and wood shavings which are larger flakes of wood which in my opinion are ok if they are properly dust extracted and soft.

I have used dust extracted wood shavings for the last 7 years of owning guinea pigs and have never had a problem. The rescues where I adopted my piggies from have all known that I use shavings and have always been happy with the set up. One of the main reasons why I started to use shavings was because I used to have outdoor piggies. I started with a hutch and then changed to a free range set up in a shed so I would cover the bottom with layers of newspaper followed by shavings and then hay and it worked well for me and the piggies.

I now have indoor piggies and although I have tried other types of bedding, wood shavings have always suited me. I must point out though that my piggies have lots of fleecy cosies and crash pads so they're not constantly standing on shavings.

Of course, if my piggies ever had any problems by having shavings, I would change to something else immediately.
 

PPO

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I have personally never found my guinea pigs, hamsters or gerbils to have a problem with woodshavings. I tried fleece for a few weeks recently and I didn't really like it. My guinea pigs also spent a lot of time in their loft (which had woodshavings) or hiding on top of their houses. I'm open to other options and if need be I would stop using it if it irritated my guinea pigs. At the moment I'm happy with shavings though.
 

Pebble

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There is a world of difference between sawdust.....and wood shavings. Can you please clarify which you are referring to?

Sawdust can be very irritating for guinea pigs (and hoomans) and is not something I personally would ever contemplate using.
With wood shavings however, you will find opinion to be divided.
Factors to consider on whether shavings are suitable for your pigs include
a) whether the shavings are dust extracted,
b) what trees they come from. (Red Cedar for instance contains certain terpenoid essential oils that have been shown to irritate the respiratory tract in guineas and bunnies - cedar shavings are not normally available in the UK but I would be wary of pine for similar reasons)
c) whether they contain any additives to make them smell nice (eg lavender essential oil)
d) whether your piggies are long-haired - shavings can get stuck in long-hair and cause matts
e) whether your piggies have a particular medical condition (eg embarassing boy-bits, urinary infection/cystitis or chronic respiratory issues) where in all these cases it may be preferable not to use shavings but use alternative bedding.

I have used wood shavings routinely for all my indoor pigs for many years with no issues - with the following exceptions
a) poorly pigs where poo output or urine composition need to be regularly inspected - much easier to monitor on fleece/incontinence pads
b) Piggies who have recently had surgery - again they are on fleece/incontinence pads to reduce risk of wound infection
c) the two mite girls whilst they were self-mutilating - they were on puppy pads and paper bedding owing to the extreme sensitivity of their skin
d) Rude Rudy with the embarassing cauliflower willy - puppy pads and fleece means no more "shavings getting stuck"

I have tried most of the alternatives (eg auboise, megasorb ), also tried shredded paper, incontinence pads, fleeces, puppy pads, etc (some of which a you can see above I use for specific situations) There are pros and cons to all of them.
However I keep returning to wood shavings topped with finely chopped soft barely straw as this combination seems to work best for me and the pigs as part of our routine.
 

ASTRID

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Thank you for all your reply's I'm currently having a long think about this and I will also come back to you on what type of shaving etc. x
 

Claire W

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I forgot to write in my post that like Pebble, I too use fleece after a piggy has had surgery to reduce the risk of wound infection and towels to monitor urine output etc and like PPO, I have always used shavings for my gerbils and hamsters with no ill effects.

At the end of the day, it is up to you which bedding you use and people can only advise as there are pros and cons to them all and everyone will have their own preferences.
 

helen105281

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I am not a fan of sawdust or wood shavings for the reasons Gigi has mentioned. I use fleece and Vetbed but if I ever needed to use substrate I would use Fitch which is what my hamsters are on.
 

Pebble

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I really like this thread

Although it was originally asking for a definitive yes/no answer in a poll- it is clear that there is no "one size fits all"
All suggestions and comments that have been made here are extremely useful in aiding the OP to ultimately decide what works best for them,

I think sometimes the knowledge and experience on this forum can "overwhelm" new owners about "what is considered appropriate husbandry"
And that is the point - there is no "one best" option for piggies and their slaves in regards to husbandry

To back this up - I would like to provide an example for your information
I have recently visited a new slave who was so worried they "weren't doing the right thing for their new piggies given certain forum posts" ......that they felt they might have to give them up.
Having examined and talked about the conditions etc of the pigs concerned...I am happy to report that the new slave is now feeling much more confident about keeping them. They might not be indoors in C&C cages on fleece...but they have a lovely hutch with proper littering in the outside shed....and it is clear their slave is going to be a VERY good piggie owner. We have also sorted out a cavy savvy vet and I am quite sure this person wil not "stint" about taking the pigs to the vet if they have any concerns.

The end result is that thankfully
a) there will not be two more piggies seeking rescue space.
b) a new cavy slave feels supported in their choices of how to care for their new pigs

I would also like to take this opportunity to make a distinction between
a) general posts about husbandry/care etc where it is a "matter of opinion and choice " and
b) specific "specialist" posts on the H & I board that require specialist knowledge

x
 

A&T

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I use to use sawdust, but Amber got quite sore feet after awhile. However I think that personally its a good cheap alternative to fleece and stuff. Especially if they have other textures they are on apart from just sawdust. I do find however that it can get quite smelly quickly, and actually needs cleaning out more often than other bedding's.
I also think that its highly important that you make sure if you do buy sawdust that its dust free :)


I would also like to take this opportunity to make a distinction between
a) general posts about husbandry/care etc where it is a "matter of opinion and choice " and
b) specific "specialist" posts on the H & I board that require specialist knowledge

Would I just be able to ask what exactly do you mean by 'specialist' knowledge?
 

Pebble

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Would I just be able to ask what exactly do you mean by 'specialist' knowledge?
Bless - of course you can ask....and you should not feel worried about asking such questions
This is "probably the best guinea pig forum in the world ".....with the exception of Guinea Lynx USA

This Forum firmly has it's feet in the UK

I will put a post on later tonight to answer your specific question.....so please bear with me
x
 

A&T

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Bless - of course you can ask....and you should not feel worried about asking such questions
This is "probably the best guinea pig forum in the world ".....with the exception of Guinea Lynx USA

This Forum firmly has it's feet in the UK

I will put a post on later tonight to answer your specific question.....so please bear with me
x
Oh I wasn't worried :). I am aware of what a great forum this is. I believe it has helped a lot of people of the years it has been running. People have trust in people on here to give them help/advice however small or serious it may be, and trust is hard to gain when its about animals you love so dearly and want the best for them.

Thank you, I will look forward to seeing your post. Please would you tag me in it, so I don't miss it. Thanks x
 

Freela

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As others have said, do you mean sawdust or wood shavings? There is a big difference. There are also some wood shavings that are better than others. Aspen and hard wood shavings are better than cedar, pine, and soft wood shavings because they have fewer aromatic oils, which can be an irritant to some animals' skin and lungs even if the shavings aren't dusty. I actually kept small animals (mice, rats, hedgehogs) on wood shavings for years, including some of the 'bad' ones and they had no ill effects. However, over the years, I built up a serious allergy to most of these woods, to the point where I had to wear a mask and goggles when cleaning the cage out because I would wheeze and my eyes would swell shut. So if I developed such a dramatic sensitivity from repeated exposure and I didn't actually live in the shavings, it seems logical that some animals could also run into issues with allergies after repeated exposure to wood oils and dust.

I switched to paper beddings once those because easily commercially available in Canada and my allergies are much improved. I also find that the shavings hold up to a lot more use than equivalent amounts of wood shavings, so I get less odor and don't have to clean as often. I've used Carefresh for years, and then had someone recommend one called Living World Fresh and Comfy and I LOVE that one! It doesn't stay damp the way Carefresh did and I don't go through anywhere near as much as I did with Carefresh, so I'm converted now! The only thing I don't like is that because it's made of recycled magazines, etc. I will occasionally see colors in individual pellets from the original print... if they are red or orange colors I end up examining them under a magnifying glass trying to figure out if it's blood or if it's print because one of my pigs has chronic bladder problems. But it's not enough of a nuisance to make me switch brands again!
 

Harry&lloyd

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My girls really were quite happy on woodshavings but it was me & my flatmate that had the problem with them. Not only were they a nightmare to get off carpet/fleece but I found I got really sore itchy hands and arms after touching the wood shavings. Clean out day was a nightmare for us. We now happily use megazorb and cosindry. I hope you get the answers your lookin for x
 

BossHogg

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I've never used sawdust, I used to use shavings, I now use snowflake soft chip, which is fantastic. Dust extracted and very soft underfoot, even for hoomans. ;)
 

BossHogg

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I use to use sawdust, but Amber got quite sore feet after awhile. However I think that personally its a good cheap alternative to fleece and stuff. Especially if they have other textures they are on apart from just sawdust. I do find however that it can get quite smelly quickly, and actually needs cleaning out more often than other bedding's.
I also think that its highly important that you make sure if you do buy sawdust that its dust free :)





Would I just be able to ask what exactly do you mean by 'specialist' knowledge?
I thought Pebbles post was self explanatory. Our H&I specialists have been chosen by the forum staff because of their extensive knowledge in the care of piggies, we have had incidents of well meaning members passing off "googled and rehashed" info as their own. This information may be right, it may be incorrect (as has happened in the past) This is why our H&I specialists have a banner under their posts so you can take comfort knowing that any information imparted is correct for your piggies. :tu:
 

A&T

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I thought Pebbles post was self explanatory. Our H&I specialists have been chosen by the forum staff because of their extensive knowledge in the care of piggies, we have had incidents of well meaning members passing off "googled and rehashed" info as their own. This information may be right, it may be incorrect (as has happened in the past) This is why our H&I specialists have a banner under their posts so you can take comfort knowing that any information imparted is correct for your piggies. :tu:
Soo.. What your saying is.. No one apart from the people you (mods) think are 'specialists' can comment?! Whether they have knowledge of the illness or whatever has happened? What if someone who isn't deemed a 'specialist' or have a banner comments but has good knowledge and hands on experience with the problem?

I don't think that giving a Google link or getting information from google is a bad thing? Especially if that person was receiving specialist help at the same time? Let's face it.. They probably googled it themself anyway. And when your learning about different things yourself you use google as revision the same as you use books, everyone has to learn from somewhere, whether it be the internet or taken straight from a book right?!
 
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