Can You Use Sand For Guinea Pig Bedding?

The question is: can you use sand for guinea pig bedding? According to the Humane Society of the United States, sand is not ideal to be used as bedding for your piggies. 

Why do you ask? Sand can increase the risk of respiratory problems and impaction (and this can be fatal to them!). The thing is that they are very sensitive creatures. Once their noses inhale dust particles from the air, they easily get respiratory issues. 

Do you know that about 15 percent of cavies suffer from respiratory problems mainly because of choices of bedding?

This means that those pets living with sand around them usually lead to the said issue compared to those which use other materials. 

Yet, it’s not always “bad” as you think. In this article, you will know the benefits, drawbacks, and tips when using sand bedding for your guinea pigs. Without further ado, let’s start!


Benefits Of Sand Bedding To Guinea Pigs

So you’ve been wondering about the benefits of using sand as guinea pig bedding? Can you use sand for guinea pig bedding? Don’t worry, as guinea pig bedding has a number of benefits. Here are the following:

Since it’s made of natural materials, you’re sure it is safe for your pet. 

Not to mention, it’s usually non-toxic, which means that when ingested, it won’t harm your piggy friends. 

What’s amazing about sand bedding is that there’s no way it can cause allergic reactions or other health issues. Anyway, know what are guinea pigs allergic to!

Given that it’s absorbent, you won’t have any problem when it comes to your pet’s urine or other liquid waste. Why so? It’s because sand can easily soak them up. 

With sand, there’s no way your guinea pig will sleep in a wet bed. 

can you use sand for guinea pig bedding


Steps To Clean Sand Bedding For Guinea Pigs

Don’t fret about cleaning the sand bedding too. The question though is: how easy is it to clean sand bedding?

My fellow fur parent, it’s very easy. So you won’t be exerting too much effort, okay?

Here are the steps that you can follow:


Step #1. Removing the old sand bedding

From the enclosure, you should remove the old sand bedding. 

So you can easily do this step, you need to get a scoop or a shovel. Use this thing to scoop out the sand bedding. 

Once you’re done removing the sand, make sure to throw it away; of course, you will need a trash bag for this. 


Step #2. Using vacuum

You cannot entirely get the old sand bedding by scooping it out. In this step, you will need a vacuum. In this way, you can get rid of the remaining dirt or debris. 


Step #3. Replacing with new sand bedding

Is it clean now? If it is, then it’s time for you to replace it with fresh new bedding.

Make sure your pet has plenty of new sand bedding for it to burrow in. 

And yes, these are the three main steps, and they’re undoubtedly easy peasy to execute, right? 


Tips For Choosing The Best Sand For Guinea Pig Bedding

There are a few tips that you should consider when you’re choosing the best sand for your guinea pig bedding.

Perhaps, you’re wondering, what kind of bedding is best for guinea pigs. To answer your question(s), consider the following tips:



The question is: how often will I need to replace sand bedding?

There are a few rules that you should consider when it comes to the frequency of replacing sand bedding. 

Factors such as the environment and the type of sand you’re using are usually considered. 

For your information, it’s best to replace your pet’s bedding every 3 to 6 months. 

Then again, you need to take note of the factors we’ve just mentioned. 

There are a few bedding options that you can try; make sure to provide your pet with proper bedding to prevent drawbacks. 



Perhaps, you’ve been wondering about the cost of sand bedding too. 

There are various things that you should consider, as always. You can search for different bedding online; usually, they are classified according to brand, type, size, quality, and quantity. 

If you only need a small amount of sand bedding given the area of your pet’s enclosure, the cost may range from $10 to $50. 

If I were you, I would search different websites and look for customers’ feedback and comments.’

Anyway, you may want to check this article:

Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs: Top 6 Choices That Are Safe & Comfortable



Now, you’re wondering how comfortable sand bedding is for guinea pigs.

The good news is that it is. But then again, it depends on the sand you’re using.

Friends, you must opt for the right type of sand bedding.

Other than comfort, you should use one that is made from non-toxic and natural materials. Perhaps, play sand may suffice.

I guess your question would be: where to get one? Easy peasy! You can have sand bedding online or maybe at the nearest home improvement store.

If I were you, I would not dwell on beach sand; it can be taken just anywhere, but it may contain some contaminants that are not good for your pet.


Highly absorbent

Is sand bedding highly absorbent?  

The answer is in the affirmative. Since it is composed of porous material, you’ll expect it contains little holes, thereby allowing it to be an excellent absorbent of liquids.

Most of the time, sand bedding is used for animal enclosures; not only for your cute little piggies but also for other animals such as horses too.

This thing ensures comfort, where your little pet or big animals can take a rest.

Much more, it’s used in chicken coops; it’s sure to aid in keeping the area dry, as it’s good at absorbing moisture.



Typically, sand bedding is an excellent source of insulation.

It’s used for animal stalls and enclosures to ensure not just cushioning, but also insulation.

Most of the time, sand bedding is composed of sand, of course, sawdust, and other things like peat moss, wood shavings, and straw.

How does it work, you ask? Well, the sand bedding traps air in between the bedding material particles.


Common Mistakes When Using Sand For Guinea Pig Bedding

All things come with pros and cons, just like when using sand for your guinea pigs.

So, what are the risks that you should take note of when using sand as guinea pig bedding?

First, it’s dusty; this means that sand can lead to nose, eyes, and lung irritation.

As mentioned in other articles, you’re already aware that it can cause respiratory problems and other health issues associated with it.

Some pet parents also find it hard to clean the cage with sand bedding. Yet, if you have read the previous sections, it will be easy for you!

Other than this, you may observe that sand sticks in your pet’s fur, so it will be difficult for you to clean it.

If this occurs, try to discover, and check this out: tips for grooming your guinea pig!

common mistakes when using sand for guinea pig bedding

In case your cavies accidentally eat sand bedding, you must visit your vet immediately.

You’re already aware that sand bedding may lead to various health problems such as impaction of the intestines, gastrointestinal blockages, and irritation of the digestive tract.

Whenever guinea pigs groom themselves, they ingest the sand, thereby causing digestive issues.

Other owners also don’t like sand bedding because their pet suffers from skin irritation and abrasion; this is usually experienced on the pet’s legs and feet.

Check these articles for your reference: why do guinea pigs sneeze and how old do guinea pigs live?


Alternatives To Sand For Guinea Pig Bedding

Dear friends, you know that guinea pig bedding can also be used for your pet because it also comes with benefits.

At the same time, you have come to know its drawbacks; and for this reason, you can opt for other alternatives.

To answer your question: What can I use instead of bedding for guinea pigs? Here are the alternatives that you can try:


#1. Straw bedding

Perhaps, this is a prominent option for several reasons; it’s natural, cheap, accessible, and made of absorbent material.

It’s also dust-free, so you can prevent your pet from suffering respiratory issues.

When it comes to comfort, it won’t come last; it’s sure to give a cushioned surface to your beloved pet so it can rest on it with great comfort.


#2. Paper-based bedding

Just like the first option, this alternative is an excellent absorbent too.

You won’t find it hard to clean it either; it will be easy for you.

When it comes to cost, it won’t be that expensive either. Besides, you can use and recycle old newspapers or scratched paper.

Just a tip though:

When using old papers, make sure they don’t contain high ink residue or they’re not too glossy.

Anyway, paper bedding can be pleasing in terms of aesthetics. You really have the choice to choose what color of paper suits you and your pet well.


#3. Hay

You can grow hay on farms, so it can be cheaper if you already have it available.

It’s also a good source of fiber, so you’re sure it can aid in keeping your guinea pigs’ teeth healthy.

You also cannot question its comfort because it’s made to be soft.

Much more, it’s an excellent compost and thermal insulation too.


#4. Wood shavings

Just like sawdust and any other options you can find here, wood shavings are excellent absorbent.

Yet, it’s not highly recommended because they may expose your pet to respiratory issues, and you don’t want that to happen, right?

So, what can I use instead of sawdust for my guinea pig? Read from the start of this section!

Wood shavings


#5. Fleece

There’s a good reason why you should use fleece as pet bedding.

Personally, I like this because of its durability. I also observed that my little cavy loves it; I guess it’s because it’s soft for its feet.

Just a tip: layer the fleece on yourself. You can save a lot and you can customize according to your will.

Below the fleece bedding, place an absorbent layer like pee pads or towels. Then place the fleece on the top.

Also, try making a liner; all you have to do is to sew layers altogether.

Yet, if you’re a busy person, check out the nearest pet shop or online.


#6. Hemp bedding

Here’s another safe choice for you!

The thing is that hemp grows quickly, so you’re sure it’s sustainable.

Much more, it’s pest-resistant, so you won’t be worried about the hemp being soaked with loads of chemicals.

Given that hemp doesn’t taste good, your pet won’t eat it.


#7. Bath mats

Bath mats are ultimately absorbent, so they are sure to be comfortable. They absorb odors and pee so quickly.

Experts suggest that these are the most eco-friendly options.

Not only that, but they are also easy to clean and easy to use.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to your usual questions:


Who should use sand for guinea pig bedding?

If you own a piggy, then you may consider using sand bedding for your pet.

As mentioned, it’s an outstanding option for your pet because of its comfort, absorbency, and ease of cleaning.

If you have sand bedding, you are sure your pet’s cage will look clean and become odor-free as it’s sure to soak up its urine.

If comfort is the priority, then it’s warm and soft for your pet to sleep on.


Who should not use sand for guinea pig bedding?

This is just a summary, my friends. Better read from the top. Okay? I tell you, if you consider sand as an option for your little furry pet, think again.

There are dangers that come with using it, mainly health problems.


Who makes the best sand for guinea pig bedding?

We’ve mentioned various tips when choosing the best sand for your piggies; try to take note of the factors. The important thing that you should consider is the safety of your guinea pigs.

Here’s a tip:

Try to find sand bedding that is made especially for your guineas. Also, opt for one that does not contain any additives or chemicals.

Finally, look for sand that is non-toxic and dust-free.


How does sand compare to other types of bedding for guinea pigs?

So, if we compare sand bedding compared to other types available out there, it won’t go the least of the choices of most owners.

Although it’s not considered the top option, it comes with various advantages when chosen.

We’ve discussed a lot of its advantages. So, it’s now up to you whether or not to consider this.


How much sand should I use for my guinea pig’s bedding?

First, determine the size of your pet’s cage. Is it big or small? The bigger the cage, the more sand you will need, obviously. Next, know the sand type that you are using. I’m reminding you then and again, to choose a bedding that is surely safe for your little cavy.


What are the best types of sand to use for guinea pig bedding?

There are several things to take note of when you want to look for the best sand type for your piggies bedding.

Aside from being safe to use, choose a sand type that is non-toxic, dust-free, and free of any sharp materials.

To elaborate, you should consider the cost, comfort, absorbency, and insulation of the pet bedding.


Where can I find sand for guinea pig bedding?

You can find sand bedding in various places. The best place for you to find one is at a pet store near you.

It’s best to look for a pet store specializing in small animals like your guinea pigs.

There are different kinds of sand that you can find in pet stores such as aquarium sand, play sand, and reptile sand.

Aquarium sand and reptile sand can also be used by your piggies, although they tend to be expensive options. Play sand, on the other hand, is definitely safe for your pet, and perhaps, the cheapest option.

Check the label; know the ingredients of the sand to ensure that it’s safe for your beloved pet.

In choosing, make sure to opt for dust-free, non-toxic, and natural choices.

Take note that some sand has silica, a matter that is detrimental to your pet when ingested.

If you don’t have that much idea, then ask staff members what’s best for your pet; surely, they have staff who are knowledgeable of the same.

In case you have limited options in local pet stores, try to purchase online; I’m sure you will find what you are looking for!


It’s A Wrap!

Now, we’ve answered your question: can you use sand for guinea pig bedding? Yes of course, you can. But there are many things that you should consider before opting for it.

Friends, please do weigh things; we’ll leave the decision to you! After reading the entire article, if you think it can do better than harm, then go for this choice, otherwise, try to opt for the alternatives.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed!

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