Your pet rats need a clean, safe environment to thrive and prosper. They’ll grow stronger in areas that are clean and free of fecal matter or food wastes.
That’s why it’s important to find the best bedding for rats to make sure your pets are comfortable and well-cared for.
Quick Answer – The Best Rat Bedding
What to Look for in Rat Beddings
Here some factors to keep in mind when shopping for rat bedding.
Almost all types of pet rats can’t deal with chemicals or dust particles in their bedding. So the best type of bedding needs to contain the least chemicals possible. It should also be dust-free. Even better, look for bedding that’s non-allergenic to prevent allergies and respiratory complications.
Bear in mind that any type of bedding you choose should be free of any fragrances because rats have a weak, vulnerable respiratory system. Whether natural or chemical, scents can pose a serious health threat to your furry friends. They can also be fatal if your rat ingests it.
Find materials with the best ability to control odors. Unwanted smells are a result of growing bacteria, fungi, and molds.
The best bedding should have materials that trap in these unwanted smells. This should promote a healthy living environment for your pet rats, as well as your household.
The main reason why we use bedding in a rat cage is to absorb urine or spilled water. The higher the material’s absorbency rate, the better it’ll feel for your furry friend.
It’s also good news for you because you won’t have to replace the bedding quite as frequently.
You’ll still need to change the bedding regularly even with the most absorbent bedding. So it makes sense to buy it in bulk.
Just make sure you try out each type of bedding in a small package at first. Check out how your pet rats react to it. If they’re comfortable, then it’s time to buy it in bulk.
The Different Types of Beddings for Rat Cages
Rats are extremely intelligent. If they have good bedding, they use it to divide up their own cage space into several areas. For them, bedding is so much more than just for sleeping.
Your furry friends can turn an ordinary, hum-drum cage into a sanctuary. They start by making a nest and an area to store their food. They also create a runway trail and a special corner where they can relieve themselves.
Keep reading to learn more about the three main types of bedding.
The substrate bedding is the layer that sits at the very bottom. It’s used to line the cage. Plus, the rats use it to dig burrows.
One good choice to consider is aspen bedding. This type of hardwood shavings is free of phenols and other toxic chemicals. It’s processed to be non-allergenic and dust-free.
Rats enjoy digging and foraging through it because it’s soft and easy to manage. Yet, it has a low absorbency rate, so you’ll need to change it more often than other types.
This layer of the bedding is what your pet rats will use to line their sleeping areas. You have many options for this layer.
Hemp is an all-natural type of bedding. Rats love sleeping above it because it’s organic, easy to manage, and highly absorbent.
Paper and straw pellets make great bedding because they’re highly absorbent. Plus, they’re quite affordable and easy to come by. They’re also non-toxic, which is great news for your little friends.
One option is to use unscented kitchen towels or toilet paper rolls. The best part? You can simply hang a new roll in the cage. Your pet rats will do the rest. Believe it or not, they’re great at taking care of their home environment.
Shredded cardboard, newspapers, or magazines are excellent options. Just rip them up and leave them inside the cage. Your rats will know what to do.
However, it’s important to make sure the paper you’re using isn’t bleached or colored. It also shouldn’t contain any toxic inks.
Fabric is valued for its softness and absorbency, but it can be a safety hazard for your rats.
The best type of fabric is fleece. It doesn’t create long threads when your rats chew it into pieces.
If your rats managed to cut holes in the fabric, you should immediately remove it. Otherwise, this may lead to the risk of tangling and suffocation.
This layer absorbs urine and feces. It also encourages sanitary toilet habits.
You should only place it in litter trays or pans. Your pet rats will fall into the habit of having a specific place to relieve themselves.
There are several litter options. The most commonly used is a non-allergenic fragrance-free cat litter. Pick a product that’s made with 100% recyclable paper, so it can be completely safe for your rats and the environment.
Types of Bedding to Avoid at All Costs
Scented litter bedding should be avoided. It’s also best to stay away from anything that contains wooden particles or minerals.
At one time, the most common type of bedding consisted of cedar, pine, or both. It was, and still is, the cheapest on the market.
The problem with these softwood shavings is that rats have a weak respiratory system. Simply put, they shouldn’t breathe in the concentrated oils naturally found in cedar and pine.
These beddings also contain toxic chemical compounds called phenols. These compounds can cause severe health problems in your pet rats.
Another type to stay away from is corn cob bedding. It’s dangerous if ingested. Plus, it tends to grow mold, especially in the presence of moisture. This can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues.
Canned or frozen corn cobs are great if given to your pet rats as treats. But it’s useless as bedding.
Cat litter should be used sparingly and only in your pet rat’s litter trays. If you do use cat litter, make sure it’s odorless, dust-free, and made from natural components.
Also, make sure you stay away from the clumping cat litter. Rats like to chew on everything. If they end up chewing on their litter, it can cause fatal stomach problems.
The 6 Best Bedding for Rats
Your furry pets depend on their bedding more than you think. They use it for sleeping, digging, nesting, and foraging. It also keeps them warm and comfortable. Plus, it maintains an odor-free cage.
We reviewed some of the best bedding for rats and chose six as our top picks.
Kaytee Clean & Cozy Blue Small Animal Bedding: Best Overall
The Kaytee brand is super reliable when it comes to animal products, and this bedding is no exception. Made of fluffy, durable paper, it’s FDA-approved.
Expands to reach nearly 25 liters, this bedding comes in a distinctive blue shade. Besides adding some fun to the cage, the blue hue helps you easily pinpoint where the soiled areas are.
The Clean & Cozy bedding is dust-free and non-allergenic. It’s also highly absorbent and can soak up to six times its weight. This ensures a hygienic, healthy environment. Plus, you get less odor and a reduced risk of health problems.
Dr. Hemp All-Natural Bedding: Best All-Natural
Dr. Hemp provides industrial-grade bedding. Made with organically-grown hemp, this bedding is free of herbicides and pesticides. It’s also made with all-natural, biodegradable materials.
This 8-quart all-natural bedding is capable of absorbing up to four times its weight. It remains dry for longer than other types of beddings, which means less mold.
The Dr.Hemp bedding is quite low in dust. This can reduce the risk of any respiratory problems that your pet rats might face.
Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding: Best Value
This premium paper-made bedding is made of pure, residue-free materials. It’s designed specifically for small furry rats for a safe, hygienic environment.
The Small Pet bedding boosts healthy burrowing and digging behavior. Plus, it has a high absorbency rate and with excellent odor-control ability.
One of its best features is that it has no dyes, dust, or additives. It’s available in either 56 or 178-liter bags. You can also purchase the 178-liter bag in a pack of 2, 3, or even 8! This is definitely a valuable option if you want to get the best bang for your buck.
Vitakraft is one of the most reputable manufacturers of pet supplies. This 100% chemical-free bedding provides a reliable and safe environment for your rats. It’s available in two sizes: 16 and 35 liters.
This bedding offers up to 14 days of superb odor control. This ensures a hygienic, great-smelling cage. It also means you only have to change the bedding once every couple of days.
The Fresh World bedding can absorb almost three times its weight. Plus, its soft material crumbles under your rats’ feet to keep them comfortable and out of harm's way.
The Healthy Pet bedding is great at providing a fresh, safe environment for your pet rats. It’s made with all-natural ingredients to keep your furry friends happy and healthy.
This 30-liter bedding has an ultra-high absorbency rate. It can soak up three times its weight. It’s also dust-free, which reduces the risk of respiratory problems for your pets. Plus, it’s easy to clean and replace.
One of its best features is its long-lasting odor control. The HPCC bedding is soft and comfortable to allow your rats to dig and burrow. It also keeps them warm and content.
The Living World bedding is made of kiln-dried, all-natural hardwood shavings. It’s a premium high-quality product that can be used as a substrate for your rats’ cage floor.
This bedding is highly absorbent and dust-free to ensure a dry, hypo-allergenic environment. It also helps control odors.
Another great feature is that it contains no added scents or chemicals. And because it’s 100% biodegradable, it’d be an excellent choice for your furry friends and Mother Nature.
Here are some questions to help you learn more about rats and their bedding.
If you have baby rats who aren’t litter-trained yet, you should change it daily. However, if they can use the litter box, you can change it once every couple of days.
That being said, you always have to keep an eye on the bedding. If it seems soiled, soggy and squishy, you should change it immediately.
Nibbling on almost everything is one of the rats’ favorite hobbies. So make sure you always choose bedding that’s made with all-natural chemical-free materials.
Our Top Pick
Rats make great pets. They’re smart, sociable and best of all, clean. Each of our 6 choices for best bedding for rats ensures a hygienic, dry environment for your furry friend.
Even though all 6 are great choices, our top pick is the Kaytee Clean & Cozy Blue Small Animal Bedding. It does a superb job of absorbing liquids and keeping the cage odor-free. Its fun, distinctive blue color makes spotting soiled areas easier, which facilitates the whole cleaning process.
Plus, this Kaytee bedding is great at keeping your pets warm and cozy. It has a soft feel to it to keep your pets relaxed and comfortable as they’re playing around.