How Much Bedding Should a Hamster Have?

You might be wondering, how much bedding should a hamster have? This is an important question to ask because not all hamsters are the same. Hamsters also need different types of beddings for their cages and substrate.

So before we answer the question about how much bedding you should give your pet, let’s talk about what type of bedding they will need first.

The types of substrates that are available include wood shavings, paper-based materials like shredded newspaper or cardboard pieces, and recycled products made from corn cobs.

how much bedding should a hamster have

How much bedding should a hamster have?

It’s difficult to say how much bedding your hamster needs, because it makes a big difference whether that bedding is, for example, fresh hay or sawdust.

For a typical Syrian hamster cage I would recommend four or five inches of fresh removed straw as the secondary (bottom) layer. In addition it’s important to have an additional inch of thick nesting material in one corner of the tank for nesting and burrowing. Choose beddings that will appeal to your pet; sliced vegetables are popular choices and make great hideaways.

It’s likely that if you’ve just brought home a Syrian or Dwarf hamster then it would prefer some kind of soft nesting material such as: shredded paper towels, cedar shavings, or aspen beddings.

However if you have a Golden Hamster then one way to keep them happy is by providing too much bedding material like: wood shavings, pine bedding and scented beddings. This will provide your pet with plenty of places for their favorite activities such as digging in the dirt and moving around up high!

Some types of hamsters chew on paper-based substrates. Make sure you monitor them closely when they are younger so they don’t make holes in the flooring.

Many people are unsure about how much bedding should be given per inch squared because there isn’t really a rule for this.

Some people think that the best type of bedding is newspaper because it’s cheap and easy to find in most grocery stores but some also argue that these types of substrates are unsafe for hamsters because they can choke on them if they eat any pieces.

How many inches of bedding does a hamster need?

2 to 3 inches is what most pet owners recommend.

A hamster’s bedding should be deep enough to allow the animal to burrow into it and turn around easily without getting its fur dirty or wet.

Most people use wood shavings, paper bedding, cedar shavings or aspen shavings for their hamsters’ bedding.

Paper towels are also a popular choice since they can be thrown away when soiled instead of being changed daily like other types of beddings may need to be replaced with.

The substrate in a hamster habitat should have an inch-thick layer at least that is cleaned every week – more often if necessary because this type of bedding tends not to last long before becoming saturated.

Some people use bedding made of a natural, chemical-free material such as shredded paper.

The type that is best for the hamster depends on personal preference and budget.

You should also consider how much you want your pet to burrow into its bedding, as well as whether or not it will be used in an aquarium habitat where it can’t get dirty or wet easily.

Can you put too much bedding in hamster cage?

People often think that you need to put very little bedding in a hamster cage, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Hamsters like to burrow so as long as they have enough room for their fluffy bodies and all those sharp teeth. And since it’s unlikely that any pet store will carry your favorite variety of bedding, don’t worry about running out or having too much because more is definitely better here!

Closeup photo of brown hamster

How much bedding should my Syrian have? 

Your Syrian hamster needs at least 6 inches of bedding on the floor. It’s also a good idea to change it every few days since over time it will no longer provide your pet with a soft, safe and cozy area for sleeping.

To avoid that, try to use fresh bedding or change dirty bedding in small quantities. For thinning down any dirty material, scoop up as much waste as possible and then place some hay where the waste was before adding new clean bedding (eventually changing out the hay).

That way, you’ll create an area for your hamster to explore without ruining their natural burrowed environment. If you’re able to spend more than 2-3 minutes each day tending to your pet, it’s best to use a nesting bedding material like aspen shavings. This is because they help absorb urine and create an environment that helps keep mites and fleas away from your hamster.

Can hamsters suffocate in bedding?

No, hamsters do not suffocate in bedding because they have a natural instinct to burrow into things like hay, so the likelihood of them taking in enough to die is very low.

Bedding should be changed often because even though hamsters don’t actually “wind up” it can become dirty and a new one will absorb smells better than an old one.

How often should you change the bedding for a hamster?

It is recommended to clean the cage once a week, that includes changing bedding. The more your hamster plays in its bedding, the more often it will need to be changed.

It’s important that when you clean out old bedding from your pet’s enclosure, it should be replaced with fresh new material at all times to keep them safe and happy.

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That also means changing food dishes frequently as well so they don’t get moldy over time. A dirty substrate can lead to skin infections which could sometimes even kill an animal. So make sure you are cleaning their home environment just like they would with you if they were your pet.

  • If the bedding is soaked or smells bad, it needs to be cleaned;
  • A good rule of thumb for dirty beddings is that if a hamster will sit on it and won’t clean themselves off after 30 seconds, then there’s something wrong with the bedding;
  • The best way to know when its time to change your bedding is by looking at it closely. If there are signs of an allergic reaction to the bedding, then you should change it.

What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?

You’ll have to regularly remove wastes from the cage. Hamsters will live in a less-than-desirable environment that they can’t control, which leads to fear and illness, your hamster may get sick or die.

Hamster bedding should be changed daily if possible. The problem is that not all people know how to change the animal’s litter box without upsetting them. They might make too much noise, or take away their home.

The result of this distress is often an aggressive reaction from the animal and feces spread around the floor. One way you can prevent this irritation is by using eco-friendly bedding materials such as newspaper, corncob bedding or shredded hardwood chips. These materials are inexpensive, easy to clean and keep in the cage.

Can hamsters use toilet paper for bedding?

Absolutely. In fact, they love it because the rough texture gives them more traction on a slippery surface. As long as you use something gentle like toilet paper that won’t damage their sensitive nose and paws, there are few dangers to hamsters using toilet paper for bedding.

Hamsters are not messy animals so your cage is really going to stay clean if you give him this treasure. However, if he does have an accident then all you need to do is just pick it up and put it back in his living quarters – easy.

You might find dry pet food that can be folded into squares. Never use wet tissues or paper towels in the cage, because these will make a soggy mess and could cause problems for your pet.

A hamster’s living space is really simple to keep clean. You need to provide bedding, water, food, and shelter from drafts or direct heat sources. Buying in bulk can make the hamster happy because they always have something yummy waiting for them.

Syrian hamster in his cage with wood shavings

Is shredded newspaper okay for hamster bedding?

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with creating a bedding out of shredded newspaper for your pet hamster.

The problem with newspapers is that they are treated with heavy chemicals. So the chemicals will leech into the bedding over time. And it seems like there could be some paper-related allergies too, as many people are sensitive to recycled papers.

So I recommend either aspen or cedar shavings for your hamster’s bedding. Both are perfectly safe and won’t cause any allergy problems, nor will they produce a lot of dust or emit an odor like some other types can.

There is no perfect answer to the question “How much bedding should a hamster have?” It should not be too deep, but it is enough for him to burrow into it if he wants.

Remember: You want him feeling cozy! The type of fluffy bedding also matters; try shredded paper towels in case he has allergies, though this may be overkill.

My hamster loves to spend time in his burrow, and I always make sure there is plenty of bedding around for him to do so. It’s a great place for him to hide from the light or take an afternoon nap when he needs one. So you’ll want at least three inches (seven centimeters) worth; more if your cage allows it because they love their space too. Keep the bedding deep. Paper is not good because your hamster will eat it, so make sure you have something else.

Is tissue bedding safe for hamsters?

Yes, tissue bedding is safe for hamsters. A lot of people are worried about the chemicals that may be used to make tissue bedding, or if it will make your hamster sick. Tissue paper is not harmful to hamsters in any way.

The first concern is because some sheets are covered in ink that can come off and stain them when they sleep on the sheets too much. This can result in a dull coat, blotchy appearance and dehydration over time so simply pay attention to your pet’s hygiene and know when enough is enough.

Paper mills use different types of bleaches such as chlorine bleach which has been linked with irritation (among other things). You don’t want this going near your pets’ sensitive respiratory tracts or developing lungs.

If you use tissue sheets instead of paper towels, they won’t be absorbent. Wetness will stay on your pet’s skin and can lead to irritation or disease-causing bacteria. That means they should never be used for lining a cage because of how much urine it absorbs. This bedding has no cushioning. Paper towel may also make it harder for animals to move. Some animals like ferrets and chinchillas who like to burrow beneath piles of their own feces, might not be able to move with paper towel on the ground.

What types of bedding are safe for my hamster?

You can use these bedding types for your hamster: aspen, hay, toilet paper, tissue paper, and wood shavings. They are completely safe. Sometimes you’ll need to buy unscented ones so that your hamster doesn’t get a stuffy nose.

One option is to purchase litter made from paper products such as recycled newspaper pellets. They’re soft and don’t have any other material in them that might harm the delicate lining of the animal’s mouth.

If you use wood shaving instead of newsprint pellets be sure they are not chemically treated with pesticides or phenol compounds. You can find this kind of litter at most pet stores. Some people prefer a sponger or fleece like material in the cage as well, but this isn’t a requirement.

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Don’t use pine or cedar shavings because they contain phenols which can be harmful to hamsters and other small animals. Cedar contains oils that are irritating to respiratory passages while pine has volatile hydrocarbons (see my answer linked above).

The substrate should provide enough surface area for your pet so it can dig around and feel safe. You want to put at least one inch of bedding on either side of their home when you use wood shaving or newspaper pellets. Do what the manufacturer recommends with hay, tissue paper, or toilet paper. Hamster beds make good burrows and a hamster will spend the majority of its time there.

If you want to make your own bedding, consider using layers of soft fabrics like fleece or cotton for insulation and some paper towels as nesting material. Scented things like cedar shavings and scented materials can make it hard to breathe. So do not put them in your rabbit cage. But shredded paper is safe for a rabbit and helps them feel warmer. If you are using shredded paper, keep one layer of it unless you are alternating with other types which are easier to clean up if the rabbit pees on it by accident.

What can hamsters not use for bedding?

Hamsters should not use cat litter, pine wood shavings, cedar wood shavings, cotton fiber bedding, scented bedding. The dust from these products can make the hamster’s lungs and respiratory system sick. It can do this when animals are exposed to it and when people touch it in their home.

It is possible for a hamster to catch an illness or die if it eats any of these types of bedding because they are unsafe and not made for animals other than cats. To help prevent this type of death or illness your best bet would be to refrain from using this type of rodent “bed” at all costs.

Is my hamster allergic to his bedding?

It is best to look for signs such as sneezing or excessive washing with water. When a hamster displays these symptoms the chance that your pet is allergic to his bedding is high. Some other symptoms include red eyes, skin irritation and a very itchy coat. In the case of these signs, you should take your hamster to the vet for proper diagnosis as soon as possible.

Tiny hamster in yellow cup surrounded with 
 green grass

What is the best Dwarf hamster bedding?

On average, aspen and wood shavings are about the best bedding you can use. Some bedding is better for your pet than others. Organic and natural bedding can be expensive, so it is good to know that corn cob bedding doesn’t have a strong odor, clumps less, and isn’t as expensive.

There’s so many out there that it really boils down to what’ll be more cost effective for your situation and your critter. But if we had to pick just one type? I’d use either aspen or pine on all but those occasions where there is respiratory sensitivities in the owner’s immediate family or among housemates (eg., allergies). Those circumstances warrant using something like plain paper towels or newspaper.

How to layer hamster bedding

Safe hamster bedding can be made from different materials. The most common types of hamster beddings are aspen, cedar shavings, paper towel and newspaper. To make it cozy for your pet you should use a combination of these items in layers. You need to have enough bedding in the cage. This is different for different types of cages, and for different materials.

The amount of shavings that you need will depend on the animal. For cedar, you will need about two inches worth, but for pine, one inch is enough. You can also check to see how much animal product was processed if there are brands with this information on their packaging.

The main thing to think about when deciding how much bedding for hamsters is: what type do I want and how big a cage should I buy? To determine this, measure your hamster’s habitat as well as decide on the density or thickness that it needs!

Why does my hamster put bedding in her mouth?

Hamsters use bedding to line their nests for safety and warmth. When a hamster looks for new bedding materials, you may see her carrying something in her mouth that she bites off of an item to make it smaller.

Hamsters are also very selective about the type of bedding they will use – they only like paper-based or natural fibers (non-textured carpet). Keep in mind that bearded dragons usually chew on their basking surfaces. Some people think this is because they don’t have teeth left to chew with! It’s all normal behavior.

Is Chipsi bedding safe for hamsters?

Yes, Chipsi bedding is safe for hamsters. It’s also a great and economical way to cover more ground in your cage.

Chipsi Bedding is made from materials like paper, wood chips, processed cellulose and other recycled fibers that would otherwise end up in a landfill. This means that Chipsi bedding of the same thickness has approximately the same level density as shavings or straw beddings (specifically Pine shavings).

Wrapping up

The answer to the question of how much bedding a hamster should have is dependent on many factors. What type of hamster do you have? Is it an animal or aquarium pet and what size cage does it live in? How long will your hamsters stay inside its cage each day?

All those questions are important when figuring out how much bedding your little furry friend needs for their home.

First, think about whether you’re looking for wood shavings, paper straws, shredded newspaper or other types of material that can be used as bedding. You may even want to mix different materials together so there’s variety available within the same space!

Remember – only give them enough that they can use up over time.

Last updated on May 20, 2021 by Bruce Paxton

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