Best Used As A Base For Bedding
Ideally, for rabbits and hamsters, shredded paper should be used as a base for bedding. After the paper has been placed at the bottom of the rabbit hutch or hamster cage, straw or hay should then be placed on top of the paper. Shredded paper is also a much better option than sawdust, because this can enter your pet's eyes and nose. Wood shavings, too, are another good option when it comes to a bedding material for a rabbit or hamster.
Possible Issues With Shredded Paper
Any shredded paper that's used for bedding for your hamster or rabbit should be checked before it's put in their cage or hutch. Things to look out for are sharp edges, and whether or not the paper is dry and clean.
Specifically with hamsters in mind you should try and use paper that contains no ink. Though a lot of modern ink is soya based you should err on the side of caution if you're uncertain.
There can be issues with all types of ink on paper that has been shredded. Anything printed out via a computer can be problematic because the ink is likely to run when wet, while newspaper ink can end up causing unsightly blotches on your pet's coat. This underlines the fact that shredded blank paper is the best option. All types of paper can be used for bedding, including stationery paper, paper towels and toilet rolls.
Hamsters are inclined to store paper in their mouths and then chew on the paper to reduce the size of the pieces. This matter can, alternatively, be addressed by making the pieces of paper as small as possible before they are placed in your hamster's cage. This will consequently reduce the risk of your hamster chewing on the paper.
There can be more of a odour when using shredded paper, compared to when wood shavings are used. So be prepared to clean our your pet's home every couple of days, when you use shredded paper as bedding material for your rabbit or hamster.
Safer For Rabbits Than Hamsters
Shredded paper will be okay as bedding for your rabbit or hamster in most cases, but there are less likely to be issues with a rabbit compared to a hamster. A rabbit will not be so likely to store paper in its mouth and eat it. With a hamster there is a small risk that its health could be affected if it has too much of an unhealthy urge to eat even pristine paper.
For hamsters particularly it's important to remember to use shredded paper as a base for bedding rather than for bedding as a whole. This will then lessen the chances of your pet digesting the paper.
One of the most beneficial aspects of shredded paper in your pet's home is that it will effectively absorb the damp. Thus, by using shredded paper as part of your pet's bedding, you will also simplify the process of cleaning out a hutch or a cage.
Sarah writes for All Star Shredding in Ireland and various small company websites.