The Best Bedding for Syrian Hamsters

Taking good care of your Syrian hamster requires that you to provide it with a few essential things:

To keep your hamster healthy and comfortable, you also need to buy the best bedding possible.

ProductFeaturesRatingPrice
Kaytee Clean & Cozy
Kaytee Clean & Cozy
- Highly absorbent
- Dust-free
- Controls odor
- Affordable
- Soft
- Safe
4.2$$

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Kaytee Aspen Bedding
Kaytee Aspen Bedding
- Cheap
- Great for burrowing
- Natural
- Controls odor
- Safe
4.3$

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Carefresh Complete Bedding
Carefresh Complete Bedding
- Highly absorbent
- Dust-free
- Controls odor
- Soft
- Safe
4.1$$$

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Factors to Consider (When Choosing Bedding)

When choosing bedding for your Syrian hamster, there are three important factors that must be considered:

  1. Safety
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Keeping it as natural as possible

1. Safety

Using a safe hamster bedding is very important.

To be completely safe, the material shouldn’t contain any harmful chemicals (more on that later). It should also be close to dust-free, as dust can irritate the eyes and the respiratory system.

The bedding material shouldn’t contain anything sharp that the hamster can cut its paws on, and it should be digestible, in case the hamster decides to eat some of it.

2. Cleanliness

A key purpose of a bedding is to absorb urine and control bad odors. Neither the pet nor the owner want the cage to stink of urine.

So by using a highly absorbent bedding, the air will be easier to breathe, and the cage will be easier to clean.

3. Keeping it as natural as possible

Another key purpose of the bedding is to provide the hamster with an environment that is similar to its natural habitat. For Syrian hamsters, that means hot and dry desert where they can dig burrows in the soil.

By providing a bedding that allows for digging burrows and nests, your hamster will have the best chance at a comfortable and healthy life.

Recommendations

  • Use at least 3-4 inches of bedding for Syrian hamsters. It’s better with too much than too little, as a deep bedding allows for nesting and burrowing. ASPCA’s hamster care sheet recommends a minimum of 2 inches of bedding, and to provide toilet paper or tissue for nesting.
  • Remove faeces and spoiled bedding every day. Once a week, you should change all of the bedding and clean the cage with soap and hot water. Make sure to rinse the cage thoroughly to remove soap residue. Leave a little bit of the old bedding, as hamsters feel safer and more comfortable when they can smell their scent.
  • If your hamster is experiencing health concerns when introduced to a new bedding, stop using it, and contact your veterinarian.

The Best Hamster Bedding Materials

Materials that are OK to use include wood pulp, paper, hay, pellets, hemp, processed corn cob, and aspen shavings.

Hay is comfortable for hamsters but bad at controlling odor. It can also contain mites. If you opt to use hay anyway, make sure to put it in a bag in the freezer for 48 hours to kill mites and insects.

Pellets are good at odor control, but isn’t comfortable for the hamster. It should only be used in combination with one of the three best beddings (mentioned below).

Hemp works moderately well, but is expensive.

Processed corn cob is hard and uncomfortable.

In my opinion, paper, aspen shavings and wood pulp are the three best options. Let me explain why:

Paper

Paper is a great material. It’s safe, highly absorbent, and readily available.

Paper beddings that can be bought at pet shops are usually made from recycled or reclaimed paper.

If you want to save money, you could make your own bedding by shredding ordinary toilet paper. But make sure to shred it thoroughly. You don’t want your little furry friend to get tangled up in stripes of paper!

Aspen shavings

Aspen shavings is one of the most popular materials to use as hamster bedding.

Unlike the potentially harmful pine and cedar shavings, aspen shavings are completely safe to use. It’s also relatively cheap and fairly absorbent.

It’s a dense material, great for burrowing.

Wood pulp

Wood pulp is another popular choice.

Although similar to paper (wood pulp is used to make paper), this material isn’t recycled or reclaimed from consumers. It’s made from wood pulp waste.

It’s soft and absorbent, and easy to clean. It’s also safe to use, as potentially harmful chemicals have been removed.

The only downside to using wood pulp bedding is that it’s a bit expensive.

List of Beddings to Avoid

There are several types of bedding that should be avoided:

  • Scented bedding – Contains potentially harmful chemicals.
  • Cotton – Indigestible, and small animals can get so entangled in cotton strands that blood circulation is cut off.
  • Straw – Has sharp edges that can injure small animals.
  • Sawdust – The dust can irritate the eyes and cause respiratory problems.
  • Newspaper – The ink can be toxic.
  • Cat litter – Difficult to digest, can cause intestinal obstruction.
  • Cedar and pine wood shavingsContain harmful phenols.
  • “Fluffy” polyester bedding – Indigestible, and hamsters can get tangled up in it.
  • Unprocessed corn cob  – Becomes moldy in a matter of days.
  • Coconut fibers – Sharp, can cut the hamster’s paws. Difficult to digest.

Reviews of the Top 3 Products

Now that we have determined which the best materials are, it’s time to get specific. I picked out the top product for each of the three best bedding materials – paper, aspen shavings, and wood pulp.

Let’s go over their respective pros and cons and see if we can find the best bedding for Syrian hamsters!

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Paper Bedding

Kaytee Clean & Cozy is a safe and very soft paper bedding that has become widely popular, and highly rated (4.2 on a scale 1-5), among (Amazon) customers.

Thanks to its high absorbency of liquid (6x its own weight), Kaytee Clean & Cozy is the best hamster bedding for odor control. The manufacturer also claims that it’s 99.9% dust-free. It’s simply a great product.

There are scented versions of this product, but I urge you to steer clear of them. Scented beddings contain chemicals that could be harmful to small animals.

  • Highly absorbent
  • Controls bad odors
  • Safe
  • Soft
  • Fairly priced
  • Avoid the scented version

 

Kaytee Aspen Bedding

Kaytee Aspen Bedding is the top choice if you opt for aspen shavings. Given a 4.3 rating, customers could hardly be any happier.

It’s a safe and all natural hard wood bedding that’s great for nesting and burrowing.

Kaytee Aspen Shavings is also a great option for your wallet, as it’s the cheapest of the three.

  • Safe
  • Affordable
  • Great for burrowing
  • Not as comfortable and absorbent as the other two products

 

Carefresh Complete Bedding for Small Animals

The Carefresh Complete Bedding is another fantastic option.

It’s made from shredded wood pulp, and thus completely safe and natural.

Thanks to being highly absorbent and 99% dust-free, Carefresh Complete keeps the cage clean while also controlling bad odors.

Customers love it, and has given it a 4.1 rating.

  • Soft
  • Safe
  • Dust-free
  • Good odor control
  • Highly absorbent
  • More expensive than the two Kaytee products

 

The Best Bedding for Syrian Hamsters

The three products we have reviewed are all great choices. I truly believe that you can pick anyone of them and feel you made a good purchase.

However, if you twist my arm, I would have to say that Kaytee Clean & Cozy is the best bedding for Syrian hamsters.

It’s great at absorbing urine and keeping bad odors at bay, while being affordable, safe, and comfortable. It’s a fantastic product!

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