How to Choose Eco-Friendly Bedding for Your Gerbil’s Enclosure?

As pet parents, you always want the best for your little friends. But when it comes to gerbils, they often require a bit more than just love and affection. One very crucial thing to consider is the bedding. Gerbil bedding doesn’t just serve the purpose of keeping your pet cozy and comfortable; it serves a much more significant role. Bedding for gerbils is instrumental in maintaining their health, ensuring a clean environment, and reducing offensive odors. But how do you choose the right bedding? And how can you make sure it’s eco-friendly? This article will guide you through the process of selecting eco-friendly bedding for your gerbil’s enclosure.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Bedding

Before we delve into the specifics of bedding types, it’s important to understand why choosing the right bedding is crucial for your gerbil. Gerbils are small, sensitive pets, and their living environment significantly affects their health and wellbeing.

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Bedding serves multiple purposes in a gerbil’s cage. It provides a cozy and warm place for your pet to sleep, a place for them to burrow and play, and helps in keeping their cage clean. The right bedding will also help absorb odors, keeping the cage smelling fresh. It’s important to ensure that the bedding you choose is safe and comfortable for your pet. It should be dust-free to prevent any respiratory issues and should not contain any harmful chemicals that could pose a risk to your gerbil’s health.

Choosing eco-friendly bedding is not only better for your pet but also for the environment. Conventional pet bedding often contains synthetic materials or is treated with chemicals that can be harmful when disposed of. Eco-friendly bedding, on the other hand, is made from natural materials and is biodegradable, making it a more sustainable choice.

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What to Look for in Eco-friendly Bedding

When choosing eco-friendly bedding for your gerbil, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to make sure the bedding is not only environmentally friendly, but that it also meets the needs of your pet.

Firstly, consider the material of the bedding. Eco-friendly bedding options typically include materials like paper, straw, hemp, or wood shavings. Paper-based bedding like Carefresh is a popular choice as it is soft, absorbent, and virtually dust-free. It’s also made from recycled paper, making it a sustainable choice.

Next, consider the size of the bedding pieces. Gerbils love to burrow, so the bedding should be small enough for them to move around and make tunnels. However, it should also be large enough that they can’t accidentally swallow it.

Lastly, make sure the bedding is properly processed and free of dust. Dust can cause respiratory problems for your gerbil, so it’s important to ensure the bedding is as dust-free as possible.

Safe and Unsafe Bedding Materials

Understanding the difference between safe and unsafe bedding materials is essential in deciding the best bedding for your gerbil. Safe materials are those that are non-toxic, dust-free, and comfortable for your gerbil to burrow in. Unsafe materials can cause health problems or discomfort for your pet.

Safe materials include paper-based bedding, aspen shavings, and hemp bedding. These materials are all natural, free from harmful chemicals, and have excellent absorbency.

On the other hand, cedar and pine wood shavings are considered unsafe. These materials contain phenols, which are toxic to gerbils and can cause respiratory problems. Cotton fluff is another unsafe material. While it may seem comfortable, it can cause blockages in your gerbil’s digestive system if ingested.

How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Gerbil’s Bedding

Proper maintenance of your gerbil’s bedding is as important as choosing the right one. Regular cleaning will help keep your pet’s cage clean and odor-free, and can also prevent the growth of bacteria and other harmful pathogens.

Firstly, make sure to replace the bedding regularly. Depending on the type of bedding and the size of your gerbil’s cage, this could be once a week or once every few days. Before adding new bedding, clean the cage thoroughly with a pet-safe disinfectant.

When cleaning, make sure to remove any uneaten food or waste. Gerbils are clean animals and prefer to use a specific area of their cage as a toilet. This makes cleaning easier as you can simply spot clean this area daily.

Remember, the health and happiness of your gerbil is dependent on their environment. By choosing eco-friendly bedding and maintaining it properly, you can provide your gerbil with a comfortable and safe home, while also doing your part for the environment.

The Different Types of Eco-friendly Bedding

In the world of small pet bedding, there is a wide variety to choose from. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, and what works best will depend on your gerbil’s specific needs. Let’s explore some of the popular eco-friendly options.

Paper bedding, such as Carefresh bedding, is highly favored due to its absorbency, softness, and being virtually dust free. This type of bedding, made from recycled paper, is excellent for odor control and does not contain any harmful chemicals. However, it’s important to remember to replace it frequently, as it can become soggy if it gets too wet.

Another eco-friendly option is hemp bedding. While not as absorbent as paper bedding, hemp bedding is incredibly soft and comfortable for your gerbil. It’s also hypo-allergenic, making it a good choice for gerbils with skin sensitivities or allergies.

Aspen shavings are a good choice for those looking for a more natural look in their gerbil cage. They are entirely natural, biodegradable, and don’t contain any harmful chemicals. However, it’s important to note that aspen shavings are not as absorbent as other options and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning corn cob bedding, although it’s not as common as other types. This bedding is highly absorbent and does a great job at odor control. Just be aware that if your gerbil eats it, they could run the risk of digestive issues.

Other Elements to Consider for Your Gerbil’s Enclosure

Along with bedding, there are other elements to consider to make your gerbil’s enclosure a comfortable and safe space.

Adding a water bottle to the cage is essential. Gerbils will need access to fresh water at all times. Make sure the bottle is secure and doesn’t leak onto the bedding, causing it to become damp.

Offering places to hide can also help your gerbil feel safe and secure. Small, enclosed spaces can provide a sense of safety for small mammals. Pet stores often sell small huts or tubes designed for this purpose.

Finally, consider adding toys. Gerbils love to chew to keep their teeth healthy, so providing chewable toys can help satisfy this instinct. Many pet stores sell wooden or loofah toys that are safe for gerbils to chew on.


Choosing the right bedding is absolutely crucial for your gerbil’s health and happiness. With several eco-friendly options like paper bedding, hemp bedding, aspen shavings, and corn cob bedding, you can find one that suits your gerbil’s needs while also keeping the environment in mind.

Remember, while the bedding is essential, other elements like a water bottle, hiding places, and toys also contribute to a comfortable and safe enclosure.

An important part of responsible pet ownership is maintaining your pet’s environment, so make sure to clean and replace the bedding regularly to keep your gerbil healthy and happy. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to providing an excellent home for your small pet. Remember, your efforts don’t just benefit your pet; they also contribute to the larger goal of preserving our planet.