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Do You Think Wood Shavings Are A Safe Bedding For Small Animals?

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by AnimalLoversWeb, Feb 3, 2008.


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Are Wood Shavings A Safe Bedding For Small Rodents?

Poll closed Feb 13, 2008.
  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
    54.5%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  1. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    I am currently looking into the pros and cons of wood shavings as a bedding for small animals, particularly the smaller rodents such as hamsters and mice.
    We all know that dusty wood shaving or sawdust can be harmful to our pets, causing respiratory problems and allergies and are best avoided.
    How about dust extracted wood shavings though? Can these ever be totally dust free and safe or would people recommend the alternative bedding materials such as the paper based Care Fresh, megazorb or cat litter types, although, these are usually more expensive.
    I would be interested in everyone's opinions.
     
  2. waggytailstina

    waggytailstina PetForums Newbie

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    I use megazorb for the rats , mice,hamster,etc you have to be careful with what you use as some types of woodshavings can cause breathing problems.
     
  3. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    Wood-shavings for rats should be used very sparingly because they suffer greatly with respiratory diseases. With hamsters, rats, gerbils and alike, vegetable parchment is the best thing to use, its like shredding paper and theres also some very soft bedding which name escapes me but looks like candy floss! That along with ripped up cardboard boxes like you have your tea bags in, cereal packets in, erm.. even the middle of loo rolls/kitchen rolls. All good for little critters!

    With my bigger animals like guinea-pigs and rabbit, they've always had wood-shavings and never had any problems with it. My mum's partner is a carpenter and every so often gives me a great big black sack full of fresh, untreated wood-shavings so I get it free :p
     
  4. sproggie14

    sproggie14 PetForums Newbie

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    In a word, no.

    I take in unwanted animals here and I've seen a direct correlation between animals kept on softwood beddings (woodshavings, sawdust or wood based cat litter) and animals which have health problems.

    The dust is one issue. "Dust" which comes off of something like woodshavings will basically be tiny little splinters of wood which are extremely irritating to the lungs and eyes.

    The other issue though are the phenols, a chemical released by softwoods. There have been studies which show that these damage the liver. I believe a rabbit rescue found that rabbits kept on woodshavings had raised liver enzymes which then returned to normal when the bedding was changed.

    A lot of people say they have used them for years and not had a problem. But liver disease can be largely symptomless or look a lot like old age. Unless you have had a post mortem carried out, you can't be sure what your animal died of and whether liver damaged caused by their bedding was a factor.

    My view is that there are plenty of other safer beddings available and they're often cheaper than woodshavings. So why take the risk?
     
  5. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    Great reply sproggie14. Any evidence that I have found in support of woodshavings has been of the "I use it and haven't seen any problems" anecdotal type, or the source has had a strong conflict of interest as it's been from suppliers or manufacturers of wood shaving products.
     
  6. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    If you view this thread, even if you don't reply, could I ask that you vote please, as It would be helpful to get some meaningful numbers and it does only involve ticking a box :)
     
  7. swinnk8

    swinnk8 PetForums Junior

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    Use Carefresh Bedding. It is a littlemore expensive but is made with pet allergies in mind, is anti bacterial and dust free, absorbs the wet without leaving any smell and is digestable if the pet eats it.

    Shavings can be sharp and dusty,carry bacteria as alot of the time it comes off farms. and rats tend to have allergies to it.
     
  8. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    If your pet isn't eating, your pet isn't grooming, your pet is making a mess and its not fully formed or coloured the way it should, was wheezing and coughing.. then I'd worry because they are sure signs of the animal being ill.

    I've only ever had trouble with one pet of mine having a "bad" reaction to wood-shavings. Out of 14 pets I've had since I was 9, it can't be that bad no matter what is said about it ;) Though you shouldn't mix it up with sawdust! Sawdust is evil stuff and shouldn't be sold :(
     
  9. bullbreeds

    bullbreeds PetForums VIP

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    Shavings carry dust in them - sawdust!
    Even the vacume extracted ones still contain an amount of dust - sawdust ;)
     
  10. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    I wouldn't say there was any scientific proof that wood-shavings is bad for ALL small animals. My girlfriend has a rat who is almost 3 yrs old and has had a couple of abscesses in the past but they've cleared up. He's a really old boy and it shows, but he's healthy still. Now his brother, he died the end of last yr. He literally bled to death on my girlfriend's lap. He had obviously gotten an infection in his lungs from the wood-shavings because for a while beforehand he had been sniffling and sneezing a lot and then came the blood from his nose and one thing lead to another and in the end.. well... it basically was not a pretty sight as you can imagine... :(

    I think if you have a well ventilated cage, which all mine have, you shouldn't have a problem with dust getting in their lungs and harming them. It can probably do just as much damage to us too so we're all at risk slightly.
     
  11. tashi

    tashi PetForums VIP

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    I use a small amount of good quality shavings under my rabbit but only under his hay - he is litter trained and in there I use the wood pellets.
     
  12. Maxwell's Owner

    Maxwell's Owner PetForums Newbie

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    When I had hamsters I never used softwood bedding as it reacts with hamster urine to release phenols and has lots of other problems with it associated with all the dust and splinters.
     
  13. totalzoo

    totalzoo PetForums Newbie

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    I think it depends on who you talk too lol. I think most people agree that Ceder and air dried pine is bad. Kiln dried pine..its depends entirly on who you talk too, I have used it safely for many years and if anything my rodents have lived exeedingly long lives, far exeeding the average life expectancy(average is 3-5 for a Gerbil, average in my house is 6-8), however many will say its just as bad at air dried and ceder. I have never heard a bad thing about Aspen aside from its price lol. my Rabbit isnt on any type of shavings, she is litter trained ad I use Swheat Scoop, which is 100% natural, flushable, biodegradable, clumping, dust free, edible litter made from wheat millings.
     
  14. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for all the really useful replies and to all who voted, although looks like almost a 50:50 split!
     
  15. suki001

    suki001 PetForums Newbie

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    I think that there is no need to use wood shavings anymore as there's plenty of substitutes out there. I use megazorb and find it much better for rats lungs. Ecobed is also good and there's aubiose. There pretty economical as you can buy it all by the bale. The mega zorb is a fiver for a big sack.
     
  16. xxjackyxx

    xxjackyxx PetForums Junior

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    there is no scientific proof that woodshavings are bad for rodents, and i do mean woodshavings and not sawdust. If you look at any papers that have been written on the subject you will find that they were written years ago when rats were kept in tanks with little ventilation.

    I found the megazorb extreemely dusty and most of it got kicked out of the cages and onto the floors. I now use bedmax which is kiln dried shavings which are virtually dust free and i have had no problems with my rats on it, from oldies to new kittens.
     
  17. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    I agree. I think the modern woodshaving are almost certainly safe as the evidence against them seems scant at best.
    But we recently changed to megazorb as having tried it we found it more absorbant than the woodshaving.
     
  18. trekky

    trekky PetForums Member

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    i stopped sing shavings some years ago as my rats kept getting mites and lung disorders. I then changed to wood based cat litter. it soaked up the wet brilliantly they hardly ear smelt and it cut down the number of rats getting a lung disorder also eliminated mites along with a dose of frontline. Since keeping my Gambian pouched rats that you need to make sure are not bedded on pine i started using a recycled paper cat litter on all my rats which is great no lung disorders, no odour and still no mites. just happy rats
     
  19. Boccia Boy

    Boccia Boy PetForums Member

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    I dunno for my mice i started to use dry porridge adn they luv it
    and they eat it so it is gud 4 them as well
     
  20. guineapigqueen

    guineapigqueen PetForums Senior

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    I use megazorb on all my critters, 15 guineas, 2 chinchillas due to the smell the shavings make when they are wet. With them all being in the house it can pong close to cleaning out day plus with my hairless guineas it better for their skin due to the shavings being quiet sharp.

    Emma x
     
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