Hamsters need bedding. One of the unavoidable duties of owning a hamster is to provide them with that bedding. This shouldn’t be a problem… unless you or your hamster are allergic to the bedding.
The two types of allergies most pet owners have an issue with are dust allergies and wood allergies. This article will recommend the best hamster bedding alternatives that don’t contain either of these allergy-causing substances.
Hypoallergenic Hamster Bedding: What To Look For
There are a few criteria any hypoallergenic hamster bedding needs to meet for us to consider it “good” for people with allergies.
- The bedding needs to be free of wood and virtually free of dust.
- The bedding needs be soft enough for your hamster to comfortably live and nest in.
- The bedding needs to have a decent level of absorbency to mask the urine and fecal matter smell that your hamster will inevitably create.
There are a few options that meet all of these criteria. However, we’ve found that some of the most popular hypoallergenic bedding choices have some quality control issues:
- The bedding quality from some brands can be inconsistent. Some batches will have soft high-quality bedding, while others will have coarse low-quality bedding. It seems these brands have built up a good name for themselves with high-quality bedding and are now attempting to use that reputation to raise their profit margins by producing a lower quality product.
- Some customers have reported bugs infesting their bedding bags.
While it’s impossible to say whether any bags you order will have the same problem, we will make note of this in our recommendations.
Alright, let’s get on with the recommendations.
Top Recommendation: So Phresh Scented Crumbled Paper Small Animal Bedding
- Scented paper pet bedding is made with baking soda for outstanding odor control
- Provides superior absorbency to keep pets dry
- 99% dust free and 100% non-allergenic
Out of all the hamster bedding options we’ve examined, the SoPhresh Scented Crumbled Paper Small Animal Bedding (available on Amazon.com) is the best choice for people or hamsters who are allergic to dust or wood.
Pros of So Phresh Scented Crumbled Paper Bedding
- Free of wood and virtually free of dust. This bedding should not cause allergies to flair up.
- Very absorbent and effective at odor control. The primary issue we found with most hypoallergenic paper bedding options was that they were bad at absorbing liquids and controlling odors. This bedding performs both of these jobs exceptionally well, so you won’t have to change the bedding as often as other kinds.
- The crumbled paper is fairly soft. There are no coarse or rough edges, so your hamster playing and nesting in it.
- No evidence of quality control issues. The bedding quality seems to remain consistent from batch to batch, and no customers have reported issues with bugs contaminating the bag.
Cons of So Phresh Scented Crumbled Paper Bedding
- It’s on the pricier side. As of my writing this, a 40-liter bag costs just under $29. However, because it won’t flare up your allergies and absorbs odors better than the alternatives, I think it’s worth the price.
Alternative #1: Vitakraft Fresh World Ultra Strength Crumble Bedding
- Up to 14 days* of superior odor control
- Made from 100% recycled paper
- Baking soda-free
Pros of Vitakraft Fresh World Ultra Strength Crumble Bedding
- It’s made out of unbleached recycled paper, so it’s free of wood and dust.
- It’s considerably cheaper than So Phresh. As of my writing this, a 34-liter bag costs $16.99. This is quite a savings compared to the $29 40-liter So Phresh bag.
- It absorbs odors quite well. Vitakraft advertises up to 14 days of odor control before the bedding needs changing. Real-world experience shows that it actually lasts about 5-7 days before it needs changing, which is still pretty good.
Cons of Vitakraft Fresh World Ultra Strength Crumble Bedding
- Some customers have noticed a recent decrease in bedding quality. It seems Vitakraft has updated their formula, which has led to a noticeable increase in an unpleasant smell.
Alternative #2: CritterCare Natural Pet Bedding
- Absorbs 3X its weight
- Long lasting odor control
- Expands to 2X its volume
CritterCare Natural pet bedding (available on Amazon.com) is another decent alternative.
The pros of CritterCare Natural pet bedding:
- It’s made out of hypoallergenic unbleached white paper, which is free of wood and has a low amount of dust.
- It has decent absorbency and odor control. However, some customers have noted a decline in odor control quality, so you might experience issues if you don’t change the bedding often.
- The bedding is extremely compact. So while the bag only contains 12.5 liters of bedding, it expands to more than 30 liters when spread around the cage.
The cons of CritterCare Natural pet bedding:
- As I mentioned, the odor control seems to have gone down in quality.
- Some customers have also mentioned a bad smell coming from the bag when they first opened it.
Alternative #3: Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
- White bedding makes it easier to spot "used" Litter and clean up only messy areas
- Soft and absorbent - Made with unbleached paper fiber
- 99% dust free and is safe and comfortable for small pets
This Small Pet Select unbleached white paper bedding (available on Amazon.com) is another bedding made for allergy sufferers.
Pros of Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
- Its paper-based material is free of wood, and almost completely free of dust. Allergy sufferers should be able to use this bedding without consequence.
- This bedding is also extremely soft and compact. Your hamsters will love the soft-as-clouds feeling on their feet, and they’ll also enjoy using it as nesting material.
- The white color makes it easy to spot and remove soiled bedding. You won’t have to do full bedding changes to remove odor-causing trouble spots.
- At $39.99 for 178 liters, the price is pretty good too.
Cons of Small Pet Select Unbleached White Paper Bedding
- It doesn’t absorb odor too well. If you don’t change your bedding regularly, that could become a problem.
- The quality control at Small Pet Select isn’t the best. Multiple customers have reported small black bugs inside the bedding bag. So if you do buy this bedding, make sure to inspect the bag for bugs before opening it.
Alternative #4: Back2Nature Small Animal Bedding
Pros of Back-2-Nature Small Animal Bedding
- It’s made out of recycled hypoallergenic bedding. So once again, no wood and very little dust.
- It handles odor and absorbency exceptionally well.
- There is no evidence of quality control issues or bug infestations.
Cons of Back-2-Nature Small Animal Bedding
- At $40 for 20 liters, it’s the most expensive bedding on this list.
Do hamsters need bedding? Hamsters need beddings to make nests. Bedding also absorbs moisture and urine which keeps the cage clean.
Do hamsters eat bedding? Hamsters will stuff their bedding in their cheeks so they can carry it and build a nest with it.
What bedding is bad for hamsters? You should avoid using aspen shavings as they aren’t soft and don’t absorb moisture that well compared to other beddings.