Rats— most people would think of the nasty, dirty little rodents that live in sewers. However, rats are among the favorite and most loved pocket pets along with guinea pigs and hamsters, thanks to their inquisitive and sweet nature.
And, no. They’re not dirty creatures at all! They like clean, spacious area, free of fecal matter and food wastes.
In fact, the areas they create for themselves include a runway trail, a nest, food storage, and some corners to relieve themselves.
In order for your pet rat to create these areas, you will need to provide them the correct bedding.
But first, how do you choose the best bedding for rats?
Best Bedding For Rats Buying Guide
You can several materials used in pet beddings. However, not all of them are good for your pet rat. Here are the safest beddings for rat as well as the ones you should never use:
Shredded paper is the most common bedding for rats. It is recycled paper, scoring high on texture, safety, absorbency, and cost. Plus, you have plenty of choices.
However, when choosing this kind of bedding, make sure to avoid the colored or bleached options as well as printed paper since it can be toxic to your rat.
Another popular choice as long as it is designed for rodents. This bedding is processed to eliminate dust and large pieces of wood which can harm your rat. It can be messy though, it is not as absorbent as other beddings. Plus, rats like to dig and aspen are the perfect bedding to this behavior.
Cloth or Fleece Bedding
Some pet owners prefer to place a fleece or just some old clean cloth in their rat’s cage. This is particularly best if your rat is allergic to other kinds of beddings.
Take note, however, that if you are going to use old cloth, use one that’s in good shape. Not just some ratty tatty cloth that can cause injuries when wrapped around your rat’s tail or legs.
Pine and Cedar Bedding
This bedding was popular at some point, thanks to their great absorbency and keeping the environment smelling great. Also, they come with natural insecticides so they can keep lice and bugs away.
The problem is that they are quite toxic to pets, particularly rodents. Rats have a weak respiratory system, and breathing pine and cedar oils can cause serious problems.
Corn Cob Bedding
This is something you should avoid at all costs. Corn cobs, canned and the frozen ones, are fine to be given as treats. But as bedding, it is completely useless and dangerous.
Corn bedding can rot with moisture and grow mold. And the fungus that grows is quite dangerous for your rat. Also, rats like to chew on everything, and corn cob is like a chew toy to them. You never know if it is filled with fungus or not.
Cat litter is for cats. So, no, don’t even try to use cat litter, particularly the clumping type, as your rat’s bedding.
Cat litters tend to be scented in order to remove bad odors. For cats, this is no big deal since they only go to their litter to relieve themselves and also have stronger and bigger lungs.
For rats, this will serve as their bedding and stays in their cage for at least a week. Plus, the smell and dust that comes with it are not suitable for their weak respiratory system.
Also, thanks to the small size, your pet rat may end up chewing the litter, which is not made to be ingested. This can cause problems in your rat’s stomach and make them fatally ill.
Absorbency and Odor Control
The primary function of a rat bedding is to absorb moisture when your pet rat relieves itself or caused by tipped water bowls.
The more absorbent the bedding, the better it can keep the cage dry and clean, ensuring that your pet’s cage is free of bacteria, molds, fungi, and odors. More importantly, good absorbency can also help in controlling and preventing bad odors.
It allows you to change your pet’s bedding less frequently while still making the inside of the cage healthy and smelling great. This not only benefits your pet, but also to the whole household since it prevents any foul odor from spreading to your living spaces, so you can breathe in fresh air as well.
Although you want your pet’s cage to be free of odor, you should refrain from using a bedding with added scents or fragrance. Added natural oils or scented chemicals can pose a serious problem to your pet’s weak respiratory system and can also be fatal when ingested.
Any bedding used inside your pet’s cage, even if they do not ingest it, can end up in their mouths or irritate their lungs. Thus, it is important that you choose a bedding that is dust-free to prevent any respiratory or allergic problems.
Additionally, dust-free bedding prevents mess and won’t give you a hard time in cleaning and replaying the bedding.
Since you’ll need rat bedding on a regular basis, you’ll have to consider buying larger bulks in order to get some small discounts. But, before you do that, make sure to test it out first and see how your rat reacts to it.
If your rat seems comfortable with the bedding, only then can you go get bigger bulks to save a good amount of money.
15 Best Bedding For Rats 2020
With hundreds of bedding available on the market, choosing the right one can be quite daunting. To help you in your quest, here are some of the best bedding for rats available today!
#1. Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Bedding
Starting our list is the famous and reputable Kaytee brand. Boasting a 4.4-star rating with over 2,000 reviews on Amazon alone, the Clean & Cozy White Bedding is a favorite among owners of small pets. Although it is an Amazon’s Choice for “Guinea Pig Bedding”, this bedding is suitable for all kinds of small animals including rats.
This bedding is made of soft paper that offers a fluffy environment for your pet rat to burrow or nest. It also meets the standard of FDA, so it is rather safe for your pet rat. Also, this paper-based bedding is super absorbent, that it can absorb 2 times moisture than wood shavings, keeping your pet’s cage clean, dry and with less odor.
Kaytee also guaranteed that this bedding is 99.9 percent dust-free making it less likely to cause respiratory problems and allergies to your rat as well as easy cleaning on your part. Furthermore, thanks to its bright white color, you can easily spot soiled areas, preventing the need to change the whole bedding at once.
With an affordable price tag, this bedding is available in various sizes— 12.3 L, 24.6 L, 49.2 L, and 85 L— with each pack can expand up to 3 times its packaged size.
#2. Carefresh Natural Small Pet Bedding
Next on our list is another top-rated product from Amazon— the Carefresh Natural Small Pet Bedding with over 2,000 reviews by satisfied customers. This natural version of the Carefresh bedding is guaranteed made from scratch using only 100 percent raw and natural fiber that is taken directly from its source.
The bedding has a pillowy softness and fluffiness, ensuring that your pet rat’s delicate feet are comfortable and safe as well as encourage the healthy burrowing and nesting behavior of rodents. Being 2 times absorbent than shavings, this cage can help keep your rat’s cage dry and clean, in addition to preventing unwanted odors inside and outside the cage for at least 10 days, as Carefresh claims.
For cleaning convenience, you’ll also like that the bedding is virtually low on dust, which makes it easier for your pet’s lungs and for your part when it is time to clean. Carefresh offers this pet bedding in several sizes at such affordable price tags, so you can choose the right amount for your pet’s needs.
#3. Small Pet Select Premium Paper Small Animal Bedding
With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon alone, this premium paper bedding from renowned pet quality brand, Small Pet Select, is another favorite among small pet owners. Made from pure, unbleached and never been printed on paper, this premium bedding is guaranteed to have no harmful residues and is super safe for your delicate rats.
Designed specifically for small pets like rats, hamsters, guinea pigs and chins, this bedding offers a soft and comfortable environment that encourages burrowing and nesting behavior. It has great absorbency and helps in controlling odor, keeping your rat’s cage dry, clean and fresh for a longer period.
Additionally, this bedding contains no additives and dyes and is virtually dust-free, so you don’t have to worry about allergy or respiratory issues on your pet. This bedding is available in various sizes and packs including 178 L and 56 L, with each compressed bag providing a high volume of bedding and can expand up to 3 times that packaged size, for total value for your money.
#4. Kaytee Extreme Odor Control Pet Bedding
If you have several pet rats to take care of or you’re just looking for a bedding with a strong odor control system so you do not have to change the bedding regularly, then this one from popular brand Kaytee is your best choice.
The Extreme Odor Control Pet Bedding can offer you at least 14 days of odor control by fighting ammonia odors in order to keep your rat’s cage smelling fresh for longer. It is guaranteed to absorb up to 6 times its weight in liquid, keeping the cage cleaner and drier for longer. Also, the bedding features a soft and fluffy material that is gentle on your pet rat’s feet and encourages healthy burrowing and nesting behavior.
What’s more, Kaytee also promises its bedding to be 99.9 percent free of dust in order to prevent allergic and respiratory problems as well as making it easier for you to maintain and clean your pet’s cage.
#5. So Phresh Paper Pellets Small Animal Litter
Safe for all kinds of small animals, this bedding from So Phresh is made of 95 percent post-consumer paper that won’t break apart when wet, making it super easy to clean and maintain your pet’s cage.
In addition, the natural paper pellets help lock in moisture, providing great absorbency and keeping your rat’s cage drier and cleaner than ever. Not only that, but these paper pellets also contain the all-powerful baking soda which helps neutralize ammonia odors from rat pee, leaving the cage hygienic and smelling great.
For the environmentally-conscious rat owners, you’ll also love that this rat bedding is sustainable, biodegradable and ultimately environmentally, reducing your carbon footprint and pawprint at the same time.
#6. Vitakraft Fresh World Ultra Strength Bedding
Vitakraft, another reputable manufacturer of pet supplies, offers safe and reliable bedding for your pet rat. The Fresh World Ultra Strength Bedding is made of 100 percent unbleached, recycled paper that is totally free of chemicals, making it totally safe for you, your pet and to the environment.
For odor control, these bedding from Vitakraft can compete with Kaytee’s Extreme Odor Control Bedding, and offers the same 14 days of superior odor control so that your rat’s cage is hygienic and smelling great for longer without the need to replace the bedding every now and then.
Additionally, this amazing bedding can absorb at least 3 times its weight, so your rat can enjoy a comfortably dry and cozy environment. Plus, the soft paper crumbles ensure that your rat’s delicate feet are comfortable and allows the nesting and burrowing behavior of your rodent pal.
Like most small pet bedding, Vitakraft also promises its bedding to be virtually free of dust so that it will not cause any allergic or respiratory problems. When it is time to clean, you’ll be glad to know that this bedding is also biodegradable and compostable after use.
#7. Hemp Amazing Pet Bedding
A unique pet bedding, this one from Dr. Hemp uses industrial-grade hemp that is organically grown in Netherland, without pesticides or herbicides to prevent any chemical residues being transferred to your small pet.
This bedding can absorb up to 4 times its own weight and stays drier than wood shavings or straws. It is also low in dust so it prevents respiratory or other health risks in your pet rat and other small animals.
Proudly made in the USA, this bedding is all-natural and is good to the environment since it is completely biodegradable recyclable and compostable after use.
#8. Kaytee Aspen Small Pet Bedding
Other than paper-based pet bedding, Kaytee also offers bedding made of all-natural aspen shaving that is safe and suitable for all kinds of small animals like rats, chins, ferrets and guinea pigs.
These aspen shavings are specially processed in order to eliminate wood debris and dust that can cause allergic and respiratory issues. Also, the bedding is free of aromatic oils, inks, artificial colors or any additives which can be harmful and toxic to your rat pal.
Kaytee also ensures that the shavings do not have rough or coarse wood pieces that can injure your pet’s feet. Instead, it is guaranteed to be soft and comfortable that encourage your pet’s instinctive burrowing and nesting behavior. With its high absorbency rate, this bedding can keep your pet’s cage dry and clean for longer as well as preventing unwanted odors for days.
#9. Healthy Pet Natural Bedding
Another reliable pet bedding for Healthy Pet, this one features reclaimed wood pulp which is guaranteed safe for your pet rat. It is also good for the environment since it is biodegradable and compostable after use.
Thanks to its fluffy and soft texture, this bedding encourages burrowing and nesting behavior while preventing any injuries to your pet’s delicate feet. To keep your pet’s cage clean and smelling nice, this natural pet bedding suppresses ammonia caused by urine, controlling and preventing unpleasant odor for longer.
It can absorb up to 3 times its weight in liquid, keeping your pet’s home dry and cozy while also preventing respiratory ailments and allergies thanks to its dust-free formulation. And although it is made of wood, the bedding is made without rough or coarse pieces in order to prevent injuries.
#10. Fibrecycle USA Inc. Back-2-Nature Pet Bedding
The small animal bedding Back-2-Nature from Fibrecycle USA Inc. is considered as one of the safest and healthiest rat bedding available on the market. Take note, however, that with its superior quality also reflects its price tag, being almost twice as expensive in pounds as other brands.
A popular bedding with a 4.5-star rating on Amazon alone, this bedding fits all criteria for the best rat bedding. It is free of chemical additives and guaranteed to have been produced without any chemical means. It is also 99.9 percent free of dust, so you should never worry about respiratory issues.
Thanks to the natural cellulose fiber of the paper, it offers great absorbency and provides natural odor control, keeping your pet’s environment clean, dry and smelling great. Also, most users claim that this bedding lasts longer than other brands.
#11. FiberCore Eco-Bedding
For the extremely environmentally-conscious pet owners who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and pet’s pawprint at the same time, the Eco-Bedding from FiberCore is your best solution.
Perfect for all kinds of small animals including rats, hamsters, ferrets, guinea pigs and more, this Eco-Bedding is made of non-toxic, recycled paper that is completely biodegradable and compostable after use.
Thanks to the patented and unique process of cutting and folding recycled paper strips, this bedding is highly absorbent, taking moisture from the bottom up, so the top layer stays dry for longer, so your pet stays on dry and cozy surface. The bedding is also dust-free making it suitable for allergy sufferers and those with respiratory ailments.
#12. Sunseed Fresh World Pet Bedding
This bedding from Sunseed is another paper-based bedding made from recycled magazines and newspaper that is phenol-free so it is safe and effective at absorbing urine and moisture.
Furthermore, the bedding is formulated with baking soda for a superior odor control, keeping your pet’s cage and your home free of unpleasant smell. The bedding is also 33.5 percent free of dust, making it suitable for allergy sufferers.
#13. Fresh News Recycled Paper Bedding
Made of recycled paper, this paper bedding from Fresh News is guaranteed safe for you, your pet rat and for the environment. This is because the bedding is made of non-toxic used paper that is completely biodegradable and can be incinerated or composted after use.
To eliminate odor, the bedding has baking soda to keep your rat’s habitat clean and fresh for longer. Also, because of its high absorbency rate, your rat can enjoy a drier and cleaner environment.
With is soft and fluffy texture, this bedding is also safe on your rat’s delicate feet while encouraging natural nesting and burrowing behavior. Also, it is virtually dust-free, making it suitable for those with allergic or respiratory issues.
#14. Oxbow Pure Comfort Bedding
Another reputable company offering pet supplies, Oxbow manufactured this particular bedding for your small pet’s comfort and safety. Made from unbleached, pure and never-printed paper, this rat bedding has no chemicals or toxic residues.
It is cozy and soft to the touch, encouraging your pet’s natural nesting and burrowing behavior. It has a good absorbency rate that helps keep the cage clean and dry while also minimizing pet odor caused by urine and ammonia.
Because it is made of paper, it is virtually dust-free, so there should be no issues in your pet’s respiratory system. Plus, this makes it easier for you when it is time to clean and maintain your pet’s cage.
#15. Premier Pet Uber Soft Paper Bedding
Made from virgin and food-grade recycled paper material that does not contain any chemicals, this soft bedding from Premier Pet is safe and non-toxic for your rodent. Highly absorbent, this paper-based bedding will keep your pet’s home clean and dry while also preventing the unwanted odors that come from urine and moisture.
Also, it is virtually dust-free, making it easier and convenient for you when cleaning as well as preventing problems like allergies. Meanwhile, its bright white color makes it easier for you to spot soiled pieces so you can just take it out and prevent frequent one-time bedding replacement.
Providing your rat pal with safe and soft bedding is essential not only for its comfort but also for you and your family.
The above list of the best bedding for rats should ensure a hygienic, dry and fresh environment for your adorable pet rat, keeping them perfectly happy and healthy for the rest of their cute life, while preventing problematic respiratory issues and keeping your rat’s cage and your entire home from smelling like the sewer.