Chinchilla need comfort!
That means you should give your pet bedding material that makes it feel comfortable.
But it should also absorb urine and keep things relatively odor free.
Moreover, it should be easy to clean and inexpensive.
News paper checks several of those boxes.
Does that mean you can use newspaper as chinchilla bedding?
Keep reading to find out. Because newspaper does have one major problem, but it is a solvable one.
Can You Use Newspaper For Chinchilla Bedding?
Yes, you can use newspaper for chinchilla bedding. But it’s not ideal. And make sure to use a cage with pull out trays for the newspaper, so your chinchilla can’t get at it and eat it.
The ink and other potential toxins in the newspaper can be harmful to your pet’s health. You’re definitely better off using other bedding options like fleece or aspen shavings.
We’ll get into that a bit below. First, let’s take a closer look at what can make newspaper problematic when used as chinchilla bedding.
The Problem With Newspaper As Chinchilla Bedding
While you can use newspaper as chinchilla bedding, it’s certainly not the best option for a few reasons.
One reason is that it’s not safe if your chinchilla ingests it, meaning you need to keep it where your pet can’t get to it.
Because chinchillas love to chew. And they will chew just about anything, if presented with the opportunity. That includes newspaper.
This chewing behavior is also one of the reasons why you need to fully chinchilla proof any room where your chinchilla is allowed to come out and play.
But there is a simple way to overcome this issue, if you insist on using newspaper bedding. Just use a wire bottom cage, which ensures your chin can’t get to the newspaper.
But wire bottom cages present another problem. They can be hard on your chinchilla’s feet and, even worse, your pet’s little feet could slip through the spaces between the wires and get severely injured.
They are also thought to cause the bumblefoot chinchilla condition.
But wire bottom cage would make sure that your chinchilla can’t eat the newspaper bedding. And it would love to chew on that newspaper, just like it does everything else.
Better Bedding Options
Again, newspaper would work, but there are far better betting options that don’t require you to use a wire bottom cage, which is not ideal itself. But none of them are an actual chinchilla bed.
If you read this blog often, you already know what I am going to recommend here. That’s because it made things so much easier for me.
When I first got my chinchilla, I started off using Aspen shavings. That’s what I saw recommended everywhere.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. They work great. But there’s something that works even better.
I ended up trying an eco-friendly fleece liner and can’t recommend this option strongly enough. It changed everything.
I currently use the Piggy Bedspreads. They are custom fit, affordable, and super easy to clean.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
Using fleece liners eliminates the need to buy shavings (or any other bedding), which saves a ton of money in the long run. They are also extremely comfortable for your chinchilla, come in several colors and designs, and are ready to go right out of the box.
These particular fleece liners are specifically designed for the trays inside of this cage model. It makes life easy for sure.
However, I’m only one chinchilla owner, and ultimately it comes down to what you want and what you prefer to spend.
There are several good options for bedding and any one of them will work fine. But there are also some terrible options. Let’s cover those now, to ensure you don’t end up with something that could harm your pet.
Unsafe Bedding Options
There are many options out there for chinchilla bedding. Fleece liners are my favorite and aspen shavings and great as well. I highly recommend one of those two.
If you want to use something else, go for it, as long as it is safe for your chinchilla. If in doubt, ask a vet. But just to be safe, here are a few options you should never use.
- Unknown wood or mixed wood shavings (not all wood is safe for chins)
- Cat litter (can be toxic if consumed by your chinchilla)
- Pine litter (can be harmful)
- Cedar shavings (can be harmful)
All these bedding options have been used by a chinchilla owner or two without incident somewhere in the past, but overall, if your chinchilla does consume any of these options, it can have serious health impacts.
In short: there is no good reason to use any of them.
Stick to the recommend and safe options and never hesitate to speak to a vet qualified in chinchilla care, if you have any doubts about the safety of a bedding option you are considering.
How Much Bedding Does A Chinchilla Need?
The amount of bedding needed for your chinchilla will vary based on the type of bedding used and the size of the cage.
You want enough shavings to cover the entire bottom tray, because you want them to soak up all urine.
If you are using fleece liners instead, simply place the liners on all platforms throughout your cage.
For example, the cage I use (which I mentioned above) has two levels and four total platforms that are vertically positioned.
In this situation, all my ramps and each of those four platforms are covered in the custom fit fleece we discussed previously.
How Often Do You Need To Change The Bedding
Once per week is the minimum. The same applies even if you are using fleece liners as opposed to shavings. The difference is that you can wash and reuse the liners.
After one week, urine will begin to produce an odor. It’s also not sanitary for your chinchilla to remain in this environment after about one week.
I detail this more in my post about how often you should be cleaning the cage.
While once a week is the minimum, I highly recommend changing the bedding twice per week. If you use fleece liners, simply use a shop vacuum like this one (it’s the one I use):
You can vacuum up all poop pellets in the cage. Then you simply need to get your chinchilla out for playtime and wash the fleece.
If you use shavings, remove and discard the old shavings and place new shavings on the pull-out tray.
Newspaper Bedding For Chinchillas: Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, you can indeed use a newspaper for your bedding, but it’s not recommended.
I highly recommend sticking to fleece liners or aspen shavings.
Both are safe, cleaner, they look better, and your chinchilla enjoys them more.
I prefer fleece liners, because they are much easier to clean, the are better for the environment, they eliminate the need for a wire-bottom cage, and they save you money in the long run (though they cost more upfront).
But ultimately, the choice is up to you. I wish you the best of luck with your chinchilla!
Now let’s hear from you!
I love it when you all chime in and provide additional feedback and value for the rest of us.
Do you use newspaper for your chinchilla bedding?
Do you have any other recommendations or precautions for us?
Be sure to share your stories, thoughts, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by, and we will see you next time.