Rats are truly lovable creatures. With their cute little noses and their tiny little hands, they’re quite obviously one of the cutest types of pets around. But in addition to being adorable, they’re also incredibly smart and can be trained to do a variety of tricks.
Like all animals, though, they need beauty rest – and this is where you come in, providing their ideal bedding and cozy places to sleep. But what kind of bedding is best for rats? Is there an ideal one? Any that should be avoided?
We’re diving into that very question today.
Here are the best types of rat bedding that you can find on Amazon.
Best Rat Bedding: Our Recommendations
1. Small Pet Select Paper Bedding
Available in 5 different size options. Small Pet Select’s paper bedding is suited for rat owners with a variety of needs. The product is available in sizes that range from 41-liters to 1780litres, making it ideal for anyone with large mischief.
Each bag expands to 3x its size and is made from natural paper fibers. It is free of dyes, chemicals, scents, and additives that could be harmful to the health of your pet. It is super soft and absorbent and can be used for cozy bedding or in the litter box to help protect your rat’s dainty feet and toes.
Other household pets can use this bedding too, with it being versatile enough for use with any rodent and small animal including guinea pigs, mice, and rabbits.
- Expands to more than double its packed volume
- Soft and absorbent
- Ideal for a variety of pets
- Available in various package sizes
- Pet safe
2. Carefresh Shavings Plus
Made by the highly reputable brand Carefresh, this aesthetically appealing small pet bedding is a solid option for owners of any small animal. It comes in a package of 69.4-liters, which expands upon opening.
Despite its bright blue color, this paper bedding is made with natural paper and kiln-dried softwood shavings, with the shavings being virtually dust free and easy on the respiratory system of your pets. Each bag of Carefresh is designed so that pets can burrow, tunnel, and dig within it. They can also use it to create nests and cozy spots to sleep.
The softwood shavings used help to reduce odor and can cover the smell of ammonia for up to 5 days, while the cute colors infused into the bedding are non-toxic and completely safe for pets. The entirety of the bedding is free of chemicals, toxic substances, and additives.
It’s also dust-free, ultra-absorbent, and biodegradable.
- Free of toxins and dyes
- Soft but durable enough to hold tunnels and burrows
- Versatile use
- Large package size
- Unique blue color
- Inconsistent texture
3. Kaytee Clean & Cozy
Kaytee’s Clean & Cozy rat cage bedding is almost as versatile as rats are lovable. It is paper-based and has a soft, consistent texture that is perfect for making beds. This bedding has been FDA approved so you can guarantee that it’s safe for your pets.
The bedding comes in a variety of package sizes, with each size expanding up to 3x its volume once it has been opened. It can absorb more than 6x its weight in liquid and, when it does, the smell is kept in check by special odor-free technology and because of the bedding’s excellent absorbency.
Kaytee’s rat bedding is 99% dust-free, which is important for the respiratory health of rats and other small animals. It is also made from recycled fiber strands, making it a green option for pet owners everywhere.
- 99% dust-free
- Made of recycled materials
- Expands to 3x its size
- FDA approved
- Available in a variety of colors and sizes
- Reports of sudden changes in the material used
4. PetsPick Uber Soft Paper Bedding
With 14-day odor control, this super-soft paper bedding by PetsPick is perfect for households with a lot of pets. The odor control remedies the scent of ammonia to leave rat cages smelling clean and fresh for weeks.
The bedding can be purchased in three color varieties including confetti and classic white, with white being available in both 36L and 56L and the colored varieties being offered in 36L packages. Each bag of bedding is made from virgin paper that is both soft and durable enough to promote natural behavior like burrowing and tunneling.
It can absorb more than 6x its weight in liquid, which is what aids in the odor control mentioned above and does wonders for the cleanliness of busy cages. When a new bag is opened, it can expand to more than 3x its packaged volume.
- A variety of color options
- 14-day odor control technology
- Made of soft, virgin paper that is free of toxins or ink
- Biggest package size only available in white
5. ECO Bedding FiberCore
ECO’s bedding has been designed to suit the needs of all small pets, providing a soft and cozy place to sleep as well as a comfortable substrate for the inside of litter boxes. Bag sizes range from 1.5-lbs all the way to 10-lbs, allowing you to choose the best size for your situation.
Each bag consists of interlocking crinkle paper which is ideal for burrowing and tunneling. The paper is 99% dust free and is recycled cardstock, which helps the environment and ensures the safety of your pet.
The bedding is highly absorbent and easy to spot clean, as soiled areas can simply be scooped up, thrown out, and replaced. It is hypoallergenic and less likely to irritate you or your pet with its smell, which is non-existent.
The colored versions of the bedding have been dyed with food-grade dyes that are safe for pets to be around, dig in, and ingest if something should happen. The color won’t bleed when wet, either, thanks to the colorfast technology used.
- Hypoallergenic formulation
- Made of recycled materials
- Cute colors that are safe for pets and won’t bleed
- Can be messy to use
6. Sunseed Fresh World Bedding
You may know Sunseed for its popular rat food, but did you know the brand makes bedding, too? It does! As it turns out, the bedding it makes is a beloved choice for many small animal owners.
Sunseed’s Fresh World Bedding is soft and cozy, making it perfect for delicate creatures like hamsters, birds, and rats. It’s made from paper that has been recycled from other safe sources such as non-printed cardstock.
In addition, it’s completely free of chemicals, additives, and dyes that could be harmful. For odor control, it uses natural baking soda, which guarantees 7-day odor control. The bedding is dust free and can absorb 3x its own weight in liquid.
- Baking soda for natural odor control
- Made of recycled materials
- Free of additives, chemicals, and dyes
- Soft enough for sensitive animals
- Small package size
7. Critter Comfort Small Animal Bedding
Perfect for a naturalistic animal setup, Critter Comfort’s bedding is made of organic materials. It uses shredded coconut husk to provide both comfort and safety to small animals. This bedding is incredibly versatile as it can be used for hamsters and rats, as well as reptiles who need a substrate that will stay moist for a long time when wet.
The bedding is non-toxic, dust-free, and contains no chemicals, fragrances, or dyes. Each 9-quart bag is checked and double-checked for quality assurance purposes and Critter Comfort guarantees that there are no pests nestled within.
When you’re done with this bedding and are switching it out for clean bedding, you can spread it on your garden to be used as a nutrient-rich source of fertilizer.
- Made of all-natural materials
- Compostable and great for gardens
- Coconut husk can be messy
- No odor control
8. Dr. Hemp Amazing Pet Bedding
Dr. Hemp’s 8-quart bag of pet bedding is ideal for small pet owners who want an all-natural comfort solution for their animals. A bag of this bedding weighs less than 2-pounds and is composed of 100% natural materials.
It’s made of industrial hemp, which has a shelf life that is much longer than that of other beddings such as aspen. The hemp fibers are used as grown with minimal use of herbicides and pesticides, ensuring that no residue transfers to your hamsters, chinchillas, rabbits, or rats.
The hemp bedding is made to be dust-free and safe for sensitive respiratory tracts, as well as low in palatability so that pets are not tempted to ingest it. In terms of absorbency, this bedding performs as well as more expensive beddings, absorbing up to 2x its own weight in moisture.
When you’re all done with the dirty bedding, it can go straight into the compost bin as it is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.
- Very long shelf life
- Compostable and biodegradable
- Superior absorbency
- Made of all-natural hemp
- Small bags
9. Arm & Hammer Natural Paper Bedding
Arm & Hammer’s Natural Paper Bedding is one of the only pet beddings to contain baking soda-based odor removal technology. It has a soft, papery texture that is great for foraging, digging, and burrowing, and that is gentle on small feet.
The bedding is dust-free and composed of a careful blend of baking soda, activated carbon, and natural zeolite crystals – all of which aid in keeping your pet’s cage and your home free of unwanted odors. Each bag of bedding can absorb 6 to 8 times its weight in moisture and will not fall apart when wet.
It’s made from reclaimed pulp, reducing landfill waste and allowing you to feel good about the bedding you’re using for your pets. This makes it ideal for owners looking to reduce their footprint.
- Made of reclaimed material
- Non-toxic baking soda is the main odor removal agent
- Absorbs 6 to 8 times its weight in liquid
- Soft texture
- One package size
10. Small Pet Select All-Natural Pellet Bedding
Available in large bag sizes of 8-50 pounds, this natural pellet bedding is versatile and durable. Each bag contains pounds of natural pine pellets that soften and come apart when they absorb moisture, which they do extremely well.
These pellets are very versatile, as they can be used as bedding or in the litter box for a scent-free, dust-free odor solution. Once the pellets have been used, they can be tossed into a compost bin where they will biodegrade and help with plant fertilization without causing pollution.
- Made of natural pine
- Available in large bags
11. Kaytee Aspen Bedding
Kaytee Aspen Bedding is an economical pet bedding solution for owners who want high-quality bedding at an affordable price. This hardwood-based bedding is both soft and absorbent, making it a favorite among rat owners.
As its name suggests, it’s made from natural pine. The pine used has been carefully processed to eliminate dust and debris and then shredded into fine fibers that are cozy enough for your pet to burrow in.
The bedding is free of chemicals, dyes, and commercial scents, making it safe for small animals. It is also 100% biodegradable, which is important for reducing the size of landfills and making the switch to an eco-friendly pet market.
- No chemicals or toxins
- Made of natural materials
- The controversy surrounding whether aspen is a suitable bedding choice
12. Fresh News Recycled Paper Bedding
Available in a 40-liter bag, Fresh News is a safe, soft choice for small animals of all kinds. It has been made with 100% recycled paper sourced from recycling centers around the USA. The paper is biodegradable and can be composted after use.
It is hypoallergenic and won’t irritate the respiratory system of you or your small pet. It is also 99% dust free and non-toxic, boasting no additives, dyes, or chemicals.
The bedding uses ammonia blocker technology to hold odors and eliminate them for up to one week.
- 100% recycled materials
- Biodegradable after use
- Free of dyes, chemicals, and additives
- Reportedly messy
13. Oxbow Pure Comfort Small Animal Bedding
By the popular pet food brand, Oxbow, Pure Comfort is a line of bedding that is beloved by small animal owners everywhere. It’s available in an 8-liter bag but expands to over 27-liters once opened.
The bedding is 99% dust free and has been made from soft, blank paper that has never been printed on or in a facility that uses ink. In addition, it’s free of glue, lamination, and any other kind of commercial printing product.
It can be used as bedding or in the litter box and can easily be added to forage boxes to encourage natural digging habits.
- 99% dust-free
- Made of unprinted paper
- Expands to more than double its size
- Soft and cozy
- Reportedly dusty
Best Rat Bedding Buying Guide
There are a few things that you should consider when buying new bedding for your rats. We’re going to cover a few of them below, so read on.
One of the most important factors of rat bedding is odor control – especially if you have more than two or three rats. Since the smell of rat urine, which is ammonia, is so strong, you’ll need to find a bedding that either has a strong scent or that manages to control odor without the help of commercial scents.
If you opt to go for bedding that is free of commercial scents, you’ll also need to decide what kind of odor-controlling bedding you want to use, as there are various different types of bedding that use natural methods for controlling odors.
You’ll need to potentially choose between the use of baking soda, activated carbon, and the scent of naturally aromatic woods such as pine.
The size of a package of bedding can be pretty crucial, too. Again, if you have multiple rats, it makes sense to buy a larger bag of bedding. If this is your situation, you’ll need to choose a bedding that is available in large bags instead of one that only comes in small, single-use bags.
Upon first glance, it’s obvious that bigger bags are more expensive. However, in the end, they’ll offer you a bigger bang for your buck, as you’ll be able to avoid buying multiple small bags, which adds up quickly.
Like humans, rats and other small animals appreciate a comfortable place to sleep. In fact, small animals might even appreciate this even more because they live in the same place as they sleep.
This means that, as a rat owner, you need to consider what texture of bedding you want to provide your pets with. The texture of bedding can vary a lot, with some being soft and fluffy and others being harder and much more rigid.
If your rats have any health conditions that could limit the type of bedding that would be appropriate for them, then it’s a no-brainer that their health needs to be considered.
Health conditions that could be limiting include respiratory problems, problems walking or leg and foot injuries, and compulsions that have them ingesting inedible objects frequently. Respiratory problems will generally rule out any kind of wood-based bedding, mobility and foot injuries hard, pellet-based bedding, and eating everything in sight any kind of bedding that isn’t 100% natural.
Rat Bedding to Avoid
It might be tempting to use cat litter as rat bedding. After all, it’s soft, available in large quantities, and relatively affordable. Although, it’s not the best idea.
Cat litter is known for being dusty, which can be a major problem for the respiratory health of small animals.
Newspaper is printed paper, which, to put things bluntly, is bad. The ink used can be harmful to your rat’s health if it’s ingested.
Straw shouldn’t be used as bedding. This is mostly because it is poky and irritating and can cause skin problems in rats who are considered hairless. There’s also the possibility of the straw causing injuries to your rat’s eyes.
The stuffing from pillows, stuffed toys, and comforters can be another tempting option but should be avoided. Why? It comes to the fact that, for one, your rat’s nails can easily get caught in it. Secondly, it’s not safe for them to ingest.
Other Rat Beddings to Consider
If you’re not interested in purchasing a commercial rat bedding or are in between paydays and looking for a cheap alternative rat bedding, consider giving these alternative beddings a try.
Who knew that an affordable rat bedding lived in your bathroom?
Toilet tissue is soft, easy to rip up, and fun for rats to dig and burrow in. They love to shred it up with their teeth and can often be caught dragging it around the cage and playing friendly games of tug of war.
To use it as bedding, all you have to do is take it off the roll, rip it into strips, and put it inside of your cat’s cage. They’ll do the rest!
Fleece is great bedding. It’s reusable, super soft, and available in a variety of colors and patterns that are completely safe and free of any harmful dyes.
It can be purchased almost anywhere that sells bedding or from craft and fabric stores. You can purchase it in small quantities or by large rolls.
In addition, you can go a step further and use other kinds of material, too. When you do, though, just make sure that they don’t have any fraying edges, glitter, sparkles, buttons, or glue.
Then, when the bedding is soiled, you can wash it and dry it and use it again.
Bonus: Fleece is also a great material for making DIY rat hammocks.
Paper can be a good rat bedding, too – as long, of course, as it’s not a newspaper. The best bet when it comes to paper bedding is a plain paper that is as soft as possible.
It doesn’t have to be too thick; thin is perfectly fine. You can rip the paper into strips or randomly shred it. If you have a paper shredder at home, you can even opt to run the paper through before putting it into the cage.
Hay can be used as rat bedding regardless of what type of hay it is. It is softer than straw and has a unique scent that masks odor. It’s important to note, though, that many people have hay allergies and find that out once they start using it for their pets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I change rat bedding?
Rat bedding should be changed twice a week. Changes should be made more frequently if you have multiple rats and each cleaning should be thorough and complete, with any litter boxes washed out with hot water and mild dish soap.
Do rats need bedding?
To feel safe and comfortable, rats do need some kind of bedding.
How deep should rat bedding be?
Rat bedding should be at least an inch deep but the average depth for rat bedding is 2-4 inches.
Is rat bedding messy?
It can be, yes. But it depends on which type you have, your rats’ personalities, and how deep the bedding is.
Why do my rats poop in their bedding?
Rats have a tendency to poop everywhere. This includes, unfortunately, their bedding. If you don’t have a litter box in your cage, consider adding one and filling it with a different substrate than the kind you use for bedding.
Does paper bedding last a long time?
Once wet, paper ret bedding can get mushy and gross very quickly. In terms of freshness while in the bag, it has a long shelf life.
Rat bedding is a surprisingly complex topic. When it comes to buying it, there are a ton of things to think about, and when it comes to choosing just one? The decision can be nearly impossible.
Luckily, any of the beddings we’ve recommended above will serve you and your rats well and the alternative options we’ve suggested can be used in case of emergencies or simply because you want to. Just remember to avoid using newspaper, cat litter, straw, or pillow stuffing.