Rats get a lot of hate for being dirty animals, but this is simply a misconception. In reality, rats are very smart and clean animals that love to have a nice environment to live in. This environment usually contains a custom nest, with a surprising lack of fecal matter and leftover food waste.
This comfortable and clean environment can easily be constructed by your rat as long as you provide them with an adequate amount of quality bedding.
Because your rat will be spending a good portion of their time in and around their bedding, even if you give them a lot of free-roam time, you need to make sure that you’re supplying them with the best bedding possible.
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OUR #1 RATED
Small Pet SelectPremium Soft Paper Bedding
Bedding that comes at an excellent price but maintains a high-quality, dust-free, absorbent composition.
VitakraftFresh World Strength Crumble Bedding
Controls odors for up to 14 days straight with excellent absorption abilities and made from sustainable materials.
Fresh NewsPaper Animal Bedding
Soft, fluffy, comfortable bedding that does a fantastic job of controlling odors through its use of baking soda.
Healthy PetHPCC Natural Bedding
A very absorbent bedding that holds up to playful rats and provides a comfortable yet odor-reducing base for a cage.
CarefreshComplete Pet Bedding
Controls odors for 10 days and excellently absorbs liquids while lacking dust and being made from 100% sustainable materials.
What Is Rat Bedding Used For?
Rat bedding is the material that you place at the bottom of your rat’s cage that provides them with a comfortable place to hang out, sleep, nest, and perform other rat activities. Providing your rat with enough quality bedding is essential because it’s a lot more natural than existing on a flat surface and allows them to get a lot more comfortable.
One of the best ways that you can make your rat feel comfortable is by mimicking their natural environment. In the wild, rats frequently build nests in relatively closed-off spaces, and this is where they love to sleep and feel safe. Bedding helps to mimic this environment by providing rats with soft material that they can move around, tear up, and nest in.
Aside from comfort, rat bedding has quite a bit of utility, too. The main benefits that rat bedding brings include odor control and liquid absorption. A quality, absorbent bedding will help to lock in fluids and lessen or prevent unwanted odors. This makes a rat’s cage much more healthy, safe, and comfortable for both the rats and the owners.
Are There Rat Bedding Alternatives?
This post contains a list of some very high-quality bedding that would make an excellent addition to any rat cage. However, taking a more DIY approach could definitely be in some people’s best interest. Fortunately, there are several suitable replacements for traditional rat bedding.
- Newspaper – Newspaper is a bit of a controversial material among rat owners due to the presence of ink. However, if you can verify that the newspaper that you’re using uses an ink that’s non-toxic, then you should be okay to use this material. Newspaper can either be shredded up and used as a direct replacement to paper bedding, or it can be used in sheets to line the bottom of a cage as an absorbent layer.
- Shredded cardboard – Cardboard is an absorbent, clean, easily-accessible bedding material that can also be a replacement for standard paper bedding. This cardboard can be collected from many different sources, ranging from paper towel rolls to standard shipping boxes. If you opt to use cardboard, make sure that it doesn’t have any toxic ink on it.
- Paper – While newspaper was already mentioned, paper bedding is a tad different but also makes for an excellent base. Soft papers such as toilet paper, unscented facial tissues, and napkins are great at absorbing urine. Blank computer paper and paper bags also work excellently. Many owners opt to shred computer paper to make a fine, easy bedding.
- Fleece – Fleece is a bedding option that’s become very popular recently. Now, fleece can’t be the only thing in the cage, as it’s very soft but not absorbent at all. Therefore, an upper layer of fleece can be placed over either newspaper or other absorbent materials. Fleece is excellent to use as a bedding because it’s very easy to clean – just throw it in the wash – and it saves money over time.
Helpful Tips For Rat Bedding
Rat bedding isn’t a very difficult concept to grasp and understand. However, there are still a few key points that you should know and understand in order to make your rat’s environment as healthy and comfortable as possible.
- How often should I change my rat’s bedding?
- Unfortunately, there isn’t a strict schedule to follow when it comes to changing out your rat’s bedding. Because of this, you’ll need to be attentive to diligent in keeping an eye on your rat’s bedding in order to determine when it’s time to change it out. If you start to notice the bedding getting damp or dirty, it’s safe to say that it should get changed out. Most rat owners find that a cage of two rats should have the bedding changed out every week or so.
- Will rat bedding control odor?
- Yes, your rat’s bedding should definitely play a part in controlling odor within their cage. Bedding controls odor by absorbing urine and locking it in to prevent the presence of ammonia and bad smells. However, the efficiency of the odor control entirely depends upon the type of bedding that you choose. Some bedding doesn’t put a huge emphasis on odor control, while others have a specialized formula to trap odors for days at a time.
- Can my rat eat its bedding?
- As long as the rat bedding that you decided to go with doesn’t have any added chemicals or sharp pieces, then it should generally be fine to ingest in small amounts. While it’s almost unavoidable that most rats will eat a bit of their bedding, you should definitely not encourage them to eat it. Thankfully, they’re smart enough to know that it’s not the most tasty thing in the world!
What Defines The Best Rat Bedding?
Not all rat bedding is created equal. In fact, some of the bedding that we’ve found is safely unsafe and terrible for rats in general! So, when you’re choosing the bet bedding for your ratty, make sure that you keep these characteristics in mind:
- Odor control – Rats can be a bit smelly, especially if you’re not cleaning out their cage every single day. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you invest in a bedding that’s great at controlling odors. Some bedding, such as this Vitakraft Fresh World bedding, has built-in odor control that works to block and eliminate odors for up to 14 days.
- Absorbency – Absorbency is another one of the strongest characteristics of the best rat bedding. Absorbent bedding is fantastic because it keeps your rat’s cage cleaner, drier, and smelling much more fresh. Additionally, it needs to be changed less frequently than non-absorbent bedding because it locks in the fluids and bad odors.
- Safety – While rats may be incredibly smart creatures, they’re not smart enough to know if their bedding is potentially harming them. Because of the fact that your rat is going to be spending a lot of time in and around their bedding, make sure that the bedding is non-toxic and has no added chemicals that could be harmful.
- Dust-free – The dustiness of your rat’s bedding is something that should also be considered. A very dust bedding can result in respiratory problems for not only your rat, but for you as well! Bedding that’s not dusty is also much easier to clean out of a cage and is overall cleaner.
- Comfort – Your rat is going to be spending a lot of time in their bedding, so make sure that it’s comfortable! Fortunately, most bedding manufacturers do a great job of making their bedding fluffy and comfortable for small creatures.
- Eco-friendly – Even if your rats are very neat and respectful of their environment, over the course of their lifetime you’ll end up going through a lot of bedding. Because of this, it’s a smart idea to get bedding that’s made from 100% biodegradable, natural materials.
What Is The Best Rat Bedding?
There is an overwhelming amount of bedding available on the market, and this can make it very difficult to try and find the right bedding for your rat. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best rat bedding options and individually reviewed each of them with their pros and cons.
Also, it’s important to remember that cleanliness is important. Even if you get your rat the best bedding on the market, their cage will be disgusting and their health will deteriorate if you don’t change out their bedding enough.
our #1 rated
OUR TOP PICK
Small Pet Select
Premium Soft Paper Bedding
This Small Pet Select bedding is easily one of the most popular options for rat owners, and it’s very clear why when you look into it. First thing’s first, the value you get out of this bedding is one of the best, giving you more bedding per dollar than most other brands. Even though it’s a great value, this bedding is still high-quality. It’s 100% safe and is made without the addition of harmful dyes or chemicals. The actual paper that it’s made from has never been bleached or printed on, so there’s no chance of the presence of harmful ink. On top of this, it’s very soft bedding that’s comfortable, absorbent, and expands up to 3 times its volume once it’s removed from its packaging.
Feedback on this bedding by rat owners is overwhelmingly positive. In reviews, owners describe this bedding as dust-free, soft, fluffy, and absorbs odors surprisingly well. Additionally, the value is brought up frequently, with many owners stating that they get a lot of uses out of a single bag.
One important thing to note about this bedding and basically every other bedding is that the volume online is usually different from the volume on the packaging. This is due to the fact that the bedding expands once it’s out of its packaging. So, it’s not technically false advertising, but it can be misleading. Additionally, this specific bedding has a few owners saying that they wish it was better at odor control.
- Very comfortable bedding
- Virtually no dust
- Excellent value
- Not the strongest odor control
our #2 rated
Fresh World Strength Crumble Bedding
If odor control is very important to you, then this Fresh World bedding by Vitakraft would make an excellent addition to your rat’s cage. The big selling point of this bedding is that it has up to 14 days of odor control with its special odor control formula. Not only does this bedding work to keep your rat’s cage fresh and clean, but it’s also very absorbent — easily absorbing up to 3 times its weight in liquid. As far as composition goes, this bedding is made from 100% recycled, unbleached, ink-free paper. It’s also 99.5% dust-free, which is great for respiratory health of both yourself and your rats.
A large majority of rat owners state that the odor control abilities of this bedding are on-par with what’s advertised. It locks in odors and keeps cages smelling fresh for days at a time. Owners that have bad allergies also note that they don’t have an issue working with this bedding, making it a great choice for sensitive owners and rats.
While the dustiness and fluffiness of this bedding isn’t a problem for most people, a couple people do say that the bedding is a bit dusty and crumbly for their liking. With this comes some issues with odor control, as the owners say it doesn’t lock in odors very well. These observations are pretty rare, though.
- Absorbs fluid excellently
- Controls odors for up to 14 days
- Paper is recycled and non-toxic
- Some owners say it’s a bit dusty and doesn’t control all odor
our #3 rated
Paper Animal Bedding
Fresh News isn’t a very well-known brand in the small animal bedding space, but it’s easily created one of the best bedding options for rats. Fresh News has a big focus on odor control and elimination, using baking soda to fight ammonia in a very effective yet entirely safe way. In addition to this great cleanliness, the bedding is soft and made from 100% biodegradable materials. The absorbency of this bedding is also great, with Fresh News boasting that it’s even more absorbent than the leading brands of bedding.
Fewer owners have purchased and reviewed this product, but the ones that have absolutely love it. Nearly every customer reports that the bedding is very soft and that it controls odors very well. The overall composition of the bedding is great for rats to dig and nest in it, but it’s solid enough to be easy to clean out of a cage.
There are very few complaints about this bedding. The main complaints that we can understand is that the bedding is very lightweight, allowing it to get knocked around and out of a cage easily. With playful rats, this can understandably be a problem, but a problem that isn’t too hard to fix.
- Eliminates ammonia with baking soda
- Made from biodegradable materials
- Soft and comfortable
- Lightweight, meaning it can get tossed out of a cage easily
our #4 rated
HPCC Natural Bedding
Healthy Pet’s Critter Care bedding is a great alternative to the Vitakraft bedding listed above, as they basically have the same features and benefits. Like the Vitakraft bedding, this bedding absorbs up to 3 times its weight in liquid to keep a cage clean and dry for a long period of time. Additionally, it’s a bedding that’s great for odor control because it locks in moisture and controls the ammonia. As far as dustiness goes, it’s virtually dust-free, ensuring that it’s a safe and healthy option.
Rats and rat owners alike really like this bedding. It’s frequently stated that this bedding quite easily puts up with the abuse that a rat can put it through (which is a lot). It remains fluffy, comfortable, and absorbent, even when it’s not changed very frequently.
One issue with this bedding lies in its odor control abilities, with some owners finding that it doesn’t keep odor locked down as well as they hoped. Fortunately, most of these owners opted to sprinkle the bedding with baking soda and it seemed to do the trick. A small handful also said that this bedding was rough, but once again these complaints are in the minority.
- Very dust-free
- Expands nicely out of its package
- Absorbs 3 times its weight in liquid
- Not the best at controlling odor
our #5 rated
Complete Pet Bedding
Carefresh is one of the most popular brands of rat bedding, and it’s pretty clear why it’s so popular. This long-standing company has high standards to live up to with their products, and has also had a long time to perfect their product. The bedding boasts 10 days of odor control to lock in odors and keep your rat’s cage smelling and feeling clean. It’s also 99% dust-free and made from 100% sustainable materials, making it safe for not only the respiratory systems of you and your rats, but also for the environment.
Most rat owners absolutely love this bedding. Because of the fact that Carefresh has been around for a while, they’re able to offer this bedding at a very competitive price, which makes a lot of rat owners very happy. In addition to this, it’s very absorbent and noticeably reduces odor when it’s used. There are also virtually no reports of irritation from dust in this bedding.
A few rat owners have noted that the bedding is a bit brittle and not the best at absorbing liquids, while other owners have no problem with the construction and absorption. Additionally, some owners state that it doesn’t do a fantastic job at controlling odors, but it does noticeably reduce them.
- Controls odors for 10 days
- Virtually no dust
- Made from sustainable materials
- A couple quality issues
All of the bedding that we have reviewed are more than suitable for rats and meet all of the criteria to provide your rat with a great environment that they’ll love. Rats may be extremely smart creatures, but they’re not the most difficult things to keep happy. Providing them with a great environment is one of the best ways to ensure their well-being.After analyzing all of the bedding options available, we have determined that the best rat bedding is Small Pet Select Premium Soft Paper Bedding.This well-priced and trusted hamster bedding easily meets the needs of hamsters and is trusted by thousands of hamster owners. The qualities of this bedding combined with it’s phenomenal value make it a great choice for all hamster owners.