How To Choose The Best Bedding For Rats

Some of us have some pretty exotic pets. There are plenty of people who like to have something that’s a bit different than the norm. Lots of animal lovers have rodents as pets, but when most people think about pet rodents, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils are what come to mind. But, if your rodent of choice is a rat, you’re actually not as alone on that as you may think.


In just the U.S., there are around a half-million households that have a pet rat or mouse. And since all of those rat lovers need good bedding for rats, we’re taking a look at the best bedding for them. 

Getting the best rat bedding for them isn’t just good from a hygiene standpoint, but the best rat bedding helps keep them alive and healthy. With the best rat bedding, you can keep them around for years to come, and it does impact their lifespan. 

The best part of the best rat bedding is of course, you don’t have to spend a fortune on it. The best rat bedding really only costs a small price to pay, and that is why many owners are willing to invest in this for their furry little friend. 


Do Rats Need Bedding?

Rats, like all pet rodents, do need some sort of bedding in the bottom of their cages. Pet bedding isn’t just for giving them a nice place to sleep, but also a place for them to go to the bathroom. The rat bedding you use should consist of materials that are good for absorbing moisture, so your pet has a dry place to live and sleep. If there’s no bedding for rats in the cage, they have to traipse through their own waste that just sits in the bottom, as well as inhale it which causes respiratory issues. That’s kind of gross, and is why pet bedding is ideal for a rat. That’s an unhealthy way for a rat to live.

There are 4 types of bedding that a rat can use, and the best rat bedding for them is really based on what you’re willing to spend, and of course what they like too. 

Paper bedding is usually the option most people choose because paper bedding is cheap, and very easy to change. This is one of the best 4 types of bedding since it’s simple and effective. Paper based bedding is readily available, and there are many paper based products you can get. 

Paper based however, isn’t absorbent like other bedding, which is why, if the bottom is paper based, you should definitely clean this up at least once a week for best results. 

Pet rats also like to nest in things for sleeping. Putting rat bedding in the cage gives your pet somewhere comfortable to sleep. You want pet bedding that will hold a rat of many times its weight, and the best rat bedding will do this. 


Rats are like most other small animals such as guinea pigs and the like. Small animal bedding is virtually the same across all fronts since a small animal usually doesn’t need to be inhaling dust. A small animal should use safe eco bedding that fits their size. Usually, guinea pigs and pet rats use similar bedding, and other small animals will use similar bedding to these too. 

If you plan on getting a small animal, you will need to invest in small animal bedding. Small animal bedding gives them a place to rest that is convenient, and easy to lay in. small pets don’t use litterboxes or walk outside like how cats and dogs do, but instead, they need some bedding to both go to the bathroom in, and lay in as well. 

Rat owners learn from the begging that choosing the right kind of bedding is important. Small animal bedding is probably the first thing you’ll need to get for them, since of course, it can help them feel good. 

An important part of pet bedding is of course, odor control. Odor control of course, involves making sure that your small pet doesn’t’ stink up the place. Proper pet bedding helps fight odor control, since the small pet can of course use it without stinking up the room. 

But, some pet owners begin to realize that odor control is much easier said than done, even for a small pet. That’s because, a small pet will make messes in their cage, and pet owners will smell it. There needs to be bedding that naturally helps with odor control, and provides the best experience for your small pet. 

Plus, for a small pet, having a messy space with lack of odor control isn’t fun, which is why, pet owners need to choose pet bedding that fits their small pet, and one that provides the best odor control. 

So what is best for a small pet in terms of odor control. Well, you have the four types of bedding that work, and virtually, they’re all pretty good with odor control. But paper options are great for a small pet, since they are easy to change out, and they give the small pet the pet bedding they need. However, when the pet bedding gets mushy, sometimes this can affect the small pet, and of course create problems when it comes to odor control. 

Carefresh, which is of course paper pellets, are cheap of course, but for a small pet, they don’t provide the best odor control possible. That’s because if the small pet uses this, the pet bedding can get soiled, and from there, it can make the place stink. With a pet bed, you want something that your smell pet can of course use, but also something which won’t stink up the place. 

Straw bedding is some great pet bedding. That is because this pet bedding is one of the best rat options, since it can hold many times its weight for starters, and it can help with odor problems. Pet bedding that combats this is usually quite great, and it is one of the best rat bedding for pet owners simply because it can absorb a lot of the stink too. 

Fleece bedding is also good for this, since it does hold many times its weight in use, and it won’t make it stinky. You want pet bedding that is good for hiding the odors of course, and to make it so that you’re providing pet bedding your rat will love. 


What Can I Put On the Bottom Of My Rats Cage?

You’ll find a number of different opinions about what you should use on the bottom of your rat’s cage. One thing that’s pretty true of rats across the board is that their respiratory systems can be quite sensitive. That means dust isn’t good for most rats. Some of the bedding for rats ends up creating a large amount of dust. It might be best to avoid those. Wood bedding may not be a good option since the wood pulp may irritate the stomach. Shredded paper is a great option because shredded paper is readily available, and it is a healthy natural bedding rats will enjoy, and other small animals like it too. 

A dust free option is your best way. That way, the rat doesn’t have issues or have to deal with sensitivity. Finding a dust free option might be a bit hard for you. 

Wood-based bedding is pretty dusty. However, there are some woods that don’t create as much dust. If you want to use wood rat bedding, your best option will be Aspen bedding because it produces the least amount of dust. Be cautious and pay attention, though, when you first put this bedding in the cage with your rat, as they can sometimes be allergic to it. 

Other options that may be better for your rat include paper bedding, branded rat bedding like Boxo or Carefresh, hay, or fleece. These are better dust free options since they oftentimes won’t work for all small pets. 

So what is the best bedding for rats. Well, you want some small animal bedding that works for them. If you’ve ever owned guinea pigs or small animals, you’ll realize that it is best to have bedding that fits. There are three types of bedding for you to choose as pet bedding for your little friend, and luckily, it’s quite easy to figure out which one your rat will like best. 

There are many different types of bedding that pet owners can use. A rat cage is relatively small, so you won’t need a ton of pet bedding for them. But, like with all small animals, it is required. 

Small animals normally don’t go out to use the restroom, nor do they usually use beds like how cats and dogs do. Which is why small animal bedding for small animals is needed. The best type of bedding is really based not on just a rat’s health, but also on what they like too. 


Can Rats Use Hay As Bedding?

Hay is actually one of the best bedding materials for rats. Specifically, Timothy hay is especially good for rats. Not only do they like to nest down in it for bedding, but they will eat it, too. Timothy hay is really beneficial for a rat because it keeps its digestive system working well.

Small Pet Select is probably one of the best places to buy hay bedding, since it can be easily procured. Small Pet Select also has other bedding options which you can use too. 

Is Fleece Good Bedding For Rats?

Fleece is a safe and healthy choice of bedding for rats. It’s soft and can be placed in the bottom of the cage with enough extra slack for a rat to cuddle up in flaps and folds when it wants to. It’s also good at absorbing wetness. You do need to make sure you take it out and wash it every couple of days. Once it’s clean, though, you can put it right back in the cage, so you save money and it’s eco-friendly.

Can I Use Cat Litter For My Rat?

Cat litter is not safe to use as bedding for rats. There are chemicals in cat litter that could cause a lot of harm to your pet. It’s also very dusty. Remember, you want to have a dust free option for your rat’s bedding, since the dust free bedding helps with keeping allergens out, and can help them breathe. 

You can use other litter pellets, though. It may not be the best bedding for rats because it’s not very comfortable, but it has a high absorbency level and is safe for rats.


Is Hemp Bedding Safe For Rats?

You can use hemp bedding for rats. It’s not only safe, it’s highly absorbent, and is better for the environment than other options of bedding for rats. Hemp isn’t dusty, doesn’t produce harmful oils like other bedding materials, and can be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.

Is Carefresh Bedding Safe For Rats?

Carefresh bedding is absolutely safe and is one of the best bedding options you can find pre-packaged on a retail shelf. It consists of wood fiber that is renewable and virtually dust-free. Also, when your rat nests in it and puts in efforts to create the tunnels and hideouts he likes, Carefresh will keep those shapes and nests in place because it doesn’t get as compacted as other materials. It is probably the best dust free option for your pet rat, but it is a little bit expensive when compared to other dust free bedding options for your pet rat. 

Also, paper pellet bedding is good for rats because it is healthy pet bedding, and is good for rats. This is great pet bedding because it offers healthy pet alternatives, and it is one of the best bedding for rats. Paper pellet bedding is a natural bedding that is cheap and won’t harm them, and is good for their digestive healthy. Unlike wood shavings and other pet bedding, this is a great option for pet owners that are looking for something that will keep their rat happy and healthy. Paper pellet bedding is readily available at most pet stores too, and is one of the most popular types of bedding. 

Pellet bedding, however, does get a bit mushy and gross when they’re stood on and used, similar to how some wood shavings can get over time, so it is important to change it out frequently. 


Can I Use Towels For Rat Bedding?

Using paper towels for rat bedding is pretty common. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s healthier than some of the wood bedding rodent owners use sometimes. Other towels may not be the best bedding option for your rat, however. Kitchen and bathroom towels can produce long stringy shreds when they unravel, which can be dangerous for your pet.

You may wonder if recycled paper is one of the best bedding for rats. Well, recycled paper and eco bedding usually can help save some money, as recycled paper is usually pretty safe and cheap. This is also an eco bedding too, because it doesn’t harm the environment. With this eco bedding of recycled paper, your pet rat can use it, and from there, it can always be changed out and easily discarded. It’s also an eco friendly option in that, you can actually use this recycled paper in a compost afterwards, making it the best bedding for rats for those who are looking to help the environment. 

The downside to recycled paper is of course it doesn’t last a long time. Another downside to recycled paper is, if there is ink on this, it can harm small pets. Rats can’t process ink or anything, so recycled paper might not be good if it’s a newspaper. But, small shredded up pieces of recycled paper are some of the best bedding for rats because this recycled paper is easy to replace, and recycled paper is readily available in a lot of cases. 

How Often Should I Change My Rat’s Bedding?

In order to get the most from your rat bedding you need to be cleaning old food and large rat droppings from the cage daily. Changing the bedding can be done every few days unless you notice more soiling than normal or bad smells. Typically, you’ll need to change your rat’s bedding about twice a week.


Can I Keep Pet Rats In My Bedroom?

Some of the concern over whether or not you should keep pet rats in your bedroom comes from the fear that they can transfer diseases to their owners. Domestic rats aren’t likely to do that. So it’s not unsafe to have the cage in your bedroom.

That being said, it isn’t the best place to keep the cage. Rats are social creatures by nature. While it might seem strange to say, they will benefit from being located in the room in the house where people do the most coming together. 

The last consideration we have is the noises you might hear coming from the cage at night. It’s possible your beloved pet may end up keeping you awake at night, so another room might be a more optimum location.

Another consideration is the cleanliness of the room. A dust free space is probably your best option. By keeping it dust free, you won’t irritate their space. Many people’s rooms are not dust free, so they end up creating trouble for the pat rat, so definitely consider the space before putting them somewhere. 

Rats can be a bit smelly too, and you want a space and options that provide odor control. For example, ventilation is really good for odor control since it keeps the scent circulating. A room may not be the best odor control option for pet rats because the windows might not be open a lot, and if you don’t have proper ventilation, odor control isn’t really ideal. 

It isn’t the best place for rats to be kept, simply because of how cramped it can be, and of course, the lack of odor control. Having them in a common room where you can see them and provide enough odor control is ideal, since they are small pets that need socialization. 

Remember to clean down the rat cage with baking soda at least once a week. Baking soda not only gets rid of bacteria, but also helps freshen up the cage if it smells a bit funky. Baking soda is also cheap to buy too. 


What Is The Best Bedding For Rats?

It’s in your pet rat’s best interest to go with the least dusty bedding you can find. Good choices include Boxo bedding that’s made from recycled cardboard boxes, Carefresh that is formulated to be better for rodent bedding, and soft, easy-to-nest materials like fleece. Paper bedding isn’t bad either. 

Caring for your rat can be just as satisfying as caring for any other kind of pet. Choose the best bedding for your rat to keep him happy and healthy so you can enjoy him for as long as possible.

Last Updated on September 1, 2021 by Marie Miguel

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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