Today’s blog tells you how to make your hamster a cosy bedding that helps your wallet and the planet. Yes, we’re talking about DIY Hamster bedding!
In today’s society it seems we are always being told to buy something for those we love to prove that this love is real. This is no less true for pets, with an endless stream of new ways for us to spend money to make them happy. Whether it is through new luxurious living quarters or unseen before toys, there is always something.
A lot of times these are great additions to your pets’ lives (we cover a lot of them on this site!), but not always. Sometimes you can take the cheap option without feeling guilty you are making your pets suffer, and even gain some added benefits. Making your own hamster bedding is definitely one of these times.
DIY hamster bedding can be just as comfy for your little friends, while saving you money, if you use recycled materials helping out the planet, and even in some cases providing them with a fun toy as well. You need to make sure you do it right however as there are lots of pitfalls to avoid, so we have put together a quick run through of the two main methods to make sure everything goes smoothly, and your hamster can sleep soundly.
Method One: Shredding
This is the easiest of the two methods and simply involves making strips for your hamster to rest on. You can do this with many different materials, but we recommend you stick to plain white printing paper, plain white napkins, toilet paper or the loo roll left behind. It is important to make sure that when it comes to paper and napkins that they are plain white, as any dye can be very nasty for your cute little friend.
Once you have one or more of these you simply need to cut them into thin strips and create a nice thick bed for your hamster’s comfort. As long as there is plenty of room you don’t need to worry about putting too much in (often they will enjoy burrowing in a thicker bed), and it is far better to go too much than too little.
Also if you are using an old loo roll, the cardboard can be enjoyable for larger hamsters such as Syrians to tear apart and play with themselves to make their bedding. Simply cut the roll into much larger strips and let them do the rest. They have much more fun making their bed than we do ours!
Method Two: Pulping
Slightly more work (but definitely worth it if you have the time!), is making paper pulp bedding. This has the advantage of being more absorbent than strips and so helps keep your cuddly companion clean and dry for that much longer. It also has the added bonus that you can recycle paper that has ink on it to help the planet as well, as the pulping process will clean this off and so make it perfectly safe.
First of all you will need to cut or tear your paper into square pieces about 5cms along each side and put them into a large bucket, filling it with them about half way.
You will then need to add hot (but not too hot for your hands!) water to the bucket until the paper is fully covered and stir the paper around in it. This is to help remove any ink on it.
Then squeeze the paper into a big ball and drain it with a strainer before kneading the paper in the strainer until it is mostly dry.
Next put the paper back in the bucket, and repeat the process of covering, straining, and kneading at least three times to make sure you get rid of all of the ink.
Once this is done and you are confident the ink is gone, split the paper into balls slightly bigger than a tennis ball and squeeze them to remove excess water.
Soak these balls in hot water for another two hours and then stir the water to make 100% sure all of the ink is gone. This may seem like overkill but you really don’t want to risk hurting your furry friend and so we think it is always better safe than sorry.
Finally drain the paper in a strainer and break it into small balls about 1cm across and leave it out to dry.
You now have a brand-new batch of bedding for your hamster to snuggle to in and enjoy.
Final Thoughts on DIY Hamster Bedding
Hopefully, this has been a helpful ‘how to’ so that you too can give your hamster your own DIY bedding. If you do go about using non-story hamster bedding though we thoroughly recommend using only the methods provided here, and not using alternatives such as cat litter, leaves from outside or grass cuttings. While these may seem like a good option, they can often contain chemicals extremely harmful to hamsters.
Stick to what we know works, and give your little pet the perfect night’s sleep!
If you want to find out more about keeping your hamster healthy then read this article on wet tail in hamsters.