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Reference Homemade Carefresh Safety Question


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Apr 24, 2012
I've seen a thread here on home made Carefresh and quite a few Youtube videos for the same and I was considering trying it out. We don't get Carefresh in my country and I have a lot of newspaper lying about. I would only need enough for my litter box so I don't need to make it in obscene quantities.

However, the newspapers here are probably not printed using soy ink. Is it still safe to use it to make bedding?:confused:

I've seen conflicting opinions about this - some people say it isn't and some say that most of the ink gets washed out during the process anyway so it doesn't matter. What do you guys think?
It's hard to say. My husband is in the printing business and he said that heavy metals have been banned from the printing process worldwide. His company uses alcohol and solvent based inks. Newspaper printing ink is usually soy based here in the U.S. Overseas, I'm not sure. You might want to contact them to see what they are made of. I'm sure they would share that info with you.
Not soy ink. :(
Even if it's not heavy metals, I doubt the solvents used are any good for piggies so I'm a bit suspicious of making Carefresh with the newspaper. However, if above solvents are washed out in the process of making the bedding then it would be safer.
Why don't you use fleece bedding instead? I use fleece bedding now, and it's so far so good. My cavies can't kick the bedding out of their cages when they run anymore. Plus, it costs less in the long term.

There are many threads regarding fleece bedding under the subtopic Bedding.
The OP only has a litter pan full of Carefresh, I'm guessing they are using fleece or some other bedding for the rest of the cage @Ithilgil
The OP only has a litter pan full of Carefresh, I'm guessing they are using fleece or some other bedding for the rest of the cage @Ithilgil

Yes, that's right!

I was looking for something more absorbent that I didn't have to wash for their litter-pan-cum-hay-tray because it can get messy - I mean it's practically a box of hay, pee and poop!:D

So does anyone know if it's safe? I would really appreciate an answer as their current wood shaving bedding makes them sneeze while they are in it and I would like to reduce the dust they breathe in general.
In my opinion, I would go with better safe than sorry since no one seems to know a solid answer of if it's ok or not. What kind of bedding are you using in it now?
Just a really thick layer of wood shavings topped with loads of hay.
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I think it would be safe, aslong as you dont see them eating it.
I would try not to use wood shavings as the savings can get stuck in their eyes and cause infections
Would kiln dried pellets be an option for you? I'm not sure if they're available where you are and I've never used them personally but from what I hear they're a good alternative to wood chips (and supposedly cheap in bulk). Just a thought...
Just a really thick layer of wood shavings topped with loads of hay.

Hay isn't a good bedding and shouldn't be used as one because it doesn't absorb well and it can mold pretty quickly when exposed to moisture such as pee.
What kind of wood shavings are you currently using? I'm using aspen because I can't find pellets in south Texas until the winter months, and my pigs are having no trouble with them.
What if you just made pee pads for the litter box? You could make enough to change them daily and wash them at the end of the week with your fleece? I'm thinking of doing that for my cage !
Sorry for the late reply.

I have no idea what shavings I have. :( Yes, it's true. This is the brand - (broken link removed)
They are made in Belgium and it does not say what kind they are but they are the only ones available. They do not have any scent to them and we take care not to put the smaller particles into the litter tray.

However, I realised that the problem was the hay - it was very dusty. I exposed it to the sun for a while and repacked the whole 2kg into little well-ventilated paper bags and the piggies' sneezing has definitely reduced.

I don't have any wood pellets available here - I've seen just one brand and I think they discontinued it or something.

We change out their litter tray every single day so the hay does not remain moist enough to mould. It is merely there to encourage the piggies to use the litter tray and have something to munch if ever they feel hungry and we are not around. They get unlimited grass when we are home which we give them outside the litter tray.

I have considered removing the litter tray altogether but one of my piggies is litter-trained so well that she literally does not pee or poop unless we give her back the litter tray - she even wheeks angrily to have it back when we have taken it out for cleaning.:crazy:
I use hay in some of my litter boxes, too, over a layer of newspaper. Every night I throw it out and refresh. In my other litter boxes I use a layer of wood pellets.
I use hay in some of my litter boxes, too, over a layer of newspaper. Every night I throw it out and refresh. In my other litter boxes I use a layer of wood pellets.

My statement about the hay was mainly directed towards @RodentCuddles because she said that the hay might mould. Like I said, the newspaper here is not printed with soy ink so I can't put it directly in their litter tray. My piggies are rather naughty - they enjoy chewing up any form of paper. Once one of them got under the cloth that lines their cage while burrowing and we found a whole chunk of newspaper missing the next day with little bite marks around the edges. :p

If we used any sort of paper under the bedding in the litter tray, they would nose around till they found a crease, pull it out with their teeth and chew it - sometimes even going so far as to haul parts of it out of the litter tray to chomp in their beds leaving a mess of bedding everywhere!

I was hoping that the process of making the Carefresh might make the paper less toxic.
I'm not sure if you have decided what to do yet, but I have a few suggestions. I use fleece now instead of bedding with a nice thick pad under it (which I made with fabric stuffed with quilt batting and change every couple of days). It's not only absorbent, it keeps the pen smelling and feeling fresh, they also seem to like it very much better. They just jump around and popcorn all the time now - they didn't before.

For the liter pan - I also had trouble with their hay becoming their impromtu liter pan. I made a nice hanging hay bag out of fleece, they love it!

I then got them a liter pan and I use clay pellets in it. However I have used paper, I have used some wood (in a pinch) but I have also used the same padding I use under their fleece. So what if you make like 14 of them (they won't cost much and will only be as big as the liter pan - small enough to store). Pull them out each night when you clean out the pen and refresh it for them.

Just a few ideas that I have found to work well for us. Daisy Mae and Patches LOVE their pen. They run around in circles jumping up and down with smiles (yes smiles) on their faces!

Good luck! Let me know if you need any further info if you want to make the things I have made.
Clay litter can be harmful if your pigs ingest it.

I think I've located a recycled paper bedding that I could use which would be less dusty, so we'll give that a try and see how it goes.
I'm not 100% sure it's clay, it's little balls and specifically for piglets? They love to play in it, but they don't eat it.

This is what I use - it's what the website says:

Critter Litter
Did you know you can potty train your small pet? This is a specially formulated potty litter for small animal pets. It absorbs moisture on contact and inhibits the bacteria that cause pet waste odors. It is made from non-toxic all natural minerals in a special pearl shaped pellet that reduces the production of dust. This litter, in combination with a potty training program, will reduce cage cleaning by 30% or more. This is the sanitary solution for spot training ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, pet rats and other small animals.

Is that harmful for them???? If so I'll stop using it tonight! Please send feedback.
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