Caged Pets Bedding: Wood Shavings Issues
Cedar and pine shavings are normally used as pet bedding products. They are cheap, widely available in pet stores, and very easy to clean up.
Cedar and pine became accepted because they can control odor and have some natural properties to repel insects.
They also give off a nice smell which further increases their desirability among pet owners. However, this smell causes some concern, particularly with its implications over the pet's health.
The internet has been raged with articles telling pet owners to avoid cedar and pine shavings. As a summary, almost all (if not all) of them say that these shavings cause liver changes and respiratory problems including inflammation, asthma, and allergic responses.
While it is always good to take precautions especially if a life is on the line, it is not enough to accept warnings as they are. We have to understand clearly if or why cedar and pine shavings should be avoided.
There have been several studies conducted on people (those who work in lumber mills) who are constantly exposed to wood byproducts including dusts and compare the incidence of disease to other people with different professions.
Of course, humans and pets are different and their reaction to elements is also different.
Laboratory studies showed that animals that are housed with cedar bedding have severe changes in liver enzymes which affect their metabolism of drugs and cause other health problems.
At this point, it may be enough to say that cedar and pine shavings should not be used for pet animals, however, the direct impact of these shavings on pets has not been really studied. Therefore the use of cedar and pine boils down to preference.
It should be understood that your pets, while they have been bred and very domesticated, haven't really lost their ability to resist disease and are completely dependent on humans in terms of survival.
Their wild counterparts are exposed to all the elements and still manage to thrive.
There are, however, animals that are much weaker than others like some humans who are more prone to disease than others.
The concerns over the safety of wood shavings have led to a sudden increase of alternative bedding products.
Aspen shavings are said to be very safe for pets.
Pellet or litter type products are also widely available.
Other products include recycled newspaper, a variety of organic products, and alfalfa pellets among others.
Learn more about the care of exotic pets when you read the rest of our information here about: How to look after a pet snake
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