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Old 07-24-2016, 06:09 PM   #1
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Question Wood substrates are bad??!

Hi' guys!
So recently around the forum and Instagram, I have seen people saying that wood based substrates are bad? Why is this? I personally use a wood based substrate and I find it perfect.
Disclaimer - I know that pine and cedar are bad and that they need kiln drying and all substrates should be dust extracted and so on...
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Old 07-24-2016, 06:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wood substrates are bad??!

Even kiln dried substrates can release phenols from what I've gathered.It has been said that even kiln dried pine still smells like that distinct pine scent,and since that scent comes from the phenols,that means the phenols are not entirely removed and so kiln dried or not becomes irrelevant.

Even if they claim to be dust extracted,chances are there will be at least a small amount of dust!This is simply the nature of substrate material,but Fitch is the very rare exception to this.

Any wood substrate(including pine and aspen)can also cause an allergic reaction,which means they are still a big risk for anyone to use.The only completely risk free option would be a paper-type substrate,since unlike wood that would not cause an allergic reaction.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wood substrates are bad??!

A lot of people use wood based substances without any problem and have done for years so if you're buying the non-scented, kiln dried shavings that aren't based on a pine or cedar wod and you or your hamster aren't having any problems with it then you shouldn't feel forced to switch to anything else. You will find that most substrates will have their pros and cons and a fair few will still contain some dust.

One tip that someone shared here was to open the bag of shavings and break it up in a storage box or tub so that it has a chance to air before you put it in your hamster's cage.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wood substrates are bad??!

It might be referring to the fact that some hamsters can develop an allergy to wood bedding (any type of wood) just as humans can! If a hamster did develop an allergy then there are other substrates that can be used. As always there is a personal choice element. Some people like using Aspen, which is a hardwood bedding, so no phenols, but a hamster "could" still become allergic. Sieving wood bedding can get rid of any dust as well. I think you got the Chipsi bedding didn't you? That's part pine part spruce anyway so not the same as pine or cedar, and I'm guessing your hamster isn't allergic to it or you'd have noticed. People are always going to have different opinions about things, and some is personal choice. I don't think there is any "perfect" substrate. Hemp can be dusty too and unless it is organic you don't know what it has been sprayed with, as a plant. Paper bedding goes through various chemical processes to become paper. I did decide to switch to a paper bedding (Fitch) and am happy with it, and it does seem to be dust-free so I'm a bit biased in thinking it's one of the best. Some people might not get on with it. I did quite miss the shavings and mixed the two for some time before going over fully to Fitch - but now I prefer it. Some people mix 2 or 3 different substrates - partly so tunnels hold well and partly because there's an argument that reduces the negatives of each bedding (on the other hand it might mean a light cocktail of a mix of different chemicals!) I don't think there is a perfect bedding, just as there are many foods and household items and personal products humans use that have things in that aren't good for us - but we can't seal ourselves in a bubble. Hamsters are quite sensitive little things when it comes to smells and scents though so scented bedding is definitely lot good, whether it is wood or otherwise.

I think many people will say wood bedding is "bad" and make a general statement like that. I wasn't sure about the phenol/kiln dried shavings issue but I had other options so decided to use them (eg Fitch). I don't think you can get Fitch in Ireland, and Carefresh is expensive.

Last edited by Serendipity7000; 07-25-2016 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wood substrates are bad??!

Thanks for all the replies. I do use Chipsi super which is treated, hardened pine and spruce. I mix in my own home made paper bedding. I am planning to buy some carefresh next time I buy a bag of bedding as zooplus are having a sale. But couldn't that cause allergic reactions as it is wood pulp?
I really wanted to get fitch but I firstly found the website extremely confusing and the couldn't see if they even posted to Ireland. And even then it was 11 to post to northern Ireland.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wood substrates are bad??!

You could try buying Fitch from Amazon as they have free shipping to the UK & Northern Ireland I think
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