Frequently asked questions

Health

What is Beachy Bedding made of?


Each product differs slightly. Our Coastal Flake is composed of pine, fir and spruce while the Plush Pine is 100% white pine. Highwater Hardwood is similar in character to many aspen bedding products, but is composed of maple and alder.




Is your pet bedding safe for my pet?


All Beachy products are a time tested and normally appropriate for most animals. For those that are concerned with softwood bedding products (Coastal Flake and Plush Pine), we offer Highwater Hardwood. We can provide further information on request.




What type of bedding should I use?


Mostly it comes down to personal preference. Nothing is perfect and there are significant differences in cost between different varieties. Everything is a trade off. We recommend selecting a low dust, heat treated/kiln dried, soft fluffy bedding product, avoiding anything with inks and and unknown origin. Be careful of pellets if your animal is sleeping on them, as they’re really hard. If you or your pet are sensitive to the ‘pine’ smell, check out our Highwater Hardwood, and, of course, avoid cedar as it contains smells known to be sensitive to most pets. Carefresh makes an excellent paper product (technically “virgin pulp” but it’s really unbleached paper not in a sheet) but expect to pay a premium. We are working on launching our own paper product an hope to offer you another option in the near future.




Why don't you have an odor control formula?


We understand that some pets have a really strong musk and that as urine and waste builds up in the cage, it can start to smell; however, every chemical added to bedding to try to cover this up, presents a potential risk to pet health due direct contact. We’ve decide to give you bedding as nature created it — without additives and chemical free. Yes it can smell, but it’s better that you know your pet’s house is getting dirty than the dirt building up undetected.




Do you use baking soda?


No! Baking soda is often used as a natural rat poison, so we’ve just decided not to take the risk. While some people can use it safely for their pets by layering it under the cage floor or under layers where they can’t access it and eat it, it just seems like a bad idea to coat all of the bedding in a poison.




What about phenols & volatiles?


Some people express concerns about the health risks of wood products, in particular soft woods such as cedar, pine, fir and spruce. Phenols and other volatile organic compounds occur naturally in most tree species and grasses, including aspen, maple, alder, and in higher concentrations in soft wood conifers. Of these, cedar is the most prominent. These compounds give rise to strong smells, such as that of your great aunt’s cedar chest. While the cedar smell can be pleasant, these compounds can create elevated liver enzymes. Many compounds can cause elevated or depressed liver enzymes. The degree of liver enzyme elevation varies with the species of animal, the duration and concentration of exposure and the type of material animals are exposed to. These compounds are primarily an issue for people using barbiturates for anesthesia in lab animals or employing lab animals for pharmacological studies. The liver enzymes can lead to more rapid processing of injected or inhaled drugs by the animal liver, reducing anesthesia duration or eliminating injected substances from the body more rapidly. While extremely difficult to demonstrate in live animals, some of the substances are toxic to cells when they are concentrated and cellular cultures are immersed in them. As these substances occur naturally, it is out of our control. However, it has been demonstrated that heat-treated softwood species causes a significant decrease in the volatile compounds. All of the bedding that we sell is heated for an extended duration, significantly decreasing these substances. While clear conclusions are difficult to draw from the literature, labs no longer use cedar and it is best avoided, unless used for compose or as a ground covering. Heat treated pine, spruce and fir are frequently used and are considered to be safe bedding materials. With all of these bedding materials, we recommend using well ventilated cages.




Does your bedding have dust?


Dust is a listed carcinogen in the state of California. Specifically, fine dust, smaller than 300 micron is a concern both for humans and animals. Dust larger than 300 microns is generally considered nuisance dust as the lungs are usually able to eliminate it. Many budget bedding materials either don’t screen out the fine dust or screen out less of it in order to cut costs. We run slightly larger screens than many of our competitors, in order to try to increase the amount of dust eliminated from the bedding during the manufacturing process. While there will always be some small particulate that occurs, none of our bales should be excessively dusty. If you find significant dust in your bales, please let us know immediately. We try to maintain high standards of quality control, but we all make mistakes. Muddying the waters on health risks, hardwood dust, such as those from aspen, have been show to be far more likely to be carcinogenic than softwoods such as pine, fir and spruce. While this is more important for workplace exposure during the dust removal process, it confounds forming a clear argument for or against hardwood or softwoods.




What about my pet's sleep?


Comfort really matters! Some people, in their desire to eliminate as much dust as possible, turn to other bedding materials such as corn husks or corn or pine pellets. While this slightly mitigates some of the dust concern, it can cause unexpected impacts on your small pet. Pellets have been demonstrated to result in significantly decreased small animal deep sleep times, likely due to how hard and uncomfortable this bedding is. We all know what life is like when we’re chronically sleep deprived! It isn’t fun, and we can’t imagine it is for our little furry friends either. In the case of corn based bedding types, they’ve been shown to often contain much higher levels of mycotoxins than softwood or hardwood bedding types.




What about paper bedding?


Paper can be a great choice. Or not. Paper products, whether ‘virgin’ pulp or paper, can contain dioxins, bleach, or other chemicals from both the pulping and paper making process. These are added chemicals that don’t naturally occur in wood. But the good ones may be free of most or all of contaminants. Additionally, some paper products can be extremely dusty, leading to all of the same issues that occur with any high concentration of dust. Recycled paper can be either re-pulped or just shredded. The re-pulping process can eliminate may of the chemicals used in inks or that the paper may have encountered during use and in the recycling process; however, it can also introduce other chemicals. While shredded or pelleted paper is also an option, the same concern for sleep hardness exists, and the chemicals used in the inks on the paper and the handling of the paper before, during and after recycling becomes very important.




Do your products have chemicals?


Our bedding is free from all added chemicals and dyes. We add nothing to our products. You will receive only natural wood, shaved, dust-screened, and compressed in bales. All of our wood comes directly from the forest and we never use recycled wood products.





Product Use

How deep should I make the bedding?


The ideal bedding depth depends on your pet and the application. Diggers, such as hamsters love it to be as deep as possible! While it makes them work more moving around, preference testing shows that they love deep bedding to tunnel around in. There is obviously a balance between cost and environmental enrichment, but they seem to prefer it as deep as your wallet feels like it. Non-diggers or animals that are just using it as litter, such as rabbits, are not so sensitive. You want to have sufficient coverage to cover the bottom of the cage with a minimum depth of 2cm. Deeper will provide more absorption, or you can pair shallower bedding with an ultra absorbent underlay, reducing cage change frequency.




What do I do if the cage starts to smell?


Smell is an indicator that the bedding should be changed. High levels of ammonia are unhealthy for small animals. If your cage is getting smelly, it’s a good indicator that you probably should give it a change. It is best to clean your cage regularly and fully swap bedding every 10 days or so.




How often should I change my pet's bedding?


We recommend changing bedding 7-10 days or more frequently if needed. We recommend you spot clean regularly by removing the damp or soiled patches and topping up the bedding. Changing bedding more frequently can be stressful for small animals that mark their territory using scent, while longer change intervals can result in more smell, and higher ammonia levels.




Can I compost this bedding?


Of course you can! All our products are natural and biodegradable. Care should be taken due to the fecal matter in the bedding, which can take a long time to break down and can pose a health risk in the meantime. Specific rules and regulations exist for commercial applications and should be investigated on an individual basis based on your location. Do your research and make sure you adhere to safe practices! www.compost.org is a great starting point for further research.




How should I get rid of used bedding?


Used bedding can be placed in the garbage or composed.




What should I do with my empty bags?


We recommend recycling the plastic packaging where possible. Please check with your local recycling program to see what the rules and regulations are for soft plastic packaging.





Absorbency

How do you determine the absorbency of the bedding?


We follow the absorbency testing guidelines, adapted from Burn and Mason, 2005. Specifically, we test bedding based on volume rather than weight. Many manufacturers supply absorbency numbers based on comparisons of equivalent weights of bedding materials. While this makes for an easier comparison than a volume based comparison, we speculate that nobody gets out their scale to fill their hamster’s cage with new bedding, instead you look at how deep it is. So rather than weighing, we test absorbency based on equal volumes. Absorbency is then presented in the number of ml of water absorbed in 1hr per liter of bedding.




How does the absorbency of different products compare?


Absorbencies of the various products are displayed below. This is testing was conducted by us in-house; however, we were genuinely curious how Beachy products would perform, and how tweaking the design would influence the bedding’s performance. We will leave the conclusions to you.




How does the size of the shavings and amount of dust influence absorbency?


Smaller particles absorb more liquid. This is the reason spill kits are all sawdust and chicken farms love the finest particles they can get. The downside is that if the particles are too fine, it becomes very dusty. We experimented with many difference sizes and size distributions before settling on the products we offer, aiming to balance absorbency with a virtually dust free product. We would love your feedback! How do you find it? What could be better? Send us a note at info@beachybedding.com.





Guarantees & Subscriptions

Do you currently have other bag sizes?


Not yet. We just launched and have some work to do. We are trying to get other sizes out to you as soon as possible. If you’re keen on a particular size or form, we’d love to hear about it. The more feedback we can incorporate into the process, the better! We hope to offer small, medium, large and jumbo in the near future. Contact us at info@beachybedding.com.




100% Satisfaction Guarantee


We want you to be happy! While we try to make your life easier, things go wrong and we screw up. We promise to make sure any problems or issues you have are resolved to your satisfaction. If you ever receive bedding you’re unhappy with, please contact us immediately so that we can try to resolve your problem right away. If you got a bad bag, we will immediately ship you a replacement. If you open a bag and aren’t happy with the product, don’t feel obligated to use it. We understand that it’s hard to get a good feel for products online, so we stand behind them. If you’re disappointed, return the unused portion of the bag to us, and we will refund your money.





Pet Preferences

What type of bedding does my animal prefer?


Preferences are highly individual. We all have different needs and desires and our pets are no different; however, some things, which are vetted by logic, seem to emerge from studies. Small animals generally prefer soft, easily transportable and manipulable bedding products. Long, thinner materials, particularly fibrous ones, are very desirable for nesting. Softer is better, providing better quality sleep. Bedding that can be moved around to form deep nests lets the small animals create burrows that stay warmer through the night. The bedding should also be absorbent to keep them dry. Burrowers should be provided with bedding material that can be mounded up, tunneled through and won’t collapse around them. Soft. Comfortable. Fibrous. Long. Warm. Burrowable.




How do animals select their bedding?


Small animals generally will use whatever is available to them. The more it ticks their boxes (soft, comfortable, fibrous, long, warm, manipulable and burrowable) the more likely they are to choose it. Some animals, however, are conditioned to prefer one type over another based on what they grew up using or have been conditioned to.





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© 2019 by Klassen Wood Company Ltd.

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