Answering your guinea pig care questions.
"Can I use flannel or felt instead of fleece as bedding for my guinea pig?"
I've gotten this question several times after writing the Guinea Pig 101: Fleece Bedding guide.
To many people, the fabrics seem interchangeable enough - after all, they are located near each other in fabric stores. But to put it simply, the answer is no. Here are the reasons why.
To recap, fleece that has been properly prepared will allow urine to pass through the fabric, soaking the layer of absorbent material underneath (preparation instructions here). This ability to wick moisture away is what makes it desirable as a guinea pig bedding option.
In contrast, flannel doesn't have the same moisture wicking properties as fleece so it will remain damp, creating an unhealthy and unhygienic environment for your guinea pig. Felt acts in a similar manner, soaking up liquids and remaining wet rather than allowing them to pass through. Result: wet piggy bottoms, which can lead to urine scald or an urinary tract infection (UTI). Nobody wants to find their pig sitting in a pool of pee!
When used as a top layer flannel may also unravel easily, allowing pigs to chew on or even eat the fraying strings. Cavies can also become tangled in unraveled threads (safety hazard alert!).
When it comes to guinea pig bedding, not all fabrics are created equal. It's the fleece way or the highway!