Friday, August 8, 2014

Product Review: CareFresh Advanced Odor Control Pet Bedding - Purple

Today we're reviewing CareFresh Advanced Odor Control Pet Bedding - Purple. As we've previously mentioned, we have reviewed several types of Carefresh bedding at this point, and the only real differences we've found between them is the color and the price. Carefresh has a line of bedding products called Carefresh Colors, which has a purple kind that looks almost exactly like this one. The only difference we could discern between the purple Carefresh Colors and Carefresh Advanced Odor Control was that this one advertises it has baking soda in it on the front of the packaging.

One issue we haven't previously discussed regarding litter is ammonia. Urea is substance found in the urine of mammals. Once outside the body, certain bacteria feed on urea, creating ammonia as a byproduct. Airborne ammonia can potentially be harmful to guinea pigs by causing upper respiratory tract infections. Factors that contribute to high airborne ammonia levels include:
  • High temperatures, 
  • Humidity, 
  • Number of guinea pigs per square foot of cage space
  • Poor air circulation.
In addition to controlling for all these factors, you will need to change your guinea pig's cage at least once a week. A good rule of thumb is that your guinea pig's cage should never smell; if it does, you're overdue for a cleaning!

According to a study on bedding in a scientific journal, "The mean ammonia concentrations in static cages housing mice on CareFRESH Ultra bedding were significantly higher than the means for all the other bedding treatments." You might then wonder what performed the best in terms of ammonia, then. The answer is litters made of corn cobs and hardwoods (maple, beech, poplar). So why not just switch to these beddings, you ask? Because these other litters have problems of their own. Corn cob has a tendency to mold, and guinea pigs have been known to eat it, causing health issues. When buying wood pellets, you have to make sure you're buying a safe type of wood (e.g. no cedar), make sure there are no accelerants added, watch out for sawdust breakdown when wet, and other issues.

In other words, there's no perfect litter, but we generally feel that Carefresh's advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as long as you keep the aforementioned issues in mind and have adequate cage space, ventilation, cleaning, etc. We should also point out that the study was from 2004, and Carefresh's website proclaims it has a "New natural odor control formula suppresses ammonia odors nearly 3x longer than original CareFRESH!" We don't know when this new formula was released, so it's possible that the study was done using the old formula. Also, this formula claims to have baking soda, which is supposed to help absorb ammonia odors.

Look at that color! That looks fun to play on.
Okay, I made a few messes just to test it out. Still no smell!
We never had a problem with other Carefresh bedding causing odors, so we couldn't tell if the baking soda made a difference or not. I think you would need another scientific study to determine that. Like the other special Carefresh litters, it costs a bit more than the regular Carefresh, so you might have to put up with your humans griping about money. We'll give CareFresh Advanced Odor Control Pet Bedding - Purple 4/5 stars!


  1. I wouldn't bother with it. It may mask the sell, but it does not control actual ammonia.

  2. sorry that should say *mask the smell

    Anyway it performs pretty badly compared to other bedding's if you look at the study I linked you.

    1. Hi Lindsey! Welcome to our blog. :-)

      In regards to the study you mentioned, that's the same study we mentioned in our post. As we mentioned in the post, that study is from 2004, and Carefresh has released a new formula since then. We would like to see the study redone with the new formula. Also, there are other issues with the types of bedding that performed better in the study (e.g. molding); ammonia is not the only consideration for bedding.