Douglas fir is considered "softwood". The phenols in soft woods can cause a variety of health problems in small animals, including respiratory issues and things like liver damage that would most likely be asymptomatic until it was too late.
The process of kiln-drying, however, can* render soft woods (with the exception of cedar, which is toxic no matter what) safe for our pets. For example, I buy pine pellets (marketed as horse bedding) from a feed store to fill my rabbits' litter boxes - these are safe because they've been kiln dried (not to mention $4-7 for 40 lbs and effective at odor control!).
This product doesn't say whether or not it's KD (kiln-dried). However, the phenols that make soft woods toxic are also what gives them their strong odor. I had one of these for a hamster once (this exact brand, purchased from Petco), but that was 2-3 years ago so I can't be sure my memory is accurate... I don't remember this product having any noticeable odor to it, though, which suggests that it's probably kiln-dried and therefore safe.
[By "noticeable" I don't mean odorless, simply that it would have a faint "wood" scent that you would have to put your nose up to it to smell. Petco is great about accepting returns, so you could purchase one of these and return it if it had a very strong "piny" odor.]
*I say "can" because if the process isn't done correctly/thoroughly, it may not destroy all phenols... this is generally only an issue with lumber that has large knots in it, though (you'd notice the strong odor if you cut into one of the knots).
answered 4 weeks ago
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I bought this for two male rats, and so far they've only gnawed off bits of the bark and slept on it. The wood isn't completely smooth, so it gives them something to grip, but it's also soft enough not to hurt tiny toes.
answered 1 month, 3 weeks ago
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Depends. Pine bedding is toxic to rats, due to the high amount of phenols, (the aromatic oils that make pine smell like pine), they're exposed to. Toys and shelves made of pine are not a problem. If you're looking for a safe bedding, use aspen.
answered 8 months ago
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