Small Pet Select are they as Ethical as they Seem!

Small Pet Select have removed their lavender scented bedding for hamsters but why do they continue to sell this product for other animals such as rabbits? We contacted Small Pet Select and expressed our concern that scented bedding must be like being stuck in a lift with someone constantly spraying perfume and they have now removed the product from their hamster collection.


We also pointed out that at the same time as selling this product for hamsters The Small Pet Select Hamster Care Guide says “Your hamster’s bedding should be made of a safe material, not be dusty, and not smell. Any scented bedding could bother your hamster’s sensitive nose, no matter what the packaging may say.”

small pet select bedding advice


This advice has existed on the Small Pet Select website since at least November 2020 as can be seen in the internet archive:

On 23rd August 2022 Small Pet Select emailed to say:


“To take every precaution we have removed the lavender paper bedding from our Hamster collection. We have also included a disclaimer that states that we do not recommend the product for hamster. “

Small Pet Select added a warning


After the product was discontinued for hamsters we also pointed out that similar advice against the use of scented bedding is on their website for rabbits. However, to our surprise the advice against the use of scented bedding for rabbits was then deleted from their website! Sometime between 24th – 31st August 2022.


For Rabbits they used to say:
“Rabbits have a great sense of smell, so avoid any bedding that has been laundered with scented detergent and may smell foreign to them. Use only unscented litters.”


Historical Screenshot of the Advice for Rabbits



The Advice has now been Deleted!


Small Pet Select deleted advicSmall Pet Select Deleted warning about scented bedding for rabbits


For a short period time the rabbit aggression article remained on the Small Pet Select website with the deleted advice, as can be seen in the paragraph above. Since then the entire article has now mysteriously vanished, the reason why is unclear.


We are concerned that Small Pet Select have now deleted their welfare advice against the use of scented bedding for Rabbits and have continued to sell scented bedding targeted towards rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals.

We asked Small Pet Select – “Can you please follow your own advice for rabbits and once and for all do the right thing?”

On the 1st September 2022, Deaira Gordon replied to say “I’ve escalated this to management who will be undergoing extensive research and testing on the matter”

We responded with the below email and we are still waiting for a reply –


“Hi Deaira.


You have said “I’ve escalated this to management who will be undergoing extensive research and testing on the matter.” I am particularly concerned with this response because you and I both know that extensive research and testing takes time. The standard playbook of responding to complaints isn’t going to work. i.e. acknowledge the response to a complaint, follow up with a letter several days later to say the matter will be thoroughly investigated, an additional letter sometime after about the complexities of the ongoing investigation and that the matter is being taken seriously, and of the utmost importance. The purpose here is to put as much distance in time between the initial complaint and the emotional customer in the hope that this will just go away.


Regarding your proposed “extensive research and testing” you should have done that before you launched the product.


Seeing that you are now expressing concerns with this product and the need to do research and testing, do you not think that it is prudent to immediately remove the product from sale whilst you carry out your tests? Your tests may take a lot of time and you will be continuing to put your customers’ animals at risk.


It is also of particular concern that you have now deleted the welfare advice that said  “Rabbits have a great sense of smell, so avoid any bedding that has been laundered with scented detergent and may smell foreign to them. Use only unscented litters.” Is this a live example of you tearing up your old ethical business model that I suspected? Is that what your trying to show me?


There is a permanent record of the original version of that page in the internet archive


At your own admittance you are selling an unsuitable product that even you don’t recommend. Regarding the Animal Welfare Act if you have a reasonable suspicion that you are putting animals in harm’s way or not providing a suitable environment you must Act. I certainly think that I now have enough evidence to prove that you are knowingly selling an unsuitable product to your customers. The Animal Welfare Act also applies to your customers and it is their responsibility to provide a suitable environment and by selling this product when you know you shouldn’t give rabbits scented bedding you are also misleading your customers to break the Animal Welfare Act.


Well done you have acted accordingly and done the right thing for your product regarding hamsters so why not Rabbits? You have said the same advice on your website against scented bedding for both Hamsters and Rabbits. Why are you not following your own advice for rabbits?


You may have spotted that when you search “Scented hamster bedding” in google we come up no 1 and I feel that may be the reason why you have only acted for hamsters. Please don’t think that because we are not specialising in rabbits or guinea pigs or other animals that we don’t care about them and we won’t fight for their cause. I am now having to consider writing an article titled “Small Pet Select are they really ethical!” and i’m sure it will show up very high on google. I already have plenty of evidence to include and I would rather not have to waste my time then have to warn customers against your lavender product and the issues that you have presented. (It’s a great shame because on the other side of the coin your bedding that Tiffany uses is really great for hamsters and we really want to promote you but we can’t promote an unethical company).


You guys make out that you are a very ethical company but you are starting to prove that you are actually very unethical and you’re more keen to fill the demands of customers who want their house to smell nice than providing a suitable environment for the animals that have to use your product.


Please respond within seven days if not I will assume that the situation is as it is!


Kind Regards,


Mark Diner”

On the 31st January 2023 we emailed Small Pet Select to say– “Any news on your extensive research and testing?” We did not receive a reply.

Discontinued for Hamsters but why not Rabbits!


It seems that Small Pet Select have followed their own advice against the use of scented bedding for Hamsters but it is a concern that they deleted their advice against scented bedding for Rabbits and they continue to market this product towards rabbits and other animals.


Natural does not mean Safe


Small Pet Select didn’t immediately discontinue the product for hamsters and It is of further concern that in their initial response they provided the reason of it’s natural to give the impression that it is suitable, Deaira Gordon said –  “After discussing this at length with our leadership team, I received assurances that this product is 100% all-natural with no artificial scents. The lavender scent comes from its all-natural bud (not an added oil such as the product referenced in your video.) There are NO chemical additives in this product to create the lavender scent, it is in its natural state. “


To which we replied –


“Hi Deaira,


The fact the “product is 100% all-natural with no artificial scents” doesn’t make it safe. For example Kapok fluffy bedding is natural but it’s not safe for hamsters. Stinging nettles are natural etc.


On our website we say “Hamsters rely on their scent and adding a different scent will stress them out, this is why many hamster owners will put a bit of old bedding back into their cage, so that the hamster has his or her own smells and will feel safe and at home.”


Whether your lavender smell is natural or not, it is still a smell that you are forcing in large quantities into your hamsters cage.”


It is Positive the Scented Bedding has Been Removed for Hamsters


We are extremely pleased that this product has been discontinued for Hamsters but why not rabbits and other animals who also have a strong sense of smell.


Our advice against scented bedding can be seen on this page