Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)

Hamsters need a specific kind of bedding, and most pet shops don’t carry just the safe kinds. When I first got my Teddy I was lucky an acquaintance worked at that petshop. Otherwise I would’ve walked out with  some very bad bedding and hideout choices for my Teddy.

As it happened, she gave me some very good advice that I’m going to pass onto you. Along with some info I learned along the way about what kind of bedding is best for hamsters, and what hideouts they like. We’ll cover how often to change/clean the cage as well.

hamster bedding and hideout (3)
Teddy, hiding like a champ on his upper level hideout

So what is the best bedding for your hamster ?

Generally the bedding for hamsters is easy to find, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Hamsters do well in paper/wood based kinds of bedding. So organic, bio-degradable wood or paper based bedding is alright for hamsters, under a few conditions.

First, hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, so NOTHING scented will be alright for them. Do not get your hamster a scented bedding, even if you find one in your local petshop or online. Scented beddings are more for your comfort but give the hamster a bad time. Please stick to unscented, plain bedding.

Second, whatever kind of bedding you choose, it must be dust-free. This is because your hamster will be breathing that dust in all day, every day, and it will cause serious lung problems for him. Make sure you get a dust free bedding.

I’ll get into some clear examples of what is ok and what isn’t ok as a bedding for your hammy. Most wood based bedding are alright, but there are a few exceptions.

Teddy: Remember, wood or paper bedding is ok for us hamsters. Keep them plain and unscented, and make sure they are dust free to keep your hammy safe !

Safe wood-based bedding for your hamster

These can be wood shavings or wood pellets, and we’ll talk about both of them.

Wood shavings as bedding for hamsters

They’re the most common kinds of bedding, and this is the kind I have for my Teddy as well. I use aspen, since it is readily available in my area, and is one of the safest types of wood for hamsters.

Most fruit trees are safe for hamster, so if you’ve got apple or pear wood shavings, you can use them as bedding for your hamster. Best to mix it with aspen or another neutral type of wood, since the fruit trees can have a strong aroma.

Other options can be white birch, bamboo, rosehip, sycamore, elm or hazelnut. These are not always available in some stores, but depending on which area of the world you live in, you might find these.

If you get wood shavings, make sure they’re dust free. You can check this by looking at the packaging, it’s usually clear and you will be able to see excess dust. The dust will cause lung problems for your hamster, so avoid that.

Another thing to be very careful about, is that some wood shavings can be mixed with actual sawdust, which is the smaller, dustier kind of wood shaving. So make sure that does not happen with your hamster’s bedding.

I looked around and found a big pack of aspen bedding for your hamster. This will keep your hammy for months.

It’s got great reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people seem to be really happy about it.

Aspen is the kind of wood I use for my Teddy too, so you can be sure it’s safe.

You can check the pricing on Amazon here.

Wood pellets bedding for hamster

These are not as easy to find, but they can still be found. You’ll often see them marketed towards rabbits or large rodents like ferrets. But for hamsters the wood pellets aren’t the most comfortable.

Unless you set a layer of wood pellets, and then a layer or wood shavings, to simulate the dirt layer, but that one’s up to you.

As for the kind of wood pellets to use, the same applies as with wood shavings. What is a safe wood for your hamster to live and breathe on, is also a safe wood for the pellets.

Grass or seaweed bedding for your hamster

These are common in my area as well, and I’d guess the seaweed based ones are even more common in countries or area with a lot of sea access.

Both seaweed and grass are okay for hammies to live on, and in fact it simulates the hamster’s natural nesting material. When hamsters burrow, they use a mix of twigs, dried leaves, twigs, anything soft and plant-based that they can fit into their dwelling.

So dried grass and seaweed are a good substitute for that. DO NOT get your hamster yellow hay ! That’s the tougher, twig-like dried grass. That can stick at weird angles and will not be comfortable for your hamster.

The grass or seaweed versions are very clearly wider and softer, even if they are dried. But as a general rule, I’d give Teddy the grass or seaweed for nesting material, not bedding in the whole cage.

While grass and seaweed are soft and easy to work with, I wouldn’t recommend them as bedding for a small rodent, like hamsters or gerbils since it will be harder for them to navigate their cages.

But it is absolutely GREAT as nesting material, and it’s what your hammy will use it for.

Paper based bedding for your hamster

Paper bedding is fine for hamsters, and it’s usually just as easy to find as the wood shavings. But it’s a matter of personal preference I think, which one you use.

Paper bedding is a bit more absorbent than the wood shavings, but it comes scented more often than it doesn’t. So make sure you get an unscented, plain version for your hamster so he can live comfortably.

One thing about paper based beddings, is that they’re often in various colors, or color mixes. So if you want, you can make your hamster’s bedding pink and purple. The hamster will not mind, since he can’t see very well. But if it makes you happier, then go ahead.

The paper bedding keeps the hamster just as warm or cool as the wood shavings. It’s just a matter of what you like and what you find in your area.

I looked around and found a good option for paper bedding for your hammy. This will keep your hamster warm enough in winter as well as summer.

It’s safe for the hamster to put in cheek pouches if he wants.

It’s dust free and controls odor fairly well. It’s also a large size, 60 liters/15 gallons so you’re going to get a lot of uses out of it.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

What a hamster will use as nesting material

Hamsters usually use very soft, paper/wood/cardboard pieces for their nests. If you give your hamster seaweed or grass bedding, it will most probably end up in his nest.

When I first got Teddy I gave him extra wood shavings in his hideout, so he has a nice base for his nest. In time I saw that he didn’t really use it for nesting, except for winter when he hoarded every warm material he could find.

Most of the time, I give Teddy ripped paper towels. Honestly these are the cheapest and most effective things to keep your hamster warm. If you’ve got no paper towels, use toilet paper.

Whatever you use, keep it unscented. Really, this is one of the most important things about a hamster’s bedding or nesting material. Do not give him anything scented, because his nose just can’t handle that.

When you give your hammy the paper towel, make sure it is ripped into manageable pieces. They have a side which rips easily in a straight line. Use that side to give him ribbons of paper towel or toilet paper.

All hamsters do this, but to me Teddy is the funniest. As soon as he sees the paper bits, he starts shoving them into his pouches and gets both of them as full as he can. Then, he goes into his hideout and I can see him pull them out of his cheek and start decorating the place.

Then he goes out for more paper, and continues building his nest. He’s always so focused when he does that, he’s easy to scare by mistake.

One time he jumped sideways because I got up too fast, and he was still shoving paper towel in his cheeks. I’ve never seen such dedication.

What nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamster

Never give your hamster cotton or fiber nesting material. There are several reasons for this.

First, hamsters will eat a small part of whatever they put in their cheek pouches. So, your hamster eating cotton, even just a little bit, is never a good thing. Anyone eating cotton is not good, actually.

Second, the fibers in this kind of nesting material can get caught in your hamster’s teeth, and cause serious problems for him. Those fibers can also get caught in his cheeks, and lead to deadly situations.

Third, cotton absorbs and keeps moisture. So your hamster’s warm breathing and some condensation will be trapped in that cotton. Your hamster is in danger of colds and pneumonia in that case. It’s much harder for a hamster to fight a cold than it is for a human, so best to avoid that.

Teddy: Remember, us hamsters need wood or paper based bedding, and we use soft paper or dry grass for nesting. Never give us cotton or fiber nesting, it an be lethal !

Sand bath for your hamster friend

This is something that’s always funny to watch, and will bring joy to your hamster. A sandbath is what hamsters use for a sort of cleaning.

Actually hamsters are incredibly clean, and clean themselves very very thoroughly, much like cats. They barely have a smell that humans notice. Unless you get your nose right in your hamster’s fur, which isn’t so nice for him.

But as most animals do, hamsters need an extra bath or cleaning. This is also a sort of reflex of their to get rid of any possible parasites. If you’ve ever seen sparrows rolling around in sand, you’ll know what I mean.

The best kind of sand to get your hamster is mineral sand. That’s just crushed up calcium and shells, so your hamster can get an actual sand bath going on. Make sure it’s actual sand, and not dust. If it’s the consistency of flour, send it back.

If you put a bowl of that sand in your hamster’s usual peeing corner, he’ll use that as a potty too !

hamster sand bath
Teddy enjoying his sand bath

Be warned though, the hamster will kick up a lot of sand when he bathes, so you might find some in random places in your house. Best to use a second hideout with a detachable roof for this.

Alright, now that you’re all set with your little one’s bedding, sand, and nesting material, let’s see to his hideout. Yes, a hamster’s hideout is just as sacred as your bed or own room. So I’ll get into a lot of detail with it.

So what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ?

Hamsters will need small hideouts in which to, well, hide. This is their nest, their food stash, their safe place. In the wild, it would be a burrow underground. But in their comfy warm cage, it’s usually a cute house-shaped hideout.

The best kind is actually one that fits the general size of your hamster when he is fully grown, and with some spare room so he can wiggle around. So it doesn’t have to be a large hideout, a small one with some air flow is okay.

The air in the hamster hideout is very important, since it needs to be able to travel easily. Even if the hamster will block up the air vents with his nesting material, it’s best to give him plenty of air.

If your get your hamster a home with more than one exit, he will only use one and block up the other one. For example my Teddy has 3 entrances to his hideout, and he only uses one, depending on his mood. Sometimes he rearranges his hideout if he feels something is off.

Finally, never get your hammy a plastic house. These trap condensation and are not breathable. Best to stick with wood.

Wood hideout for your hamster friend

A wood hideout is what I settled on for my Teddy, and I think it’s the best option out there, for anyone who has any kind of rodent.

First, it’s a much more natural option, and very durable. Wood hideouts are more similar in feel to what the hamster would have as a burrow if he were underground, in that it’s a familiar material. Especially compared to plastic.

Second, hamsters and other rodents will chew, gnaw, and bite into everything. Not because they’re wild or mean, just because that’s what they do. Their front teeth are always growing, so hamsters need to literally file down their teeth.

They do that by chewing on whatever they find, and their hideout is a common option. So if the hideout is made of wood, that’s great since they love chewing wood anyway.

Third, wood is much more breathable than other types of material. I’ve seen ceramic hideouts, and plastic as well. The thing is that unless the hideout is breathable, will absorb moisture and let it pass through to the outside, then it is a problem.

Your hamster is in danger of hypothermia, pneumonia, and even a ordinary cold can get the best of them. The hideout must remain dry at all times, and be able to keep the warm as well.

And fourth, wood retains the hamster’s scent the best. Compared to plastic or ceramic, wood keeps the scent of the hamster. This is very important to a creature that has a very sensitive sense of smell, so best not to mess with that.

An example of wood hideout for hamsters

Here’s what my Teddy has for a hideout, and you can see the gnaw and chew marks on the roof. At night he absolutely loves to just …sit… on his home and watch for possible predators.

Usually that’s just me grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night. But you never know, Teddy reckons. Constant vigilance.

You can see my Teddy shoved all kinds of nesting material, like the paper towels, some cardboard pieces, and some random wood shavings. Your hammy will probably have something very similar in his hideout too, if you look.

I found a great one on Amazon, and it looks a lot like the one I have for Teddy ! It’s wood, so your hamster can  chew on it as much as he likes.

It will keep his scent, and it’s also got enough airflow so he will be fine. You might find your hammy on top of his hideout, like I sometimes find my Teddy.

Just make sure that you put something of his, like a few droppings or  a bit of his nesting material in his new hideout, so he get more familiar with it.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

Now that we’re all set with the hideout, let’s talk about how much of the bedding and nesting material your hammy will need.

Teddy: wood is the most comfortable and safe option for us hamsters, and we love to chew on everything ! So make sure you get your hamster a hideout he will enjoy, and not hurt his teeth on.

How much bedding a hamster needs

This is a bit of a debate, since there isn’t really a too much, as well as there is a too little. But the enough part is what people never settle on. It also depends on your hamster’s personality.

For example if your hamster is a digger, and he loves to burrow, then you’re going to need to give him much more bedding than other hamster owners. But if your hamster is like my Teddy, and burrowing or digging isn’t his favorite thing, then he won’t need too much.

I’ve tried different amounts in Teddy’s cage, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found:

  • just enough bedding to cover the cage floor – not good, he moved around a lot of it and brought it to his hideout; his wheel was noisy since it banged in the cage floor.
  • bedding 2.5-3 inch/ 6-7.5 cm was too much, since there was always too little he used, and a lot he kicked around to get to different parts of the cage
  • an inch, maybe a bit over/2-3 cm is what Teddy is most comfortable with; the wheel sits nice, and his hideout has a lot as well

Now, your hamster could need more or less. Again, if he is a digger, then give your hamster what you think is too much, and he’ll dive right into it. If he’s more of a runner, he might need a thinner bedding.

But in general, the bedding should cover the bottom of the cage by at least an inch, so the hamster can gather piles of it if he wants to, and not leave empty spots.

If your hammy has a hideout, but chooses to build his nest somewhere else, look at where he builds his and add much more bedding and nesting material there.

The bedding acts as a sort of insulation as well, so maybe you should check out the ideal temperature to keep your hamster comfortable.

How much nesting material a hamster needs

This is a clear case of give the hamster as much as you can. A whole roll of toilet paper. No, but he will use up however much you give him.

I usually give Teddy 3 whole paper towel pieces, ripped into strips. He also has the cardboard roll that’s left front he paper towel. He sometimes chews on that to add some extra bedding if he needs more.

I’ve given him 4 paper towels sometimes, and he found use for all 4. But it was a bit harder for him to navigate into and out of his hideout. So we stuck to 3 paper towels.

Keep in mind that if you can still properly see your hamster in his hideout, then he probably needs a bit more nesting material.

Hamsters form a sort of cocoon out of the nesting they find. So they will wrap that nest around them very well, to keep them warm. Sometimes Teddy even manages to knot the pieces of paper into a continuous piece, which he then wraps around himself.

So give your hamster as much bedding as he needs, start with the 3 paper towels and see if he needs more. If you put 1 more he will take it, but see if he can move around well in his nest.

Hamsters hoard food in their nest

This is something I found out when I first cleaned Teddy’s cage. When I lifted his hideout, and saw the pile of while paper towel strips, I was not surprised.

When I saw the droppings in his nest, I figured that’s just what he does. But when I saw his food stash, I was impressed. The little furball had a stash for the Apocalypse right there.

So don’t be surprised if you find food and poo and a bit of pee in your hamster’s nest. That’s okay. But that’s another sign of just how important the nest is to your hamster, so make sure you get a good one for him. And try not to disturb his nest unless you absolutely have to. More on that later.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

hamster bedding and hideout

How often to change the hamster’s bedding

By bedding I mean everything but the nest itself. Honestly the bedding stays clean (as in not smelly) for up to 2 weeks, but I recommend changing it every week.

This applies especially to the corners where the hamster pees. Hamsters do have a peeing corner, and you’ll figure out which one it is by how smelly it can get.

If your hamster is using the sandbath as a potty, then that’s even easier to clean. Just throw out the sand he’s used, and clean the residue that might have stuck to the bottom with hot water and a tooth pick. Then, pat dry with paper towel and place new sand.

If you have a setup like that then your hamster’s bedding will only need changing every couple of weeks, when it gets a bit too overfilled with droppings.

About droppings, if your hamster has somewhere safe/hidden to poop, and it’s also not his hideout, you’ll find most of the droppings there.

But never let the bedding go for more than 2 weeks. It becomes stale and a bit funky past that point.

How often to change the nesting for your hamster

The nest itself is relatively clean and will not need changing more often than the bedding itself.

So the nest can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, but I personally change it once per week. When I change it I make sure I keep a few pieces of the old nest, to place in his new nest in his hideout.

Whatever food I find in his stash goes into Teddy’s food bowl, and I start ripping up new paper towels for him to use.

It’s important to not change or disturb your hamster’s nest as much as you can. If it’s getting smelly, then change it. But hamsters rarely pee in their nest and that’s the only thing about them that smells.

Keep the hamster in his travel cage or exercise ball while you’re cleaning his cage, to keep him occupied.

A word from Teddy

Long read, I know. But us hamsters need a bit of special care, so I hope you found all the information you need in this article. We’re very clean and like to take care of ourselves, so a smelly cage shouldn’t be a problem !

I’m an adult Syrian hamster, but what you just read applies to all my brothers and sisters, even if they’re dwarf hamsters.

If you want to check out more important info on hamsters, then read the articles below. You’ll find out about what kind of cage us hamsters need, and even how long we can last without food or water.

Related blog post
What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And Exceptions
What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And ExceptionsWhat do you usually feed your hamster ? What can hamsters eat ? What should they NOT eat ? I had some many of these questions when I first got my Teddy, and I can tell you what I found out. Some I found out by trial and error, some I asked vets, and some still I found out from other hamster enthusiasts. So I’ve compiled a big ol’ list here, so you can have all the info you need for your hamster’s food and diet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what can hamsters eat ?What hamsters should never eatProtein foods your hamster can eatVegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamsterHamsters can eat pasta and bread too !Nuts and seeds your hamster can eatFruits your hamster can eatPre-made food mixes for your hamsterGrain and pellet food mix for your hamsterTreats for your hamsterHow much does a hamster eat ?Dangers of overfeeding your hamsterWhat to do if your hamster is not eatingA word from Teddy So what can hamsters eat ? First off, hamsters are omnivores. That means they can and will eat anything from plant-based food, to grains, to meat and insects. This applies for every kind of hamster out there, be it Syrian, Robo, Campbell, or Chinese. If you look at a box of hamster feed, you will usually just see grains, a few seeds, and a few vitamin pellets. But if you turn the box and look at the ingredients, you will often see protein sources like chicken/fish/beef/shrimp.  You can feed the hamster an omnivore diet yourself, or get a pre-made mix that will last for several weeks, even a couple of months. I’ll get into more detail with each food group a hamster can eat, along with actual examples you probably have in your home. And I’ll give you a couple of food mixes you can buy for your hamster, along with other treats. But first, let’s see what hamsters should definitely avoid. What hamsters should never eat In general hamsters should stay away from anything acidic. Even if you give your hammy a piece of orange he will turn away from it, but that’s just because of the strong smell. Best to avoid acidic food altogether. There are other foods your hamster should avoid, mainly because his stomach is not built for such foods. Here are a few examples of foods your hamster should never eat: any type of citrus at all – lemon, orange, clementine, grapefruit, etc. any part of a tomato, it’s acidic as well, even if less than a lemon chocolate, and anything sweet – can cause diabetes fruit seeds or peels – apple, grapes, strawberry, etc onions, garlic, peppers, spices – anything extra spicy or tasty will upset his stomach high-fat content foods – like extra fat meat, or even some types of dairy anything unwashed like unwashed fruits or vegetables any part of a rhubarb(1) almonds, apricot pits can be highly toxic celery or very stringy/fibery foods like cabbage anything containing added sugar or salt raw potato or beans (any kind) These are all foods that your hamster is better off not eating, since he can’t digest them. In some cases these foods will kill the hamster, so best to avoid them completely. Alright, now let’s get into the food groups your hammy can eat, along with actual examples. Yay ! Protein foods your hamster can eat Hammies do eat protein, and it doesn’t have to be soy-based necessarily. While you can feed your little hammy something soy-based like tofu, you can also find some soy protein in his food mix as well. But I wouldn’t advise giving the hamster and actual, raw soy bean. Best to stay away from that. For example I’ve given my Teddy boiled egg white, boiled unseasoned chicken and turkey, and he loves them both. Actually, most of the time hamsters just store food in their cheeks and hide it in the house. But with the egg and chicken, Teddy dropped everything he had and ate them right there. Of course, the pieces you feed your hammy should be small, so he can eat them on the spot. If you give him too big a piece, he might want to save some of it for later and we all know how quickly meat goes bad. Mealworms are sometimes a treat for hamsters. I’ve never give my Teddy one, but I’ve met hamster owners who give them to their hammies as treats. Not all hamsters will like them, but you can try. Do not give them mealworms too often though, since they are very filling. Teddy: If your feed any kind of meat or egg to you hammy, keep it simple, unsalted, unseasoned. Never feed any raw protein tot us, like raw meat or egg. Dairy is also a good protein source, but don’t give it to your hammy often ! Hamsters are mammals just like us humans, and as such we can’t process milk-based products very well when they are in large quantities. So, keep the dairy to a minimum. Something like a peanut sized piece, once per week is alright. Vegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamster Most vegetables are safe for hamsters to eat, but some are to be avoided. Especially legumes like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas and so on are not alright. This is mostly because of their high fiber content, which can upset your hamster’s guts. So best to stay away from legumes for your hamster. Vegetables like leafy greens and roots are mostly alright. But let’s talk about a few clear examples. Here are some vegetables your hammy can totally eat: most leafy greens, like spinach, watercress, lettuce, kale cucumber, zucchini carrots are okay, but any other hamster than a Syrian will have to eat them less frequently (higher sugar content than other vegetables, can cause diabetes for dwarf hamsters) sweet potato, cooked – same as carrots, keep a very low intake for dwarf hamsters asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower (cooked) You probably have most of these in your fridge or pantry already. So feel free to feed your hamster small pieces of these veggies as a treat, or even as a supplement to his usual food mix. Hamsters can eat pasta and bread too ! But only in small quantities. The thing with pasta, bread, rice, and so on, is that they’re all high carbohydrate foods. As such, your hamster needs them, but not as much as you’d think. The carb content of a hamster diet should not get past 20%, since they require a balanced dies of protein and veggies as well. So here are a few examples or carbs and bread your hammy can safely eat: Bread, as long as it has no added sugar and has a low salt content. That rules out toast bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns as well. Whole grain or multi-cereal bread is great for hamsters actually. Dry grains, of basically any kind Cooked brown rice, unseasoned Cooked wholegrain pasta, unseasoned. Regular white pasta becomes too sticky for your hamster, and will leave residues in his cheek pouches that can cause problems later on. Corn flakes, oat flakes, most muesli mixes Unsalted, unsweetened crackers and biscuits, small piece The food mix you give your hamster is usually well balanced, so don’t feed your hammy too much additional bread or other carbs. Keep them as a small treat every now and then. Nuts and seeds your hamster can eat Hamsters love to chew on a lot of things, and nuts and seeds give them just that opportunity. Most nuts and seeds are okay for hamsters to eat, but there are a few exceptions. Here’s a list of seeds and nuts your hamster can enjoy: dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds, with or without shell, unseasoned peanuts and hazelnuts, unsalted, plain; remove shell and skin walnuts chestnuts, without shell, cooked, plain sesame seeds Do keep in mind that nuts and seeds have a high fat content. So don’t feed too many or too often to your hamster. Keep them as a treat every now and then. Especially if the food mix you bought for the hamster already has a couple of seeds and nuts included. Teddy: Stay away from almonds though. They classify as a nut, but they are toxic for us hamsters ! Fruits your hamster can eat Most kinds o fruit are safe for hamsters. There are a few exceptions, and I’ll cover those too. But first, here is a list of fruits your hamster can eat: apple, pear, peeled and cored (no seeds) strawberries, no seeds banana slice, in a very small amount grape, no seeds, peeled dates and figs, dried raisins blueberries, blackberry, raspberry cherries, no seeds Again, keep the hamster away from citrus fruits. The citrus oils is toxic for hamsters, and will harm them. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and got your hand close to your hammy, you saw him pull away. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Pre-made food mixes for your hamster These are a convenient way to feed your hamster, and often are actually pretty well thought out. If you see the ingredient list, and think there’s something vital that’s missing (like proteins) you can look for another brand or supplement with proteins like the list above. Grain and pellet food mix for your hamster I use a pre-made mix for my Teddy, and give him fruits, veggies, and meat whenever I’m cooking. So he gets the grain and pellets mix, with an assortment of carrots and other foods I have around the house and are safe for him. As I said above, I’ll give you a few options on store bough food to give to your hamster. The first one I found is an actual food mix, with a fair amount of seeds and pellets as well. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside (More on that below). You can check the Amazon pricing here, and other details as well. Treats for your hamster While most hamster food mixes have a balance of protein, vitamins, and carbs, you can give your hamster occasional treats. These don’t have to be often, but need to be kept as a treat every few days, or when you’re trying to teach or tame your hamster. For example I give Teddy cheese drops as a treat, and he absolutely loves them. The drops can be made of other fruits or veggies too. But Teddy seems to prefer the cheese. I found a variety pack that you can give your hamster. They’re yogurt based and suitable for all kinds of hamster, rats, gerbils, even ferrets. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check the price as well. There are other types of treats hamsters go for, like for example simple dog treats (no flavors) or milk bones, and some granola bars(no sugar or honey). But my Teddy loves these cheese yogurt drops, and he gets them 2-3 times a week. Teddy: Whatever treat or food you choose, make sure you feed us hamsters responsibly ! Treats are treats and we don’t need them every day. Food mix is a great way to make sure we get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. How much does a hamster eat ? Alright, now that you know what kind of foods your hammy can and can not eat, and you’ve seen a few examples of pre-made food and treats, let’s talk about how often to feed the hamster. This depends mostly on the hamster himself, in that a baby hamster will need a bit less food than an adult hamster. But in general, 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. It might sound like very little food, but look at the size of your hamster. Not only can he not eat much, but also dry food keeps him full for much longer than veggies. If you’re unsure, grab a teaspoon and put the necessary amount in your hand. I’ll attach a photo here of how much 2 teaspoons of dry food is for my Teddy. This is enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Teddy: Remember, we don’t need a lot of food, and we also hide food in our hideouts ! So if you just fed your hammy, and see no food there 5 minutes later, don’t give him more food. He just took the food into his hideout, to snack on later. Us hamsters are funny like that, and love to hoard our food ! Dangers of overfeeding your hamster The first and immediate danger is getting your hamster fat. While you might think that a chubby hamster looks cute (and he does, not gonna lie) it’s very bad for his health. Hamsters are very active creatures, and must be able to run and sprint and dart through tubes or into hideouts at any point. This is their instinct, and a large fat hamster will not be able to do any of these, or at least not properly. This will shorten the hamster’s lifespan as well. A hamster can only live for so long (2-3 years), might as well make his short life comfortable. If you want to know more about why your hamster can get so big or fat, check out my article on this exact topic. There I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why hamsters can get fat, and even how to slim yours down. Hint: it involves getting your hammy more exercise opportunities. For this a great hamster wheel is essential. You’ll also find out what a reasonable weight is for the hamster himself, so you have a guideline to follow. What to do if your hamster is not eating Some hamsters are very picky about their food. They will not eat just anything, and need more attention in that way. So play around with his food, change up the flavors a bit. Maybe he only likes chicken flavored pellets or treats. That could be a start to your hamster eating more. If your hammy is not touching dry food, try with veggies. Give him alternatives, like a piece of broccoli, one asparagus, and a small kale leaf. See which he likes, and keep giving him that. Then, continue adding new foods to his diet, from the list of foods I wrote above. Until you reach a mix of vegetables that you can give him daily, and you know he will eat them. If veggies are not an option for him, try giving the hamster meat. I’ve never seen a hamster turn down meat. Make sure the piece is cooked, but unseasoned. The extra salt is not needed in your hamster’s diet, since he needs much less than humans. If, in an exceptional case, your hamster turns down every kind of food, call the vet. Especially if you see other signs of a possible illness like sparse fur, a wet tail (very bad), dried blood on his body, or anything that looks out of the ordinary. In a worst case scenario, you might want to know how much a hamster can survive without any food and water. I wrote an article on that topic, and the point is that if your hamster is not eating, but at least has water he has a higher chance or survival. In any case, contact your vet if your hammy seems sick, along with not eating. A word from Teddy I hope you’re very clear now on what us hamster can and can not eat. I know it’s a bit of a list to remember, but it’s in your hamster’s benefit. If you’re not sure about a food, and you can’t find any info anywhere, maybe don’t feed it to your hammy. That way at least you’ll be sure he’s safe. You can find more info on the best kind of bedding for us hamsters, or why we sometimes eat our own poo, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you ! Just check out the articles below and you’ll find your answers. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet [...] Read more...
Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store Bought
Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store BoughtThe best hamster toys ever are not easy to find, but they’re there if you look for them. Some of them can even be made at home ! This is my guide to the best hamster toys ever, and a few tips on making your own. Teddy loves both kinds, and he’ll show you some of his favorites. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but the toys we’ll talk about are also good for smaller breeds like Robo hammies or Campbell. In this guide I’ll show you the best hamster toys I’ve found online (which can be bought), and also give you a few ideas of how to make your own hamster toys at home, as a DYI project. Remember that not all hamsters are alike. Some hamsters might like chewing toys best, while others might like digging towers even more, or are only interested in exercise wheels. Get to know your hammy, and expose him to several toys types, so you know which he likes best. Table of Contents ToggleChewing toys for your hamsterBest store bought chew toys for hamstersBest wood chews for hamstersBest non-wood chewsDog biscuitsHome-made chew toyRunning toys for your hamsterBest store bought exercise toys for hamstersHome-made exercise toysDigging toys for your hamsterBest store bought digging toyHome-made digging towerHiding toys for your hamstersBest store bought hiding toysHome-made hide and seek toyClimbing toys for your hamsterBest store bought climbing toyHome-made climbing toySimple puzzles for hamstersHome-made puzzlesStore bought puzzlesWhat makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ?Why hamsters need toysA word from Teddy Chewing toys for your hamster Chewing toys are necessary for all hamsters, even if they’re not really chewers. Hamsters need to constantly chew in order to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Their front teeth are always growing, and if left unchecked can reach into their lower jaw can cause serious health problems. Best store bought chew toys for hamsters Every pet store carries at least a few types of chew toys. Most of them are made of wood that is safe for hamsters, while the remaining others are made of materials that are safe for hamsters but are not wood. I’ll give you a couple of examples here. Best wood chews for hamsters Here’s a fun little wooden set your hammy will enjoy. They have some bells in them as well, which is great for hamsters since they react to sound. The wood is a great way to help your hamster file down his teeth, and it’s really sturdy. So those pieces will last your hamster for a long time. You can check the set on Amazon here, along with the price. Best non-wood chews Apple chews are a great way for hammies to file down their teeth and get some extra fruit in their diet. It’s best to give these to your hamster along with other treats, not just this one. Since it is organic and exclusively fruit, your hammy might go through it fairly fast but he’s sure to love it. Banana chips work well too. You can find it here on Amazon to check it out for yourself, and check the price. Dog biscuits Weird, I know, but hamsters will go for dog treats as well. Actually, the fact that dog treats are very hard and crunchy is what hamsters love. It’s best to stay away from any flavored dog biscuits, and just get plain ones. Or, you can get a box of milk bones. The hamster will take entire days to go through the treat, and a whole box will last you pretty much forever, given the size of the hamster and the number of treats inside. You can check out the milk bones on Amazon here, and see the price as well. Home-made chew toy One of the best home-made toys for your hamster to gnaw on is…. a walnut ! Or chestnut ! My Teddy has a couple of walnuts he usually plays with, and he’s always trying to get them open. He gnaws at them for a few minutes then leaves them alone. Then he comes back later, and so on. Whatever nut you choose for your hamster (walnut, chestnut, ) make sure it is clean and dirt-free. Wash it beforehand with extremely hot water, and use a tooth pick to pick out any stuck dirt or particles. Do not use detergent or a disinfecting agent. If you’re not sure it’s clean, best to not give it to your hammy. Another great chew toy is a piece of thick twig, or a small branch that you’ve cleaned beforehand. The best kind of wood for your hamster to chew on is also the one he has the bedding usually made of. That’s aspen, but you can also go with some fruit trees (like apple or pear). Running toys for your hamster Most hamsters are runners by nature. This is what they have to do anyway, and my Teddy is ridiculously fast on his running wheel. Best store bought exercise toys for hamsters A running wheel is one of the most basic things you need for your hammy. As such, it should be quiet, it should stay in its place, and made of something your hamster won’t hurt itself on. To find out more about exercise wheels for your hamsters and how to use them right, you can read here. The vast majority of running wheels that you get when purchasing your hamster cage are horrible. Too small, won’t spin, cheap plastic. A good running wheel is a bit of an investment, but will last literally your hamster’s entire life. So don’t skimp out on the running wheel for that matter. It’s what will keep your hamster busy 60% of the time. For this I’ve found a great, silent wheel that’s suitable for all hamster types, Syrian and Robo as well. It has a tail and neck guard, and will stay in place. It is heavier, like 2 lbs/nearly 1 kg but that is because of the heavy base to keep it in place in the cage. The wheel itself is not heavy, so your hamster will be able to spin it well enough. You can check it out on Amazon here and see the price as well. Home-made exercise toys A home-made running wheel is not something I would recommend. This is because running itself is a very fast activity for your hamster, so unless every nook and cranny is well calculated, I’d avoid making them at home. It might be too risky for the hamster to run in a running wheel designed at home, since it might come apart in a way you didn’t anticipate. Or it may snag on your hammy’s paw, because of the material used. Digging toys for your hamster Some hamsters are diggers, some are not. My Teddy isn’t a digger, so I have no bright ideas for digging toys, but I will tell you this. The bottom of your hamster’s cage/glass tank must be filled with a lot of bedding. A whole lot. The more the better, since the hamster will have a lot of fun digging around. So don’t skimp on the bedding, give you hamster plenty, something like the width of your palm is good. You can read nice roundup of the 4 best hamster bedding options out there, and see which would work best for you. As for which kind of bedding is okay, your safest bet is aspen. But for a more comprehensive talk on the safe and unsafe kinds of bedding for your hamster, check out this article on how to choose the best bedding for your hamster. Best store bought digging toy A digging tower is easily the best thing for your hammy, and I looked around for a good one on Amazon. Unfortunately there are not many options, but this one seems to be the best. It’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit, and you can fill it with whatever kind of bedding your hamster likes. You can look at him through both sides since 2 are transparent. And you’ll be able to see him crawl through the bedding and find the exit. You can check the Amazon pricing for it here. Home-made digging tower I’ve found a great video on Youtube for a home made digging tower for your hamster. You can easily do it at home, just that you need a few supplies and tools. I’ll link the video here, and you can watch it anytime. Erin (the lady in the video) is the number one channel I watched in the first few weeks of owning Teddy. Hiding toys for your hamsters Hamsters live to hide, it’s what they do half the time. So you can give your hamster a lot of options here. Best store bought hiding toys Hide and seek toys are always fun, but most of them are too small for a Syrian hamster. If your hamster is smaller, like a Robo or a Campbell, then most hiding tunnels will fit your hamsters well enough. But here I’ve found a toy that will fit a Syrian as well, and can be enjoyed by all kinds of hamsters. It’s made of wood, and has a whole lot of entrances and separate exits. Your hamster will be darting in and out of it all day, every day. You can check its pricing on Amazon here. Home-made hide and seek toy Most of these will be toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, or egg cartons. You can put them in your hamster’s cage as is. You can  also cut a few holes in them to make them a sort of maze or puzzle. Other hiding places for your hammy to use could be very sturdy plastic cups that he can hide in. Just make sure that the plastic is a very hard one. Hamsters will chew on everything, even just to try them out, and soft plastic is not good for them. Another idea would be those bendy plastic tubes you’d normally attach to the sink, but much wider. The width of the tube must be at least 2.5 inch/7 cm so your hamster can easily fit through it. You can bend it into all kinds of shapes, and even bury parts of it under the bedding to make for more underground space. Climbing toys for your hamster Some of the weirdest things a hamster can do is climb. Climb everything. If you’re a new hamster owner, this will probably blow your mind. I know it was complete news to me that hamsters are part spider. Best store bought climbing toy I’ve found this cute and colored climbing toy for hamsters, along with great reviews on Amazon. It attaches to the top of the cage (like the wire mesh or wire lid). Your hamster can climb on it, and chew on it as well, since it’s made of wood. It will suit Syrian hamsters and Chinese or Campbells as well. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Home-made climbing toy Here’s a home-made climbing toy idea for your hamster. Grab a few walnut halves, a long piece of twine, maybe a few pieces of wood, and put a hole in each of those. Feed the twine through all those holes, making a know after each new piece. At the end you should have a series of walnut halves, pieces of wood, all on a long piece of twine. You can tie the twine to the top of the cage, or use a D-link to fasten it to the top of the cage. You can also hide a couple of treats in those walnut halves for your hamster to find. If you don’t have walnuts, you can still use twine and wood pieces, to make a sort of ladder. Popsicle or bamboo skewers are good substitutes too. Simple puzzles for hamsters Your hammy is a very curious one, even if he doesn’t have the voice to ask about his or that. He still wants to know everything that’s going on, and will investigate thoroughly. Home-made puzzles Again, most of the home-made puzzles will be made of toilet rolls. They’re the easier, cheapest, and safest material to work with or your hamster’s home-made toys. One example is a regular toilet roll, cut some strips into it, make them about an inch/2.5 cm long. They should end up looking like large frills, at each end of the toilet roll. Then, one end will be folded so nothing can escape, and you will place a bit of food or treats for your hamster. Then fold the other end to make sure no food will get out. If you want, you can make the frills longer and twist them together, making it more complicated to open. Your hamster will hear and smell the food inside and do his best to rip, tear, chew and find a way to open the puzzle. You can do the same with small boxes, if you have some. whichever tiny boxes made of cardboard are good for him. Place a bit of food in the smallest one, and place as many boxes as you can inside the other, like a russian doll. Hiding a bit of food into the suspended walnuts I talked about earlier is a great idea too. Store bought puzzles Unfortunately most of the searches I’ve done came up empty, and the ones I have found are too complex for hamsters. So in this case it’s best to stick to making your hammy his own puzzle, with a toilet roll and a bit of imagination. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) What makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ? This depends mostly upon your hamster’s personality. Most hamsters will love most toys, but they can still ignore some kinds. Some hamsters like to chew. Others like to dig, some like to run, others love to hide. You’ll notice this about your hamster only after a few weeks, if you’ve given him every type of toy, and see which he uses the most. For example my Teddy is a chewer, and he loves everything made of wood that he can gnaw on, including bendy bridges, walnuts, his home, and so on. He doesn’t like tubes as much, or hide and seek toys. He doesn’t hide a lot, but he is curious and sticks his face everywhere. He also runs a lot, so his wheel was the best thing ever. It still is, but not as much as it was when he was younger. You can find out more about hamster wheels here. Some hamster toys can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on your budget and disposition which kind you want for your hamster. But as with most animals, home made versions are sometimes the best. Like a paper bag that drives the cat crazy, or a slipper that will become your dog’s favorite toy. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you can make from toilet rolls and a bit of creativity. But sometimes, there are toys that are out of this world and can only be bought. I hope I gave you enough options to choose from, so you can make your little friend happy. Why hamsters need toys The usual life of a hamster in the wild can be pretty … wild. He will run away from predators, hide, dig his way out of a predicament. But in your home he is much safer and it can get a bit boring at times. So your hammy will need some stimulation, otherwise he might start chewing the cage bars, or becoming very very agitated. You can take care of this by providing your hamster with toys of different types, sometimes reintroducing toys he used to ignore, maybe he changed his mind. Also providing your hamster with a large enough cage will make sure he has enough space to explore and not feel cramped. You can check the 5 best hamster cages (for Syrians and Dwarf types) and see what I mean. Just like with humans, hamsters are curious and intelligent, and will need stimulation. For example my Teddy sometimes starts chewing on the cage bars if he is ignored, or bored. So I’ll start playing with him or give him a new puzzle to solve. Teddy: Us hamsters are very active, and we need something to keep us busy most of the time ! So make sure you give your hammy a couple of toys to make life more interesting. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great ideas for us hamsters here ! I know toys for hamsters might be a bit weird to figure out at first, but  you can definitely find ideas around. Remember that each of us has their own personality, likes, and dislikes. So if I’m a chewer and a runner, maybe your hammy is a digger, or a climber, and needs different toys than me. If you want to find more info on hamsters, check out the articles below. You’ll find out how much food we need, what kind of home we like, and why we sometimes eat our poo !   [...] Read more...
What Is Wet Tail, And How To Save Your Hamster’s Life
What Is Wet Tail, And How To Save Your Hamster’s LifeIf you’ve got a hamster, and you think he’s got wet tail, I can help. Even if your hammy is healthy so far, you need to know what wet tail is, since it can be fatal and you need to know how to save him. This is a disease that can affect any hamster of any age, although some are more prone to it. I’ll cover what wet tail is, what you can do about it, and how to make sure your hamster friend never suffers through it. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is wet tail ?Is your hammy at risk ?Symptoms of wet tail in hamstersHow to treat wet tailTaking your hamster to the vetCaring for a wet-tail sick hammy at homeChances of survivalHow hamsters develop wet tail in the first placeStress in hamstersDirty hamster cageOther medicationsMake sure your hamster stays healthyKeep your hamster away from stressful environmentsKeep the hammy at a comfortable temperatureAlways clean your hands before handling the hammyDo not feed the hamster overly watery foodsMake sure the water you give your hamster is safeA word from Teddy So what is wet tail ? Wet tail is a serious, contagious disease that can affect any and all hamsters. It’s noticeable by the wet, matted aspect of your hamster’s tail (hence the name). There are other symptoms, which we’ll cover soon. That is because wet tail is a type of diarrhea, brought on by bacteria inside the hamster’s gut. While diarrhea for humans is not very hard to treat, hamsters have an incredibly small chance of survival. Wet tail is mostly brought on by severe stress, which triggers unwanted changes in the hamster’s intestinal flora. It is mostly found in baby hamsters who were just weaned, but there have been cases of adult or elder hamsters as well. Something to remember: wet tail is often used as a sort of blanket term, to describe any kind of diarrhea in hamsters. Actual wet tail is hard to diagnose, since the symptoms are many and it could not be just wet tail. More on that later in the article. Is your hammy at risk ? Any hamster is at risk. Not to sound doomsday-ish, but this is the truth. However there are a few specific hamsters out there that are most susceptible. Syrian hamsters, of all the hamsters, have the highest chance of developing wet tail. Seeing as they’re the most common type of hamster pet, this doesn’t sound great. Dwarf types can still get wet tail, but in a much smaller degree and it’s kind of rare for them. Baby Syrian hamsters, who were just weaned by their mothers – around 4 weeks of age. They are very sensitive, and the stress of weaning, and being handled to be separated into same sex groups, then transported to the pet shop, and then to your home, can be very stressful. Older Syrian hamsters can be at risk as well, though not as much as babies. Senior hammies can’t move very well, and can’t clean themselves as well as they used to. This increases the risk of an infection, which can trigger wet tail. That being said, wet tail can develop in adult, healthy Syrian hamsters, if certain conditions are met. That doesn’t mean that any and all Syrian hamsters will develop wet tail. But they are the ones you should keep an eye on the most. Symptoms of wet tail in hamsters The symptoms for wet tail are quite a few, and they can also be found in the description of other health issues for hamsters. This is one reason it’s a bit hard to diagnose wet tail in the first place. Here are the symptoms for wet tail: Wet, matted tail – very runny stool, matted to the hamster’s tail and hind end. It can extend to the hammy’s abdomen. Strong smell – wet tail smells, and it’s hard to miss. Your hammy is usually very clean and only smells like fur if you smell him. But with wet tail, he might have a strong poo smell. Hunched back, brought on by intestinal discomfort. Slow, sluggish movements Half-closed eyes, very sunken, the hamster looks tired all the time Loss of appetite, possibly not drinking water either Continuously bad temper – if he never bit before, he will bite now and he’s very irritated Folded ears, all the time, possibly shaking Hides in a corner, or worse barely moves at all. Possible weight loss, with dull, ruffled fur Wet tail is also contagious. So if you spotted your hammy with these symptoms, separate him from his cage mate immediately. Once you do separate them, make sure that anything the sick hammy touched is thoroughly cleaned (hot water and soap), and if necessary provide with new cage accessories. Wood accessories are not easy to disinfect, unfortunately. The bedding must be thrown away as well. How to treat wet tail Treating wet tail is not exactly complicated, but the small size of the hamster makes it so. Normally you’d have two options, to treat it at home, or take the hammy to a vet. I very strongly recommend calling your dedicated vet, this is not something to waste time with. Taking your hamster to the vet Get your small friend into his transport cage, and get a car ride to the vet. More on how to safely transport your hamster in this article, and how to keep your hammy comfortable during the ride right here. Once you’re there, the vet will examine the hammy, to see the condition he’s in. The veterinarian might administer extra fluids to the hammy. He might even recommend to keep the hammy overnight, to be able to administer the fluids regularly and keep a close eye on him. If this is the case, best to trust your vet with your hamster. Depending on how severe the case is, your veterinarian might administer some antibiotics himself. Or, he might give you some medication to give to the hamster at home. In any case, your hammy has more of a chance or surviving if you bring him to the vet. Wet tail can be treated, if spotted in its first phase (first 24 hours). After that, the chances of the hamster surviving are lower. He might still survive, but harder. Whatever instructions your veterinarian gives you, be sure to follow them completely. Possibly schedule another check-up after a few days. Caring for a wet-tail sick hammy at home There are some cases when the vet is not available. Or, maybe you can’t afford a vet at the moment. This will not cure the hamster, but it will make his life much easier. A veterinarian is definitely needed for a treatment. In this case you need to do the following: Remove any fruit and veg from your hamster’s diet. ‘Wet’ food like these can worsen the diarrhea, mostly because it doesn’t provide just water. Only give the hammy very dry food. This includes his usual food mix, dry oats, a very small piece of dry bread. Another option if a few grains of steamed brown rice. The dry food will settle your hamster’s insides a bit more. The water your hamster gets from his bottle should not be very cold. And it should be plain, unflavored water. If he has a vitamin mix in his water, remove it for the time being. If your hammy isn’t drinking – try giving him one drop of water every half hour. Hold him by the scruff of the neck (it will not hurt) and with an eye dropper place a drop of water on his lips. The hammy will then lick it, and have at least a bit of water. More than a drop at a time can drown the hammy. If your hamster isn’t eating, try unflavored baby food. No onion, garlic, sugar, or any spices at all. He will need very small amounts of food, only what he can lick off the very tip of a teaspoon. Scruffing the hammy will work here as well. Aside from all of this, make sure your keep the hamster in a comfortable temperature range. Hamsters are okay with a 20-23 C/68-75 F range. More than that and he is in danger of overheating, which he probably already is given his infection. And lower than that can bring on a cold for the hammy. Keep the room your sick hamster’s in very quiet and stress free. Any amount of stress or excess handling an make his condition worse. So any and all pets, small children, loud noises, should be kept away from the hamster’s room. Do not place the hamster in direct sunlight, instead keep him in a shielded, darker corner. At all times, wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before, but especially after handling your sick hammy. Chances of survival Wet tail can be fairly hard to survive for hamsters. This is mostly because it has an incubation period (7 days), in which it’s not immediately obvious that the hamster is sick. Once the signs of illness start to show, it becomes progressively harder to successfully treat. There were cases where the hammy unfortunately passed away, even after being cured. This was because of the stress brought on by the illness itself, and hamsters are terrible stress managers. However, if you spot your hamster’s problem within 24 hours of it surfacing, his survival chances are higher. This means that you should be watching your hamster closely, and handling it every few hours. For older hammies, the chances are lower than for babies, This is because their immune system is already breaking down, as opposed to forming (like in babies). So, if your elder hammy is stricken with wet tail, do your best to treat him. But if worse comes to worst, be prepared for his passing. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How hamsters develop wet tail in the first place The way wet tail develops is thought to be because of stress. This is the biggest culprit known so far, although there are other we’ll cover here as well. Stress brings a host of psychosomatic reactions from the hamster, including severe changes to the bacteria in his gut. That can trigger wet-tail. In some other cases, a very stressed hamster  will develop a very weak immune system, which won’t be able to battle the infection brought on by a stray bacteria. Which in turn may lead to wet tail. Stress in hamsters A stressed hamster will show any signs of illness. Hamsters are very sensitive creatures, and can be stressed easily. A few factors for hamster stress include: Overcrowded cage – the size of the cage matters so much (more on that here), and keeping hamsters together in an appropriate sized cage. The right sized cage is a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s for a Syrian hammy, and the minimum for keeping 2 Dwarf types. Not all hamsters can live together though, and some will fight to the death. Crucial info on that can be found here. Improper handling – hamsters don’t react well to being woken up, constantly being handled, being held wrong, meeting too many strangers at a time, unsafe play time and so on. Especially the babies, under 12 weeks of age. Be very careful when handling your hamster, and never let a child or pet interact unsupervised. A very curious cat, or a grabby toddler won’t bode well for your hamster. Hamsters require so much attention and gentleness, they are not well suited to families with small children or lots of pets. You can find out more on how to show your hamster affection the right way, without annoying him in this article. And you can find out more about how to tame your hamster without stressing him out here. Dirty hamster cage That doesn’t mean a stray poo will freak the hamster out, but a cage that hasn’t been cleaned for more than 2 weeks is turning into a serious threat to his health. More on how often to clean a hammy’s home here, and what kind of bedding to provide to make sure he is safe. This is because infections can occur when the hamster’s cage has stray bacteria, that can develop from an unclean cage. And also, an unclean cage can become moldy in some places. Especially the bedding, if it’s been moist in some places, like where the water bottle drips for example. Imagine your tiny hamster, breathing in those mold spores, wreaking havoc in his immune system. An infection will be the last thing your hammy needs, but it might just happen. Other medications Like in humans, hamster medications can sometimes interfere. Or, they can make it easier for some problems to appear. If your hamster is already on a certain treatment, be sure to ask your veterinarian if he’s at risk of developing other diseases. It can happen, rarely, but it can still happen. It’s best to know beforehand and be prepared. Make sure your hamster stays healthy You can make sure your hamster survives by not getting wet tail in the first place. That means your need to follow a few steps in the first place. Keep your hamster away from stressful environments Hamsters are very susceptible to stress-related illnesses. So naturally, they must be kept away from stress factors. Here’s how to make sure your hamster has a minimal-to-none stress. Do not house your hamster with another. I’d recommend even Dwarf types to be housed alone, since a hamster is very territorial by nature. Even if your give both hammies a cage that’s large enough for 5 hamsters, there can still be problems. One hamster will always be more dominant, and might start bullying the submissive one. It can be hard to make out the difference between playfighting, and actual serious fighting between hamsters. Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian/Winter whites can be traditionally housed together, while Chinese and Syrians will try to kill other hamsters. Conversely keep pets, small children, loud noises, and general ruckus away from the hamster’s cage or room. Hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so a rowdy house during the day will be incredibly stressful for the hamster. Do not introduce lots of new people to your hamster at the same time. Your hammy will be overwhelmed, and needed a few days to trust you in the first place. He will freak out and hide when faced with many new people he does not know. Try not to wake up or annoy the hamster, since it will not rest properly and he will be very irritable. This will make him even harder to handle or tame, which is completely against what you’re trying. Let the creature rest peacefully. Keep the hammy at a comfortable temperature hamsters need a certain temp to feel comfortable. That range is about 20-23 C/68-75 F, and your hammies will be fine. A hamster exposed to very cold temperatures will enter a state that can be confused with hibernation. But in truth, it’s actually a case of hypothermia. It can be fatal because the hamster hasn’t had time to fatten up and build a big and warm enough nest. More on hamster hibernation and the risk of keeping them in too cold a room. Always clean your hands before handling the hammy Hamsters are very sensitive creatures, and as such your hands need to be clean before handling them. Before you touch your hamster, make sure your hands are clean. Use an antibacterial soap, and try to find one with little to no scent. A strong scent could make your hamster either think you’ve really got coconut on your hands and try to taste it, or scare him away. This also applies for the toys the hammy’s got in his cage as well. They too need to be disinfected and cleaned before you first place them in the cage. The shipping, the handling, and where the toys were stored can all be health risks. Even if it’s just a bit of dust, best to be safe and clean them. Do not feed the hamster overly watery foods Watery foods, like cucumber, watermelon, zucchini, grapes (more about safe foods here) can trigger diarrhea in your hammy. You might ask if water doesn’t trigger diarrhea too. Well, the water your hamster can decide how much to drink. I mean the water from the water bottle. But the water content in the fruit or veg is not up to him, and he can be overly hydrated. Conversely, do not give your hammy milk. The lactose content in milk is the highest (compared to cheese or yogurt), and that can trigger a bout of diarrhea too. Make sure the water you give your hamster is safe The water your hamster drink must be safe and clean. If your tap water isn’t safe for you, it’s not safe for him either. So, you can either boil the water beforehand, to rid it of bacteria. Let it cool down and pour it into the hamster’s water bottle. Or, you can use a bottled water that is labeled as safe for newborn humans, which is safe for hamsters as well. You can find out here how much water a hamster needs, and how to clean his water bottle. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to save us if we ever get wet tail. I am a Syrian hammy, and I’ve been healthy so far. I hope your hamster friend is alright too. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the articles below for more info how to care for us and feed us right. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat cheese like I saw in Tom & Jerry. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge ! Table of Contents ToggleSo can my hamster eat dairy ?Hamsters can eat cheeseHamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurtHammies should avoid milkCommercial hamster food has enough mineral contentA word from Teddy So can my hamster eat dairy ? The short answer – yes, hamsters can eat some types of  dairy. But in a small amounts, and only certain kinds. Some dairy products are safe for hamsters, some can cause digestive problems. Lactose content plays a major role in how well mammals respond to dairy, and hamsters fall into the mammal category. Not all milk-based products are okay for hammies. This is due to the small size of hamsters, and their different gut than humans. Hamsters can tolerate some kinds of dairy, and I’ll cover the main kinds in the rest of the article. Hamsters can eat cheese Cheese is safe for hamsters, both regular cheese and white/cottage cheese, including feta. This is mostly because the fermenting process ends in a product that is safe to consume for most creatures. The lactose content in cheese is much smaller than in regular milk. The gut has an easier time processing cheese than any other dairy product, since there’s less lactose in it. You’ve seen Jerry in the cartoons go nuts over a bit of cheese. Well, hamsters love cheese just as much as mice do, since they’re not so distantly related after all. Also, the strong smell makes hammies want to go for it instantly. You can see my Teddy in the first photo of this article, happily munching on a bit of Gouda. The first time he even smelled it, he was all over it. So yes, hamsters can eat cheese, and their stomach is okay with it. Be sure to give your hamsters mild cheese that is not very aged. Overly smelly (pungent) cheese may sit badly with them, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. Soft cheeses like brie, or washed rind cheeses have a mold or bacteria culture that may be unsafe for hamsters, so try and avoid giving them to hamsters. Hamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurt Yogurt is another story here. The probiotics are a welcome bonus, and it will help with digestive problems. However with hamsters it’s the bacteria culture that  can cause trouble. You see, hammies have a different kind of stool than humans. The only reason hammies ever have a wet stool is if they’re very very ill and this is not something okay for them. So I’m not saying giving your hamster yogurt will give him a runny stool. But I am saying that yogurt may cause bloating and digestive problems for your hamster. Which is why I recommend that you don’t give your hamster yogurt often, or in large amounts. Something like half a teaspoon is enough, and it should not be given more than once per week. Hammies will eat many things that are not okay for them. They can’t really know the difference between the foods unless they try it, so they rely on you to keep them safe. You will find yogurt listed as an ingredient for some treats for hamsters. That’s usually alright, since it’s in a small amount, and mostly there’s powdered milk where it says yogurt. Actual, natural yogurt does not keep and can’t be used in most treats. Hammies should avoid milk When it comes to milk, I recommend you avoid it completely for your hamster. The amount of lactose is the highest in milk, and it’s the one most likely to give your hamster a bad tummy. Hamsters only suckle from their mothers until they’re 3-4 weeks old. After they’re weaned, like most mammals, they can’t process lactose and will have trouble digesting it. Most everyone has a degree of lactose intolerance, some more extreme, some more manageable. Younger mammals, like baby hamsters or humans can process it well enough. Adult humans or hamsters can’t stomach milk and will have trouble with it. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Commercial hamster food has enough mineral content You can feed your hamster with things you’ve already got around the house. Like meat, and veggies, and some cheese. You can find a list of safe foods for your hamster right here. But it’s both easier and more nutrition-conscious of you to feed your hammy a pre-made food mix, that will give your hamster enough to cover the basics. Commercial food mixes do have a high enough mineral content, which is something you might think you’re helping your hamster get with extra cheese or yogurt. A good food mix like this one is going to help your hamster cover all his bases. You’ve got protein, veggies, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And the selection in this bag is very wide, so your hamster can choose whatever he like. Be warned though, that hamsters can become very picky with their food, and they might ignore bits of the mix sometimes. That’s okay, you can add a peanut here, a walnut there, and make sure your hammy gets all the nutrition he needs. You’ll find the Amazon listing for this food mix here, and you can check out the reviews as well. You can supplement your hammy’s food with whatever you have on hand as is okay for him to eat. For example I give my Teddy a small bit of cooked chicken, or cooked egg white whenever we’re cooking, er even a bit of carrot. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might want to eat everything, but only some kinds of dairy are okay. For example I love Gouda, and Maasdam cheese, but maybe your hammy likes Cheddar better ? If you want to know more about us hamster you should check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like how large a cage we need, and why we sometimes freeze when you walk by us. [...] Read more...
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main Reasons
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters are rodents, they like to try and test things by biting instead of licking. But licking the cage or other objects in it is not unheard of. So let’s talk about a few reasons why your hamster is licking the cage. Before getting to the topic is important to know that hamsters have different personalities and not all of them would have the same behavior for the same reason. So, it is important to know all the possible reasons for your hamster licking the cage, but you might have to decide which is most likely. Table of Contents Toggle4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage1. Curiosity2. Cooling off3. Thirsty4. Lack of mineralsHow to clean the cage after a hamster licks it?Why does a hamster lick itself?Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands?Why do hamsters bite the cage?Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage?Conclusion 4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage Hamster licking the cage happens more often when we are talking about glass tanks and less often for bin cages or regular hamster cages. You can check my article about glass tanks for hamsters if you want to know more about how safe they are and what you should know when you keep your hamster in one of those. Here are a few reasons why a hamster is licking the cage. 1. Curiosity This is one of the main reasons why hamsters lick their cage, so you should not worry too much about it. Those little furballs are anxious by default, and at the same time they are also curious, which might not be the best idea in the wild since they can get into a predator trap but in some situations, it might help them get food.  Here is an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from a pet hamster. I know that all the hamsters I had were curious, when they would hear a sound around their cage, the first instinct was to hide, but after a few seconds, they would come out to see what it was. You can imagine that this is not the safest behavior for a hamster in the wild but is fun to see it if you have a pet hamster. So them licking the cage, especially a glass tank it, is usually out of curiosity. They want to know if they should chew it and what it tastes like or simply want to explore more. 2. Cooling off If the room temperature is too high, they might lick the glass tank to cool off a bit, as we might eat ice cream on a sunny summer day. Compared to bin cages, glass tanks are cooler and your hamster can easily cool off (and even get too cold) when in direct contact with the glass.  If you want to know more ways to keep your hamster cool, here is an article about 9 ways to do that. But before that, you should check this article to know what is the best room temperature for a pet hamster. 3. Thirsty Being thirsty might make a hamster lick the cage, but this doesn’t happen as often since a pet hamster should always have a water bottle filled with fresh water. But to be sure, you better check that their water bottle is working properly if you see your hamster licking the cage. 4. Lack of minerals Hamsters lacking minerals might be an obvious reason for them licking the cage. However, I’ve put it last since a pet hamster usually gets all the minerals it needs from a pre-made food mix that you can find online or at the pet shop. So a pet hamster should not lack minerals. I gave a mineral chew to my first hamster, and right after that, I wrote an article about mineral chews for hamsters. You can read the article if you want to know more, but long story short, they don’t really need extra minerals, and it might actually be dangerous for them. So, a lack of minerals is not the most common cause for a hamster licking the cage but people usually think this is the main reason because we like to control things and know what the reasons and solutions are. While most of the time, the reason is unknown and you can’t do too much to stop it, but the good news is that the hamster is usually ok and doesn’t need special attention because it licks the cage. How to clean the cage after a hamster licks it? It is not crucial to clean the cage right away, but when you do, it is important to use just a bit of soap or even only hot water. Hamsters are very sensitive to the smell of soap, and if they start licking the cage again, it can be dangerous for them. My advice is not to rush to clean the cage when you see your hamster licking it but rather wait for when you do a complete clean anyway. Why does a hamster lick itself? Hamsters are very clean animals, you don’t ever need to wash them since they are doing a great job themselves and getting wet is dangerous for hamsters. They are always cleaning themselves to stay odor free, or they might leak their scent glands to release a specific odor that helps them confuse and/or scare predators. So a hamster constantly licking itself is normal behavior. You should not worry about that. The only thing that can be bad about that is when they lick and try to bite themselves since that might be a sign of having mites. Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands? Hamsters can lick the owner’s hand as well, they do this for a few reasons. They try to show affection by doing this, which sounds cute but it doesn’t happen as often as we think. We have to keep in mind that hamsters are not social animals and they don’t necessarily enjoy playing with you. They can tolerate you, but they cannot love you like a puppy would. Depending on the hamster’s personality, some of them might not be bothered by getting picked out of the cage, but to say that they love that is a bit much. This is similar to the first reason they lick the cage: curiosity. They will try to see if it’s safe to eat, so a small bite after they lick your hands shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hamsters explore their world with their mouth and teeth, so that’s how they will explore you as well.  Why do hamsters bite the cage? A more serious and annoying behavior is when a hamster is biting the cage, either the plastic part or the bars. This can be dangerous for your hamster since they can get to eat the toxins from the plastic if they chew it. There are a few reasons for this behavior that I discussed in my article about hamsters chewing the cage bars, but I will shortly touch on them here as well. Small cage. This is one of the main reasons a hamster bites on the cage or the cage bars. They feel like they need more space or they want to evade.  Stress. Hamsters are quite anxious animals, so a lot of things can easily stress them. It can be the food, the water, the temperature, the noises and so on. You might have to investigate more to see what bothers your hamster. Teeth are growing. The hamster’s teeth are constantly growing like any other rodent, and they have to chew something. It might be the fact that they don’t have any other chewing toys, or it might simply be their favorite place to chew on. Curiosity. Yet again, they are curious animals, and more often than licking something to see what it is, they are biting it. Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage? Yes, you can temporarily stop your hamster from licking the cage, but it is not guaranteed that you will always succeed in the long-term. If the reason is the fact that they need to cool of, the solution is quite simple, you have to make to room cooler. If the lack of minerals is the problem, you should be more careful with the food you give and read on the box to make sure it contains minerals and vitamins in the appropriate amount. When it comes to being thirsty, if they use the water bottle properly and the bottle has water in it, this should not be a reason for a hamster to lick the cage. The tricky part is when they are curious, in this case all you can do is to distract them with other toys and tunnels. Make sure you put some treats, and some of their food in those toys and tunnels to ensure your hamster will want to use them. A bored hamster will lick the cage, bite the cars, climb all over the cage, and generally be frustrated. Adding enrichment items will help your hamster. But don’t expect quick results, your hamster might be stubborn and ignore your treats and keep licking the cage. However, this behavior might change in time by itself without any intervention from you, so patience might be the key in this case. Conclusion A hamster licking the cage is not an actual problem most of the time, but you better make sure that reasons 2-4 are not the problem. If your hamster is just curious, that will not put them in danger, it is just how they are, curious and anxious simultaneously. I hope this article helped you better understand your little furball’s behavior. [...] Read more...
Hamster Grooming, And The Importance Of A Proper Sand Bath
Hamster Grooming, And The Importance Of A Proper Sand BathYou’ve probably seen your hamster friend groom himself. Pulling his fur, combing through it, behind his ears, the works. But do hamsters need sand baths ? Does it help their grooming process ? This is something I’ve asked myself too, seeing as I did give Teddy (male, Syrian hamster) a bowl with sand for him to play in. But we should first know everything about a hamster’s grooming routine. Then, we can figure out if the sand bath helps. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the hamster’s grooming routineWhy a hamster needs to be cleanA sick hamster won’t take care of himself very wellHealth problems that come up because of poor grooming/hygieneA clean habitat keeps the hamster clean tooHow a sand bath helps a hamster groom himselfWhat kind of sand bath you should get for your hamsterHow to give your hamster a proper sand bathA word from Teddy About the hamster’s grooming routine All hamsters, everywhere, groom themselves. That’s a very well known fact. Actually hamster are pretty much on par with cats in terms of cleanliness. If you’ve ever noticed your hamster when he’s cleaning himself, you probably know he does that often. Much more often than most animals. This is one reason hamsters never need a water bath, with shampoo or other cleaning supplies. They’re simply too good at cleaning themselves, they don’t need it. And getting a hamster wet can be fatal in some cases, in most cases it leads to colds and hypothermia. For example my Teddy grooms himself when I put him in his exercise ball, when I take him out of it, when he wakes up, before he goes to bed, after he pees, after he runs for 10 minutes, after he eats and after he poops. Usually hamsters will pull at their fur, scratch part of their fur, com and comb again through their fur to get everything out and spread the oils on their fur. They’re especially funny when they start pulling on their ears and collecting whatever dirt was behind them, and especially their cheeks. As if anything had a chance to appear in the 2 hours since their last grooming session. That’s a lot of cleaning. But why do hamsters do that ? Why a hamster needs to be clean Hamsters need to be clean in order to keep their predators at bay. That’s the main reason, since hamsters are prey for many animals. This means that their scent will draw predators like wild cats, snakes, owls, and so on to hunt for them in the wild. So, hamsters have evolved this cleaning routine to keep themselves ‘invisible’, kind of. They’re very strict about it, and it’s what kept them alive all this time. Hamsters will want to clean themselves after every little interaction with something that can leave a smell on them. This includes other creatures, like other hamsters, or humans, and even food. Another reason hamsters clean themselves is because of their habitat. Hamsters in the wild live inside burrows, with series of tunnels and nests deep underground. This can make lots of debris like dirt and twigs get stuck in the hamster’s fur. The hamster cleans himself to function properly, and not have his fur matted with dirt. You can tell there is something wrong with the hamster if he stops cleaning himself, or he still looks bad after a grooming session. A sick hamster won’t take care of himself very well Hamsters not grooming themselves anymore have only two explanations. First, it could be that the hamster has become very old. So old, in fact, the he is very close to the end. His brain has started disintegrating and can’t help him do normal hamster things, like clean himself, not pee in his nest, and in extreme cases even eat. It’s a sad thing to watch, but there is nothing you can do to make your friend any better. It’s much like with human seniors. Once they start losing control of bodily functions, things can’t get better. The second reason hamsters stop grooming themselves is because they have become very, very sick. It could be an infection that weakened their body to the point of exhaustion. They’re simply too tired to clean themselves, and this will make the infection even worse. Or it could be a physical problem, as in a broken or sprained paw that restricts their movement, or a form or arthritis. In short, if your hamster isn’t cleaning himself, that is very bad news. Most of the time the vet will be able to help you treat the hamster’s illness. For this you need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and also birds. Health problems that come up because of poor grooming/hygiene Some of the health problems that can rear their ugly heads when the hamster isn’t clean can be very serious. I’ll give you a brief rundown of these health problems. Infections – can become serious business, in any part of the body. Especially bad if the hamster ends up swallowing part of the pus, like with cheek infections, or tooth infections. Eye infections can be rinsed with a saline solution, until the vet can receive your hamster and give him proper treatment. Even a small, seemingly benign cut (if the hamster is scratching himself, for example) can be dangerous if the hamster’s skin isn’t clean, or the claw he’s scratched himself with is dirty. As with humans, infections need antibiotic treatment, which can take a toll on the body. Given that the hamster is such a small little thing, his food will need to be supplemented during his treatment. Mites and parasites – these are never fun to treat, and please do not get your hamster treatments for such problems without talking to your vet. Most over the counter treatments are much too harsh for the hamster’s skin and can cause death, so please be careful. The vet will be able to recommend a treatment that will be fairly easy on your hamster. The problem with mites and other parasites (like fleas for example) is that the hamster will scratch himself much too hard and eventually hurt himself. This can lead to bald patches, and other health problems like infections or warts. Fungus – the cage needs to be clean, to prevent the spores from fungus to develop. There are two main culprits when it comes to fungal infections in hamsters (ringworm and Aspergillus) and both can be very dangerous. Ringworm is easier on the hamster, but Aspergillus can be deadly. Wet-tail – can come about if the hamster is kept in miserable conditions, or is highly stressed and his immune system can’t fight off the infection. The result is a weak hamster with constant diarrhea, and very little chances of survival. Thankfully wet-tail has a certain age when the hamster is likely to develop it. A bit like childhood illnesses. Wet-tail is more common on young (4-10 weeks) hamsters, who have been separated from the mother and brought to their new owner. All of these can be treated, so do not worry. If you notice your hamster having health problems, call your veterinarian. A clean habitat keeps the hamster clean too A clean cage will mean a clean hamster. For example the fungus problem I mentioned earlier. The Aspergillus spores will grow from the hamster’s pee corner. It will first look like a white growth, then turn black. But if the pee corner is cleaned often, the spores don’t really have a chance to develop. This only happens if the cage isn’t cleaned for a very long time (like a few weeks), or if the home/room has a fungal infection and the spores are already in the home. But what is a clean cage ? Hamsters will kick around bedding, bits of cardboard, fling their poo across the cage, and sleep on top of a pile of food. Well, that’s all normal, actually. Hammies keep themselves very clean, and their nest as well. As in, the area immediately around where they sleep. Aside from that, not their business. So cleaning the cage once per week is pretty much mandatory. If you’ve got more than one hamster living in the same cage, then you will have to clean the whole cage more often than that. This is because the pee corner starts to smell, and the bedding becomes very very messy. There will be bits of food lying somewhere, and torn up cardboard in the food bowl. It’s a lot like a small child’s room. To clean the hamster’s cage, you’re going to have to remove the hamster from the cage in the first place. Put him in his travel cage or exercise ball until you’re done cleaning. Take out all the bedding and objects, wipe the cage down with a wet, clean towel, then pat it dry. Add fresh bedding back, but make sure to sprinkle in a bit of the old bedding so the hamster recognizes things easier. Place everything back the way it was before, and finally add the hamster back in. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How a sand bath helps a hamster groom himself You’re wondering, after all this talk of hamsters cleaning themselves and how to keep their habitat clean, how does a sand bath help ? Well, at first glance it might seem like it’s pointless. It can be, from a certain point of view. But let’s see both sides for a moment. The main reason hamsters would need a sand bath is to absorb the excess oil in their fur. You see, hamster fur has a layer of oils (like our human hair does, the sebum) which helps keep the hair healthy and the skin clean. However too much of that sebum will make the hamster’s fur look bad, and feel bad too. This is where the sand comes in, to help keep the hamster’s fur nice and clean. Now, the hamster does comb through his fur often. So often that he moves the oils from the skin all the way to the tips of the hairs. So you could argue that their fur never gets too oily. While that is true, what is also true is that hamsters simply seem to go nuts when they feel sand. They immediately jump into the sand bowl and start spazzing, like cats on catnip. They not only rub themselves in the sand, they rub the sand into their fur. Somehow, they know something we humans do not know. And it looks like a sand bath is something they enjoy. My Teddy for example has his sand bowl close to his nest, and he takes occasional baths in it. He also loves to dig in that sand bath, which kicks up soooo much sand. Luckily it never gets out of the cage. What kind of sand bath you should get for your hamster As for what kind of sand to get your hamster, I unfortunately can’t give you a brand to look for. I mean, the sand I use for my Teddy can be used for chinchilla sand. So that’s a good starting point, chinchilla sand. But not all petshops have chinchilla sand, and looking for it online only gave me unhappy customers. It seems like the sand that was once okay (there were a couple of brands) is now not okay. They’ve changed their formulation and their sand is rather dusty, more like flour. Given how sensitive hamsters are, inhaling all that dust just isn’t alright for them. It isn’t alright for humans either, but hamsters are much more sensitive than us. So when you go and look for sand for your hamster buddy, make sure you look for granulated sand, dust-free. It shouldn’t be very coarse, it should be like… well, sand that’s been sifted. The one I have for Teddy is made of ground up sea shells and minerals. Some brands use this kind of formulation as well, and you can find it in either very light grey/white, or a sort of brown. It really depends on the brand and the formulation they’re using right now. I’ll attach a photo of the sand I have for my Teddy. If you can find this one, it’s probably still got the right texture for hamsters. How to give your hamster a proper sand bath Alright, we’ve talked about why hammies need a sand bath, and what kind of sand to look for. But how do you give a hamster a sand bath ? Well, hamsters are great at doing that themselves, so you won’t really have to do anything other than just provide the sand. What you need to be careful for is the fact that the sand will get everywhere. If you’ve ever been to the beach, you know what I mean. You have to be careful with it. So this means giving your hamster an appropriate place/object for that bath. You might think a shallow bowl would be enough. And it would, if it had something overhead. For example my teddy has half of a plastic hideout filled with sand, and it’s places under the first level of his cage. So that sand never gets outside the cage, and is well contained. But what if you don’t have another level in your cage ? Or not enough room under that level to fit a bowl ? Then you’ll need to look around for some options. For example this one is large enough to fit a Syrian hamster, and is easy to take apart and clean. It’s got a clear side, so you’ll be able to see your hamster when he uses this sand bath. It’s small enough so it will fit in most cages, so unless you’ve got an especially crowded cage, this one will fit right in. It’s even got a small scoop to get the hamster’s droppings out, if he ever decides to use the sand bath as a toilet too. Don’t be surprised if he does. You can check the listing on Amazon here. All you have to do is add the sand into the sand bath, and leave it in your hamster’s cage. I change my Teddy’s sand once per week, when I clean the whole cage. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters are very good at cleaning ourselves, we don’t really need any help. But we do appreciate a nice sand bath, to keep our fur nice and groomed. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...