Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts ? Or Any Kind Of Nuts ?

If you’ve got a hamster and you’re wondering if you can feed him a peanut, that’s okay. It’s a common question, and one I had too when I first got my Teddy.

Turns out hamsters can eat lots of things us humans can eat. However, they can’t eat as much or as many variations as we can.

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So can hamsters eat peanuts ?

Yes, hamsters can eat peanuts. It’s safe for them. But they need to be unsalted peanuts. They can be baked or not, and they can be given with the shell as well.

As long as there are no seasonings or extra oils on the peanut, it’s okay. Peanuts do have a high fat content though, so be aware that too many peanuts will make your hamster overweight.

That can lead to severe health issues, and is best avoided.

But, a peanut every now and hen, like a couple of times a week is alright. Not more often though.

Hamsters eat lots of nuts and seeds in the wild

Peanuts are okay for the main reason that hamsters eat a lot of seed and nut types in the wild. When foraging for food, hammies end up with lots of grains, seeds, and some roots to munch on.

Many times their diet consists entirely of dried grains and seeds, which keep well over cold periods.

So, a peanut is safe. And you’ll often find it in his food mix as well.

Is peanut butter safe for hamsters ?

Yes, plain, unsweetened peanut butter is safe for hamsters to eat. Peanut butter is just crushed and pureed peanuts, and that’s alright for hammies.

The difference is that peanut butter sometimes has a little bit of added oil in order to make it creamier. So that means that your hamster should have less peanut butter than regular peanut.

For example a dollop of peanut butter the size of a pea is more than enough for your hammy, whether he’s a Dwarf or Syrian.

The thing about peanut butter is that it’s sticky, and requires lots of cleanup. This is one of the reasons you need to be careful how much you give your hamster.

Your hammy has a high chance of making a mess out of the tiny dollop, so make sure you give him a very small amount.

Always make sure you give your hamster unsweetened, unsalted, unflavored peanut butter. Only simple, plain peanut butter will do, since that’s the closes to an actual peanut.

 

Safe nuts and seeds for your hamster

Hammies can eat some types of nuts, and I’m going to help you identify them right here. SO here’s a safe list of nuts for your hamster:

  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • pistachios
  • walnuts
  • pine nuts
  • cashews
  • hazelnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds

Now these all need to be unsalted, unsweetened, unseasoned in any way. Get them as plain as possible. It’s fine if they’re raw, and it’s fine if they’re toasted.

Just remember that seeds and nuts should not be given daily or very often. More than twice a week is too much. And the serving should be just one nut. For seeds they can be 3-4 at a time.

But do not overfeed your hamster on seeds or nuts, since they are very high in fat. Your hamster doesn’t need a high fat diet in order to function.

(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.)

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Unsafe nuts and seeds to keep away from your hamster

Some nuts and seeds aren’t alright for hammies, since they can be poisonous. Even for humans they can be a bit hazardous, and should not be eaten often or in large amounts. These are:

  • almonds
  • any kind of fruit seed (apple, grape, peach, plum, etc)

This does not mean the fruits are not edible. Hamsters actually love to munch on small apple bits, or a bit of grape flesh.

It’s just the seeds that are not alright for them, and should be removed before giving fruits to your hamster. Actually, you can find out more about what kind of fruits are alright for your hamster right here.

Commercial food mixes have plenty of safe nuts and seeds

When feeding your hamster, you have the option of giving him a store-bought food mix. The thing about these mixes is that they’re thought out to give your hammy a balanced diet.

This means your hamster’s getting the optimal amount of grains, nuts, seeds, vitamins supplements, fiber and protein for a healthy diet.

This food mix will help your hammy find all the nutrients he needs, right there in his food bowl. He won’t have to forage for his food anymore.

Unless you sprinkle it through his cage, which can keep him busy and keep his instincts sharp.

Still, the whole bag will last you a couple of months or more, depending on what kind of hamster you have.

You can check the listing on Amazon right here, and read the reviews as well.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love to munch on everything, but sometimes you need to be careful what you give us. Peanuts are alright, as long as they’re plain, and are in small amounts and not often.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the articles below for more info on how to care for us.

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Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle In
Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle InIf you’ve got a hamster you probably want to treat him to the best there is. We humans love hammocks, but do hamsters use them ? Would they swing in a hammock like us ? Or would they just ignore it ? I found the answer to this, and I’m here to help you figure out how to make your hamster a happy ball of fur. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters use hammocks ?The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safetyA few examples of safe hamster hammocksOption 1Option 2General precautions when getting your hamster a hammockA word from Teddy So do hamsters use hammocks ? Some hamsters do. Not all hamsters will go crazy over hammocks, but some will love to burrow into that warm fabric. It depends on each hamster’s personality. Some hamsters, like my Teddy, are runners and chewers. Some are diggers, some love to climb more than anything. You can’t guess beforehand which type will like a hammock. But I can tell you that giving a hammock to a hamster who loves to chew (more than other hamsters) is not going to end well. Knowing if your hamster would love hammocks is not going to happen unless you try one. There are some guidelines to follow, and some things to look out for when you put a hammock into your hamster’s cage. So let’s see them. The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safety Hamsters love to chew, they always need to file their teeth down. So this gives them an instinct to chew and nibble on everything they can get their paws on. They’re also very curious and will try out anything with their teeth too, much like a baby human. When it comes to hammocks, the fabric they’re made of is crucial. The wrong fabric can be dangerous for hamsters, some hazards including: choking on loose strings and pieces of fiber swallowing loose fluffy fabric and damaging their digestive system hurting themselves on sharp pieces of metal or plastic in the hammock stuffing loose, fluffy fabric into their cheeks and getting it caught up in their teeth or paws None of those situations are comfortable, for anyone involved. So it’s very important to check the potential hammock for any pieces the hamster could hurt himself on, before you present it to him. A word of caution, hamsters are always looking for soft materials to use for their nests. This is why very fluffy, wooly fabrics are a no go, like plush, fake fur, fur-like textures like on teddy bears, and the lining you will find in some house slippers. So if it’s soft and fluffy and makes you, a human, want to cuddle in it, keep it away from the hamster. He’ll want to do that too, but he won’t just drag it to his nest. He’ll tear it apart and put it in his cheeks, and then get tangled in it. What does this mean, then ? What fabrics are okay to use on in a hammock ? Well, for the most part very flat fabrics work well, the ones the hamster won’t be very tempted to chew on and take back to his nest. Fur-like fabrics would be alright too, if you can find a short-haired version, and not too soft or fluffy or easy to rip a piece out. A few examples of safe hamster hammocks I’ve got here a few examples of hammocks that are safe for hamsters (and other rodents as well), and you can pick whichever you like best. Or pick out a completely different one. That’s up to you, as long as you look at the reviews and take a good look at the material it’s made of. Option 1 This hammock is a fairly large one, and any hamster will definitely fit inside. It’s got metal chains to suspend it inside the cage, and it keeps its shape very well. It can fit something a bit larger than a hamster, like for example a chinchilla, but you can also turn it over, take out the chains, and use it as a hamster hideout. As far as I know there is just the one color option you see, but it’s a very well made product. Washing machine safe, and the material is safe for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Option 2 This one, much smaller, but very colorful, is another option. It’s more of a hut/hideout, but it’s warm and cozy. You’ll be able to spot your hamster right away against the colors of the hammock (blue, red, or pink) and I’m sure he’s enjoy playing in it. Like all hammocks though, it will have bits of food and poop after a few hours of your hamster sitting in it.. That’s okay, since this hammock can be washed safely. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Whichever hammock you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the design and keep an eye on your hamster when he is interacting with it. There’s some general precautions you should take before getting your hamster a hammock, so let’s see those. (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.) General precautions when getting your hamster a hammock When letting your hamster onto the hammock, make sure there are no sharp pieces he can hurt himself on. Sometimes the hammocks are sewn together with a plastic thread, and it sticks out a bit. Or, possibly the metal clips (if there are any) are sticking out or need to be closed better. Most of the time the hammocks that have a bed/lining inside are adorable, but the hamster ends up taking the small bed out. Not sure why, maybe they feel it’s too crowded. But the point is that the walls and inside structure of the hammock needs to be very good and sturdy. If you notice your hamster chewing a bit on the hammock, that’s okay. Some chewing is normal, since hamsters chew absolutely everything. If it turns into cheek-stuffing then you’ll want to remove the hammock, or at least the lining. Hammocks, no matter the brand, can’t withstand the constant wear and tear of a busy hamster for more than a few months. They keep getting into and out of them, clawing at them chewing a bit, soiling them, etc. In time it will show and you might have to replace their old hammock. Make sure the hammock doesn’t have an odd or strong smell  when you first give it to your hamster. Hamsters have very sensitive noses, and won’t like something that smells strong. If need be, you can wash the hammock by itself with the minimum amount of detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener. Finally, if your hamster doesn’t take to the hammock instantly, have patience. He might not understand what it is at first. He might need a few days (some need a few weeks) to get cozy in there, but once they do, they will probably use it as their nest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters do use our hammocks, just not all the time. We’re different, you know; each of us has a different personality. We do appreciate the effort, though ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] 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...
Hamster Cheek Pouches – How They Work, And Common Problems
Hamster Cheek Pouches – How They Work, And Common ProblemsA hamster is the cutest thing, and everyone loves a hammy’s full cheek pouches. But how do they work ? What do hamster cheek pouches do ? Are there problems your hamster can develop with his cheeks ? I’ll be covering this topic alongside Teddy, my Syrian male hammy, and give his examples wherever necessary. Table of Contents ToggleHow the hamster’s cheek pouches workHammies store food and nesting material in their cheeksThe cheeks are emptied when the hamsters reach their nestWhy hamsters have cheek pouches at allCommon problems with hamster cheek pouchesImpacted cheek pouchAbscess in the pouchTumorsEverted (inside-out) cheek pouchesHow to make sure your hamster’s cheeks are safe and healthyA word from Teddy How the hamster’s cheek pouches work A hamster’s cheek pouches are two bag-like structures, that run alongside the mouth, all the way to the back of his shoulders. It’s basically a pair of really big cheeks, that can get and stay stuffed for however long the hamster needs them to. The hamster can eat and run with his cheeks full, with no problem. This is because the cheeks themselves stay in place along the hamster’s shoulders, and are very elastic. In the wild the hamster actually travels large distances with his cheeks full, so he can cover more ground without returning to his nest often to attract predators. This also means that the hammy can sprint at the drop of a hat with his groceries in tow, if he has to. Imagine a hammy running in slo-mo through the dessert, at night, chased by an owl. All while pushing a shopping cart with all his might. Sometimes, parts of whatever the hamster puts in his cheeks end up in his mouth. Normally this isn’t a problem, for example if he’s got food in there. But when it comes to non-food items, it’s important to be careful what you allow into your hamster’s cage. For example the paper towels or toilet paper squares your hammy hides in his cheeks can have small bits that end up swallowed. Even if he uses them for nesting purposes, it still happens. If you want a more scientific take on hamster cheek pouches, and want to know more in-depth about them, you should definitely check out this study by ScienceDirect. Hammies store food and nesting material in their cheeks Most of the time hamsters store food in their cheeks. This is what you’ll find there most of the time, and it’s very convenient for them. This means that if you fill your hammy’s food bowl, he will literally stuff his face, and then bring it to his nest. He might run around for a couple of minutes though, since the food can stay there for a few hours if it has to. Be careful what you feed your hammy though, since very sharp or crumbly foods can give him a cut and cause serious problems in his cheeks. So, even if your hammy could technically eat a plain Pringle (no salt, though), he’d get shards everywhere and it’s not a good idea. Actually, you can get a better idea of what to feed your hammy here, with a list of safe and unsafe foods to feed your hamster. You’ll find the veggies, fruits, meat, dairy, breads, and nuts he can safely eat. Hamsters also store nesting material in their cheeks, like dried leaves, twigs, and grass. Or, paper towels and bits of toilet paper or cardboard, if he’s a pet. The cheeks are emptied when the hamsters reach their nest In the wild, hamsters travel far and wide to get their food. A wild hamster can cover up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night. One night ! That’s a lot of running around. Once he does get home he can empty his accumulated stash, and enjoy a quiet dinner by himself, no predators around. He can stop at any point during his run and just grab a snack from one if his cheeks, and then keep running. But for the most part, the cheeks are unloaded once the hamster reaches a safe place. What about your domestic, cuddly friend ? If he’s anything like my Teddy, he’ll shove food mix in his cheeks til they nearly burst, then go and hide it all away in his hideout. Hamsters do have stashes, both in the wild and in the comfort of your home. It’s their instinct, to hoard. Remember the shopping cart/grocery part from before ? Imagine your hamster having an entire organize pantry, with all the foods. Hamsters actually routinely sort through their stashes, and throw out moldy or wilted food. In his cage he doesn’t really do that, since most of his feed is probably dry food that keeps for very long. But in the wild he will have an assortment of whatever he can find, and sometimes he can’t find the best. Why hamsters have cheek pouches at all Well, hamsters have cheek pouches for 2 major reasons: to hoard food, and to be able to run away if they have to. The hamster’s cheeks can hold a lot of food, up to the equivalent of 4 shelled peanuts (Syrian hamsters, Dwarf types keep less since they’re so small). Hamsters evolved to have this trait actually, since they’re prey animals. This means that they’re always hunted, by almost anything larger than them. Given their small size, many animals are larger than them. So hamsters had to be able to take off at a moment’s notice if a predator was around. They don’t have to drop their food anymore. The other reason hamsters evolved to have a cheek pouch is that the terrain hamsters live on is not very rich. In that, not may things grow in the regions hamsters come from. That means from Southern Turkey, to Syria, to Russia, Mongolia, and parts of China. The wild parts, where the hamsters live, are not very easy to live in. So hamsters have to make do with dry grains, a few seeds, a stray veggie here and there. They might find a worm or cricket and eat that too. In short, hamsters have to travel far and wide in order to find enough food. This is why they have their cheeks, to keep the food they’ve already found, and take it with them on the rest of their excursion. And in the end, when they come home, they will add it to their stash. Common problems with hamster cheek pouches Unfortunately the hamster’s cheeks can develop several problems. Some can be because of the foods they’ve stored in the cheeks, like very sticky foods, or very sharp foods. But let’s take a look at what can happen to your hamster friend’s cheek pouches. In all of these cases the hamster should be taken immediately to the veterinarian, who will be able to give him medical care. In general, the vets that can handle a hamster are called “exotic vets”, and will be able to help you. (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.) Impacted cheek pouch This happens when the hamster can’t empty his cheeks completely. Sometimes bits of food or nesting material get stuck, for various reasons. The hamster can try to get all of it out, but sometimes it just literally gets stuck. Those food and nesting material particles can rot and develop into an abscess if left uncheckes, which is not safe for the hamster. So, this is a case that can be mostly avoided by being careful what foods you give your hammy. Never give him anything sticky or moist. For example a sticky noodle will be identified by the hammy as a grain, an stored for later. Protein (like meat or egg) is eaten immediately, grains not so much. So a sticky noodle or pasta will get shoved into the cheek, where it will leave residue for the next food item to stick to and so on. Hamsters can’t stick their tongue into their cheeks to clean them out, like us humans. So it’s important that you as an owner are careful to identify if your hamster has a problem. Abscess in the pouch An abscess can form for several reasons, but the end result is the same. A small bag of pus forms, and not only is it painful for the hamster, it is also toxic. Once the pus breaks and spreads into the cheek, the hamster might swallow it and develop another disease known as sepsis. Best to avoid that completely. You can make sure your hamster has a very small chance of forming an abscess by never giving him something sharp to eat. For example something very extremely dry, like the crust on some bread types. Do keep in mind that it can happen with seeds too, in a case where your hamster’s cheeks are already full and he tries to put a seed in there (which often has a sharp end) and cuts himself. He could hurt himself on something in the cage, or develop a tooth problem that needs fixing – more on hamster dental issues here. An abscess is not easy to spot, so you must be careful to look for a constantly swollen cheek. Or, a possible bad smell coming from your hamster’s mouth since the pus will have a smell. Tumors Hamsters, like rats, can develop tumors in the head area. Hamsters tend to get them in their pouches, which will impact how well they can eat and store food. A tumor in a hamster’s cheek is not usually benign, and unfortunately the treatments are hard. They are available, but removing the tumor without harming the hamster or incapacitating him in some way is very hard. The operations involves part of the hamster’s mouth, so he won’t really be able to eat well afterwards. That being said, there is no known, clear way to avoid your hamster getting a cancerous tumor. Everted (inside-out) cheek pouches These can happen sometimes, and no one knows very well why it happens. I’m not sure if it’s painful for the hamster, although I guess it would be. The hamster’s cheek pouch just comes inside out, like your pant pockets when you’re getting dressed in a hurry. They’re very noticeable, since it’s the actual flesh, hanging outside the hamster’s mouth. Those are, fortunately, easy to treat. Your vet will be able to put the pouch back in its place, and make sure it stays in place afterwards. How to make sure your hamster’s cheeks are safe and healthy A few steps can be taken to make sure your hamster stays safe, and keeps his cheeks intact. Now, granted, some things you can’t avoid, like the hammy overstuffing his cheeks. Yes, he can totally do that. But here’s what you can do to keep your hamster’s cheeks safe and healthy: Do not give the hamster sharp foods, or very crumbly dry ones he can scratch or cut his cheeks on. Keep an eye on him every day, and notice how his cheeks look when stuffed Notice if there is an odd smell coming from the hamster’s mouth Keep very sticky or saucy foods away from the hamster, even if he tries to eat them Make sure his cage is safe, and he has nothing to cut himself on, like  sharp pieces or dried paint, or bits of plastic Hamsters rarely ever need a veterinarian, but make sure you have one on call if necessary Those are the basics, and there isn’t much you can do aside from that. Unfortunately cheek problems are not easy to treat at home, and when they do happen they’re mostly severe. All you can do is keep your hamster healthy and safe by giving him good, safe food, safe bedding and nesting material, and keeping him as stress-free as possible. Hamsters make great pets, but they are very sensitive. As such, I would only recommend them to people who have the time and patience to work with them. They’re harder to tame than cats and dogs, and can forget their owners after a while if left unchecked. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look cute with out cheeks full. But we do have cheek pouch problems, you know. We rely on you to keep us safe and healthy. If you want to know more about us hammies, and how to care for us better, then check the articles below for more details. [...] Read more...
About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other Parasites
About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other ParasitesIf you’ve got a hammy and he’s suddenly scratching too much, or keeps losing his fur, you might be wondering if he’s got a skin condition. Or if a parasite found its way onto your friend. Well, it’s very probable, and we’re going to look at what the most common symptoms are for skin/fur conditions and parasite, both external and internal. Table of Contents ToggleHamster skin/fur conditionsHamster fur becoming very sparseHamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratchesSyrian hamster has a black dot on each hipOdd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or earsMites in hamstersMites in the hamster’s furMites in the hamster’s earsWorm parasites in hamstersFungal parasites in hamstersThe first is the Aspergillus  fungusThe other fungus that can affect hamsters is the RingwormKeeping the hamster parasite-freeA word from Teddy Hamster skin/fur conditions For the most part hamsters are clean animals. Except for some terrible illness like wet-tail, their fur is very bright, fluffy, and well put together. So why is your hammy suddenly losing patches of fur ? Or having small red inflammations under its fur ? Hamster fur becoming very sparse Hammies will start losing their fur under certain conditions. One of those conditions is old age. Just like very old humans start to lose large amounts of hair, so do hamster seniors. By this I means the hamster’s fur will become sparse, you might even see some skin peeking here and there. It might be especially severe around the hammy’s hind quarters. A hamster is a senior once he gets close to his second birthday. Hamsters only live between 2 to 4 years, and will become very slow once they get old. Their body starts to shut down, and there isn’t much you can do. Aside from make life easier for them with nice food and a warmer nest. Unfortunately hair loss is part of that process. Another condition under which hamsters can start losing fur is stress. Hamsters react very, very poorly to stress. A number of health issues can come up from having the hamster too stressed. From an upset stomach, lack of appetite, bar chewing, biting himself, even hair loss. Only this type of hair loss is in patches, as opposed to thinning hair. A stressed hamster can be due to: a bullying cage mate too much handling on your part (or whomever handles the hamster) not feeling safe – curious cat or barking dog always around the hamster’s cage too much traffic around the hamster’s habitat, especially during the day when it sleeps another illness, that isn’t immediately obvious Most of the reasons I outlined above can be avoided. The hamster’s cage can be moved to a quieter, safe, calm room. A bad cage mate can be separated – either in the same cage if it’s large enough, or by getting another cage altogether for the bully. Fur loss can happen for other reasons, like a parasite, but we will cover that in the Parasite section of the article. Hamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratches Hamsters can get rashes, and the reasons are not clear. Just like in humans, a random rash can be just that – random, and not easy to figure out. Usually a rash on the hammy can be a sign of a parasite or allergy on the skin, but in the cases it is not, your veterinarian will be able to help you. Look for a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since these have the most experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. You’ll notice your hammy has a rash if he keeps scratching himself in one particular spot. It will usually be red, possibly a bit inflamed, the skin might get a bit dry and flaky and the fur will have fallen off in that are. The fur usually does come back. Your veterinarian will most probably give you a cream treatment to help your hammy with the itching. If it’s an allergy, it will usually clear up once the allergen is taken away. However figuring out which object form the cage is the cause can be difficult. Watch your hamster closely, notice where the rash is, and what he interacts with in his cage. It could be a few hours until you notice something. Syrian hamster has a black dot on each hip I put this one here because I was completely stumped as to what was wrong with my Teddy. He is a Syrian male, and one day he came out of his hideout with both hips licked flat, and two large black dots on his hips. I first thought this was some sort of tumor or huge scab I didn’t notice on him before. As it turns out, not, the dots are not dangerous. They are in fact the scent glands. Hammies lick and nibble at their scent glands every now and then, and that’s when you are able to notice them. Usually they’re invisible under all that fur. A Dwarf type hammy has hos scent gland on his belly, and it’s not colored black. Odd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or ears An odd growth on the hammy sometimes can be a tumor. It’s not a tumor every time, but it can be one sometimes. You’ll notice it’s a tumor if it’s more of a lump of skin than anything. It might become very large and fleshy, and just look out of place. If it is indeed a tumor, a vet will be able to remove it from the hamster. Not all vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small creature, but some can help. If the growth is smaller, harder, possibly even longer than it’s wide, it could be a skin tag. Or wart, depending on the name your vet gives it. These are usually harmless and do not hurt or otherwise inconvenience the hamster. But the hammy might not like them and will try to tear them off, which will make them bleed. They will come back with a vengeance and grow bigger and uglier. You can find them anywhere, but they’re usually around the nose, ears, feet, tail, rarely the eyes or mouth. Treatment is available, but your need to see a vet for this. Mites in hamsters Mites are not uncommon in pets, nor are they in humans. With your friend, there are 2 possibilities. Mites in the hamster’s fur Fur mites are invisible to the naked eye. They burrow and live inside the hammy’s fur, and feed off dead skin cells. They can produce irritations and dry, flaky, itchy skin in your hammy. They’re usually present on the hammy, but in a small amount. Only a large amount of them leads to the symptoms I just described. These can be treated at the veterinarian’s office, but never get a medication online. Or in pet shops. The problems with these medications is that the dosage is hard to get right, and you risk hurting your hamster More than helping him. Some medications even require the hamster to be fully bathed in them, which is never a good idea for a hamster. So stick to whatever your vet recommends. Mites in the hamster’s ears Ear mites are different, and these you might notice. They’re darker in color, and can be seen moving if you look closely at the hamster’s ear. They will produce red, crusty lesions on the hammy’s ears, and they might extend to the eyes, mouth, even tail. Mites are contagious, both the ear mites and the fur mites. So if you’ve got a pair of hamsters living together, separate the infected one while he gets his treatment. Worm parasites in hamsters Hamsters can get worm parasites as well, however they are not immediately noticeable. The hammy might have an itchy rear-end, or you might notice part of the worm in a few droppings. Deworming treatments are available, however they should be administered by your veterinarian. Symptoms can be dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, intestinal blockage, or possibly diarrhea. These are the extreme cases. Usually they’re not immediately obvious. Some worms can transfer from hamsters to humans, for example the worm’s eggs on the hamster’s food or droppings. For this reason a hamster with a worm parasite should be handled with gloves, and the hands thoroughly washed afterwards, as a secondary precaution. The worm eggs can spring up when the cage is in a bug-infested area, since some worms can live inside insects as well. Another possibility is an unkempt cage, which should be cleaned once per week. And finally, the eggs can also be present on hamster food, or the bedding itself. For this reason freezing the hamster’s food and bedding for a minimum of 48 hours should be done. The extreme cold will kill off the eggs and larvae. Do keep in mind that if you live in warmer, more humid climates, the eggs can hatch much faster. (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.) Fungal parasites in hamsters There are 2 main types of fungus that can affect your hamster friend. Both can be treated, however they are different in how they manifest themselves. Both are very dangerous, and are contagious. The first is the Aspergillus  fungus It will grow primarily in the hamster’s pee corner. I’m not sure if a litter box will save you form one of these infections, but it’s worth a shot. You can find out more about litter boxes and potty trained hamsters here. So the way the Aspergillus fungus works is that it grows on the wet/moist bedding in the hamster’s cage. That can either be the pee corner, or the are directly under the water bottle if there is leakage. First it will grow white, and in time it will turn black. It will end up spreading its spores all around the hamster’s cage, and you need to act quick. This can be deadly for the hamster. The hamster must be taken to the vet as soon as you see the white formation in his cage. The vet will give him the proper treatment. As for the cage itself, it will need a complete clean and disinfection from top to bottom. With the help of a disinfectant from the vet, soap, and hot water. The other fungus that can affect hamsters is the Ringworm Not a worm, per-se, but that’s the name. It’s actually a fungus. It can come about from other infected hamsters, humans, even infected bedding, and is highly contagious. You’ll notice the hammy has a Ringworm infection if there are round patches on his skin, with no fur on them. There will be a red ring (many tiny red dots) towards the edge of the ring, and the skin will be dry. Patchy, dry, possibly itchy, and the hamster will be very annoyed by it. Treatment is possible, but it take a few weeks. In this time the hamster should only be handled with gloved hands, and definitely kept away from other hamsters. As with the Aspergillus fungus, the cage must be deep-cleaned too. This means a disinfectant, hot water, soap, and possibly throwing out some objects that can’t be cleaned. Those might be the wood objects. Do talk to your vet, see if he has a way to disinfect wood safely. Keeping the hamster parasite-free The first thing you can do to keep you hamster friend parasite free is to keep the cage clean. This is not always the problem, but is the most common culprit. The cage should be cleaned once per week, possibly every two weeks if it does not develop a strong odor. This means new bedding, nesting material, and running the plastic objects under hot water. Another thing is to deep-freeze and then properly dry the hamster’s food and bedding. Often the eggs for various worms, or the spores for certain fungi are present on the food or bedding. Extreme heat or cold will kill them off. Be careful with your hamster’s water supply. Tap water is safe for hamsters, as long as it is clean. However a bottled option would be safer. Look for a bottle that says it can also be used to prepare baby food as well. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster. Many diseases are contagious, and can easily be passed from hamster to human, or vice versa. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. We hamsters are a hardy bunch, but we do get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check the related articles below for more info on how to care for us properly. [...] Read more...
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and Treatments
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and TreatmentsWe all love our pets and enjoy spending time with them, but it’s our duty to take care of them and keep them healthy. Many animals develop dermatological problems with age, shedding fur to the point where they’ve completely lost it, and hamsters are no different. It’s terrible to see your hamster lose its fur, as that’s the animal’s equivalent of humans being left without clothes on. Whenever we can, we should try to help our pet. That’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article: hamster fur loss. We’ll be taking a look at the reasons for your hamster’s fur loss and how to treat it. As these causes can vary from stress to old age, and the fur loss can appear at different places, keep in mind that there’s a lot to this topic, and you should visit a vet if this article can’t help you. Today, we’ll be covering hamster fur loss on their backs and behind their ears, and we’ll also be taking a look at flaky skin and fur loss due to old age, as well. Let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back.2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin.4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. 1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back. There are many reasons why your hamster may be losing its fur. Friction is one of the most common reasons for this. If you’ve noticed your hamster losing fur after they’ve spent a lot of time burrowing or rubbing against the cage or toys, then friction is likely the reason for them losing fur. This is actually natural for hamsters, and you shouldn’t be worried. When they’re in the wild, they spend a lot of time digging and burrowing, so this is a normal process for them. Hamsters can also develop face sores from rubbing their face against the bars of the wire cage, or by water dripping down their face when they’re drinking. If it’s the latter, then you have to buy a better water bottle. If it’s the former, it may be a sign that the cage is too small, so you should get a larger cage for your hamster (preferably not a wire one). Even though many people find hamsters running on wheels amusing, overuse can lead to the hamster losing fur on its legs. Remove the wheel until the hamster’s fur grows back. Secondly, your hamster may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies. This is, clearly, a lot more serious than simple friction, and it’s just as common. If your hamster’s diet is low in vitamin B, then that could be the reason for its fur loss. Another thing that can also have an effect on fur loss is the lack of protein. If you think that this is the problem, you’re going to have to start supplementing your hamster’s meals with certain foods. Add unsweetened cereal, cheese, cooked eggs, whole-wheat pasta, and fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure to talk to your vet, as well, and if they recommend it, you can add water-soluble vitamins to their diet. Another unfortunate cause for fur loss can be found in parasites – ticks, fleas, ringworm, and mites are all capable of affecting your pet’s hair. If you notice that your hamster’s constantly itchy and it’s scratching itself – that may be because of ectoparasites. This excessive scratching is what’s causing the fur loss, and you should definitely contact your vet for assistance. Hamsters rarely get ticks, because ticks are mostly found outdoors, and hamsters rarely venture outdoors. Most ticks lay dormant during the winter, aside from a few species, and the only way for your hamster to contract a tick is for you or someone else to bring it in the house. If your hamster has contracted a tick, they’ll be scratching that area a lot – this is because they feel the bite from the tick and it causes an itch. When we’re talking about fleas, they’re also very rare for hamsters. However, when a hamster does contract fleas, they can shed all of their furs away. It’s easy to determine whether your hamster actually has fleas since they’re visible to the naked eye. You can also see their droppings, which look like small black dots on your hamster’s skin, easily. If your hamster does have fleas, all you have to do is buy one of the products made for clearing fleas off. There are many products for all furry animals, but try to find a product specifically for hamsters. It’s much more likely that you’ll find mites on your hamster than fleas or ticks. These are invisible to the naked eye, so it’s almost impossible for you to identify them on your own. They won’t cause any problems if they’re small in numbers, but if your hamster has a weakened immune system, irregular grooming patterns, or is stressed, the mites will increase their numbers. Signs that mites are present in this situation: reddened skin, rough dry patches, and fur loss. The best way to deal with this is by taking your hamster to the vet and let them take skin samples and take a look at it under the microscope. Mites are treated with topical sprays for hamsters, so make sure to buy that and use it the way it’s instructed on the packaging. Also clean your hamster’s cage, taking everything out and disinfecting it. A ringworm infection is also possible. All animals can get ringworm, and that includes hamsters. These fungal infections will appear as a distinctive ring of hair loss with flaky, yellowed skin. You have to be careful if you’re handling a hamster with ringworm, because you’re vulnerable to it, as well. Make sure that you’re always wearing gloves, that’s the best way to deal with that. Ringworm develops in environments that are too humid, so you’re going to want to keep your hamster’s cage properly ventilated. The way to treat ringworm is to wash your hamster with a topical shampoo for ringworm. Most of these contain miconazole, povidone-iodine, or keratolytic, and either of them should do the trick. If your hamster’s hair is already long, you may want to shorten it to ensure that the shampoo gets to all areas and washes everything. Shedding is another reason for fur loss, but this isn’t a reason you should worry about. Most furry animals shed, most often during spring and fall – it is normal to see periods of thin fur at this time, and keep in mind that Syrian and Russian hamsters tend to shed more than the Chinese and Roborovski types do. Hot spots are another cause for hamsters losing fur. Hot spots are, however, pretty rare when it comes to hamsters. These spots are actually open wounds, caused by a fungal infection that causes the hamster to scratch and chew their own fur and skin. To deal with this, take your hamster to the vet. Another thing that may cause your hamster’s fur loss is allergies. Hamsters can often become allergic to substances in their cages, usually their bedding – this can cause them to develop a rash and lose some fur. Don’t use cedarwood shavings for your hamster’s bedding, this is because oils within the wood are too strong for the hamster’s sensitive skin. Another thing that may cause this is dyed paper bedding, as well as dyed food. This is easy to fix – just find better bedding and provide a better diet to your pet. There are other possible causes for your hamster’s recent fur loss, but they’re less common and it’s unlikely that either of those things is happening. However, we’ll list them just in case: your hamster may be suffering from kidney inflammations, or T-cell lymphoma – cancer that attacks the skin, hormonal imbalances may be an issue, as well. However, these causes are all very rare and you should exhaust your options with the list of the most common reasons before you even think about any of these serious things. When discussing the loss of hair specifically on a hamster’s back, you have to understand that the most likely cause for that is one of the causes we’ve already discussed. There are perhaps a few things that cause hamsters to suffer from fur loss in specific areas, but their backs can be affected by any of the things we’ve mentioned. If you’ve noticed that your hamster’s losing hair on its back – it’s most likely because of one of the things we’ve already talked about. However, another reason why your hamster may be losing fur is because of its age, as older hamsters tend to lose fur, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next section. 2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.   One of the clearest signs of your hamster starting to age is their fur looking sparse and matted. A hamster’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together – this is one of the reasons that makes them so appealing to the eye. However, once they start aging, they start losing their fur, and here’s why. The fur is mostly defined by genetics – most hamsters are born blind, and they’re also mostly born bald. Unfortunately, some hamsters end up like that in their older days, as well. Once your hamster ages (hamsters live from 2 to 4 years, depending on the species), you will probably start noticing patches of skin where fur simply doesn’t grow – this is because your hamster’s old. Even if your hamster is not balding, you may notice that their hair isn’t as soft and shiny as it was before, but it’s rather sparse. It can become matte and coarse, which is something that’s deemed odd for hamsters, who are usually shiny. The fur may also start to change color, just like with humans. Your hamster may actually start having their first grey hairs. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for aging, so you can’t exactly fix this. However, as they age, hamsters are more prone to diseases (just like humans are, as well). So, the reason for your hamster’s hair loss may not be hidden in numbers, but rather in a disease. Hamsters are also very well-groomed creatures, similar to cats (although those species aren’t exactly the best of friends in real life). They’re usually grooming themselves whenever they’re not eating, sleeping, or playing on the wheel. Their cleanliness is very important to them, as it keeps their scent to a minimum, which is a great defense against predators. So, if you’ve noticed that your hamster’s hair is less shiny and well-groomed, and is now becoming dustier and more reminiscent of a certain German scientist’s hair – it’s because your hamster’s getting old. Older hamsters can’t clean themselves as well as younger hamsters because of their many physical restrictions, they are also careless. The most effort usually goes towards cleaning the tops of their little heads and cleaning their flanks, they need to bend around like crazy to reach these spots. These spots are the first you’ll notice are becoming less groomed, because they’re usually the most well-maintained spots. The result of this is your hamster getting a bit more smelly, which is especially applicable to your hamster’s rear end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection or wet tail. This actually also refers to the cage, as the hamster will clean their cageless when they’re in their older days. Older hamsters can also lose their hair due to a lack of protein (less than 16%) or iron in their diet. As we’ve already said, there isn’t really a way for you to affect this. We all get old and you can’t stop your hamster from getting old. Help your pet during this time and ensure that their final days are happy and enjoyable. 3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin. We’ve already mentioned a few reasons for flaky skin or skin cabs when we were discussing fur loss, but let’s go into detail with them. One of the most common skin diseases that causes both fur loss and flaky skin are mites. Mites are one of the most common skin diseases in hamsters. If you’re suspecting mites, you won’t be able to identify them on your own in any way, as they’re invisible to the naked eye. You need to take your hamster to the vet. The vet will take a sample of the hamster’s skin and take a look at it under the microscope. Your vet may also brush your hamster while holding a white piece of paper to catch the mites, and then take a look at them using a magnifying glass. If your vet has diagnosed your hamster with mites, the first thing you need to do is isolate it from all other hamsters, as you don’t want them to get infected, as well. You should also wash your hamsters, and return them to their cages after washing and disinfecting the cages, as well. Mites are contagious, so your healthy hamsters are very likely to catch them if you don’t isolate the ill hamster. If multiple hamsters have already caught mites, then treat them all as prescribed. After that, you need to treat your hamster as your vet has prescribed. The most common and the most popular treatment with vets is medicated shampoo. However, hamsters don’t really like showers and baths, so they may resist and not let you apply the shampoo and wash them. The alternative to this is medicated ointment that you’ll apply to the affected area. There are different options when it comes to this: oral ivermectin, which kills parasites, is a treatment option. To apply this, place the prescribed number of drops of this solution in your hamster’s mouth. There are also anti-mite sprays available. However, they’re mostly an over-the-counter treatment, and you need to discuss this with your vet before you decide to apply it to your pet. Severe mite infestations are most often treated with a full-body dip. This dip is basically just a medicated bath containing ivermectin. Your vet will explain how to perform this, but know that your hamster could resist because they don’t really like baths. You may need to repeat this process numerous times, as many hamsters (especially older hamsters or hamsters with lower immunity) need to be treated for mites more than once. Make sure that you discuss this with your vet before you repeat the process. We’ve already mentioned that it’s important to clean your hamster’s cage before you put them back in. When doing this, wash all of the accessories in the cage; all the toys, water bottles, food bowls, etc. – do this with hot, soapy water. Use a hamster-safe cage disinfectant, as some other disinfectants may harm the pet. Make sure that everything has dried before you put it all back. Another disease that may cause skin scabs is ringworm infection. We’ve already discussed this and said that humans can catch ringworm, as well, so make sure that you’re always wearing gloves when dealing with this. To treat this, you’ll first need to visit the vet, as they need to diagnose the ringworm for you to treat it. You should suspect a ringworm infection is at play if you notice patches of hair loss where the skin looks crusty, flaky, and red. Your vet will take a look at this and take a look at the fur with a microscope – the affected area looks like rings. It’s especially possible if your hamster is older, as older animals have a weaker immunity. To treat this, follow your vet’s treatment instructions. Firstly, always wear gloves and make sure you’re not making any contact with your hamster or its cage without wearing gloves – humans can also catch ringworms. One option of treatment is medicated shampoo, containing either povidone-iodine (antibacterial) or antifungal medication. You should cut your hamster’s hair before you go through with the treatment, as it’s very important that they’re completely cleaned. This way, the shampooing will be very effective. Once again, just like with mites, isolate this hamster from other hamsters and place it in a separated cage (and make sure that all cages are properly cleaned). Another treatment option is topical treatment with griseofulvin, an antifungal medication. This is an ointment, so if your vet prescribes this, they’ll shave the affected area and you’ll have to apply the ointment. Know that treatment for ringworm usually lasts between 18 and 21 days, so this isn’t going to be finished very soon. Make sure that you’re keeping your hamster’s cage ventilated, as it can become damp inside if you don’t. Damp areas are ideal for fungal growth and they’re an increased risk for all kinds of infections, including ringworm. Wire cages usually have great ventilation, so you should consider buying one if you don’t already own one. Lastly, the most common reason for your hamster’s skin scabs are actually wounds. We’re not talking about wounds caused by diseases or infections, but by your hamster fighting (female hamsters are more likely to bite than male hamsters because they’re more territorial) with its cage mate or getting scratched by sharp bedding. This wound can become infected and it can cause a pocket of infection to form and leak abscess. Your vet will take a sample of the abscess and will have to surgically remove it and close the wound. After that, you’ll have to apply an ointment on the wounded area for some time. During this time, until your hamster’s wound has completely healed, you’ll need to remove the cause of the wound. This means that you have to isolate that hamster from all the other hamsters, as a fight or biting could reopen the wound and cause even more damage. If the wound was caused by sharp bedding, replace the bedding with something soft. Here are some other, more simple reasons for your hamster’s flaky skin: – if you have an older hamster, their skin is naturally weaker and their scabs may be caused by them scratching their belly on their bedding or any other hard surface. Your hamster’s skin will become sensitive when it gets old, so it doesn’t matter if this bedding didn’t cause any problems before. – you could notice your hamster’s scent gland having sores, this is usually caused by excessive grooming and licking. 4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. If your hamster’s getting older, then it’s completely normal for them to lose fur anywhere, including right behind the ears. If this is the case (you should primarily gauge that by its age), you won’t really be able to do anything about that. However, this doesn’t have to be the only reason. If you’ve also noticed redness or swelling around that same area, it may be because your hamster’s scratching itself too much. This can be caused by a number of reasons – firstly, just like humans, animals sometimes have to scratch themselves for no good reason. Secondly, it may be mites or fleas – this will cause the hamster to scratch themselves to the point of losing fur. You can cancel this out if you’ve recently cleaned their cage and they’ve only started scratching themselves recently – this means that the cause is most likely not mites or fleas. Thirdly, your hamster may be having an allergic reaction to something. Take a look at their diet and see if anything has changed. Maybe you’ve got a new pet? A dog or a cat and they’re having a reaction to them. Also, although it’s rare amongst animals, it may be psychosomatic. Maybe your hamster is under a lot of stress for some reason and that’s causing them to scratch their fur out. If you can’t find a reason for this article, we’d suggest visiting your local vet and let them find out what’s going on. Hamsters are without a doubt some of the most popular pets in the world. If you have a hamster and you’ve recently noticed that it’s started to lose fur, it’s most likely because of old age. However, if your hamster is not that old and that shouldn’t be happening, then it can be a number of reasons, ranging from dietary restrictions to infections. Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage regularly, even if they’re not having problems with their fur at the moment, as that’s the best way for you to ensure that they don’t start suffering from any issues in the future. If you’re having any further trouble, make sure to call your vet. [...] Read more...
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?Being a responsible hamster parent means being able to know how to properly take care of your hamster in both good and bad situations. When it comes to bad situations the hamster can easily suffer from several illnesses and health conditions. This includes conditions that their eyes may suffer. So, are your hamster’s eyes closed and, if yes, what is causing their eyes to be closed? Closed hamster eyes are also called sticky eyes, which is a common problem in most hamsters. This happens when the hamster secretes fluids from its eyes whenever it is sleeping so that the eyes stay moist. However, the fluid may end up drying up and hardening around the eyes of the hamster preventing it from opening them.  Sticky eye is a really common problem that hamsters often go through because it is simply one of the inconveniences that come with one of their natural bodily functions. But, even though it might only be an inconvenience, the sticky eye may still make life a lot more difficult for your hamster because it won’t be able to see. That is why you should know more about sticky eye so that you would be able to help your pet the next time it suffers from this condition. Table of Contents ToggleWhat causes a sticky eye in hamsters?How to treat sticky eye in hamsters?1. Hold the hamster gently2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner5. Preventing sticky eyeCan sticky eye kill a hamster? What causes a sticky eye in hamsters? At a lot of points in your life, you may have yawned whenever you were so sleepy and your eyes began releasing fluids that will eventually dry up around your eyes and harden. This is also common early in the morning upon waking up when the fluids that your eyes released while you were sleeping had dried up to form some sort of sand-like sediments around your eyes. Hence, that is where the sandman concept comes from. While you may have experienced this as a human, animals also go through a similar experience as well. Yes, this includes your pet hamsters and a lot of other animals as the sandman of the animal world also tends to visit them while they are sleeping. However, the difference here when it comes to you and your hamster is that it can be a bit more serious when it comes to your pocket-sized pet. When a hamster is sleeping, its eyes need to secrete a fluid that is meant to keep their eyes moist because dry eyes can eventually lead to serious health conditions. But the fluids secreted by their eyes will eventually dry up and harden around the eyes. When that happens, the dried-up fluid can actually shut the hamster’s eyes close like glue. Sticky eye is much more common in hamsters that are a bit older because of how they need their eyes to secrete more fluid. However, even younger hamsters may also end up suffering from this condition as well. Sticky eye normally doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age even though it is more common in older hamsters. As such, it is one of the most common problems that hamsters face on a regular basis. Still, if you notice that your hamster is suffering from eyes that have been shut closed, you shouldn’t conclude right away that it is suffering from sticky eye because there are still some other possible causes for its condition. This includes foreign objects such as dust that may have entered the hamster’s eye. Pink eye is also one of the more common reasons for a hamster to shut its eyes closed as those swollen eyes together with the regular discharge coming from its eyes will naturally force the hamster’s eyes to close. How to treat sticky eye in hamsters? The good news for you is that the normal sticky eye that hamsters suffer from on a regular basis don’t require immediate attention from a veterinarian. In fact, most sticky eye cases can be remedied at home even if you are not an expert in handling hamsters. All you have to do is to follow these simple steps: 1. Hold the hamster gently Get your hamster and hold it as gently as possible so that you won’t end up harming it. However, make sure that you are still applying a bit of pressure so that the hamster won’t end up slipping away from your hand and run away. You need to make sure that you are holding it firmly so that the little fella won’t be able to escape from you but, at the same time, won’t feel like you are hurting it. 2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water Find a cotton swab or a Q tip in your home and wet it with lukewarm water. If you don’t have a Q tip in your household, you may use a washcloth but you should make sure that you are using a clean washcloth and that it should also be wet with lukewarm water. The Q tip or the washcloth will serve as your main cleaning tool for treating your hamster’s sticky eye. 3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye At this point, you may be asking why can’t we just pull the hamster’s eyelids open or try to scratch the crusted substances off the eyes of the hamster. Well, the reason why we aren’t doing that is that the substance has become similar to glue in the sense that forcing the eyelids apart can possibly damage the hamster’s eyes. As such, what we need to do here is to use the Q tip or the washcloth to gently wipe away the crusted substances. The moisture from the wet Q tip or cloth will soften the dried up substance to make it easier for you to wipe it off the eyes of your hamster. Gently break the substance down until it is easier and easier for you to wipe it away. In some cases, holding the Q tip or washcloth on the eyes of your hamster may already be enough for the substance to soften up to the point that the hamster will be able to open its eyes again. However, if the hamster doesn’t open its eyes even after a few minutes, you have to wipe the substance off of its eyes using a gentle brushing stroke that won’t hurt the little fella. 4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner If the hamster doesn’t open its eye by itself after you have washed away the dried up fluids around its eyelids, you may have to open its eyes yourself. Trust us when we say that some hamsters are too afraid to open their eyes thinking that the dried-up substance is still there. In such a case, what you need to do is to gently pull the eyelids apart using your fingers. However, if you are finding it difficult to do this or if the hamster is resisting, stop right there. Go get another Q tip or washcloth and repeat the same process over and over again because there might be some stubborn dried up fluids that you probably missed the first time around. Repeat the same steps until it becomes easier for you to open the hamster’s eyelids using your fingers or until the hamster itself will be willing enough to open his eyes by itself. 5. Preventing sticky eye After you have treated the hamster’s sticky eye, the best way for you to prevent it from happening again is to make sure that you regularly wash around its eyes. This allows you to prevent the buildup of any dried up fluid.  However, if the problem still persists or if your hamster is quite prone to this condition, you may have to bring it to a vet so that your hamster can get checked for any other possible reason why it is getting sticky eyes more often than most other hamsters. Can sticky eye kill a hamster? Another good news about hamster sticky eye is that it is not fatal or even very harmful to the hamster on a regular basis. In most cases, sticky eye is an inconvenience that will prevent your hamster from being able to see because it can’t even open its eyes. However, this can be a precursor to other more serious problems such as when your hamster can’t eat or drink water because it can’t even see. In some cases, your hamster may even find itself bumping into objects due to their impaired eyesight. That is why you have to make sure that you treat sticky eye as soon as possible even though it generally isn’t very harmful much less fatal. [...] Read more...