Do Hamsters Smell Bad ? Here’s How To Make Sure They Don’t

A smelly hamster is no fun. But do they exist ? Do hamsters smell ? If they do, how do you take care of that ? I know I had these questions when I first got my Teddy. I found outthrough trial and error what to do when there is a funky smell coming from your hammy’s cage. But let’s talk about whether hamsters do or do not smell first.

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So do hamsters smell ?

No – hamsters themselves, the animals, do not smell. They don’t develop a stink that clings to their bodies.

But their environment can get a bit smelly, in some cases. That’s what some people might confuse with the hamster itself being smelly.

For example I’ve had my Teddy since August 2017. At the time of writing this he is nearly a year and a half old. In this time I’ve handled him often, and he’s never smelled bad. Or had any particular smell to him at all.

I’ve spoken to other hamster owners, and their pets don’t smell either.

But Teddy’s cage can sometimes get smelly, under certain circumstances. He is an adult Syrian hamster, but this applies across all hamster breeds.

Hamsters are very clean animals

In fact, hamsters clean themselves about as often and thorough as house cats. Half the time when you see a cat it’s cleaning itself, like it just came from the dirtiest place ever and needs a nice long shower.

That’s how meticulous hamsters are with their cleaning routine too. If you pick him up, you’ll see he starts cleaning himself almost immediately after you put him back down.

This is a habit and instinct that they’ve had since forever. In the wild hamsters are prey, and are hunted by basically every animal. Some of them fly, some crawl, some slither, and some run. But they will all look for the hammy’s smell.

So, the hamster will obsessively clean himself at every turn, to make sure he has as little scent as possible. This way his predators  won’t find him as easily.

A hamster’s hideout will have his scent

While the hamster’s hideout will have his scent, it will not get smelly under normal circumstances. Hamsters actually pee outside their hideouts, so their predators will have a harder time finding them.

They also have a very sensitive nose, hamsters, so that’s another reason they avoid using their nests as bathrooms.

If you observe your hamster, you’ll notice he always picks a particular spot to use as his bathroom. Always the furthest from where you placed his hideout.

If anything, the hamster’s pee corner will be what gets smelly. The poo doesn’t smell, since it’s dry droppings, and his food doesn’t smell either.

Hamster are very clean little things, and watching them clean themselves is always cute. But as I said above, his cage can get a bit smelly sometimes. There are a few reasons for that, let’s talk about that.

Why the hamster’s cage can get smelly – and what to do about it

A hamster’s cage is where he will live his entire life. So of course he will eat, poo, sleep, run in this cage and these can all leave a mark, or scent. So here are the main reasons your hamster’s cage might get smelly.

The hamster’s pee corner is the main culprit

This is what smells most often, and what will stand out easily. You can find that corner by noticing your hamster when he wakes up to use that corner. Or, you can look for any recently wet or moist corners.

It’s usually easy to find, so you won’t have much trouble seeing or smelling it. If you’re not sure which corner it is, or your hamsters uses more than 1 corner, that’s fine. Just change the bedding in every corner if you want to be extra sure.

Hamsters do poo in their hideouts, you’ve probably seen this on the cleaning days. But they rarely ever pee there. I’ve never found pee stains on the nesting in my Teddy’s hideout, but I have heard of rare cases when this happened.

So, make sure you change the bedding in the corners more often than the whole bedding. If you change the entire bedding once per week that’s fine. The corners might need changing every 2-3 days though, depending on your hamster and how sensitive your smell is.

A litter box for your hamster

It might sound like you have a cat now. The hamster cleans himself regularly and now needs a litter box. But hamsters do use a litter box, if you give them one.

You can use the bottom half of a hideout, this one actually should be plastic for ease of cleaning. Then, place mineral sand in that halved hideout. Tadaa, litter box !

As long as you place it in the corner your hamster usually uses for peeing, everything will be fine. The hamster might kick some of it up and take a sandbath as well. But that’s okay, if you want you can place another sandbox for him for this reason.

If you’re not crazy about the litter box idea, you can just change the bedding in the corners every 2-3 days. If you want to know which kind of bedding is safe for hamsters, and which bedding to never get, read this list here. You’ll find out about the bedding and nesting materials your hamster will need, and how to clean them properly.

Your hamster might be sick

Sometimes this happens to hamsters, like wet tail for example. Wet tail is an illness more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarfs. It’s basically brought on by stress, and one of the most noticeable signs is a very very runny stool.

This can be treated, but you need to call your vet as soon as you spot this. It’s not difficult to treat,but you need a vet and immediate attention.

Now, when or if your hamster gets wet tail, the stool will be a bit smelly, and will wet the bedding as well. Wet bedding doesn’t smell great either, even if it’s just with water.

Or, maybe your hamster has a different type of illness that can make his urine smell particularly bad. Like an infection for example. Again, contact your vet as soon as you notice this.

If your hamster seems to be moving very slowly, always has his ears folded, is more hunched than usual, and sleeps a lot, call your veterinarian.

The hamster might have some food hidden in his hideout

Some foods can get very smelly if left out for too long. The clearest example I have is when I gave Teddy some cabbage.

Well, I gave him a whole leaf, just to see how he’d react to a food 15 times larger than him. He was a funny sight, nipping at the cabbage from left to right like a typing machine. I took it out after a few minutes, since he didn’t need a whole entire leaf.

But he did take a few pieces which he didn’t eat straight away. Some of them he hid in his hideout, and I only noticed the next day. There was a weird, sulphury smell around his cage. I put Teddy in his exercise ball, and looked inside his hideout. He had some cabbage pieces, and they stank. Oh boy.

So, if you give your hammy a kind of food  that can get smelly fast, give him very small amounts, and not often. This applies for vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus. They’re all related, and all get smelly.

Cheese of any kind, even tofu, should be give in very small pieces that you’re sure the hamster will eat quickly. Boiled egg white is in this category as well.

If you do find some food that’s very smelly in your hamster’s cage or hideout, remove it, and change the nesting material as well.

Hamsters have their seasons as well

By this I mean that hamsters have periods when their cage can get much smellier than usual. I’ve noticed this with my Teddy.

I could never track it to a specific season – like winter or summer, or rainy or very dry, or something else. But it happened about twice a year.

He’d have these periods when his cage would smell much more, and I’d have to change the bedding in his corners almost every day.

I chalked that up to him just being a male, and maybe marking his territory more aggressively. As to why exactly, I’m not sure since males do not go into heat the same way females do.

The period for Teddy goes away after a couple of weeks, and he never looked ill or lethargic, or out of place. Just a stinky cage, is all.

Female hamsters can get a bit smelly

As I’ve noticed from other hamster owners, the females can get a bit stinky in their mating periods. Females go into heat every few days.

Females can actually breed immediately after giving birth, so their mating periods are short but much more often than other animals. Every 4 days to be exact.

So, a female hamster might get a bit smelly when she’s in heat, to attract any male around her. However if you’re not planning on breeding your female hamster, this won’t have too much of a point for you as an owner.

A female going into heat is normal, and healthy. It can get a bit smelly, but again, changing the bedding more often will help with this.

(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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How to clean a hamster cage properly

This depends a bit on what kind of cage you have for your hamster. But keeping a clean cage for your hamster will keep it non-smelly as long as possible.

If you want to know what kind and size cage your hamster needs, check out this article. You’ll get a rundown of the most common cage types, and the pros and cons of all 3, including a care and maintenance guide for those cages.

Place the hamster in a temporary holding place

This can be an exercise ball, a transport cage, or anything else that can safely keep your hamster and allows him air to breathe.

Pick up your hamster and place him directly where he needs to be, like the ball or transport cage. Always use a scooping and cupping method, and do not come from behind him.

If the hamster is not easy to pick up, or very difficult to handle, bait him with a treat. Place the treat inside the transport cage or exercise ball, then close it once he’s in.

Remove the toys and hideout

Take everything out of the hamster’s cage. If they need cleaning, do so with a warm moist cloth, or hot water and a very small amount of soap, and leave out to dry very well.

Food bowls and water bottles need cleaning more often than the wheel or  hideout.

Take out all the bedding and nesting material

Keep just a bit of it, to make things more familiar for your hamster. If he’s been sick, skip this step.

Once all the bedding is removed you should be left with an empty cage or glass tank. Those can be wiped down and/or washed with hot water and a very small amount of soap.

In the pee corner you might see some very dry white substances. That’s just the work of the acidity of the urine, combined with the bedding and some dust from the bedding. It can be scrubbed off, but only if you allow it enough time to soak.

Use something very coarse like a metal brush will help. But unless you do this regularly every week, that corner will become white forever. This is why I recommend the litter box, since it’s easier to clean this way.

Speaking of, if you’re using a litter box, you will find some dried compacted sand, mixed with the hamster’s urine. Clean everything off with hot water, and use a toothpick or the metal brush to scrub and pick away at it.

Once you’re done cleaning and washing everything, make sure you dry everything completely. Use a hair dryer if you have to. Excess moisture can make the new bedding smelly, and even build up some moldy spots.

Place fresh, clean bedding and nesting material

Give your hamster 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm of bedding and 2-3 torn up paper towels to use as nesting material. Place the toys and hideout back into his cage, and let the hamster back in.

If you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster friend, you can check out this very thorough article on exactly that.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found your answers here, and know that us hamsters aren’t smelly. We’re actually very clean and like to take very long ‘showers’.

If your hammy’s cage is smelly, you can fix that with what you read from my owner. But if you want to know more about us hamsters, make sure to check the articles below ! You’ll find stuff like why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you.

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Why Do Hamsters Pee In Their Wheel? 4 Main Reasons
Why Do Hamsters Pee In Their Wheel? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters peeing in their wheel is annoying for the owners since you have to clean the wheel more often, but is this a real problem for your hamster, or is it just a mild inconvenience for you? Hamsters do pee in their wheel, not all of them do this, but I have a hamster that has been doing this for quite a while. It stopped lately, so this behavior can change. The other two hamsters I had haven’t done this at all so I don’t know how often this happens, but I saw some people complaining about this little problem. In this article, I want to discuss all the reasons for this weird behavior, what you can do, and when and how to clean its wheel in this situation. Table of Contents ToggleWhy Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel?1. Marking their territory2. Fear3. Preferred spot4. Busy runningWhat about hamsters’ poop in their wheel?Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel?Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter?How to clean a hamster wheel?What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel?Conclusion Why Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel? Here are the main five reasons why your hamster is peeing in the wheel: 1. Marking their territory This reason is the most frequent one, hamsters tend to mark their territory using their scent, they have a scent gland that is used for this, but they also can pee to mark the territory as a dog will do. You can see the glands on a Syrian hamster on their sides, which is a small spot(usually hairless) I know this because I was afraid that my hamster had a problem the first time I saw this. Dwarf hamsters have their scent gland on their belly, so it’s not as visible. So if you are not seeing your hamster actually peeing on its wheel, it might only be the secretion from its scent gland, which is yellowish and greasy. This might happen, especially if you clean their wheel too often, since it will lose the odor they use to mark their territory. We will discuss later how often you should clean a hamster’s wheel in this situation. 2. Fear Hamsters are prey animals in the wild, and they are easily scared, so they will have these instincts even if they are pets. They can pee when they are scared, and when they are running, they might suddenly be scared for no reason. Or when they run too fast, and go head over heels in their wheel, that might be a moment when they release urine. It might also be a sound or a movement they feel around them while they are running. 3. Preferred spot All my hamsters had a preferred spot where they would pee, those might be 2 or 3 spots, but they don’t pee randomly all over the cage. If your hamster decides that the wheel is the perfect spot, you can’t change that too easily since it appears that they don’t have a very good reason for choosing the spots other than the fact that they feel comfortable there. I had a hamster that used a plastic tunnel as a preferred pee spot, I had to remove that tunnel in the time since the tunnel was going outside the cage, and his pee got on the furniture multiple times.  From a safety point of view, the tunnel wasn’t the safest if you think about it since it was outside his cage, but I guess the closed space made him feel safe and comfortable there. 4. Busy running Hamsters are not as aware as humans of what they are doing, they don’t consider the wheel as a treadmill used for cardio exercises. They are running to get somewhere else, but surprise, surprise, they are not getting too far away. When you think about this, peeing in the wheel is for your hamster, like a quick stop to pee at a gas station for you when you are on a road trip. So, it is not like peeing on the treadmill when exercising. What about hamsters’ poop in their wheel? Hamster pooping in their wheel is more common than hamsters peeing in their wheel. Hamsters don’t have a preferred spot for pooping as they have for peeing, so they can randomly poop all over the cage, including their wheel. It might also be the fact that they are scared or frightened, as many other animals, hamsters tend to poop when they are scared, so this might be the same as we talked about above about peeing when they are scared. The difference is that a hamster poops more often when scared rather than peeing. So you should not worry too much about hamster poop that you find in the wheel. They might also spit it there, yes you heard me right. I have an entire article about why hamsters eat their own poop, and in that article, I touched a bit on why hamster spit (fling) their poop outside the cage, but it can also be inside the cage or in their wheel. Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel? You can try a few things to make your hamster stop peeing in their wheel. But they are just that, things that you can try, no one can guarantee success since hamsters have different personalities and behaviors. The first thing you can do is to remove the wheel for a few days, this might be a bit difficult for your hamster since it will get your hamster agitated without a place to exercise, but it will force it to find another place to pee. Then you can place the clean wheel back and hope for the best. Also, you can attempt to potty train a hamster. Keep in mind that the videos and articles you can find suggest that this is easy, but it can be quite difficult if you have a stubborn hamster. I will not get into all the details here, but check out this article to make sure you follow the right steps when potty training your hamster. Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter? A sand bath is not the same thing as a litter box, hamsters use sand baths for cleaning themselves, while a litter box should be used for the hamster to pee and poop in. So you should not add sand in the litter box but rather bedding and other materials that will absorb the pee. However, as with other animals, they might not think as you do and use their sand baths as litter and not for cleaning themselves, which can be annoying, but it is what it is, and you can’t change that easily. Here is an article I wrote about proper grooming and the importance of sand baths for hamsters. How to clean a hamster wheel? In order to clean a hamster wheel, you have to get it out of the cage and clean it thoroughly with hot water and a bit of soap, just a bit, don’t use much soap since the hamsters are very sensitive to strong smells. Also, make sure you rinse and dry the wheel very well before putting it back into the hamster cage. A hamster wheel can be cleaned when you clean the entire cage or even less often than that if the hamster is not peeing in the wheel. But if your hamster is peeing in the wheel or you find a greasy yellow secretion from its scent glands all over the wheel, you might have to clean it more often. Even in this case it is important to not clean the wheel way too often, so let’s say once a month is enough, because if you clean it once a week or so, you only encourage your hamster to mark it back when you add the clean wheel to the cage again. I know it can be weird to leave the wheel as it is in the cage but this is the better option, otherwise, you will stress your hamster more than necessary, and the end result will be the same. What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel? You might be tempted to buy a metal wheel, but is usually not the best idea, especially if it’s a metal wheel with a lot of space between bars it can be dangerous for your hamster. I had a metal wheel, but it almost had no space between the bars and the bars were in very small x shapes, so not straight bars, which is a bit safer for the hamster. But I’ve also changed that wheel with a plastic one that is much safer and bigger. I’ve had the metal one since the first cage I had for my hamster wasn’t tall enough for the big plastic wheel I have now. Here is a good plastic wheel you can find one amazon:   An important thing when you buy a wheel is to be silent and this one has silent in the name but also, people that bought it are pretty happy with what they’ve got. Unfortunately, it is not available in my country, so I couldn’t get it, but I saw many people recommending this wheel on forums and in communities after they bought it. Conclusion So marking territory, fear, preferred spot, and busy running are the main four reasons a hamster can pee in the wheel. When we talk about poo in the wheel, being scared is the main reason, but it is also the fact that they don’t care where they poo. I hope this article helped you know what to do when your hamster is peeing in the wheel and also realize that it might not be such a big problem. You can try the tips I give you above to make your hamster stop peeing in the wheel, but they are not guaranteed to work. [...] Read more...
5 Reasons Hamsters Chew On Cage Bars – And How To Stop Them
5 Reasons Hamsters Chew On Cage Bars – And How To Stop ThemIs your hamster chewing on his cage bars ? So does mine from time to time, and I know it’s awful to hear, and bad for his teeth. I’ll tel you what I know about how to stop your hammy from chewing the cage bars, and how to prevent it. Keep in mind that some hamsters simply have this habit, and will have their teeth on the bars (or anything else) often, just because. I’ll tell you what to do in those cases too. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters chew on the cage bars ?About rodents and chewing in generalGet your hamster a larger cageA hamster’s teeth are always growingAnxiety/stress is a common issue with hamstersYour hamster needs your attention, or is curious about somethingSome hamsters develop a habit of chewing on the cage barsWhat you can do about the hamster chewingChew toys for the hammyDistract the hamsterExercise the hamsterPlay with the hamsterWhat to do if your hamster just can’t stop chewing on the barsMove the hamster to a glass tankMove the hamster’s cage to a different roomIs a hamster a good choice for a pet ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters chew on the cage bars ? Hamsters are rodents, so they will chew on everything by default. Still here’s a short, clear list of the main reasons your hamster is chewing on his cage bars: Small cage – this is often a big problem, since many hamsters are kept in tiny cages. 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About rodents and chewing in general All rodents – hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, and so on – have an innate need to chew. Their teeth never stop growing. If they don’t keep an eye on the growth, it can be deadly. So, rodents need to constantly chew and nibble on something. This is normal for them, and is a very good habit to have in order to file down their teeth. But what about pet rodents ? Well, your hamster doesn’t know the sound of his chewing is awful to you. And still, his teeth are always growing and always need to be filed down. Another thing about rodents, they like to try everything out with their teeth as well. Just like baby humans will put random objects in their mouth to ‘learn’ them, rodents will try out things too. It’s just that they’ll never grow out of that phase. So be prepared for this happening again and again. However you can do a few things to lower the chances of your hamster chewing on the bars. Let’s get to those right now. Get your hamster a larger cage One of the reasons, maybe half the time, is that hamsters are kept in way too small cages. The hamsters end up feeling cramped and grumpy. It varies from hamster to hamster type, but the absolute minimum is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is for an adult Syrian hamster, but I’d recommend it to be the minimum for a Dwarf type as well. Hamsters need a lot of space, they run around a lot, they sprint at the drop of a feather, and will burrow often. That requires more space than you’d think at first. The small, square cages you can pick up at the pet shop – the ones that are most commonly sold when you get your hammy – are way too small. You can find a good guide on hamster cages here. Always go for a bigger cage, with lots of floor space. Hamsters need that space and will become jittery and irritable if they don’t have where and how to run around. Especially if you’re keeping two hamsters in a cage, this is crucial. They need to be able to hide from each other, run away, and have large spaces for themselves if they need to. Otherwise they’ll end up chewing the bars, in an attempt to get away, or escape, or just let out that anxiety and stress. A hamster’s teeth are always growing This is what the problem is most of the time. Hamsters are rodents, so their teeth will always grow. So, they will always need to file them down. There is not much you can do about this, other than giving the hamster chew toys. You’ll find a lot more info on that in the rest of the article. Your hammy will always try to put its teeth on everything. Sometimes to chew, sometimes to try them out. But there are moments when they chewing will happen often. This is when their teeth get sort of growth spurts, and the hammies will feel the instinctive need to chew on something. The best thing to do for a rodent, especially one that you’ve noticed is a big chewer, is to keep it in a large glass tank. There’s nothing to chew there, except for the toys. Anxiety/stress is a common issue with hamsters A hamster is used to hiding and being on alert all day, every day. That means that it’s prone to stress, an stress related illnesses. That also means that they will often need a way to release their stress. Most of the time, the hamster will end up chewing on the hardest surface he can find – the cage bars. He will still use his chew toys, but the hard surface of the cage bars will still be interesting. A few reasons hamsters can develop anxiety and stress can be: being scared too often – they’re very easy to startle being bullied by their cage mate – common problem new home – baby hamsters can sometimes adapt very slowly to their new homes poor housing  – small cage, improper bedding, not enough food, no exercise, could be many things What you can do is to try and make life easier for your hamster. So if your hammy is scared often – by a sudden noise, or the dog looking at them, you need to read this article. Do keep in mind that hamsters scare easily, so some things just can’t be helped. If your hammy is bullied by his cage mate, then you need to separate the two. This is a problem that can come up seemingly out of nowhere, even for hamsters that looked like they were getting along. Always keep an eye on them if you’ve got a pair, Your hamster needs your attention, or is curious about something Hamsters are incredibly curious, and will want to check out everything. Even if they’re scared, they will still try to investigate that sound. Most of the time they investigate or hear things out because they’re listening for predators. But a pet hamster will have the bravery to walk up to the cage bars and try to see and hear and smell why that bag is making those sounds. He will sometimes ask for your attention, even if you’re doing something else and didn’t notice he woke up. In these cases it’s best to give the hamster a bit of attention, but be careful. If you hear chattering teeth, and you see him very aggitated and jumpy, do not touch him directly. A hamster with chattering teeth is not a playful one. He is curious, but has a burst of energy that makes him hard to handle, and prone to biting. Best to play indirectly with him. Like a bit of paper towel through the bars, and a piece of cardboard in his cage, like you would play with a cat. Some hamsters develop a habit of chewing on the cage bars Unfortunately this is a habit very hard to kick. Mostly because it’s sort of addictive for hammies. They love the sound and feel of their teeth on the bars, as much as it might make your cringe. So getting your hamster to let go of something he loves will be incredibly difficult. The best option for this is to remove the bars completely. That means again, putting the hammy in a glass tank. For hamsters that developed a habit of chewing the bars, no matter how large their cage will be, they will find the corners and chew on them. A few things other people have tried – blowing on the hamster, using a paper towel on his nose, or even citrus oil on the bars – do not work. They’re only temporary reliefs, only for a few minutes. The hamster will start chewing again, this time with a vengeance. And in some cases, if you’ve got two hamsters in the same cage, they can copy each other. If one of them starts to chew on the bars, then the other will probably follow suit. If that’s the case, you will probably need to separate them. or move them both in a glass tank. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do. But you need to try everything else before moving him to a glass tank. What you can do about the hamster chewing Here’s a few things you can actually do about your hammy chewing on the cage bars. They will work, some temporary, some permanently, depending on your hamster, and the reason he is chewing. My Teddy still chews the bars every now and then, for a couple of minutes. I usually distract him, and move him to a different room at night anyway, so I do no hear him when I sleep. Chew toys for the hammy You can help your hamster by getting or making him some chew toys, and leaving them randomly around his cage. This means that your hamster will have plenty more opportunities to chew on solid things inside his cage. Often, your hammy will need something wood-based to chew on. The cage bars are too hard for your hamster’s teeth, even if he likes chewing on them. So you’ll need to provide him with some chew toys. You can find a whole article dedicated to hamster toys here, and you’ll get store-bought and DYI ideas as well. Mineral chews are actually not that useful for your hamster. They’re marketed as a chewing aid, and are supposed to bring more mineral content to your hamster’s diet. But the truth is, hamsters don’t need more minerals if they’ve got a good diet already. A pre-made food mix will take care of that. Distract the hamster You can distract the hamster, and this will work most of the time. As in, after you stop paying attention to the hamster it will probably not chew the bars for a few hours, or at least enough time for you to fall asleep. Exercise the hamster Exercising your hammy is probably the best way to get him to distract him. You can do this two ways. First, you can use his exercise wheel. If it’s a wheel he can see through, like a wire mesh one, you can use a bit of paper towel to guide your hamster through his cage, into the wheel. Then, your hamster will try to get to the paper towel or your hand. But if you place it directly in front of him while he is in the wheel, the hamster will end up running trying to get to you. You can do this several times a day, or whenever your hammy seems restless. Do let him get to the paper towel every now and then, to keep things interesting. Second, you can exercise the hamster by putting him in his exercise ball – you can find out more about that here. Once he’s in the exercise ball, let him roam the house as much as he likes, but make sure you don’t go over 30 minutes per session. Your hammy will need some water, and some food, and he can’t find those in the exercise ball. Also make sure that your hammy can’t fall down any stairs, or your other pets will not reach it. A barking, curious dog, or a playful cat will scare the hamster, and will only distress him more. Be warned though, exercise balls can be loud on their own. The hamster will bang it against the furniture, walls, the corner of your coffee table, the door, anything. So you can either proof an area to let your hamster run around, or make peace with the noise. To proof the area, you will just need to cover the surfaces the ball can hit with some textile, like a blanket or towel, to absorb noise. Or, in the case of odd corners, you can just put a slipper in the way and the hammy will not be able to reach that corner. Play with the hamster You can also play with your hamster to distract it. But again, if his teeth are chattering and he has a sort of odd look about him, best to not touch him directly. Give him a puzzle toy – you can find an example here – or use a bit of cardboard to guide him through an obstacle course in his cage. Or, you can pick him up if he seems fairly calm. Let the hamster run over your hands, talk to him, pet him, as you would normally. But if he seems like he’s about to jump out of your hands, make sure you’re every close to his cage. (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 to do if your hamster just can’t stop chewing on the bars Sometimes, there’s not much you can do. If you’ve tried every little thing you can think of, and every other alternative you’ve found in this article so far, and your hamster is still chewing, then it’s time to do something else. Move the hamster to a glass tank Your hamster will not have anything to chew, if he’s in a glass tank. The glass gives him nothing to hold onto, just plain, smooth, straight glass he can’t do anything with. In this case you will need to give your hamster ample wood-based toys to play with. He will chew on every little thing he can get his paws on. The hideout, the toys, the food bowl, in some cases even the water bottle. So, make sure the glass tank is large enough to fit your hamster, or your hamsters if you’ve got more than one. And you can check out this article for bedding and hideout ideas made of wood. You’ll find lots of toys ideas here, and depending on the kind of wheel you had before, it might need changing. You can find more info on the exercise wheel on here. As for where to find an actual glass tank, you can check this Amazon link for an example. It’s the minimum space requirement for a single hamster, and you can look at the reviews as well. Honestly, I recommend getting a glass tank from a pet shop, or somewhere you can actually go and see the tank for yourself. That way the transport can be arranged by you, and you’re in control of whether the glass breaks on the trip home or not. As you know, glass is difficult to safely transport, so it’s best if you’re involved as well. Still, you can check the link above to at least see what glass tanks have to offer, and the price range they’d be about. Move the hamster’s cage to a different room This is a last resort. If you do not want, or can’t afford or fit a large enough glass tank for your hamster, then this is your other option. Glass tanks can’t be moved about as easily as a cage. But a cage can be moved temporarily or permanently to a separate room. If your hamster keeps chewing the bars and he just won’t stop, no matter what, moving him to a different room will at least let you have your peace. There are a few things to keep in mind though, before you move the hamster.The temperature of the room you move the hamster to needs to be constant. Hamsters need a range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable, and anything below or above that range can make them uneasy. In some cases, if your hamster is exposed to sudden, very cold temperatures, it can hibernate. But since it’s sudden, it can be actually deadly for him, depending how long it lasts. You can find more info on hamster hibernation here, and how to save your hammy. So be sure to check up on your hammy every day, to make sure he feels alright in his room. Make sure he is safe from other pets, or overly curious small children. Is a hamster a good choice for a pet ? In this case, after talking about all the ruckus a hamster can make while chewing the bars, you’d think no, they’re not good pets. But the truth is, at least in my opinion, hamsters are actually good pets. They’re quiet most of the time, and will not bother you often. It’s just that they have some very specific necessities – like the chewing and temperature – that can make then a bit iffy. A hamster isn’t as easy to tame – and keep tame – as a dog or cat, and does not respond well to being held wrong or annoyed. So for this reason I’d advise against getting your child a pet hamster, of any kind. Children would need a more mellow, loving pet, like for example a dog that can take on the full force of a kid tackling him, or pulling his tail. You can read more whether hamsters make good pets or not here – and get a more detailed insight on why you need to know yourself and your limits before you get a hamster as a pet. A word from Teddy I hope you got some good ideas here on how to stop one of us hammies from chewing the cage bars. Sometimes we just love to chew the bars, and sometimes we can stop if you give us an alternative. It depends from hammy to hammy. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we sometimes do odd things, like eat our poop or suddenly freeze, you should check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting Facts
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting FactsHamsters are so small, fast, and flexible that sometimes they make you question whether they have bones or not. Even when you handle a hamster, you don’t feel its bones and all you feel is a small fluff ball with its fluffy paws touching your hand. In this article I will talk more about the hamster’s anatomy, what you should do when they are injured, how to handle them when you prepare your little hamster to get to the vet, and other interesting facts about this incredible pet. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters have bones?Are hamsters’ bones fragile?Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone?Do they need more minerals in those situations?How to avoid this kind of accidentsFacts about hamster teethConclusion Do hamsters have bones? Yes, hamsters have bones and a skeletal structure that includes a spine. A hamster has about 124 bones in their body, it is not the same number for all the species, but there are not many studies available. You get the idea, they have bones; they actually have a lot of bones. Even the hamster’s tail is a small bone, I had a friend that asked me if hamsters have a tail and I found that very funny at first until I realized that the tail is so small and they usually keep it under themselves that you can’t clearly see it. I have an entire article about hamster tails and what you should know about them Are hamsters’ bones fragile? Hamsters’ bones are quite flexible, which helps them do all the acrobatic tricks and also makes them a bit harder to break. Since the bones are so small and thin, they would break easily if they were a bit more rigid than they actually are. That doesn’t mean that a hamster can’t break his bones, it is possible so you have to make sure you handle him gently and that the cage is safe, more on this later. Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone? If you hamster broke a bone in an accident, you clearly see it that is in pain and does not move properly, you have to get it to a specialized vet as soon as possible. But you have to do it carefully since your hamster is in pain it will have the tendency to bite anything in its way. So here are a few things to pay attention to when transporting your hamster to the vet. Don’t try to pick it up with your hand, if you can make it go into a transport cage straight from its bigger cage, it would be best. Or you can use a small container and then place it into a transport cage. Place some treats inside the container or the transport cage and also enough bedding to make sure the surface is soft. Use a thick rubber glove when you want to touch it since it will most probably try to bite you. Ensure food and water on the way and a chew toy if possible to distract it. Hamsters don’t like being moved around, so that will be a stressful process anyway, but you can make it more bearable. When you get to the vet, they should know what they have to do and protect themselves and the hamster properly. The thing is that not all vets handle hamsters, so you better call first or check their website before getting there. It is also important to know that any anesthetic or painkiller the vet may use can pose a significant risk to your hamster’s health. This is why not many vets want to work with such small animals, the risks are too big in some situations and it is hard for a pet owner to accept that it wasn’t necessarily the vet’s fault for what happened. Do they need more minerals in those situations? Yes, hamsters might use some extra minerals during the recovery to help the bones fix faster. I usually don’t recommend mineral chews but in this situation they might be helpful, the calcium and the other minerals can help as they do for humans as well in this specific circumstance. Hamsters get enough minerals in normal circumstances from their pre-made mix that you can find in most pet shops. How to avoid this kind of accidents Well, in order to avoid ending up with a hamster that broke a bone, you have to pay attention to two things. 1. How do you handle your hamster It is important to know that hamsters are very light and fluffy, you almost don’t feel them when they are in your hand, especially if you have a dwarf hamster. A Syrian hamster is a bit heavier, but still, they weigh about 100-150 grams which is not much. You need to make sure that you don’t squeeze your hamster when you hold it in your hand, so keep your fingers around your hamster if you don’t want it to escape but don’t apply any pressure. If you take your hamster out of the cage, make sure you pay close attention to it all the time since they can run and jump from heights without realizing. They are quite bad at estimating the distance from where they are to the ground. If you want to know more about how to tame and handle your hamster check my guide, there are 13 steps to tame your hamster. One more thing before getting to the cage, hamsters are not good pets for kids. It might seem like it, but a hamster is way more delicate and hard to handle properly than a cat or a dog. A kid will not control their strength when they handle the hamster as well as an adult, and that makes it dangerous for the hamster. 2. How safe is the cage Having a cage that doesn’t allow your hamster to jump from heights is super important. I learned this with my first hamster, the cage I had for it was a two level cage. Luckily for my hamster it wasn’t a very tall cage, and the bedding was more than enough to attenuate the fall. I saw my hamster going up to the second level, getting to the edge and simply jumping  from there in the bedding, and that was the moment when I realized that they really have bad eyesight. So it is better to have a bigger cage that doesn’t have any levels. My hamster was safe, but seeing that behavior made me get rid of the second level since he could have moved the bedding around the cage and fallen onto a hard surface the next time. Another thing to pay attention to, make sure the cage does not have narrow places where your hamster might get their arms or legs stuck, especially if they are not movable objects.  Facts about hamster teeth Maybe the most important bones in a hamster’s body are the teeth since those little animals are rodents, they use their teeth a lot. They need to chew on harder things all the time since their teeth are continuously growing and not having where to sharpen them can be dangerous for the hamster’s health. So make sure you give your hamster chewing toys, made of safe wood for the hamster. Hamsters have a total of 16 teeth, even if you don’t see all of them except when they are yawning. Talking about yawning, have you ever seen a little hamster yawning? If not, look for videos online, those little furballs transform into aliens when they are yawning, it’s scary. Hamsters don’t have milk teeth and adult teeth like humans, they have only one set of teeth for their entire life. Hamsters can also break their teeth, it is not often since their teeth are quite strong but if it happens, you should get it to a vet as fast as possible since this is a more dangerous problem for a hamster than for a human. Conclusion While a fun topic, hamsters having bones is actually a good question, and there are some important things you should know about their bones in order to keep them safe. Make sure your hamster has little to no chance of breaking any bones in their body since treating them can be dangerous, and it is for sure not a pleasant process. I really hope this article answered your question and was helpful for you and your little hamster pet. [...] Read more...
9 Best Hamsters Toys to Stop Boredom
9 Best Hamsters Toys to Stop BoredomHamsters are very peaceful pets that do not take up much space and do not require much care. Yet hamsters have many habits like humans. They love to play, exercise and relax. In order for your hamster to play, it is necessary to have as much content in the cage that will be interesting to him and encourage him to play. The hamster game is also an exercise. Hamsters are animals that normally move a lot in the wild in the dark in search of food. In a cage, the hamster does not have to look for food or move too much, so it can easily gain weight. Putting different toys in the cage allows your hamster to play, but also to exercise. Exercise allows the hamster not to gain weight in order to maintain normal body weight. In addition, it prevents the development of diseases such as diabetes or heart attack. Besides that, toys help hamsters to use their innate instincts and meet their natural needs. In order for your hamster to be happy and healthy, you need to play with it every day and entertain it. Of course, most people don’t have the time for this so toys are the best solution to keep your hamster happy. Wheels, hamster ball, or DIY maze for your hamster, are all toys that will allow your hamster to play and be healthy. To make your search easier, we have prepared a list of the best hamsters toys to stop boredom. Table of Contents Toggle1. Silent Runner Exercise Wheel2. Niteangel Tunnel 3. Zalalova 10pack Hamster Chew Toys4. Hamster House Maze5. Niteangel Suspension Bridge6. MUMAX Hamster 2 pack toy set7. Two layers Wooden Hut8. Hideout and play house9. Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy 1. Silent Runner Exercise Wheel One of the hamster’s favorite toys is definitely his exercise wheel. Exercise wheels are a great choice for a toy because they allow the game to your hamsters whenever they want in the safety of the cage. In this wheel, the hamster can run for hours until he gets tired, and sometimes it can be quite noisy. Since hamsters are most active during the night, the noise produced by the wheel when the hamster is playing can be quite irritating and interfere with your sleep. To avoid this we recommend this silent runner exercise wheel. This wheel has two stainless steel ball bearings within the backplate of the wheel, ensuring that the wheel glides smoothly and silently. The silent runner wheel has a special design that prevents hamsters’ tails from getting entangled in the wheel and other possible injuries that often occur during the game. It has a textured non-slip surface that allows the hamster an excellent grip. In the package, you will get a wheel, stand, and cage attachment for easy installation. A solid metal base will hold the wheel in place and prevent it from falling and tipping over. This wheel gives you strength and safety and is also very quiet which is an ideal combination for a hamster’s wheel. To clean the wheel simply wipe it down with a non-toxic disinfectant wipe daily. Wash it once a week in warm soapy water, rinse, and air dry. If you want the perfect toy for your little pet, you can find this silent runner exercise wheel on the following link on Amazon. 2. Niteangel Tunnel  Most of the time in a cage the hamster does not have the opportunity to use his natural instincts. He doesn’t have to look for food, he doesn’t have to find a place to sleep and he doesn’t have to hide from predators. Yet hamsters in the wild have instincts that allow them to hide and survive in the wild, and one of them is tunneling instinct. To encourage the hamster to satisfy his natural instincts and at the same time encourage him to exercise, a great toy is a tunnel for the cave. This tunnel is made of expandable, durable, and stain-resistant plastic. Plastic material allows the tunnel to expand up to 39 inches and contract. The tunnel is completely flexible and allows you to set it up in all different positions so you can fit it in any cage. In addition, you can constantly change the tunnel shape so that the hamster has to make an effort to get out of it and to make it more fun. The tunnel will encourage your hamster to play and exercise and it will be a lot of fun for him to crawl through the tunnel over and over again. The Niteangel tunnel is big enough that the hamster in it can carelessly turn around and continue in the other direction. This tunnel comes in several different colors so you can choose the one that will best suit the arrangement of your hamster’s cage. If you want to encourage your hamster to move and play in a fun way, you can buy this tunnel here. 3. Zalalova 10pack Hamster Chew Toys If you want to buy a lot of toys for your hamster that will allow him to play carefree, this Zalalova 10 pack of hamsters chew toys may be the right choice for you. In this set, you will get bark watermelon balls, bell roller, dumbbell, unicycle, squared molar block with rope, bell swing, rattan ball, climbing ladder, seesaw, and molar string. All toys are made of high-quality wood that is made just for play. Every toy is polished many times to have smooth corners and a surface to ensure that the hamster will not be injured during play. Natural wood allows all toys to have a natural taste without any chemical treatments. You can attach some of the toys, such as a swing, to the ceiling of the cage with a hook, so it is very easy to install. Simply place the other toys on the ground of your hamster’s cage. A variety of toys will allow him to find the one he likes and the one that suits him best. You can also exchange toys in the cage when you notice that he is bored with some of the toys. To clean them, simply wipe them with a clean cloth. This pack of amazing wooden toys will look great in a cage and give it a natural look, while at the same time delighting your hamster. Among so many toys, your hamster will surely find at least one he likes, but he will surely be delighted with more toys. If you want to have this amazing budget set of toys you can find it on this link on Amazon. 4. Hamster House Maze Hamsters, like all small rodents, love to play in mazes and find the right path. If you don’t have time to make a maze for your hamster yourself, you can buy him those. The hamster house maze is pretty big so make sure you have enough space for it in the hamster’s cage. This amazing wooden hamster home is made for dwarf hamsters. The door on the hamster house maze is around 5 cm in diameter so it is big enough for a dwarf and Syrian hamsters to slip through comfortably. The maze has two entrances and 6 rooms. All rooms and roof platforms are easy to access and will allow for an interesting game. Also, your hamster can determine for himself which room he will use for sleeping, and in which he will have food. This maze will also satisfy the hamster’s instinct to hide and explore. The house also has a removable lid which is also a house roof. Moving the roof allows you to quickly find your hamster and inspect for any leftover food or dirt that you should throw out to keep his home clean at all times. The house is made of plywood without nails. Every corner of the maze is sanded to be smooth and safe for your little friend. Hamsters seem to adore this house. Once you put it in the cage, your hamster will pack his things and go into the house enjoying his peace. If you want to give your hamster a house where you can play and satisfy your instincts, this house maze is the right choice for you. You can find this amazing toy on Amazon. 5. Niteangel Suspension Bridge The hamster in the cage mostly moves on the floor. The only chance for him to run uphill is if he has an exercise wheel in the cave. To allow the hamster to exercise more and to be able to climb uphill, a great toy for your hamster is a suspension bridge. By adding a suspension bridge you will allow the snorer to run uphill and also give him more space in the cage to move around. Simply hang the suspension bridge on the sidewall of the cage. To begin with, hang the suspension bridge lower on the wall, and later increase the height to make it harder and more interesting for your hamster to climb it. You can also put a bridge in different shapes and angles to make your hamster have a different experience every time he plays with his natural toy. This bridge is made of natural wood and has a smooth surface so that the hamster is not injured. It is approximately 12 inches long by 4 inches wide and it is bendable. This very simple toy will allow the hamster to climb and satisfy his research instincts. It also promotes exercise and helps to develop coordination and balance skills. You can also use this bridge as a ladder to guide your hamster to the next level of the cage. If you’re a fun editing cage, you can also use this suspension bridge as a fence to separate different playgrounds for your hamster. The possibilities are limitless, you just have to turn on your imagination to entertain your little five. This cool Niteangel suspension bridge can be found on Amazon. 6. MUMAX Hamster 2 pack toy set This cute colorful toy set is made to encourage your hamster to exercise. The set includes a wood rainbow bridge and a seesaw toy. The wood rainbow bridge has seven steps that the hamster can climb and exercise his strength and balance. Under the bridge, the hamster can sleep and relax after getting tired of playing. Wooden care bars can be detached and you can place them as you wish. The Seesaw toy allows the hamster to run up and down and enjoy the movement of the seesaw. This set allows the hamster to play and have fun in the safe. Both toys are fun to play with, climb, and rest. They relieve boredom and increase activity levels. All parts of the toys are rounded smooth with no burrs to ensure that your hamster cannot be injured during play. The toys are quite small so they won’t take up much space in the cage, but they are big enough for a hamster to play carefree on. The hamster can bite them freely because they are made of safe materials. When they need cleaning simply wipe them with a cloth and your job is done. If you want to bring a little color to a hamster’s cage and at the same time give them new toys to play with, these colorful toys can be found on this link. 7. Two layers Wooden Hut If you are looking for a new toy for your hamster, and at the same time thinking about buying a new house for a hamster, this two-layer wooden hut may be an ideal purchase for you. This wooden hut provides a hamster with a hideout, promotes nesting, makes him exercise every day, and promotes chewing instincts. It is made of all-natural wood that is completely safe for animals. The house has several holes so that the hamster can get in and out in various places, so it is a small kind of tunnel. It has stairs over which the hamster can climb on the upper floor from which he can exit to some kind of balcony and eat food. To get to the upper floor, the hamster will have to climb every day to practice. Once you put the house in the cage the hamster will decide for itself whether it prefers to sleep downstairs or upstairs. There is enough space under the house for the hamster to hide there and sleep or store food. This house is truly a great toy and will allow your hamster to enjoy their home. You can buy this two-layer wooden hut on Amazon. 8. Hideout and play house If you are imagining a house that provides a lot of content that will allow your hamster to play, this house is a perfect choice. The hamster can climb into this house with a ladder or climbing wall. A climbing wall is a great exercise for your hamster that will surely keep him active and healthy. Once your hamster manages to climb to the upper floor, the hamster can go down by using a slide! Yes, read well. This house allows the hamster to play and have fun and be active at the same time. It also has a small bell hanging at one of the entrances to the house that will ring every time the hamster passes. The house is made of natural wood with a colorful look to add a bit of charm to the hamster cage. Already assembled will come to your door. All you have to do is hang a little bell, but you don’t have to do that either if you don’t want your hamster to ring a bell every time it passes through the entrance. In addition to the house being great for playing, it will provide a hamster a great hideout. This cute multifunctional hamster house can be found on the following link on Amazon.  9. Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy Hamsters love to chew things to strengthen their teeth and to consume them. The front four teeth of hamsters continue to grow throughout life so they constantly need something chew to wear them out. Chewing helps them to keep their teeth at a healthy length. This willow branch ball will allow your hamster to play and catch the ball around the cage while promoting clean and healthy teeth at the same time. This toy will satisfy your hamster’s instinct to chew and prevent you from getting bored in the cage. You can buy this willow branch ball in several sizes to find the right one for your pet. You can also buy a pack of them. Your hamster will probably be thrilled with this ball and will chew it and play with it until it breaks it completely. But don’t worry, this toy was made for that purpose. It is not meant to last long but to promote healthy chewing instincts and healthy teeth of your hamster. And of course to kill his boredom in the cage. If you want to give your hamster a toy that will promote his health and natural instincts, this ball chew toy can be found here. [...] Read more...
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat It
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat ItIs your hamster feeling ill ? Is the hamster ignoring his water bottle ? Lack of water in the hamster’s system is a very bad situation, but one that can be fixed. Hamsters can and should drink water, so if yours is dehydrated he will need some medical attention. Let’s see what dehydration is, how to prevent it, some symptoms, and how to help a dehydrated hamster back on his feet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is dehydration in hamsters ?How dehydration can happen in hamstersSymptoms and signs of dehydration in hamstersTreatment and care for a dehydrated hamsterPreventing dehydration in hamstersIf the hamster won’t or can’t drink waterA word from Teddy So what is dehydration in hamsters ? In short dehydration is the loss of water from the hamster’s body. The hamster has lost a significant amount of water through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or drooling and is now in serious danger. Dehydration is a problem because the cells of the body do not function very well without water, and they can shut down entirely. There is also the problem of the salts and minerals that usually come with the body’s water content, but are now missing. This is why simple tap water won’t do to rehydrate a hamster. You will need to add salts, minerals, and sugar to his diet while he’s recovering. We’ll cover everything you can do to help the hamster, right after we find out just how a hamster become dehydrated. How dehydration can happen in hamsters Hamsters, like all animals, can become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Many health problems will require the body to overheat, in order to fight off an infection for example. This is how a cold can be much harder on a hamster, or even some abscesses if they’ve gone too far. Wet-tail is another serious condition, and hamsters suffering from it become dehydrated in a matter of hours. It’s a treatable condition, but it needs to be discovered in the beginning. Too late and even if the infection is treated the hamster will be too weakened. Diabetes can be another problem for hamsters, since there is never enough water for them. They will also pee every few minutes, but the thirst is always there. Digestive problems like a loose stool or vomiting can also make the hamster dehydrated. Excessive drooling, which can be a sign of overgrown teeth or a possible neurological problem, can make the hamster dehydrated too. Whichever problem the hamster has, it can usually be treated by a veterinarian. But the real danger of dehydration lies in the fact that it will slowly start shutting down bodily functions in the hamster. It will be important to rehydrate the hamster mostly for this reason, more than all the other ones. Symptoms and signs of dehydration in hamsters There are a few ways to see if your hamster is dehydrated, most are easy to notice by just the hamster’s owner, like you and I. For example: The hamster is not drinking water. This is the most obvious one, I know, but it’s a dead giveaway. There are hamsters who just drink very little water, yes. But if your hamster hasn’t had any water at all in the last 24h then you will need to take some measures. I’ll describe them later in this article. The best way to check if the hamster isn’t drinking water is to mark where the current water level is in his water bottle, and check again after 24 hours. Hammies usually drink about 10 ml water per 100 gr of hamster daily. That’s 0.33 oz water for every 3.5 oz of hamster. So if you’ve got a Dwarf, you’ll barely notice the water he’s drinking, but try taking photos from the same exact angle and compare them. The hamster’s skin is very tight and dry. You can check this by scruffing the hamster and watching how fast the skin pulls back. Hold the hamster firmly but gently with one hand, and with your other hand pinch the back of the hamster’s neck. That will not hurt the hamster,  but it will pull back some skin. If the skin snaps back into place quickly (or immediately) the hamster is just fine. If it takes a while to get back into its shape, or even still has a ridge where you pinched the hammy, the hamster is definitely dehydrated. The hamster looks tired and weak. Dehydration tires out the body, and it will only have enough energy for the most basic things like breathing and eating a bit. Other than that the hamster will not expend any energy, like running on his wheel or playing with his cage mates. He will mostly huddle in a corner and sleep a whole lot. His usual routine will be disrupted, and he won’t be out in the open as much. You will possibly see a very dry and warm nose on him (as in flaky nose), and possibly on his feet as well. The hamster has lost weight, or at least looks thinner. His fur might be thinner, and he might have even lost some fur. Weight loss isn’t out of the ordinary for a dehydrated hamster, but it can have a big impact on his health. This is because the weight loss is sudden, and in a large amount. It may not seem like much, since the hamster is so very small to begin with. But losing the water weight and some actual weight makes things much harder for the hamster. Treatment and care for a dehydrated hamster Alright, now that we know what dehydration is, and what the symptoms are, we can start treating it. Treatment should be done by a professional, like a veterinarian. You will need to look for an ‘exotics’ vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Although for this particular problem all vets should be able to help. The vet will administer fluids to the hamster most probably by a shot, since an I.V. drip is not very practical. You will also receive recommendations from your vet on what medicine (if any) you need to give to you hamster afterwards, like a few vitamins for example. If your hamster has an underlying condition which is causing the dehydration – like wet-tail or vomiting – the vet will treat that as well. In some cases he might need the hamster to stay with him for a couple of days for observations and further treatment. But if for some reason you can’t reach the vet, there are a few things you can do at home. Very few of them will work as well as a professional treatment, but you can try these to help your hamster feel better. Give your hamster slices of fruit and veg. Like cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce, a few leafy greens, carrot. Give a little at a time, since too much can cause diarrhea, which will worsen the dehydration. Add an electrolyte water to his water bottle. Unflavored Pedialyte will work well, and can be found fairly easy. If your hamster is diabetic this is not recommended, as Pedialyte contains sugar. Place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish, so he can access it easily. Sometimes the dehydration is so severe the hammy can’t even get up to the nozzle of the bottle. Rehydrate by mouth, with an eye dropper or small syringe (no needle). Hold the hamster firmly but gently, and place a drop of water on his lips every half hour. More than a drop at a time may go in the wrong way. Plain water isn’t going to help very much, since it lacks the salts and minerals needed by a dehydrated body. These are all steps you can take so the hamster’s treatment goes along smoothly, and in a couple of days he should recover. Feeding the hamster overly wet food (like too much cucumber for example) will upset his stomach. His usual dry grain mix will be fine. You can also take steps to ensure the hamster gets better by not placing him near warm spots, like a heater or in the kitchen when there is a lot of cooking(and heat) going on. Keep him away from drafts as well, as those can worsen his health and add another problem to his already weak body. Dehydration itself isn’t a threat to the hamster’s cage mates, but his other possible conditions (if it’s not just dehydration) might be, so separating the sick hamster is probably a good idea. (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.) Preventing dehydration in hamsters Dehydration can be prevented, but in most cases isn’t a sum of many steps. So we’ll go through the various steps you can take to make sure the hamster is safe from dehydration. Make sure that the hamster’s water bottle is working properly. This means that the bottle’s nozzle should be free of any blockages, and there should not be anything sticking into or out of it. The little metal ball at the end of the nozzle should move freely, and allow water to drip, if pushed back. You can test this by tapping the small ball with your finger, and observing whether water is coming out or not. If it does, that it’s fine. If it doesn’t, there might be something inside the nozzle. You will have to take it apart and use a Q-tip to inspect the length of the nozzle. Another way to test the water bottle is to squeeze the side of it, and see if water drips out of the nozzle. Most of the time the water bottle is working just fine, and it’s an illness that’s actually affecting the hamster. The temperature and general ‘weather’ of the room you keep the hamster in is very important. The temperature should be around 20-23 C/68-75 F, and his cage away from any direct heat, sunlight, drafts, or cold corners. Try and offer your hamster a mix of dry, commercial mix, and some safe foods found in your pantry and freezer. Too much wet food can cause digestive problems in your hamster, and give him a bout of diarrhea. Which is why veggies like cucumbers or lettuce should be given sparingly, and only in small amounts. The same goes for apple, watermelon, and most everything that has juice in it. If you’ve got more than one hamster in the same cage, and one becomes sick, separate them immediately. The illness from the first hamster can get to the healthy hamster, and manifest itself through dehydration, even if it’s nut just that. Always wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria from your hands to the hamster, and keep everyone safe. A stressed hamster will refuse to eat, drink, and even rest properly. Hamsters can get stressed by things like handling them too much, an abusive cage mate, overly curious pets and children, getting scared too often, and even being brought home for the first time. If the hamster won’t or can’t drink water There are some hamsters, possibly those who have been taken away from their mother or siblings earlier than necessary, who haven’t learned to associate the water bottle with water, and drinking. They simply don’t know what to do with that bottle. In this case you can again squeeze the sides of the bottle to make a small drop appear, which hopefully will attract the hamster. Once the hamster drinks that drop, his tongue will push the ball at the end of the nozzle, releasing more water. If that does not work, try putting his water in a small, shallow dish in a corner of the cage. Make sure that dish isn’t easy to overturn, since a wet hamster is a sick hamster and he will not recover fast. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us figure things out and treat us. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe, and give us a good life. [...] Read more...
A Word On Keeping Hamsters With Rats, Or Hamsters With Mice
A Word On Keeping Hamsters With Rats, Or Hamsters With MiceA hamster isn’t all that different from a mouse, or a rat, since all 3 are rodents. You might argue they can all live together, or at least get along during playtime. As it happens, these 3 animals are in fact very similar. But it’s the key differences between them that mean they’re not as good a match. If you want a more detailed comparison between rats, mice, and hamsters, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters live with rats ?Can hamsters live with mice ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the rat’s personalityAbout the mouse’s personalityDifferences in food for hamsters, rats, and miceCage size differences between the 3 rodent typesPlaytime and other habits that might conflictA word from Teddy So can hamsters live with rats ? No, hamsters can’t live with rats. A hamster is territorial, solitary, and will try to attack anything that crosses his path.  A rat is much larger, calmer, and very social, loves to live in groups. However it will bite back if the hamster attacks, and it won’t stop until the hammy is dead. While both the rat and the hamster are good pets, hamsters simply can’t share their space with another. They only seek another soul when they’re ready to mate. Any other time would be a deathmatch. We’ll cover the main characteristics of hamsters and rats in the rest of the article, so you will get a more thorough answer to your question. But if rats being larger are a problem, what about mice ? Good question, let’s look into that.   Can hamsters live with mice ? No, hamsters can’t live with mice either. The hamster is territorial, solitary, and likes to keep his food to himself. A mouse is smaller than a Syrian hamster, but much faster, and agile, and will end up stealing the hamster’s food. If you keep just one mouse and just one hamster, the hamster will end up killing the mouse. The size helps there. However if you’ve got at least two mice and a hamster, they will gang up on the hamster, turning the fight in favor of the mice. It’s really not a good idea to combine hamsters with any other animal. At all. Even another hamster is a bad idea half the time, let alone a different animal. Let’s see why hamster and mice can’t really get along, even if they’re closer in size than rats and hamsters. About the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. About the rat’s personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal the hamster’s food if they think it’s tastier, or it’s something they like. Very important to note, rats tend to attack and view as food anything smaller than them. That includes the hamster, and the mouse too actually. Back to the rat’s intelligence, they’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters, and would be able to rick them if they wanted. A bored rat next to a skittish hamster does not sound good. About the mouse’s personality The mice are a bit harder to tame than the rat, since they’re so small and all over the place. They too are social animals, but they need to be in same-sex pairs, female if possible. Male mice can get along, but it’s like with the Dwarf hammies. Only if they were kept together as babies, need a very big cage, and they still might fight. Aside from that, mice have much of the same diet as rats. As in, they can and will eat nearly anything, and will steal bits of food whenever they can. Mice are fairy skittish, and need a lot of patience from their owners when being handled. They don’t jump out of your hands as often as the hamster. But they still can. (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.) Differences in food for hamsters, rats, and mice Food is something these 3 would argue over, and here’s why. While mice, rats, and hamsters are omnivores, hamsters still tend to eat mostly grains and veggies. So giving them the same feed will leave the dietary needs of the other ones unmet. And there will be food thefts, which can become a major problem. A rat stealing from a hamster can make do, although the hamster might fight back. However a hamster can’t really steal from the rat’s food, since it’s made up of slightly different nutrients. So that leaves the hamster at a disadvantage. Also the fact that the rat will protect his food and bite the hamster is another concern. You can’t keep separate food bowls for hamsters, mice, or rats. They won’t know which is which, and will pick out what they like from whichever bowl they find. Hamsters hoard food in their nest, as do rats and mice. However if the hamster feels unsafe in his hideout – and he will, with another rodent – he’ll keep the food in his cheek pouches. This leads to a host of health problems, since those pouches are not meant as permanent storage. Cage size differences between the 3 rodent types Hamsters need a minimum of of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a lone, Syrian hamster. A single, male mouse will need a cage of 10 x 12 inches/25 x 30 cm. The same size will work for a trio of female mice. Males need more space of their own, but the larger the space, the more territorial they become. Rats, on the other hand, need a cage about 25 x 12.5 inches/ 63 x 31 cm for one single male rat. The more rodents your have the bigger the space you’ll need, if you want to combine the hamster with either one of them. However I do not recommend putting hamsters in with any other rodent, even if your got them both as babies. They’re very different animals, even if they’re kind of related. Playtime and other habits that might conflict While some things might annoy your hamster, like cleaning his cage, they might be okay for your rat or mouse. Cage cleaning can be postponed for up to two weeks for hamsters, since they won’t smell at all, they only have the one pee corner. Rats and mice habitats become smellier faster, and need regular cleaning once per week at the latest. Playtime is another problem that might come up. Hamsters don’t like being handled all that much, while mice and rats are more comfortable with their owners. Hamsters, mice, and rats alike need lots of exercise to keep themselves occupied. However hamsters are much jumpier than the other two, and will become defensive very fast. So to sum everything up, and give you a very clear answer: Hamsters should be kept alone, not even with another hamster. Keeping a hamster with a rat, or with a mouse might sound like a good idea since they might be similar. But the differences between them will lead to very uncomfortable pets. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies might look related to mice and rats, but we don’t really get along. Rats are too big, and mice too small. And they’re both very social, while us hamsters like to be on our own. Nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters, that’s all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below to find out how to care for us properly. [...] Read more...