Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do It

If you’ve got a hamster then you’ve probably met his sharp claws, or at least seen them. If he’s even climbed on you, you’ve also felt them. But some hamsters do get overgrown nails,  and it’s necessary to keep them trimmed to avoid injury to you or to the hamster.

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So do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?

Yes, but ONLY in cases of overgrown nails. This is not something you should do regularly, like with your own human nails. 

Hamsters usually trim their nails by climbing, grooming, digging, foraging. 9 of out 10 hamsters don’t need help with their nails.

But some hammies do, especially very old hamsters or the hamsters that don’t have a few rugged surfaces to blunt their nails on.

This is where you, as a responsible hamster owner, will come in and help the hamster take care of himself. I’ll help you with how to trim the hamster’s nails, and how to prevent overgrown nails in the first place.

This article is ONLY for cutting your hamster’s overgrown nails. Leave healthy nails alone. They should have a bit of length to them, because the hamster uses them for climbing and getting a grip.

When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?

Only when the hamster’s nails have become overgrown. You’ll notice they’re much too long, and they’re starting to curve in on themselves.

They might break at some point, and they can and do fall off. I saw a couple of Teddy’s nails come off when they were too long and I didn’t notice in time to cut them down.

The overgrown nails will turn a nasty yellow color, and if you look very closely you’ll see lighter/whitish spots or lines where they’re cracked or broken.

Hamsters usually wear down their nails by the usual things they do. Digging a tunnel into the earth, making their nest, foraging for food, running around, grooming themselves, climbing on op of rocks, and so on.

A pet hamster doesn’t do all of that, because he’s not in his usual habitat. The ones he does do, are on softer material like wood shavings and paper bedding. This means that sometimes, some hamsters get overgrown nails. That can be fixed.

Why you should care about your hamster’s nails

You might ask why you should consider trimming your hamster’s nails. After all, no one trims them in the wild. That’s true, no one does that for wild hamsters.

But wild hamsters don’t get overgrown nails, because they have a lot of hard surfaces to wear them down on. This means that your pet hamster will need your help for several reasons.

First an overgrown nail will curve in on itself and become painful for the hamster. In some extreme cases the nail can start growing into the hamster’s paw, curving back towards his paw. This will lead to pain, infection, and the hamster’s feet won’t be able to do their job.

Second, nails too long will make grooming painful for the hamster. When he grooms, he also grabs onto his fur and hold it in place to clean it. With nails too long, that starts to hurt, and even walking becomes a hassle since he can’t step normally.

Third, overgrown nails, if left unattended will fall off. But this is never a pleasant ans simple process. They fall off because the motion of the hamster’s paws when he goes about his business weakens the nails near the quick. So they end up bending over backwards, for lack of a better term.

The nail will not simply fall off, it will hang in there for a couple of days, until the new nail grows back. This is both painful and awkward for the hamster, because using his paws won’t be easy at all.

These are all things that can be avoided. Not all hamsters get overgrown nails.

How to trim overgrown hamster nails

Trimming your hamster’s nails will not be easy, at all. Hamsters are notorious for not staying put, and squirming. A hammy kept in one place so you can clip his nails definitely won’t cooperate easily.

Trimming them at home

Arm yourself with patience, and don’t expect to finish everything in one day. Your hamster should first of all be comfortable with being held. If he’s not, read this guide on taming your hamster and work on getting him comfy with you.

Once he’s okay with being held, try and find a position for him that’s okay for both of you. Some hamsters will be okay with being on their backs, some will not.

One position would be holding the hamster’s back against your stomach or chest, and holding one of his paws with your finger. Another could be the hamster just being on all 4 and you holding one of his paws.

If you think you need help, ask a friend to hole the hamster while you trim the nails.

Do expect fidgeting, and do expect squirming, maybe even a few protesting sounds. No hamster likes being held for this.

Also be aware that even if your hamster might get relaxed enough to let you hold him, the sound of the nail being clipped can spook him. So be prepared for anything.

Inspect the hamster’s nails before trimming

When you do cut the hamster’s nail, look for the quick. You’ll need very good lighting for this, or even some sunlight. Make sure the hamster’s eyes aren’t in the bright light, or the sunlight, as they’re very sensitive to that.

You’ll notice the hamster’s nails are kind of transparent. Not completely, they will have a whitish/yellowish tint to them and their very edges might be lighter in color.

But look at where the nail starts, from the finger. You’ll notice a pinkish, cloudy area. Its very small, and very short, about the size of a couple of grains of sand.

While very small, that little pink cloudy part is crucial. Do not cut into it. It has lots of blood vessels, and cutting into it is like cutting into the neat right under your nail. Actually, they’re the exact same area, just that our nails have a different shape from hamster nails.

So when you cut your hamster’s nails, make sure you give the quick (pink part) a wide berth. When you cut the nail part, the translucent part of the nail, make sure you leave at least as much nail as the pink part.

That means if there are 2 grains of sand of quick, then you should leave 2 grains of sand of transparent nail on your hamster. It might be hard to do, if your hamster isn’t used to this kind of operation. And he probably isn’t so don’t be surprised if you can’t manage to get all of his nails clipped in one day.

Giving your hamster a treat after each nail successfully clipped is going to help him learn that everything’s okay, he’s safe, and you’re not hurting him.

Seeing a vet for professional help

Getting your hamster to a veterinarian to help trim his nails is probably the best decision. I say this only because finding the quick, and keeping the hamster still so you don’t cut into the quick are 2 hard things to do.

A vet will have more experience with clipping a pet’s nails, and he will notice the quick very easily. Also, in the case of a bleeding accident, he will have a solution to stop the bleeding and disinfect everything.

(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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Preventing overgrown hamster nails

Preventing is always much easier than treating. This is true for everything, and it’s also true for keeping your hamster’s nails filed down.

But for this we need to look at why hamster nails can become overgrown in the first place. A hamster’s nails always grow, much like our human nails. Usually hamsters wear them down with their day-to-day activities in the wild.

But in their warm, safe cages this doesn’t happen as much.

Pet hamsters have fairly soft beddings, and they don’t get to dig into the earth a complex series of tunnels. This means the hamster’s nails have not very much to hit against. Wood shavings or paper bedding are much too soft for hamster nails, and they’re loose and move around.

The objects around the cage will help wear the nails down, like the hideout or a couple of toys, but that’s it. So you will need to provide your hamster with a few hard, rugged surfaces to walk over or climb onto.

For example a few flat stones from your garden (rinsed and dried, of course) arranged around his cage are going to help. each time he steps over those stones, his nails will wear down a little bit.

And if you place the stones in many places, he will step on them often. For example placing them right around the food bowl will make sure your hamster  walks over them to get to his food.

Home exercise for your hamster’s nails

Another idea, aside from the flat rocks is an emery board. That’s the kind of material used for filing nails, and even in jewelry making. Make sure your get the smallest sized grit, so you do not hurt your hamster’s paws.

Get a board big and wide enough so the hamster has room on it. You can also find emery paper and tape it to a small board.

Place one of your hamster’s favorite treats at one end and put the hamster on the other end. Slowly start tilting the board, keeping it at an angle, with the treat on top.

The hamster will dig his nails into the board to get more stability and a better grip. This will file down his nails, and in the end you’ll level the board again so he can get his treat.

Or, you can keep the board perfectly horizontal, and only have a treat tied to a string or on the end of a stick. This is teasing, yes, but the hamster does get the treat in the end. Simply make him walk over the board a few times, and let him have his treat.

Always check to see if his paws are okay. If you get grit small enough, he should be fine.

You can try this exercise every 2-3 weeks, to make sure your hamster keeps his nails short.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies usually take good care of our bodies, so our nails are usually pretty trim. It’s just that some of us need a little help from time to time.

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.

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(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.) Do you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ? Alright, let’s say you’ve got a hamster, and he’s got a very big cage, with every toy ever and everything he could ever want. But you think he’s possibly bored, and wouldn’t he maybe need a friend ? To be fair, that’s a question many hamster owners have at first. However hamsters do not need a buddy. That sounds terrible, but bear with me. Hamsters can be social, sometimes, under certain circumstances. But for the most part they will fight to the death with other hamsters. In the wild the hamster is not a very cuddly animal. Sure, Dwarf types can live together if they absolutely have to, but they end up fighting over food and space in the nest. They end up on their own, and the Syrians are definitely to be kept alone. 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Do Hamsters Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?
Do Hamsters Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?If you’ve even given your hamster a piece of toilet paper, you’ve seen him shove it in his mouth. Did the hamster eat the toilet paper ? Do hamsters even eat TP in the first place ? Sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no, and we need to dive into a bit of a talk. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat toilet paper ?Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ?What hamsters actually do with the TP you give themBedding and nesting material for your hamster friendHamsters store everything in their cheek pouchesSafe foods for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat toilet paper ? No, hamsters do not eat toilet paper. They wad it up and store it in their cheeks to use as bedding or nesting material. There are times when the hamster does ingest a tiny bit of TP, because the difference between his cheek pouches and mouth is very small. He sometimes misses. 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TP is highly absorbent, and will mat up more than paper towels. And it’s less resistant, so he will need more pieces. Whatever you do give him (TP or paper towel) he’ll hoard all of it. Bedding and nesting material for your hamster friend You might be wondering if you’ve given your hamster too little bedding if he gets like that when he sees crumply paper. Well, no. Hamsters have an inherent need to nest and build a warm, big nest to cuddle and hide in. So they will go overboard with the nesting material. An ideal bedding depth is somewhere around 1-2 inches, so your hamster has something to dig into. Not all hamsters are diggers though. Some are climbers, or runners, and won’t be interested in digging too much. You can find out much more about the right kind of bedding you can get your hamster friend right here. You’ll find which beddings are safe and which are unsafe, and all the options you can choose from. As for warmth, hamsters require a temp range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable. You should check here for more info on that, and see how you can make your hammy comfortable in your home. So if you’ve give your hamster lots of warmth, and he’s still building his nest, don’t be alarmed. He’s fine, he just builds big, fluffy, flowy nests. In the wild he’d have a whole series of tunnels to live in, and several ‘bedrooms’ full of leaves and twigs. Other options your hamster might use as his nesting material is cardboard. The long cardboard tubes left over from toilet paper, or paper towels are okay for hamsters to use. They even play in them. Cut a few holes into the tube, like swiss cheese, and he’ll dart in and out of those tubes. YOu can find out more about hamster toys (DYI and store bought) here, and some ideas on what you can make for you hammy at home. Hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches Alright, now you know what your hammy’s doing with the TP. But does he put everything in his cheeks ? Well, yes, hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches. Everything, Bits of food, nesting material, a few bits of poo, a half eaten cricket, anything. Hamsters have those pouches in order to be able run away if they have to make a quick split. This also makes it easier for them to cover a lot of ground without having to keep returning to their nest to store everything. Kinda smart, if you think about it. This is one reason to never give your hamster something very sharp or extra saucy as food. If it’s a bit of chicken or boiled egg white, he will eat it right away. But anything less than tasty protein or fruit will be shoved into the cheek pouch. A tasty noodle ? In the cheek, and it will leave some residue that the hammy can’t clean out. It has a high chance of infection, and an infected cheek pouch is not easy to treat. Mostly because the cheek itself isn’t easy to reach into without hurting the hamster. Plus, if the hammy feels like he still has something in his cheeks he’ll keep pushing and pawing at his cheeks until he hurts himself. So be very careful what foods you give your hamster friend ! (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.) Safe foods for your hamster friend You can feed your hamster lots of foods that are acceptable for you as well. For the most part, hamsters can eat meat, veggies, fruit, grains, and seeds, just like us. It’s just that they have a few conditions, and some foods are too fat or to sweet for them. Especially for the Dwarf types. They are prone to diabetes, and as such should be definitely kept away from sweets. Both Dwarf and Syrian types should have a very small amount of fats in their diet as well. They are living in your warm, comfy home, no reason to build up a layer of insulating fat. I’m going to give you a few useful links for the foods hamsters can eat, for each category available. So, if you want to know more about hamsters and meat, what kind of meat they can have, check out this nifty article, with a clear explanation of which meats are okay for hammies. When it comes to dairy, hamsters can eat some kinds, but not too much. It’s the high-lactose one that don’t sit well with them. You can read more about that here. For bread and grains, you can check out here to see when and how you can feed your hamster friend bread and/or pasta. And here you can find out more about what veggies are safe for hamsters, and here learn about the kinds of fruit your hammy can eat, and which to avoid. Finally, you can read on here to learn more about nuts and the kinds hamsters can eat safely, and how much of them they can have at a time. These are all items you’ve probably already got in your fridge or pantry. Do remember that a commercial food mix has the basics all covered, and is designed to give your hamster the nutrition it needs. Still, you can feed your hamster friend food from the lists I mentioned above, as small treats or if you’ve got them on hand when cooking. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love toilet paper, but we don’t normally eat it. We hide lots of it in our cheeks, and it looks like we eat it. But we just build our nests with them. If you want to know more about us hammies you can check out the articles below, to learn how to feed and house us properly, and how to play with us too. [...] Read more...
What Noises Do Hamsters Make ? Get To Know Your Hamster
What Noises Do Hamsters Make ? Get To Know Your HamsterIf you’re wondering what your hamster’s trying to say, let me help you crack the code. I listened to my own hamster’s sounds, and checked with other hamster owners to see what each of these sounds mean. Now, we all know hamsters are very quiet creatures and barely make any sounds, at all. But when they do, you might be at a loss for what they mean. Let’s look into that. Table of Contents ToggleUsual hamster noisesSqueakingTeeth clickingHissing/cryingCooingReading your hamster’s body languageStanding up on his hind legsMouth open, ears back, fur ruffledRubbing his hips or belly on somethingStretching, yawningFlattening his body, very slowlyA word from Teddy Usual hamster noises While hamsters don’t really make a lot of noise, the ones they do make are important to know. They’re not as immediately obvious like a cat purring, or a dog growling. But they all have a specific meaning. Sadly some of them aren’t very well researched, and one sound can mean many things, depending on the context. Squeaking This is a sound you might hear fairly often from your hamster. It’s either a positive or a negative one, depending on the situation. What is clear though, is that the hamster is reacting strongly to something, and his opinion is very important and needs to be heard. My Teddy does this (weirdly) when he sleeps. He starts squeaking in the middle of his sleep (only every few weeks or so) and I can see he’s only half awake, moving his nest’s bedding around, rearranging himself better in bed. I think it’s funny, how he wakes up like a grumpy old man and turns on his side and mutters himself back to sleep. I also think it’s a bit alarming, since I don’t know what the reason for that is. He’s done it when the house was quiet, when we had guests, when the light was both on and off, it never mattered. As for exactly what it sounds like, it’s a bit like a rubber duck. A very small, angry rubber duck. It sounds a lot like someone just insulted Teddy and he’s too shocked to do anything but ”hmph’ back. I’ve seen and heard other hamsters do this when exploring their habitat, getting new food, finding a new smell, etc. It’s a reaction, a strong one, but it’s not always a good or bad one. I think it really depends on the context of that specific moment. Teeth clicking My Teddy is a champion at this, and I’m not sure why. Hamsters only click their teeth when they’re annoyed by something, and/or agitated. As in, so jittery and feverish in their clicking that handling them is not an option. Hamsters will also click their teeth at each other as a sign to keep their distance. My Teddy is a lone hamster, and he has a big enough cage. When he was younger he used to click his teeth every now and then and take it out on the cage bars. I’m thinking his immense energy made him jittery sometimes, and he had those weird moments. If your hamster is clicking his teeth at you, well, stay away. Give him some space, and come back later when he’s calmed down. But if he’s clicking his teeth even if you’re not there, it’s not you he’s mad at. He’s just very jittery and again should not be handled, since he will not stay put at all. Think of teeth clicking in hamsters, the way you’d think of tail swishing in cats. Never a good sign, and they’re impatient when they get like that. Hissing/crying This is something I hope no one has to hear, ever. This is never a good sound, and it will tear right through you. It’s a lot like a scream, with the mouth closed. Hamsters only make this sound when they’re very very angry or annoyed or in pain. For example a neighbor came once, with his little girl. Said he wanted to show her the hammy, and she was very curious. I told him Teddy isn’t very friendly but we can try if I hold him for her. Well, when Teddy was in my hands and the little girl tried to pet him, Teddy started hissing and thrashing, wanting back in his cage. You see, he’d never met the little girl, and hamsters are very very bad with stress, and people they don’t know. If you’re chasing a young, new hammy in your room because you dropped him, this might be a sound you’ll hear. He’s not happy being chased, and he’s more than a bit shocked and upset. You will also hear this sound from your Dwarf pairs, when they start fighting. Sometimes it might not get very loud, but it can happen. Cooing I’ve never heard my teddy do this, but other hamster owners have told be about hamster cooing. It’s a very soft, vibrating sort of sound. They’re not necessarily scared or angry, but it’s a sound they make when they’re content. Not many people have heard this sound, but I;m leaving it here anyway, in case your hamster does this. Knowing your hammy isn’t the only weirdo is kind of comforting. (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.) Reading your hamster’s body language Alright, if you were curious about hamster sounds, I’m guessing you’re trying to get to know your hamster better. That’s great, and body language is a large part of understanding what your hamster’s trying to say. Standing up on his hind legs Hamsters do this when they get curious about something, and they want to hear things out. They can also freeze in this position, sometimes even for 2 whole minutes. It’s something hamsters do fairly often, since they would have to do this in the wild every few minutes to check for predators. You can find out more about hamsters freezing here. This is normal behavior, and the hamster isn’t scared. Mouth open, ears back, fur ruffled The hamster is trying to intimidate, and is getting ready for a fight. I’ve seen this in Teddy by accident a few times. Like when I leaned over his cage to get something and he saw that as a threat, when I looked down at him he was making himself very big. When that happens, lower yourself to eye-level with the hamster. Not just your head, your entire body. Hamsters feel threatened by creatures bigger than them, so try to make yourself very small. Talk to him softly until he calms down. Try feeding him a treat to help things along. If you’re trying to introduce 2 hamsters and they take this stance, it’s a sign they won’t be getting along very well. Rubbing his hips or belly on something This is the hamster simply marking his territory. Syrian hamsters have a scent gland on each hip, while Dwarf types have one on their belly. The hamster will use his scent gland to mark when he believes is his. Stretching, yawning This is like the human equivalent, and it’s both cute and terrifying. The hamster will stumble out of his nest and take a couple of steps before stretching all his limbs, and curling his tail back. That’s cute, and he’s huggable and fluffy then. He also yawns when he stretches, which reveals a gaping maw of teeth and the entrance to his cheek pouches. It looks awful and he is neither huggable nor fluffy. Flattening his body, very slowly This I am not very sure, since no one I’ve talked to or asked ever agreed on this. The hamster will mind his own business, as always, nothing exciting or extra boring happening. Then he will slowly, in slow motion, start to lay down completely flat and seem to fall asleep, wherever he is. Teddy’s done this in the corner of the cage – not curled up, but lying there like a bearskin rug. He’s also done it in his tunnel, he’s done it in the middle of the cage. And I have no answer for why he did this. He’s conscious and aware I’m there. He opens his eyes and looks at me if I tap the cage. But he goes back to sleep ( is it sleep ?) after a few seconds. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters don’t make too many sounds, but the ones we do make are pretty important. It’s just that sometimes we’re secretive with what they mean. 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...
Syrian Hamster Feeding Guide Everything You Need to Know
Syrian Hamster Feeding Guide Everything You Need to KnowSyrian hamsters are one of the most popular breeds of hamsters, with millions of owners around the world. If you’re a pet owner, you then surely understand that each pet has specific dietary needs and personal tastes, and you need to adapt to each pet if you want it to live a happy and healthy life. There are many foods that hamsters need to eat to stay healthy, and there are many foods that they can’t eat. In this article, we’ll be taking a deeper look into Syrian hamsters, what are their likes and dislikes when it comes to food, what food they can eat and what foods should you avoid, what are they allergic to, and how long can they last without food. If you’re looking for advice on your hamster’s feeding habits and how can you optimize their dietary plans, you’re in the right place Let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleHow Often Should I Feed My Syrian Hamster?What Can Syrian Hamsters Eat?What Are Syrian Hamsters Allergic To?How Long Can Syrian Hamsters Go Without Food? How Often Should I Feed My Syrian Hamster? Ideally, you should feed your hamster every day. This applies to all hamster breeds, not just Syrian hamsters. All hamsters require fresh food and water every day. What’s best is to feed your hamster twice a day, especially if you’re feeding it a Hamster Mix or Formula. You should feed your hamster once in the morning and once in the evening. The prescribed amount of food is a spoonful a day, so half a spoon of the mix in the morning, and another half in the evening. You can add treats to this daily (although not all treats, continue reading for specifications). You should also never keep vegetables or fruit in their cage for longer than 24 hours, as it will start to rot – if your hamster hasn’t eaten their fruits and veggies within a day, take them out. You should feed your hamster with hard treats twice a week. There’s a difference between everyday treats, (apples, for example) which you can use to reward your hamster for training and hard treats. Hard treats are important because they will trim your hamster’s teeth, keeping their incisors filed down, which is good for your hamster’s overall dental hygiene. You can see this practice with dogs, as well, as there are many threats that may be tasty, but they’re there mostly to clean dog teeth. You’re supposed to do this as well – let your hamster chew on smaller dog biscuits, commercial hamster treats (that we’ll be taking a look at later), or even smaller branches taken from a fruit-bearing treat (but not all fruit, we’ll take a look at that later). Also, don’t refrain from feeding your hamster soft treats daily. Especially if you’re training your hamster and teaching it to do tricks, as this is the best way for your hamster to learn something. Soft treats include protein, which is very important for muscles, so; cooked meats, low-fat, no-salt cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg, wheat bread, and scrambled eggs. You should also keep your hamster’s hydration in mind – many owners worry about their hamster’s feeding habits and completely overlook that keeping them hydrated is actually part of their diet. It’s vital for your hamster’s health that you change their water bottle often enough and that you keep their water fresh. We recommend that you buy a hamster-sized water bottle with a stem and ball bearing from your local pet store. The ball regulates how much water comes out each time the hamster takes a drink. This way, your hamster can have a drink whenever they want to, but keep in mind that you have to change the water often – it needs to be fresh. It takes two weeks for the water to go stale, and that’s only if it’s in a glass – bottled water can last for years, even decades if it’s properly stored. However, you would never drink stale water, so why should your hamster do that? You should change your hamster’s water every two days, and if the vet recommended it, you can even add supplements to it, but don’t do this without the vet’s approval. You also shouldn’t use a water bowl for distribution. Hamsters are messy animals and they will definitely spill water all over the place, which is great for bacteria, parasites, etc., but not so great for the hamster. You should try to feed your hamster at the same time every day. This will not always be possible, of course, as we all have our obligations and responsibilities, but it’d be good to try that. Hamsters are very active animals, and Syrian hamsters have a fast metabolism (just like dwarf hamsters), and they require exercise and food throughout the day. There is some debate on whether you should feed them in the morning or in the evening. If you feed your hamster in the morning, you’re ensuring that they have food throughout the day. On the other hand, if you feed them in the evening, you’re feeding them when they’re most active, as hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals. That’s why we’re advising you to feed them once in the morning, and once in the evening, that way you’ll be winning on both fronts. What Can Syrian Hamsters Eat? There are many foods that hamsters can eat, and many foods that hamsters shouldn’t eat. In this section, we’ll be covering everything you should feed your hamster, and we’ll be covering the foods you should avoid in the next section. The list we’re about to show you actually apply on all hamsters. Fruits: apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, seedless grapes, lychee, mangos, melons, peaches, plums, raspberries, raspberry leaves, and strawberries. Vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, dandelion leaves, cauliflower, clover, kale, bean sprouts, asparagus, chickweed, chicory, cucumber, corn, spinach, watercress, radicchio, romaine lettuce, turnip, peas, green beans, chestnuts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini. Nuts, seeds, and grains: pumpkin seeds, peanuts, millet, flaxseed, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, walnuts, lentils, soybeans. Other foods hamsters can eat grasshoppers (pet food), mealworms (pet food), boiled eggs, plain grasshoppers, plain tofu, whole grain bread, cod fish (with bones removed), low-fat cottage cheese, brown pasta, unsalted peanut butter. You shouldn’t feed these things to your hamster too much, though. These are all things that your hamster can eat, yes, and they eat these things in the wilderness, but today’s food mixes for hamsters are optimized for their dietary needs. Your hamster is going to be okay if you feed it with the things we’ve listed, but you should definitely feed it with hamster mixes or formulas if you want to optimize your hamster’s diet. These things can be used as treats and shouldn’t take more than 10% of your hamster’s diet. We’re going to give you a few examples of food quality food mixes for hamsters. Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Mix – this is a very tasty mix, and it’s definitely the best choice for picky hamsters. You’ll notice that hamsters, just like people, have their own personal likes and dislikes. Some hamsters may love apples, while others won’t eat them. This mix is nutritionally balanced, suitable for all breeds, and it has vitamins included in the mix. What’s also great about this mix is that it has mealworms on top of its great choice of seeds. This is important because your hamster needs protein. Also, all hamsters love mealworms, so they definitely won’t be skipping this. Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster Food – a great product if you’re concerned about your hamster’s health. This mix is full of healthy nutrients that every hamster needs to keep their body healthy. However, you should know that some packs have too many sunflower seeds, which can be bad for your hamster, so make sure to take them out if you notice that you’ve added too much. This mix also contains a lot of omega-3 oils, and the shape of the mix will help your hamster clean and pick its teeth. Kaytee Fiesta Hamster Food – this mix is also good for dwarf hamsters, not just Syrian hamsters. It has natural veggies and fruits to add some variety and improve the nutrient content of the mix. This mix will definitely take care of your hamster’s dietary needs, but there’s a problem that a lot of hamster owners have reported. It has so many fatty things (which is important for your hamster, but in this case, these fatty scraps in the mix are too tempting) that hamsters run and eat those as soon as possible, and leave out healthy foods. Since they’re full, many hamsters don’t return to finish their meal, so you might be throwing some of this food away. You can even use this mix for gerbils, as it’s good for them, as well. It also has plenty of natural fruits and veggies for your hamster to enjoy, and it’s rich in antioxidants to support your hamster’s immune system. When we’re discussing treats, you can use anything we’ve listed above as a treat. There’s no need for you to spend money on factory-made treats. However, there are some advantages to this, the most obvious one being that those treats are clean and optimized for hamsters, so you can be sure that what you’re rewarding them with isn’t unhealthy. We’ll take a look at just two examples: Tiny Friends Farm Lovelies and Kaytee Healthy Bits. These treats are universally loved by all hamsters, and they’re both fine for Syrian and dwarf hamsters. The Healthy Bits treat mix is definitely going to cause happiness with your hamster, as it actually contains honey. These treats aren’t too big, so your hamster(s) won’t have any trouble eating them. When it comes to nuts, we know that we’ve already mentioned them along with seeds, but it’s important to note that they’re a natural source of protein and necessary fats, with different hamsters liking different nuts. Here, we’ll expand on the list of nuts we’ve already mentioned: barley, cashew, flaxseed, lentils, millet, oats, peanut, popcorn, walnuts, monkey nuts. It’s also important to add fiber to your hamster’s diet, just like it’s important to have fiber in your own diet. Timothy hay alfalfa hay is a good, natural source of fiber. You should also know that Syrian hamsters absolutely love insects and you should definitely try to feed them whenever you can. Insects are a great source of protein, and they’re their main food source in the wild. Feeding them with insects isn’t essential, we understand that not all people are happy with keeping bugs in their home, but your hamster will definitely be grateful if you do. However, not all insects are good for your hamster, so here’s a list of insects that are: mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and grasshoppers. It’s important to create a well-balanced diet for your hamster. It’s best to use a mixture of the food suggestions listed above to create a diet that’s going to be both tasty and healthy for your hamster. Then, combine that mix with treats. Their diet needs to provide them with enough energy for the day. Hamsters are very energetic animals that need to burn that off in order to function properly. If they don’t run around enough, they will get stressed out. Choose a food mix as the backbone of your pet’s dietary plan, and surround it with treats and additions. The general rule is that a single tablespoon of the mix is enough, and mix that with a couple of treats. You should also try to keep it interesting for your pet. You can change your hamster’s meal plans, don’t be constantly feeding it crickets or mealworms, switch it up. You’re definitely not eating the exact same thing every day, so why should your hamster. If you notice that your hamster’s gaining a lot of weight, don’t fear cutting down on the portions. When feeding your hamster, use a ceramic food bowl. This is the best solution for feeding and a much better option than plastic feeding bowls. Hamsters will definitely knock the plastic feeding bowl over and spill food all over the place. This way, all uneaten food will stay in the bowl and be ready to get eaten later. They provide a designated area for feeding and they keep all the leftover food clean. Your hamster will quickly learn that it will always be getting food in that bowl, so it will start to move around it when it’s hungry. Hamsters will also fill their cheek pouches with secret stashes of food to build secret food stores near their bed. They do this by instinct, as in the wilderness they’re hiding their food from other hamsters. If you have more than a single hamster in the same cage, you’ll even notice that they keep hiding food away from one another. If you have the time, observe your hamster as it’s eating – this will give you a good idea of what it likes and what it doesn’t like. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t like a certain vegetable, replace it with another vegetable. If you notice that it won’t eat a certain fruit, replace it with another fruit. Obviously, if you see that your hamster’s sick from eating a certain food – don’t allow them to eat it anymore. A good example of this is watermelon. Even though it’s not poisonous for hamsters, it has so much water that their little bodies simply can’t handle it. While we’re at it, let’s just say that it’s also bad to overfeed your hamster. It’s in the hamster’s instinct to eat and eat and eat until they can’t eat anymore, they can’t help it. They’ll only stop eating when they’re absolutely full, and even then, they’ll stuff food in their cheek pouches and hide it somewhere. So, you can easily get your hamster fat if you’re not careful. Stick to the ‘one tablespoon a day’ plan. Also, don’t let your hamster fool you into thinking it’s hungry just because the bowl is empty – they’ve most likely hidden their food away in an attempt to get more of it. Hamsters would most likely eat even less than a single tablespoon a day in the wilderness, so you’re feeding them more than enough. Owners are often confused as the tablespoon of food can be larger than the hamster itself, but that’s more than enough for them. What Are Syrian Hamsters Allergic To? There are many foods that you should never feed your hamster, but it’s also possible that your hamster, as an individual, has developed an allergy to something. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t feed your hamster. Almonds, avocado (it’s literally poisonous to them), apple seeds, chocolate, sweets, potato chips, pork, raw potatoes, grape seeds, rhubarb, tomato leaves, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc.), watermelon, jam, spices, garlic, onions, chives, leeks. All hamsters are allergic to these foods, not just Syrian hamsters. You should always avoid feeding these foods to your hamster, as it will make it very sick. Almonds contain cyanic acid, which can make your Syrian hamster very sick. Seeds can also be harmful, and most often are, so remove them from the foods. There are certain seeds that are okay (we’ve listed them in the previous section), and those seeds are safe to feed to your hamster. Seeds that are in food mixes are okay, as long as there’s not too much of them. However, seeds from fruits are a big no when it comes to hamsters, so you should always remove them before feeding your hamster a fruit. This means that you can’t feed your hamster apples, peaches, and plums before you take out the seeds. Unfortunately (for the hamster), you can’t feed it chocolate. Theobromine is a substance found in chocolate, and it negatively affects your hamster’s circulation. Syrian hamsters are very strong, with very strong immunity, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be facing any problems with them. Unlike dwarf hamsters that develop diabetes easily. However, a poor diet can cause a few issues with any hamster. A poor diet can also cause diarrhea. You will recognize this by a loose stool, and you should consult a vet. Many illnesses can be caused by a bad diet, so you should always keep in mind that the problem might originate in food intake. If you notice your hamster losing weight, losing fur, breathing in distress, having a nasal discharge or skin lesions, you should take it to a vet. When it comes to allergies in the normal sense, hamsters can develop allergies the same way humans do, and they even sneeze the same way humans do. If you’ve noticed your hamster sneezing, they may be allergic to their bedding or something in their food. They’re also allergic to dust, just like us, so there may be microscopic dust in the air. To eliminate this problem, try changing beddings, foods, to an unscented fabric softener, and use an air filter by your hamster’s cage to eliminate all allergens in that environment. However, if the problems refuse to go away, contact a vet. There are also many things that irritate hamsters, although they’re not exactly allergic to them. Perfumes, pine and cedar shavings, scented candles, electric “plug-in” style diffusers, scented room sprays, and even some cleaning agents can be harmful and irritating to your hamster’s respiratory canal. You should move your hamster’s cage away from these fumes to deal with this problem – this is the path of least resistance. Cigarette smoke is especially irritating to hamsters, not to mention that it’s especially harmful. If you’re trying everything and you still can’t get your hamster to stop sneezing and it’s clearly in distress for more than five days – contact a vet. How Long Can Syrian Hamsters Go Without Food? This applies to all hamsters: hamsters can’t go for longer than three to four days without food and/or water. It depends on when did they have their last meal, what did they eat, how much did they eat, and how active they have been for the past few days. If you’re just going to be staying at work a bit longer than you’ve planned, you don’t have to worry about your hamster’s health – they’re going to be fine if they have their dinner a few hours later.  In summation – the feeding mix should be the backbone of your hamster’s diet. You should build your diet around it by adding various snacks and treats, that we’ve listed before. Those things are healthy additions, but they’re not exactly required. You should definitely avoid all foods on the list we’ve mentioned, as they’re toxic for your hamster. Not all of those things are lethal for your hamster, but many of them will still harm your furry friend. You should never overfeed your hamster with treats, as they should mostly be used as a reward for a job well done, for example; when you’re teaching it a new trick. Also, never overfeed your hamster on the food mix, your pet will get fat and that’s a whole other barrel of monkeys to deal with. Understand that each hamster has their own individual taste just like people do, and try to find out exactly what they enjoy eating, and what things they do not enjoy eating. Always keep your hamster’s water supply fresh and full, try to change your hamster’s water every two days. Know that hamsters can only live three to four days without food and/or water, so you shouldn’t worry if you can’t make it back home on time, or if you stay somewhere for another day unplanned, without a method of feeding your hamster (they probably have a hidden stash of food somewhere, anyway). Try to feed your hamster once in the morning and once in the evening, with keeping a single tablespoon for norm – half a tablespoon in the morning, half a tablespoon in the evening. Know that your hamster is definitely storing food away, so don’t be fooled into thinking that your hamster is hungry just because its bowl is empty. Always make sure to keep the food clean, and use it before the expiration date – never keep fruits and vegetables in the cage for longer than 24 hours if the hamster hasn’t eaten it, as it will rot and that can harm the hamster. Try to feed your hamster during a certain period every day, that way, it can get used to your schedule and won’t make a fuss if you’re present but not feeding it. [...] Read more...
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told You
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told YouYou might wonder if your furry hamster can live with a friendly guinea pig. After all, they’re both rodents, and they might just get along, right ? As it turns out, guinea pigs and hamsters are very different animals, and housing them together is a delicate subject. Here’s the answer to what you were looking for. If you want a more detailed comparison between a hamster and a guinea pig, you should read this article. Table of Contents ToggleSo can a hamster live with a guinea pig ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the guinea pig’s personalityCage size for guinea pigs, and hamstersDifference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamstersFood fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue overA word from Teddy So can a hamster live with a guinea pig ? No. Hamsters can’t and shouldn’t live together with guinea pigs. Not because there is something wrong with guinea pigs. But because of a major difference in personality, how they react to strangers. One is fiercely territorial, while the other can live in a large group. And incredibly important, one sleeps the day away, while the other takes short naps throughout the 24 hours. They will inevitably annoy the hell out of each other. So if you ever mix a hamster and a guinea pig in the same cage, or even just during playtime, things will go bad. Very very fast, and you’ll need to be quick to separate the two. To really understand why these two furballs should be kept separate, we need to look at their personalities, cage requirements. and even playtime. 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 guinea pig is much bigger, smells different, and acts different. 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. While there are differences between hamsters, they are roughly the same. You need to know both hamsters and guinea pigs well before you even think of housing them together. About the guinea pig’s personality A guinea pig is a very social animal, and a great starter pet. They’re more docile than a puppy, but still show some personality so you learn that pets are their own beings and you need to do some things their way. That being said, guinea pigs don’t do well on their own, unless you’re always there to play with them and cuddle them. In nearly every case it’s best to get your guinea pig a buddy so they can keep each other company. A guinea pig is easy enough to tame, since it will react well to new sights and people. Still, some care should be taken, since they’re not immediately friendly like a puppy, or curious like a kitten. Guinea pigs will generally flee if they sense any danger, and won’t really bite unless in some extreme cases of self defense. And they’re not terribly territorial. However problems will arise when the hamster gets scared or annoyed by the pig, and will bite in retaliation. While hamsters are small, their jaws a powerful, and will injure the guinea pig. Think of the guinea pig as a gentle giant, who lets things slide for the most part. Very hard to anger, but once he is irritated, his teeth and jaws are much stronger than a hamster’s. The small piggy can only keep its patience for so long, and will eventually bite back. Given the sheer size difference between a guinea pig and a hamster, it won’t go well. You will end up with an injured, irritable guinea pig, and a dead hamster. Cage size for guinea pigs, and hamsters A single Syrian hamster can live in a cage the size of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. A Dwarf would need half that size, but I honestly recommend getting your hamster a very large cage, since he’ll feel much more comfortable with lots of space to run around. A guinea pig, on the other hand, needs 30 x 36 inches/ 76 x 91 cm cage. That is the absolute minimum, for just one guinea pig. The more piggies your have, you’ll have to almost double that size. As with the hamster, a larger cage is better. Alright, you might argue that you’ve got an incredibly large cage, big enough for both the piggy and the hamster. Fair enough, let’s look at how both animals keep their territory. A guinea pig will share his home with his partner, or the other 234 piggies it lives with. A guinea pig is a very social, herd animal. A hamster will attack anything that comes into his territory, and lives alone. He makes regular rounds of the space he owns, and will jump any creature stumbles upon. While the guinea pig will turn away, the hammy will chase him and eventually bite.  Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters are incredibly sensitive to smell, and very much love their routine. They need things to be in the same place, smelling of their scent, and nothing alien. A guinea pig wandering the cage will throw off the hammy’s routine, and become a nuisance without even trying. Finally, guinea pigs will get bored with the same setup, and move their herd from one hideout to another. The hamster will disagree 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.) Difference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamsters What about the playtime between hamsters and guinea pigs ? Well, they both love to exercise, so they’ve got that in common. While the piggy won’t use the hamster’s wheel to run, he’ll use the entire cage for a quick sprint. And he will bump into the hammy’s wheel, or hideout or any other objects. This won’t sit well with the hamster. And finally with the playing and handling, the hamster can’t sit still for very long. But a guinea pig will stay put for longer, and come back with your scent. This will produce mixed feelings in the hamster, who is again a very smell-sensitive animal. So generally most interactions between the two don’t go too well, largely due to the hamster’s need for solitude. While hamsters will only come out and play in the evening and most of the night, a guinea pig is different. A guinea pig sleeps in patches throughout the day, and will generally follow the owner’s routine. A hamster on the other hand will sleep the day away, and only wake up in the evening, which will produce large amounts of stress. The hammy won’t rest well, since the piggy is running around the cage and the sounds will keep the hamster on alert. And when the guinea pig would take a short nap, the hammy could possibly stumble upon it (curious as hamsters are, but also silly and a bit thick). Which will not end up well, again. Food fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue over Alright, let’s cover the difference between foods, since this is a major problem. Hamsters are omnivores, so they eat anything from meat to grains and veggies, to fruits. In certain proportions, and they prefer grains for the most part. You can find out more about that here. A guinea pig on the other hand will need food based on veggies, Timothy hay, and lots of vitamin C. If you mix their food, or even if you put the food separately, there’s not telling who is going to eat whose food. Neither the hamster or the piggy will know the food is for the other one, and they will end up fighting over it. This is a serious issue with Dwarf hammies who live together and can lead to fatal injuries. Let alone a large guinea pig fighting a small hamster. Also take into account that hamsters live far less than guinea pigs. A hamster can live as long as 2-4 years, while a guinea pig can reach 7 years. An old hamster will probably become blind in his final weeks or months, and find it more difficult to navigate his cage. Normally hamsters memorize their cages and where to find everything, so they can do just fine without their eyesight. But stumbling upon the piggy, while blind, is bound to scare them. The hammy will be scared even if he’s alone in his cage and you don’t talk to him enough before coming close, when he’s blind. So to sum everything up, and give you a rounded answer: Hamsters and guinea pigs can’t live together. The hamster prefers to be alone and will consider the piggy an intruder, even if they’re introduced as babies. Best to keep them separate, and make sure they don’t even meet. You’ll save yourself and the two animals a lot of literal pain and heartache. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies seem like we could use a buddy, but we’re fine on our own. We like it that way, and won’t take kindly to other animals. Nothing personal, that’s just us being hamsters, is all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should definitely check out the articles below to find out how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...