Tumors And Lumps In Hamsters – Symptoms, Treatment, And Care

You might have noticed an odd lump on your hamster recently. Is it cancerous ? Is it benign ? Can hamsters survive surgery to remove a tumor ? 

We’ll cover tumor and odd lumps in this article, including the options you would have when treating your hamster. This is a situation where you will have to see your hammy’s vet often.

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So can hamsters develop a tumor ?

Yes, hamsters can develop tumors. Whether they’re called, lumps, or tumors, the end result is the same. A growth of extra cells, which does not serve a particular purpose and could potentially be fatal.

It can affect any part of the hamster’s body, and can come about at any age. There is an increased chance that older hamsters will develop tumors, compared to young hamsters.

Tumors are treatable  most of the time, especially if noticed early on. It also depends on the location of the tumor. For example a growth on the outside of the leg is easy to remove, but one on the hamster’s ovary is not.

Let’s see how and why tumors come about, so we know what to expect.

Why tumors appear in hamsters

Tumors appear in hamsters pretty much the same way as they appear in humans. Studies haven’t really pin-pointed the main reason tumors appear in humans, so knowing why they appear in hamsters is just as confusing.

However we do know how the tumor forms (this is a very simplistic and sketched-out explanation).

Usually the hamster’s cells have a certain programming. They renew every few days, but their programming can go awry sometimes. As such, old cells can forget to die, but new cells still appear. This leads to an overgrowth, which is not exactly healthy.

It’s not like the hamster is getting a larger lung which will help him. He is growing part of the lung that does not serve a purpose, and will mess with his other internal organs. Take up room, blood, energy, and keep on expanding.

The tumor can become infected sometimes, and this makes the treatment fairly difficult. These cells don’t respond as normal cells would.

Malignant vs benign tumors in your hamster

There are 2 types of tumors. One is benign, meaning not dangerous nor spreading, while the other is malignant meaning it is spreading to other tissues and can be life-threatening.

A benign tumor is just an overgrowth of the cells, but it does not ‘move’ to another part of the body. For example a lump on the leg that just grow to a certain size and then stops, without triggering other growths somewhere else, is benign.

A malignant tumor is one that spreads to other ares on or in the body, because the very cells themselves become contagious, in a way. This means that a growth on the leg can produce a growth on the belly and tail as well.

The best person to decide whether your hamster’s tumor is dangerous or not is the veterinarian. He will examine the hamster, possibly run him through an ultra-sound to see if there are any odd growth on the inside too.

He might also collect a small sample of the tumor, to study it under a microscope. He will come back to you shortly with a diagnosis and a treatment option.

Signs and symptoms your hamster has a tumor

There are very few clear, external signs of your hamster having a tumor. Aside from the tumor itself, if it is on the skin, or right under the skin and becoming a very large bulge/lump.

A noticeable lump will be fleshy, but mostly hard. It will not yield like skin and muscle, and instead feel much like hardened tissue. It does not hurt, but it can press down on certain nerves or blood vessels and thus hurt your hamster.

If the lump is on the skin, you will see it straight away. If it is under the skin, it will not be very clear unless you handle your hamster often, and all over. You need to get a feel for all of his little body, so you will notice where there is an extra lump.

Do keep in mind that female hamsters have teats along their bellies, and the male Syrians have very large testicles hanging around their tail.

Aside from all of this, there are more subtle signs your hamster has a tumor. They don’t necessarily mean there is a tumor present, since they can also indicate other health issues. But here are the most common ones:

  • Low appetite
  • Abnormal droppings – no droppings, bloody droppings, diarrhea (but not necessarily wet tail)
  • Increased thirst (especially for adrenal gland tumors)
  • Lethargy, low energy
  • Huddling in a corner, hiding more often and not coming out too fast
  • Possibly falling over, poor direction (if tumor is affecting inner ear)
  • Weight gain or loss, despite feeding the hamster the same amount (also adrenal gland tumor)
  • Abnormal grooming – much less grooming because the hamster is depleted of energy, or much more grooming since the hamster is licking at the tumor (skin-level)
  • Irritated, grumpy disposition
  • Fur loss, usually in patches

If you see these signs, make sure to tell your veterinarian about this. It’s important for him to know everything that has changed with your hamster friend.

Treating your hamster’s tumor

The first step is to set up an appointment with your veterinarian. You’ll want to look for an vet who has experience with small animals, or even better a vet labeled as ”exotic”. These vets have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will have more knowledge on hamsters than a regular veterinarian.

Once you’ve reached your vet’s office, he will look at your hamster and turn him over to see any lumps. There might be an ultra-sound exam too, to see if there are tumors on the inside.

If the vet does find a tumor, and it’s easy to access, he will inspect it closely. He might take a sample of the tumor, which means an actual piece (very tiny) of the skin there. This will show him the structure of the cells, and whether they’re malignant or benign.

According to what the vet will find out about the hamster, and also the location of the tumor, he will set a diagnostic. Once you know that, you can decide together on a treatment for your hamster.

This can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few days, depending on the situation.

Common treatments for the hamster’s tumor

Usually the treatment for a tumor is to remove it. If the tumor is on the outside, like a growth on the hamster’s leg or back, it will be easy to remove. The vet himself might perform the surgery, or he might enlist a surgeon’s help.

However if the tumor is inside the hamster, for example on his kidneys, it is much harder to treat. It can still be removed, but there are a few considerations to take.

The first is whether the hamster, small as he is, will survive the anaesthesia and the ensuing surgery, with all the blood loss.

The second is that the risks associated with surgery on a very small animal usually are very high, which might mean the hamster would have to be put down. This is only if the tumor is hindering the hamster’s life quality.

Deciding to put down the hammy is not easy, and should be thought about very well. You need to take into account whether the hamster can live the rest of his normal life with this tumor.

If it’s the kind of tumor that will spread and grow, then it will slowly eat the poor creature from the inside out. This is a case where putting the hamster to sleep would be the most compassionate and human treatment.

However if the tumor is fairly small, does not grow in time, but is on the inside and can’t be removed without putting the hammy at risk, this is probably a case where the vet would advise letting the hamster live his life.

There is a third option, which involves chemo therapy. As you know from humans that went through such a treatment, chemo is very rough. Many humans do not survive this. Imagine a small, weakened hamster going through it.

You could try, however, and see how the hammy responds. Make sure you talk to your vet about all the options you’ve got, and see which you think is best.

(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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Caring for the hamster after surgery

If the tumor can be safely removed, them this means your hamster will go through surgery. After he wakes up from his anaesthesia the vet will probably keep him for a day or two, for further observations.

Once you can pick up your hamster, you will also get a set of guidelines from your vet. He will let you know exactly how to care for the hamster, as well as many post-op medications he needs to take.

Do keep in mind that a hamster out of surgery will have the scar still a bit red and swollen in the first few days. That’s normal until the wound heals.

However make sure to check the scar daily, to see if there is an infection. Sometimes, depending on the conditions the hamster is in after the surgery, an infection might occur. This will be noticeable by continued swelling, and pus.

The wound will not close properly and will ooze a white-yellow liquid, and might smell bad as well. If this is the case, rush your hamster friend to the vet immediately.

Also keep in mind that a hamster who was just under surgery will probably not want to be handled for a few days. He is tired, and sore, and he will possibly try to reach the scar to lick at it and clean it. So resist the temptation to pick up your hamster the first few days after the surgery.

As always, the room he lives in must be warm enough, not drafty, and he must be separated from cage mates during his recovery.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies don’t normally get sick, but when we do we need your help. A tumor is definitely something we can’t figure out on our own.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.

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Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. 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All About Hamster Diabetes – Symptoms, Prevention, And Care
All About Hamster Diabetes – Symptoms, Prevention, And CareAny hamster owner is worried their hammy might get sick. The two main worries are diabetes, and wet tail, and today we’re discussing diabetes in hamsters. How to know if your hammy has diabetes, how to care for a diabetic hamster, symptoms to look out for, and which hamsters are most vulnerable. Let’s get into it. Table of Contents ToggleWhat is diabetes in hamsters ?Preventing your hamster from developing diabetesGenetic predisposition – some hamster breeds are vulnerableYour hamster’s diet and exercise can make things worseA word on sugar and carb in your hammy’s dietSigns of diabetes in your little hamsterFrequent urinationDehydrationIncreased thirstShould your give a dehydrated diabetic hamster Pedialyte ?Change in appetiteDramatic weight gain or lossYellow, thick nailsTesting your hamster for diabetesTreatment and care for a diabetic hamsterA word from Teddy What is diabetes in hamsters ? Diabetes (in a simplified version) is an illness that keeps the blood sugar very high. Usually the pancreas deals with this, and it must produce insulin. Insulin is needed to regulate how well the body manages its sugar levels. Sometimes the body becomes immune to insulin, or it produces too little insulin. This is where insulin shots come in. In very broad terms, and simplified, this is what diabetes is. When it comes to hamsters, this is a dangerous illness to have since they are so very small, and caring for them isn’t as easy as with a human. They might require insulin shots too, and will need regular testing in order to monitor their levels. Please remember: Your best option is to seek out a veterinarian who will be able to diagnose your hamster properly. Do not diagnose or treat your hamster’s condition without consulting with a medical professional beforehand. Now let’s talk a bit about what your can do to prevent diabetes in your little friend, and which hammies are at risk. Preventing your hamster from developing diabetes No hamster is born directly diabetic. True, a hammy can have the genetic makeup that makes diabetes easier to happen. But born diabetic, no. This means diabetes can be prevented, for the most part. A hamster can still get this illness even if you do prevent it as best you can, if it’s one of the breeds at risk. Still, you can rest assured that by trying to prevent it you’ve delayed the onset. Now let’s see which hammies are at risk, and why that is. Genetic predisposition – some hamster breeds are vulnerable If you’ve got a Dwarf hammy, then it’s very possible you’re going to have a diabetic hamster later on. Not all Dwarf hamsters will develop diabetes. But all Dwarf hamsters can develop it, they have the  genetic makeup that makes it easier. As for Syrians, they don’t have this predisposition. They can develop diabetes too, but not as easily as the Dwarf types. For Syrians there needs to be a very high carb, high fat diet and very little exercise for diabetes to set in. Syrians have the misfortune of getting wet-tail easier, so if you’ve got a Syrian like me, you should check out this article on wet-tail and how to help your hammy. If you’re not very sure which hamster breed you’ve got, here’s a guide on figuring that out. Your hamster’s diet and exercise can make things worse Aside from the breed, which makes your hamster prone to either diabetes of wet-tail, there is also the influence of food and exercise. Exercise will help your diabetic hamster burn off the excess fat that likely developed, and use up the blood sugar. This will make the impact of diabetes on your hamster’s live lower, and his life easier. Regular, simple exercise like a running wheel can be enough. If your hamster’s gotten lazy, or just isn’t a running hamster, you can place him in an exercise ball.  Never keep him there more than 30 minutes at a time, though, since he will need water and a bathroom break. If your hamster’s already diabetic, he will pee every 15-20 minutes, so keep him in the ball much less. Alright, now onto the food. This is a major player in your hamster’s condition. A diabetic (or diabetes-prone) hamster eating high carb, high fat foods will have a terrible time. This means most fruits are of limits for diabetic hamsters, and even the Dwarf types that aren’t diabetic yet. You can find out more about the fruits that are safe for hamsters to eat here. Of that list, berries/forest fruits, apples, pears, are the safest bet for a Dwarf. Always in very small pieces (half an inch/ 1 cm), and only rarely (once per week or less often). A word on sugar and carb in your hammy’s diet Do not remove sugar completely from the hamster’s diet. That will send your hammy into a hypoglycemic shock, and be another problem of its own. Instead, only allow a small amount of sugars. This means that you need to check out the label on your hamster’s food mix. If it’s got any kind of sugars – cane sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, agave, honey, fructose, dextrose, those pieces need to be picked out of your hammy’s feed. The problem is not with just sugar. Yes, sugar and overly sweet foods will make your hamster’s diabetes worse. But, the problem is bigger than this. You see, when the hamster eats, his body breaks down all the food into sugars. Sugary foods produce more sugars, and high-carb foods produce more sugars as well. This is by comparison with protein meats, or veggies. So keeping chocolate away from your hamster is good, but giving him a slice of italian bread is just as bad. A bit exaggerated, but you get the idea. High-carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, maize, corn, are all foods that should be kept away from your hamster since they will produce almost the same effect as giving your hamster a slice of sweet, sticky banana. It might sound like your hamster’s got nothing left to eat, but he does. Check out this handy guide on what is safe and unsafe for hamsters to eat, and you’ll see the foods that are still on the list, even for diabetic hamsters. Signs of diabetes in your little hamster Alright, now that you know what you can do to prevent your hamster from getting diabetes, let’s see the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters. There are several signs, and please remember that you can’t take into account just one sign or another. Diagnosis is really more complex than this, and some symptoms may not even show up, even if the hamster is diabetic. Again, the best bet is to get your hamster friend to a veterinarian who will diagnose him correctly. A vet that can help you is going to be an ”exotics” vet. They have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds in general. Onto the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters: Frequent urination A hamster with diabetes will urinate much more often than a hamster without diabetes. This means as often as every 15 minutes, for example. You’ll notice your hamster is peeing more often if you actually see him. He usually goes in his corner – he has just one corner – rolls back his little tail, and just wees. He will be immobile, and look like he’s staring into space for a couple of seconds. Another sign, if you’ve never caught your hamster peeing, is that his corner will be wet much more often. Pretty much always wet, and smelling fairly sweet and pungent. Think nail polish remover. (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.) Dehydration The easiest and clearest way to find out if your hamster is dehydrated, is to scruff the hamster by the back of the neck. It won’t hurt the hamster if done properly. Hold the hamster gently, but with a good enough grip that he won’t jump away. Then, right on the back of the hamster’s neck, you can use your fingers to pinch/pull at the skin a bit. Let go of the skin immediately, and you should see it sliding back into place. If it takes more than a second to spring back, your hamster is dehydrated. The hammy’s skin has lost it’s collagen and doesn’t arrange itself back into position as fast. You might even notice the skin is slightly raised where you picked it. The longer the skin takes to get back in place the more severe the dehydration. Increased thirst Along with dehydration comes increased thirst. Ironic, but the problem is not the water intake. But the regulation of how the electrolytes are being used by the hamster’s body. This can be noticed by your hamster drinking water much faster and often than usual. A healthy hamster consumes about 10 ml water/100 gr hamster per day. That’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. You can find out more about hamsters and their water requirements here, and how to give your hamster water the right way. That being said, a diabetic hamster will consume much more water than that, getting to even 3-4 times the amount of water. However he will be dehydrated still, since his body isn’t functioning properly. Should your give a dehydrated diabetic hamster Pedialyte ? This is something I’ve heard about, and did some googling to find people who have experience with this. As it happens, I did find the answer for this on thepipsqueakery.org. You can read their full blog post here. They also have experience with giving hamsters insulin shots, so you might want to check their article for that too. About the Pedialyte, the clear answer is no, you should no give it to a dehydrated diabetic hamster. This is because Pedialyte is a mix of water, sugar, and salt. The sugar will not help the diabetes, even if it does bring back some electrolytes. It may seem like it’s helping, but it’s actually make things worse. Change in appetite Another symptom is a sudden change in your hamster’s appetite. It may be that your hamster will eat much more, or much less. It varies from hamster to hamster. But there is a clear difference between a diabetic hamster, and a healthy one. 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. So if your hamster is going through his food, and his food stash as well, quicker than you can feed him in a day, this is something to worry about. Dramatic weight gain or loss As a result of a sudden change of appetite, and also dehydration, your hamster will have a very different weight. He might gain weight, or drop a lot of weight. You can use a kitchen scale that measure in exact grams or ounces and track your hamster’s daily progress. Place the hamster in a cup he can’t climb out of, and use that do weight him on the kitchen scale. Of course, take the weight of the cup into account. Yellow, thick nails Not all thick yellow nails mean your hamster’s got diabetes. But it can be a sign, and is worth noting. Testing your hamster for diabetes Of course, you can test your hamster’s sugar levels at home too. You can test your hamster’s glucose and ketone levels with ketone test trips. Your veterinarian will do the same in his lab, with urine samples from your diabetic hamster. But, if you want to monitor your hamster’s progress and see how his treatment is coming along, then you can also use these strips at home. This particular box will last for several months, since you do not need to check the hamster’s urine daily. Do keep in mind that these test strips are not meant just for diabetics, but can also be used by them to monitor their health. Remember that the glucose levels aren’t always normal. They can sometimes be off, due to an infection for example. So it’s important that you consult with your veterinarian as well the first few times you use these strips, to know how to best read them. There are manufacturer’s indications yes, but your vet is the best person to ask about this. Treatment and care for a diabetic hamster Part of caring for the diabetic hamster includes changing the diet and exercise routine like we’ve discussed before. Another part is the treatment. There are treatments that can be successful, but it depends on how well the hamster responds to them, and what the veterinarian will recommend. Treatment with fenugreek is a common way of helping hamsters with diabetes, but the dosage is harder to be exact with. Fenugreek has been used as a healing plant for centuries, and often in diabetes treatment. It’s not  a definite cure, but might be an option. Another option your vet might present you with is Glipidize tablets to mix into the hamster’s food or drink. It’s basically going to make the hamster’s pancreas produce more insulin. So shots are out of the question here. And finally, insulin shots for a diabetic hamster are what your mind probably first wandered to. Honestly, they were my first guess too, given how humans are usually treated. The thing about insulin shots is that they need to constantly be adjusted to how well the hamster’s responding to other treatments, the new diet, the urine needs frequent measurements and so on. So it’s not a great idea to do this without a vet’s help, or if you’re not a vet at all. A trained professional will know how to dose the amount according to the hamster’s size and resistance to insulin. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick sometimes, and we rely on you for help. Diabetic hammies can lead normal lives, but we need some treatment. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out more about how to keep up happy and safe. [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To Do
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To DoHamsters escaping are never good news . So the best thing to do is to prevent your hamster from escaping in the first place. But for that, we need to figure out why hamsters try to escape in the first place. This is what I’ve done with my Teddy, and how it can help you too. This can be applied for all hamster types, and I’ll tell you where things need to be different for each of them. Table of Contents ToggleSo why does your hamster try to escape ?Hamsters are very curious and want to exploreMost hamsters are very active and will be all over the placeHamsters need more space than you’d thinkA scared hamster will try to escapeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster try to escape ? Some hamsters adapt to their home, some don’t. But generally hamsters try to escape when they don’t feel comfortable in their home. If they feel threatened, or like they don’t have enough space, or if they’re constantly tormented by kids or other pets. Since hamsters are very quiet creatures, easy to scare, they can get uneasy in their homes. So make sure that any other pets in the house leave the hamster alone, by separating the hamster in a different room. If it’s the children who are always on the hamster when it would need rest, or they keep scaring the hamster, that is an entire talk you need to have with them, that I am not entitled to guide here. But the children need to give the small animal his own space, and understand that it won’t always want to play. Alright, now let’s talk about some common reasons that your hamster could be trying to escape, and how to prevent those. Hamsters are very curious and want to explore Despite being easy to scare and sometimes too shy, hamsters are curious. They want to know everything that goes on, and will pop their heads out to see see what you’re doing. So sometimes you might see your hammy all over the place, climbing the cage walls as well, to try to get to what is happening. Sometimes he might chew the bars in frustration that he can’t get to it. If that is the case, make sure you give the hamster plenty of attention. If it’s suitable, then you can bring the action to the hamster. Like if you’re chopping carrots, you can give him a fresh new piece to sate him and his curiosity. An example is when I make evening tea. I usually set the mug on the kitchen counter, which is where I keep Teddy at night. He’s always curious what I have there, and I bring the mug close to him so he can smell the tea. Once he gets a few whiffs he figures it’s not that interesting and starts doing something else. Or when you notice your hamster very focused on trying to reach something outside the cage, distract him with a treat on the other side of the cage. Also remove the distraction, or move the cage. Most hamsters are very active and will be all over the place Sometimes it might seem like he’s trying to escape, but he’s just being a hamster. Rodents in general, and especially hamsters, live a very fast-paced life. They climb their cage, they run around, they will chew on everything. So it’s not something that you should worry about, but it is something you should keep an eye on. Make sure your hamster has enough toys to keep him entertained – like bendy bridge, a hide and seek tube, lots of hiding places. And most importantly make sure you keep your hamster well exercised. That means a hamster wheel, for him to run in. The minimum for Syrian hamsters is 9 inches/23 cm diameter wheel. The smaller breeds like Siberian o Campbell can do with smaller wheels like 6-7 inches/15-18 cm but I recommend getting them a larger wheel as well. This is to prevent back injuries and keep the hamster from feeling too confined. A few things to keep in mind when looking for the hamster’s exercise wheel can be found here. Also, an exercise ball for when he is outside the cage will help greatly. Your hamster can explore the house, and will learn the smells and sounds of it as well. As well as run as much as his heart tells him to. Just be sure to keep the ball away from other pets when the hamster is inside. A few considerations for a hamster exercise ball can be found here. For exercise balls the same space requirements apply as the exercise wheel. Hamsters need more space than you’d think The cage your hamster lives in needs to be a certain size. The absolute minimum for Syrian hamsters is 24 inches by 12 inches in floor space. That’s 61 cm by 30.5 cm for your hamster to run in. But I do recommend getting a cage with more space than that. Siberian and other small breeds of hamsters far well in smaller cages than Syrians, but with hamsters you should always get a bigger cage than you’d first think. (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.) Keep in mind that most of the cages you find in stores are too small for Syrians, and the accessories that come with them are too small as well. The best cages for Syrians are actually the ones that are suited for ferrets or chinchillas or guinea pigs. But there the space between bars is a problem because the Syrian can escape through them. Giving your hamster a lot of space to run around and play is going to keep him much happier, and he will want to escape much less. In general hamsters need a wide and low cage, instead of one with many levels, but they can enjoy those too. The distance between the cage wires is important, since the hamster can squeeze through them. If they can get their head through, they can get their body through as well. So for Syrians the wire distance should be 0.4 inches/1 cm or smaller, so they can’t get their head through. Siberians and smaller breeds need much less space between the wires. Actually, for the small breeds it’s best to get n glass tank with a wire mesh over the top. My Teddy has a 21 inch by 12/53 cm by 30.5 with 2 extra floors, which give him about double that running space. He has bridges connecting the floors and a thick layer of bedding in case he falls. If your want to know more about what kind of cage to get your hammy, look here to know how to choose a hamster cage. I cover the 3 main types of cage, as well as how to clean the 3 kinds of cages. A scared hamster will try to escape If there is something bothering or even scaring your hamster consistently, he will try to escape. He will try to run as far away as possible, and will keep escaping if you bring him back. This is a case where cage size and temperature and food quality does not matter. So watch your hamster for a few days, and see what keeps spooking him. Pets, kids, lawnmowers, visiting aunts, it could be anything. Find the reason, and figure out a way to keep your hamster safe. An idea would be to keep the hamster in a different room, where nothing can bother him and he can sleep peacefully. This way pets like a very curious cat won’t be able to paw at the poor hamster. If the hamster is scared of you, the owner, then you need to build trust with him. Let him get used to you, let him know your smell, and do not rush him. Check the article on how to tame your hamster. Place your hand into his cage, with a treat on it. He will come to take the food, but possibly run away after that. It’s okay, it’s a step forward. Repeat this every day until your hamster trusts you to touch your hand. From there, small steps towards holding your hamster in your hand, inside the cage. Talk to your hamster, even if he doesn’t understand the words he understands the tone. He knows a friendly tone from a harsh one. A word from Teddy This was about why we hammies try to escape, but really it’s about how you can help us lead a better life with you. A happy hamster might try to escape sometimes, since we are a curious and energetic bunch. But if you keep us well exercised, and with lots of toys and love, we’ll stick around. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we throw our poop around or the best way to feed us, check the articles below. You’ll get lots of great info on hamster care ! [...] Read more...
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents ToggleHow often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well.  Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment. [...] Read more...
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters Warm
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters WarmMuch like humans, the hamster’s immune system is suppressed if they get too cold. This makes them more vulnerable to virus or bacterial infections, and you might put them at risk of having hypothermia if you have a very young or old hamster. Sometimes, hamster owners allow themselves to be tricked by the fur coat of their hamsters into believing that they can warm themselves. But this is far from the fact as these animals are not even that effective at abrupt decreases in temperature adjustment. Table of Contents Toggle1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter2. Improve hamsters diet3. Provide extra bedding and substrates4. Don’t open doors frequently5. Exercise with your hamster 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage8. Use a space heater9. Heating pads for cages10. Prevent hibernation11. Keeping hamster cage warm12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home13. Take care of the water bottle14. Water bags and covers for warmth15. Monitor hamsters behavior  1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter For starters, it is very important to know that most hamsters usually hibernate to spend the winter better. Hibernation is a condition characterized by drowsiness, marked decrease in body temperature, metabolic rate, and at the same time reduces the intensity of vital signs. You should try to keep the ambient temperature of your home above 60 degrees Fahrenheit in moments of winter. Besides, you need to feed the hamster the appropriate daily doses to stay strong and healthy. But in cold weather, it will not be enough to maintain low temperatures without risk. If you notice that its body begins to stiffen from the cold and even trembling, it is advisable to start caressing it gently to warm it up and wake it from that state of drowsiness in which it will enter. 2. Improve hamsters diet Try to give very tasty food with a high percentage of fat and protein, because in these times it is necessary to gradually warm-up. You should make him drink, add a little sugar to the water and give him a drink. Your hamster’s diet is the most important thing that you can do to avoid hibernation. The diet plays a critical role in the life and health of your hamster. If you do not supply it with enough nutrients, it will hibernate. Add fattening food to its diet. Feed it with avocado, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. This diet in your pet will accumulate more fats and keep it healthy. Hamsters come from dusty, arid, temperate areas like Syria and Greece, so they are used to being warm and relaxed. If the temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster can become lethargic. And, if the temperature begins to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster might be dead and collapse into hibernation mode. 3. Provide extra bedding and substrates During the winter, use extra bedding to keep your hamster warm. Many hamsters like to pull the material of bedding to create a nest. The only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters is Aspen. For odor control as well, Aspen is a great, affordable choice. Aspen, however, appears to cling to the fur of some hamster species, especially long-haired Syrian hamsters, but it does not harm them in any way. Make sure you have plenty of substrates laid down for them to burrow and make nests in. This is one of their favorite things to do and a natural way for them to cover themselves from the cold. A dense four-to-five-inch coating is going to be very beneficial for them. If he pulls lots of his bedding into his hideout, it’s one way to know that your hammy is cold. Even if they have plenty of nesting material in their hideout, hamsters can do this normally. Usually, people bring warm fabric in the bedding to make it easier for the hamster to get snug and comfortable. But you can also use other materials, such as chips made of hemp wood. The positive thing about using hemp wood is that it doesn’t have any dust and still looks fine. Hemp wood is also known to provide hamsters with a more natural environment. 4. Don’t open doors frequently It is common in the winter for your hamster to become more lethargic. This is because, to stay warm, they conserve their energy levels, opting to remain in bed for longer. However, if, due to intense coldness, your hamster falls unconscious or goes into hibernation mode, then this is life-threatening and you should urgently seek veterinary assistance. You should keep the doors of your home from opening and closing regularly. Often, strive to stop having the cage of your Hamster next to your house’s main entrance. Constant door opening and closing will lead to cold air coming into your home. This will trigger a sudden decrease in the temperature inside your house. Also, keep the windows closed of the space in which your hamster is situated. Particularly at night, when the temperature is much lower. 5. Exercise with your hamster  Hamsters need to work out to keep themselves fit and safe, even on cold days. It is recommended that their floor time on these days is increased. Let them out with closed drafts and ventilation in an open and spacious room. Do this for at least 60 minutes per day, if possible. In hamsters, lack of exercise will lead to different health problems. It may leave the hamster obese as well. Another symptom is when your hamster gets lethargic and also loses his appetite. By sleeping even more, he might be trying to save body heat and energy, so you may see him less frequently. Your hamster could physically shiver and shake in intense cold. 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room You need to keep the cage away from the window and ventilation sources to prevent the hamster from getting cold. Your hamster can feel the temperature even though the windows are closed and sense it lowering bit by bit. The window areas are colder than any other place in the room. 7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage It’ll be safer if you pick a cozy corner of your room or some corner of the house when you decide the location where you can put the cage. This will make sure that the hamster does not feel very cold and will not hide inside the bedding. You can think about having thicker curtains for the window areas to fix the window issue. This will keep the area insulated, and inside the room, the curtains will retain the heat. In addition to this, you can also put rolled-up towels on the window sills, as cold air can enter through those sills. The best source of heat is the sunshine. Everybody requires sunshine in winter. For all living beings to keep themselves safe, sunlight is an excellent source. It is a perfect source of vitamin D, and it also has many health advantages. 8. Use a space heater Also, you could think about buying a space heater. It would shield the hamsters from the cold and keep the room heated all day by setting up a space heater. But make sure that the room doesn’t overheat, or you will harm the hamster. Also, don’t place the heater right next to the cage, especially if you own a metal cage. If you can’t afford to use a space heater, think about borrowing or renting one. If you can’t do that either, try to program your heating system to turn on more frequently than usual. This will keep the temperature of the room comfortable for the hamster. 9. Heating pads for cages Heat pads are a smart option for keeping your hamster safe as well. Various forms of heat pads can be found online and in pet shops as well. They come in different types and shapes, and for a long time, they can keep your hamster safe. The heat pads can be warmed up in a microwave and you can then position them under the cage. But note to use the heat pad sparingly, or the hamster’s normal immune system will suffer. Move the hamster’s cage away from drafty walls, doors, and spaces. Your hamster’s home is instantly on its way to heating up by getting cool air out of the equation. Simply pushing his cage away from a drafty window won’t make a huge difference if you keep him in the same room where the cool air is circulating. Move the hamster to a room that has better insulation and warmer air circulation, instead. 10. Prevent hibernation The biggest threat of keeping a hamster in a cold room is hibernation. There is no time or warning for a pet hamster located in a very cold room. He’s going to have to act fast to slip into a kind of slumber that can’t only keep him safe for a long time, but it’s going to dehydrate him as well. That slumber is a potentially hypothermic shock in serious situations, which can be fatal. There are a few steps you can do if you notice that the hamster is slipping into hibernation. Try to use body heat. Take the hamster and place it in your hands. Pat and rub the hamster to warm it up. Hold it for at least 30 minutes and make sure it changes behavior or looks more alert. If that doesn’t work, heat it with a bottle of hot water. Wrap the hamster in a towel with a bottle filled with hot water. The hamster should not be in direct contact with the bottle and should not overheat. This will help warm his body and get him out of hibernation. Give warm milk to the hamster. As soon as the hamster starts to be more alert, even a little, try giving him warm milk with a dropper. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave, but test first to make sure it’s not too hot. If you want, give clean water, water with sugar, or a drink with electrolytes, like the one’s athletes use to rehydrate, using a dropper. Anything you can do to make him drink water is a good idea. Rehydration helps the hamster to come out of hibernation. 11. Keeping hamster cage warm Layer the underside of your hamster’s cage with a thick blanket. Not only would the blanket be protecting the bottom of the enclosure, but it will also trap heat inside it. However, if your room is hovering about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, an insulating blanket will not fix the dilemma, so the amount of cold will only be minimized. But, if the hamster requires only a little more warmth, it is an acceptable low-cost and low-maintenance approach. You will need to keep the cage relatively close to the artificial heat source inside your home. In the coldest moments, you should touch it often to make sure it has not entered hibernation. If you feel his body cold and breathing slowly, he may be preparing for hibernation. 12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home Hamsters enjoy hiding places, as it allows them to control their body temperature and stay warm. Only by taking the appropriate precautions, you can plan hideouts at your home for your hamsters. To make an opening, carve a narrow opening out of a cardboard box. Be sure you do not leave any rough edges, or you could injure the hamsters. Your hamster will take advantage of this spot to relax. Keep some hay in the box (preferably timothy hay) so that there is plenty for the hamsters to chew on. Consider buying a hiding home for a hamster to put in the cage. This tiny home will provide an extra layer of protection for the hamster. They are usually made of wood, which is the best-known insulator in the world. To hold the cold out, you might even think about buying an igloo for hamsters. The hamster will hide and snug for as long as they want in the closed space. A well-insulated nest box made of wood, ceramic, or thick plastic provides a protected place for your hamster to sleep. Make sure the nest box is put in a stable position where it will not be overturned by your hamster to have it collapse on them. Every hamster cage has a water bottle attached to it. You need to take care of the water bottle as well. If the hamster has a hiding spot in the cage, where it snuggles up, you might want to move the bottle near that spot. If the hamster is too cold, it might not get up to hydrate. 13. Take care of the water bottle Also, water bottles sometimes freeze on cold days. It will leave your hamster dehydrated if not taken care of. To keep it from freezing, you can cover the water bottle with a towel or a small cover. The water bottle tip can get frozen as the mercury level decreases, reducing the water flow. You should check the tip of the bottle if the temperature is too cold by tapping it every few hours. It is also recommended that both the water bottle and the water bowl be used on cold days. If you want to extremely ensure the hamster’s warmth during winter, opt for a glass cage. In cold weather, glass cages are better insulators than metal and wired cages. A glass cage does not require extra covers or heating pads, putting enough bedding will be enough. 14. Water bags and covers for warmth You can keep hamsters’ cage warm by putting a warm water bag on top of their cage. You can even put the water bag inside, choosing one corner of the enclosure. Before using it, cover the water bag with a thick cloth or towel. Do not use it without a towel or cloth and make sure the water bag is not leaking. If your hamster doesn’t have a wheel in its cage, make sure that he is supplied with one during winter. Running on the wheel is the hamster’s favorite activity. During cold days, physical activity will generate heat and keep it warm. Put warm covers on the cage. The cover will help insulate the temperature and protect the hamster from the cold. See if your pet has enough coverage to prevent hibernation. If it starts to get cold fast, put more covers on to prevent this from happening, but make sure to leave openings, so the fresh air can still circulate through the cage. 15. Monitor hamsters behavior  Finally, the hamster’s behavior in winter should be carefully monitored. Pay more attention to the hamster’s behavior and whether he is warm during the colder months. You can put more coverage in his cage or give him food that is richer in fat than is normal. Take care of your pet to be safe and alert during the cold season. Hamsters can, like people, catch a cold. They will have a runny nose and will probably sneeze. You will notice the change in its fur as well. It will become matted and ruffled. If he is hot to touch, it means that his body temperature is high and he will usually have low energy, and loss of appetite.    [...] Read more...