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How to Care For a Sick Hamster

Updated on June 18, 2013

How To Care For A Sick Hamster

Sometimes hamsters can get sick. Almost everyone including a pet hamster can get sick and you need to know what to do when it happens. You should know that there are also things you can do to prevent your hamster from getting sick. Like you should make sure that your hamster stays between 60 - 80 degrees all the time. Don't bathe your hamster. Hamsters don't like water and they will keep themselves clean. You should know that hamsters catch colds easily and yes they can catch a cold from you. If you have a cold or the flu stay away from your hamster while your sick as much as possible. A flu can kill a hamster.

Find A Hamster Veterinarian Before You Need One

If your going to be keeping hamsters and other small animals you should find a vet that will work with small animals before you need one. Not all veterinarians will work with small animals like hamsters.

Prevent Sickness

Make sure that you do everything you can to prevent your hamster from getting sick. One of the big things you need to do is to make sure your hamsters cage or enclosure stays clean all the time. You need to spot clean the cage for wet spots every day and you need to thoroughly clean the hamsters cage or enclosure on a weekly basis. When you clean the cage you need to put the hamster in a safe escape proof place. A plastic hamster ball would be the perfect place.

You need to remove the old bedding and discard it. Then you need to clean everything in the cage, tank, or enclosure with warm soapy water and then you have to either let it dry or dry it with a dry towel before you put new bedding back into the hamsters home. You must keep the hamsters home clean because when they are not kept in a clean home they can develop wet tail which can be a fatal disease for your hamster. If you know or suspect that your hamster has wet tail take it to the veterinarian at once. The hamster will need a broad spectrum antibiotic if it is going to get well.

Keeping your hamsters home clean is very important. You also want to be sure that you never give your hamster chocolate, caffeine, alcohol or candy. All of these items can be harmful to your hamster.

Make Sure Children Are Careful With Hamsters

You need to be especially careful when children, especially small children handle hamsters. Even a fall of a few feet can seriously injure or kill a hamster. I suggest small children should set on the floor or on a bed when they handle the family hamster.

Wash Your Hands Well Before And After You Handle The Hamster

You need to be sure to wash your hands before you handle your hamster and after you handle it or work with its cage or tank. Use warm soapy water to wash your hands with. Because of salmonella you need to make sure all children wash their hands very well after handling a hamster or other small animal.

Watch For Signs Of Trouble With Your Hamster

If you'll keep a close eye on your hamster you can usually spot health problems before they get bad. If you for instance notice that your hamster is losing patches of skin it might have mites. If so your hamster will need to go to the veterinarian and you will need to clean its cage or tank outside thoroughly. Never use wooden shavings for your hamsters home. This is a easy way for mites to get into your hamsters home. Pine or cedar shavings and the oils they contain can be harmful to your hamster. I almost always use shredded newspaper because I can easily make more and its easy to clean it out of your hamsters cage. If you have wet clumps of bedding that are hard to clean out of your hamsters home then you are not cleaning your hamsters home often enough. If you have several dwarf hamsters together you may need to clean the hamsters home twice a week.

If your hamster is sleeping more than usual it could have a problem. Though keep in mind that as hamsters get older they will sleep longer. You should also know that all hamsters are nocturnal and all hamsters sleep in the day time and are active at night. This is a big reason to keep your hamster or hamsters in a area away from your bedroom. They can be quite noisy at night. So be sure to keep this in mind when you are picking out a location for your hamsters cage.

If your hamster stops eating then you have a problem. It may be a problem with its teeth. Always keep a mineral block and wooden chew sticks in the hamsters home. Hamsters incisor teeth continue to grow all their lives so they must have wooden chew sticks and mineral blocks to chew on so their teeth will stay healthy. If it's teeth appear to get too long take it to see the veterinarian.

If your hamster has runny eyes, a runny nose or a wet tail it must be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible or it could die. Your hamsters home must be kept super clean or it could get wet tail.

If your hamster stops grooming its self or seems irritable you may need to take it to the veterinarian and get it checked out. When you first start keeping hamsters you should look for a veterinarian that will treat small animals like hamsters. Not all will.

Hamster droppings should be rod shaped and a little hard. If the droppings are loose or runny you are probably giving your hamster too many vegetables. You should cut back on the amount you are giving. This is a great reason for keeping a journal so you can look back and see what you did for your hamster and when. Write down what you feed it and also keep a note of when it's cage has been cleaned and the bedding changed. It needs its home clean and its bedding changed at least once a week. Be sure that you keep your hamsters home clean. This is very important especially to prevent diseases like wet tail.

If your hamster has a cold you can give it a little cod liver oil on bread and it should recover quickly. If it does have a cold leave it along and allow it to rest. If its not better in 5 - 7 days it needs to go see the veterinarian. Don't wait to long if the hamster is not showing signs of getting better. In time you'll know your hamster friend well and you'll know how it should act. If it starts doing something different look for the reason. Don't put your hamsters home in full sunlight and don't put it in a drafty place. The hamster needs to stay between 60 - 80 degrees to be at its healthiest. Your hamster can get cold just like you. Its up to you to make sure the hamster stays warm and happy.

Basically you should think of your hamster as a small child and treat it like you would a small child. If you do this then your hamster will stay healthy. If you don't have a hamster ball you should buy one for your hamster real soon. They really enjoy them. Just be sure to restrict it from rolling the ball down stairs.

Do Your Own Research So You'll Know What To Do With A Sick Hamster

In the above photo is a beautiful Russian Dwarf Hamster. Do Your Own Research So You'll Know What To Do With A Sick Hamster
In the above photo is a beautiful Russian Dwarf Hamster. Do Your Own Research So You'll Know What To Do With A Sick Hamster

How To Care For A Sick Hamster

Your hamster must have a steady supply of fresh chlorine free water in order to stay healthy and not become constipated. If your hamster does seem to be constipated give it some shredded carrots or greens. Be sure to wash any vegetables you give to your hamster under cold running water. The best thing you can do is to use a gravity water bottle so your hamster can drink water when ever it wants to. And be sure to keep the water bottle full. About once a week wash the water bottle with warm soapy water and be sure you get it clean before you fill it back up with bottled water.

Be sure that your doing all of the preventive health tips above or you could be endangering the health of your hamster. Preventive health measures will keep your hamster healthy. Remember you need to take washing your hands before and after handling or working with your hamsters seriously. Germs on your hands can easily get passed onto your hamster and make it sick. So yes take washing your hands seriously.

Don't try to keep your hamster in too small of a cage or enclosure. A ten gallon tank is good for one hamster while 2-4 dwarf hamsters will need at least a twenty gallon tank. If you use a tank you need to use the kind of top that fastens down so the hamsters inside can't push it up and escape. You also need a wire chew proof top so the hamsters can't chew through it and escape out into your house.

Even with the best of care your hamster could still get sick. If it does know of a good veterinarian ahead of time that will be willing to see your hamster and try to treat its problems.

Warning About Wet Tail In A Hamster

You must keep your hamsters home super clean in order to prevent wet tail. This means you must clean up any dirty or wet spots daily and you must thoroughly clean your hamsters home once a week or more especially if for instance you have several dwarf hamsters living together. If you think a hamster has wet tail get it to a veterinarian that day. The hamster must be treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic if you hope to save its life.

If your hamsters home has any dirty smell at all it must be cleaned. Hamsters by nature are very clean animals that are constantly grooming themselves. You must do your part to make sure your hamsters home stays clean so it won't come down with any illness.

Cages, Tanks, And Enclosures

If you use a wire cage the wires must be close enough together so the smallest hamster can not get out through the wire. Unless you have experience with hamsters you may not believe how small of a hole they can get through. And once the hamster is out in your house you'll have a hard to almost impossible time catching it back.

Thinking Of Getting A Hamster As A Friend And Pet

If you are then you need to continue to do research all the time and learn everything you can about your hamster and it's particular breed. Never stop doing research and learning more about your hamster or its particular breed. And I suggest you keep a journal and make careful notes about your hamster that you can refer back to later.

Thanks For Reading My Hub Page On , How To Care For A Sick Hamster

I hope you found the information helpful and I hope if your hamster is sick that it gets well real soon. I want to thank you for reading my Hub Page and I hope it helped you with your hamster problem. Feel free to leave your tips, comment, or suggestion below and thanks again for reading. It is appreciated.

Black Teddy Bear Hamster. Isn't He Beautiful? In Case You Don't Know The Black Teddy Bear Hamster Is A Color Phase Of Syrian Hamster.
Black Teddy Bear Hamster. Isn't He Beautiful? In Case You Don't Know The Black Teddy Bear Hamster Is A Color Phase Of Syrian Hamster.

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I rescued a dwarf ham from a little girl who wasn't taking care of it. I would feed and water it every time I came over; it was always out of water! When I adopted her she trusted me right away. I put her down on the lawn; she ran right up to a dead insect and ate it! That night as I was getting to sleep, I heard a scratching by my head - there she was! I put her back in her cage & saw that I had left the door unlocked. I went back to bed - scratch, scratch again there she was by my head! "oh,my good girl!" I saw that this time some of the bars were bent too far apart so I fixed it. What a smart girl!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My hamster can't move from its waist down


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