Hamsters are rodent pets that are gaining popularity in many families. They are easy to maintain as they do not require a lot of care from their owners.
A good diet, regular exercise, and clean living space are all they mainly require to thrive. Sometimes though, there could be a stench coming from their cages.
One can be at a fix on whether it’s the cage or the hamster with the smell and if it’s produced because they are dirty.
Whether you just got your pet hamster or you are thinking of getting one but are curious to know whether the pets are dirty or not, read on to find out more.
Are hamsters dirty?
Hamsters are not dirty pets. This is because they groom themselves often and try to keep their cages tidy making them clean animals. They enjoy having separate spaces for eating, playing, and going to the bathroom. You can help them keep up their tidiness by grooming them, giving them sand baths, and cleaning their cages often.
How often do hamsters groom themselves?
Hamsters are self-groomers and you will notice them grooming themselves regularly. They will use their tongues and paws to keep their fur as neat as possible.
They will also clean up after you touch or hold them to get rid of your scent just like cats. They will do this by spreading their scent all over their fur.
How to help keep your hamster clean?
Your hamster does a good job of keeping themselves clean. However, you will have to do the rest of the part to ensure that your pet remains healthy and tidy.
There are some things that you can do like:
Grooming them often
Hamsters can be either long-haired or short-haired. The long-haired breed requires grooming more often compared to the short-haired one.
This is because of their long hair which collects dirt from the ground and easily gets into contact with waste. Their hair needs brushing several times a week and regular trimming as it gets longer to prevent it from being unmanageable.
Generally, hamsters need to have their hair brushed every week. You can check the condition of their skin as you groom them to check for mites and fleas. You could either use a specially made brush for that or a simple toothbrush.
Brush gently in the direction of hair growth. This helps you get rid of tangled hair.
If you encounter any matted hair, avoid brushing it as it will be painful. Use scissors to cut it out but be careful if it’s close to the skin to avoid cutting them.
Because they can keep themselves clean, hamsters will not need any water baths unless it’s necessary. Water baths are only required in serious situations. For instance, if your pet’s hair comes into contact with something toxic like nail polish remover or bleach.
Hamsters can get ill from water baths so it’s wise to avoid them. Water baths can bring about colds, respiratory infections, or get rid of natural oils from their skin.
Instead of water baths, sand baths are recommended. Sand baths will involve the use of special sand to bathe your pet.
You can purchase the sand, like chinchilla sand or reptile sand, from pet stores. Hamsters enjoy sand baths as they are natural burrowers and they originally lived in deserts where they hid under the sand when the temperatures became too hot.
Instead of offering a sand bath once in a while, you can put a permanent sand bowl in your pet’s cage. Make sure that it’s pure sand with no impurities.
Your pet may use the sand bowl as a litter box so be sure to scoop out any droppings in the sand whenever you spot them. You should also change the sand regularly to keep them from getting sick.
Clean their cages
Your pet cannot maintain their cleanliness if you do not wash their living areas. Their cages should be regularly cleaned up to keep them neat and avoid odors.
The cage should be spot cleaned daily. Because hamsters tend to have one toilet area, you can change the bedding in that area every day and replace it with clean bedding.
Full cleaning should be done weekly. The cage and all its accessories need to be cleaned and bedding replaced.
Why your hamster should stay in a clean cage?
There are various reasons why hamsters should have their cage cleaned regularly. They include:
- For their happiness – hamsters prefer clean environments. Keeping your pet in a dirty cage makes them stressed and unhappy.
- For better health – a dirty cage makes your pet prone to diseases like UTIs and conditions like Wet tail. Keeping them in a clean cage will prevent the infection of these diseases and keep your pet healthy.
- Prevent odors – if a hamster lives in a cage most of the time, it’s bound to begin smelling. This is because they will urinate, poop, eat, and hide their food in here. If all that mess is cleaned often, it will get rid of and prevent any odors.
Why does my hamster smell?
Sometimes you may notice that your pet is producing an unbearable stench. One thing you should always keep in mind though is that hamsters do not naturally smell.
So whatever is producing that smell is either:
Something stuck on their fur – things can get stuck on your pet’s fur making them have an odor. They could be food leftovers, urine, or poop stuck on their bottoms.
Their cage – your pet’s cage could also be the reason why they are having an odor. If there is uncleaned urine, poop, food leftovers, cage accessories, water that has been left there for long, or wet bedding, then the cage will have a stench that you will mistake for your pet stinking.
Hamsters are clean animals and they will groom themselves regularly. You should also groom them and clean their cages often.
Avoid bathing your pet as water can make them ill or dry out their fur. Instead of water baths, provide sand baths that are not only safe but also enjoyable for them to have.
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