Many pets are susceptible to gaining unhealthy weight which leads to them being obese. This is because owners may be feeding them the wrong diet without exercising them.
Another reason is usually that pet owners don’t know that their pets are obese because they will seem healthy. Obesity is a risk factor to animal health just as it is to human health.
Hamsters are adorable pets that are quite tiny. If you are wondering whether they can gain unhealthy weight too, keep reading to find out.
Can hamsters be fat?
Hamsters can be fat although it may be hard to know if your pet is fat or not. Their chubby looking shape can make them appear fat even if they are not. Different hamster species will have different weight ideals because some have bigger bodies than others. You should compare your specific hamster’s weight with their species’ recommended weight to know if they are fat or not. In most cases, females are bigger than males.
How to weigh your hamster
If your pet is gaining weight, sometimes you can notice it without having to weigh them. They may look bigger on other parts of their bodies apart from their cheeks.
They could also feel heavier when you lift them. To ascertain these observations though, weighing is recommended.
Weighing your pet at home is more convenient than going to the vet every time for them to be weighed. A food scale can do the job just fine.
Being very active, however, weighing hamsters can be a challenge because your pet cannot simply stand still on the machine.
Distract them with a treat as you weigh them or put them in a light container and place it on the scale. You can subtract the weight of the container after measuring.
You should measure your pet’s weight regularly. Once a month is okay and make sure that you keep records of each.
Keep track of the measurements to notice any fluctuations. If the weight seems to increase, that’s a cause for concern.
You should consult your vet so that they may check what the matter could be.
Is my hamster fat or just healthy?
Sometimes it can be hard to know if your pet is fat or just healthy. Their faces usually have pockets used for storage.
They will store food in there to carry it into hiding and female hamsters will carry their young ones with the same pouches to safety whenever they sense danger.
These cheek pockets may be confusing as you won’t be sure if your pet is storing food in there or if they are fat.
Age can affect your pet’s weight. A young hamster will be very energetic and they tend to eat more due to their energy needs.
An older hamster will be less active. They will even lack appetite and begin to lose some weight.
This makes young hamsters more prone to being fat compared to older ones.
Hamster species is another factor that is used to determine if a hamster is fat or not. Some species grow bigger compared to others.
For instance, the Roborovski hamster has an average weight of 25-40g while the Chinese hamster has an average weight of 40-50g. This requires one to compare their pet’s weight to that species’ average weight to know if they are fat or healthy.
Reasons for weight gain in your hamster
A healthy hamster will begin gaining weight due to various reasons like:
Inadequate exercise – pet hamsters may be inactive because they don’t need to look around for food or escape from predators. This is in contrast to their wild counterparts who can go for 5 miles at night in search of food.
Diet – some foods are fattening compared to others. Muesli foods mixes or an unbalanced diet of carbs and fatty foods with no fruits or veggies can lead to obesity.
Obesity brings about diabetes, heart disease, and a shortened lifespan.
Pregnancy – pregnant hamsters will gain weight as they accommodate the growing babies inside them. If your pet is eating healthy, exercising, and you are doing everything right yet they seem to be growing bigger, there’s a high chance that they are pregnant. Take them to a vet to examine them.
How to ensure that your pet maintains a healthy weight
If your pet is already fat, your vet will recommend the correct diet to follow until they can get to their ideal weight.
Whether they are fat or you want them to maintain their current weight, take the measures below:
Feed them a balanced diet
A hamster’s diet should consist of fresh veggies, fruits, hay, and pellets. Instead of feeding them using their bowls always, scatter their food around their cage sometimes.
Let them burrow and search for it. This is more fun for them and they will exercise while at it too.
Reduce their food sizes
Always make sure that you are feeding your pet with the right food amounts to avoid overfeeding them.
Hamsters are good hoarders. They will carry food in their mouth pockets to their hideouts.
Do not keep refilling their bowls just because they are empty because your pet is already storing their excess. Give them moderate amounts to avoid making them fat.
Avoid fattening foods
Some foods are naturally fattening and they will make your pet gain weight. Foods like nuts and seeds e.g. sunflower seeds should be given as treats instead of feeding them as a major part of their diet.
Avoid sugary foods too and opt for healthier green snacks.
Hamsters should exercise regularly to remain healthy and strong. Create tunnels in their cage and climbers for them to play with.
Avoid leaving them in their cage for too long. Take them out regularly so that they can stretch.
Hamsters can be fat if they gain unhealthy weight. This leads to obesity which brings about health risks like diabetes, heart disease, and high mortality rates.
Different hamster species will have different weight ideals so make sure that you are comparing your pet’s weight against their own species’ recommended weight.
A bad diet, lack of exercise, and pregnancy will lead to weight gain in your pet. You should make sure that you exercise them regularly while feeding them the right foods.
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