While it’s absolutely no offense to clean your stinky pooch, you more likely would wonder whether it’s okay to bathe your hamster. After all, as hamster owners, we want our pets to remain in the best condition, and hygiene is an area we just can’t ignore.
In this article, we will try to cover everything you’ll ever want to know about bathing your hamster. As such, if you’ve been battling with questions on the subject, we advise that you stick around to the end.
Let’s get right into it!
Can You Bathe Your Hamster?
Yes, you can bathe your hamster, but you should avoid it as much as possible, and that applies to male and female hamsters alike. While bathing your hamster appears to be a healthy practice, it can cause harm to your little furry friend, and that’s why it’s best to avoid it.
Hamsters are naturally clean animals. They will put all the effort to keep their body clean, and that’s an inborn trait. As little as they may look, hammies know how to take care of their fur, and that’s why human intervention is more often not necessary.
These pocket pets will clean themselves of everything they think is foreign, the reason you may see your little furry friend clean themselves immediately you place them back in their cage.
Not that they don’t like your smell, it’s only that these tidy beings just don’t want to keep smelling like their human companions. They have small scent glands at the upper part of their hips, so they will use them to spread their preferred scent all over their body.
Why Should You Avoid Bathing Your Hamster?
We’ve said that you should avoid bathing your hamster because it’s going to cause more bad than good. Hamsters are predisposed to respiratory diseases, and bathing them exposes them to that.
Your hamster will develop conditions such as colds and pneumonia. And as we’ve said, the possibility of them contracting any of these conditions is higher than you probably think, so it’s best to avoid it.
Once they develop any of these conditions, your adorable hamster will be more susceptible to other infections and diseases, and that’s why you should avoid baths at all costs.
Again, dipping your hamster in water washes their natural oils. It may not sound like a serious thing, but it can cause serious health issues in your pet friend.
How Often Do Hamsters Clean Themselves?
Hamsters clean themselves as often as they think is necessary. It’s not like they have an exact schedule of cleaning the body, but they do get into this routine whenever it feels right to them.
They may do it after every meal, after waking up, after playing, or just because they feel like doing so. It’s hard to say how often your hamster will clean itself, but it varies between each pet.
When Is Bathing Your Hamster Necessary?
Bathing your hamster is only necessary when there’s no other way to get rid of whatever you want to be cleaned. And with their small build, it’s very unlikely that they will need you to come in.
But that doesn’t mean they will never need your intervention, they do, only that it’s going to be from time to time and not as often as you may think. For instance, you can consider bathing them when they are truly dirty or exposed to toxic substances.
But before you can reach that faucet, you have to try as much as possible to see if you can get the problem solved using waterless methods. The section below suggests some of the ways.
How To Clean Your Hamster Without Water
Bathing your hamster with water is definitely dangerous for our hamster friends. As such, we advise that you opt for alternative ways of cleaning your hamster. Some of the ways include;
Most experts recommend sand baths when you can’t get your hamster wet. Giving your hamster sand bath is a reliable way of cleaning them and making sure they stay clean and healthy.
Sand baths are a favorable option for hamsters, so your little furry friend will love the idea of bringing a bowl of sand to their cage. They prefer cleaned sand, so make sure the sand is free from dirt before bathing them with it.
Other than cleaning your hamster, sand bathing will also help them to remain cool when temperatures soar, and that means you now just know what to do when summer rolls around.
The other way you can opt to use is brushing your hamster’s fur. This method will help remove some of the dried fecal matter and other sticky substances that may be on their fur. It’s very likely that you will find something stuck in your hamster’s fur from time to time.
You can use an old toothbrush for this work, only ensure that it’s clean and doesn’t contain any bacteria. The brush also needs to have soft bristles to avoid hurting your hamster.
The third and final method you can opt to use is spot cleaning. This is particularly useful if your hamster has some stains on the fur that cannot be removed by brushing, and you need to get rid of them before they attract flies and other pests.
When doing spot cleaning, ensure that you use a soft and clean cloth to rub the stained area of your hamster’s fur. You don’t need any soap or cleanser; neither should you get them wet.
Alternatively, you can use soft pet wipes in case you don’t have a cloth in your house, but make sure you dry them before returning them to the cage. This way, they will stay clean and healthy.
How To Wash Your Hamster
If you must wash your hamster, it’s still fine, only ensure that you do things right. The following four steps will make bathing your hamster safely easier than you probably thought.
Add Some Water Into A Bowl
The first thing is to put some water in the bowl. The water needs to only be centimeters deep. You don’t want to make your hamster swim, because it can stress them or even drown them, so yes, use a small amount of water for the work.
Again, it has to be lukewarm water. Either of the temperature extremes can be dangerous for your pet. They are fragile animals, just as they look, if not more, so only use water of the right temperature.
Use Plain Water To Give Them A Nice Bathe
Once you have put some water in the bowl, next is to place your hamster in it. Stick to plain water if possible. One thing you have to do is avoid wetting their face. Try at all costs to avoid it.
A regular toothbrush with soft bristles or a piece of cloth will come in handy when cleaning your hamster.
If you think water alone isn’t enough, opt for unscented dirty shampoo alongside the wet toothbrush. It has to be the very mildest form of shampoo, and only use a small amount. You can consider asking your vet the amount of shampoo you can use.
Rinse Your Hamster
Where you use shampoo, the next step will be to give your hamster a nice rinse. It has to be thorough because you don’t want to have any shampoo residue left on them. They will lick themselves as natural behavior, and as such you want to avoid any type of chemical reaction that could harm them.
Again, you have to be careful with the type of water you use. It has to be lukewarm water, otherwise, you expose your pet to stress and a series of health issues. So make sure to use lukewarm water as a general rule of thumb for all hamster cleaning activities.
Dry Your Hamster Off
After the rinse is complete, it’s now time to dry them off properly. You can do that by using a clean towel. It has to be a soft towel, as usual, as the last thing you want to do is make them uncomfortable.
In addition, avoid as much as possible rubbing your hamster with the dry towel. If you must, ensure that you do it gently and in the direction of the fur. You want them to look neat after they dry up, so do it right.
Time To Get Them To The Cage
So your hamster is now clean and smells fresh, the next thing you have to do is ensure that they go back into their cage. It’s best to let them dry up first, so avoid getting them back there when still wet.
The cage has to be clean as well, otherwise, it will be a matter of time and your hamster is all again back to where you began. So yes, keep their palaces (yes, we call hamster cages palaces!) clean and tidy.
Things To Avoid When Cleaning Your Hamster
Like any other hamster-related activity, cleaning your hamster doesn’t come without precautions. You have to know what it’s safe to do and what you should never do. Here are some of the things you should avoid!
Never Use Scented Pet Shampoo
If you must use shampoo for your hamster cleaning, it’s best to avoid perfumed scented shampoos. This is because they have been known to cause skin infections among other illnesses.
As a rule of thumb, always go for shampoos that are formulated for your particular pet’s needs only. That way, you will be sure that it’s safe and won’t pose any danger to their health.
Baby Wipes Aren’t Good Either
You may think that baby wipes are gentle enough for your hamster, but they are not. They contain chemicals that may irritate the skin of your furry friend.
When spot cleaning, only opt for pet-safe wipes. This variety is formulated with the needs of your furry friend in mind, so by using them, you will be able to avoid any skin reactions and keep your pet happy and healthy.
Avoid Soap At All Costs
Despite not being as dangerous as perfumed shampoos, it’s best to avoid soap with any of your hamster cleaning activities. That’s because they can cause dry skin and other skin conditions on the rodent pet.
That said, if you must use soap, only use the pet-approved variety in the mildest form possible and make sure you clean it completely from their fur. Don’t leave any residue on them as it can cause issues if they lick themselves.
Cleaning Your Hamster Cage Is As Essential
While it’s essential to keep your hamster clean, it’s not the only thing you have to do. You have to clean their houses as well since after all, they are little furry friends that will make some mess. And as we all know, a dirty hamster habitat remains the main gateway for common hamster illnesses.
Your hamster cage will need a thorough cleaning at least once every two weeks, so be sure to have that in mind when you get one. It needs to come more often if you have two or more hamsters sharing the same cage. That’s because, in the case of an infected hamster, it’s very likely to spread the sickness to others sharing the cage.
We wrote an article on how to clean your hamster’s cage, so consider taking a look at it if you aren’t sure how you can go about it.
In a nutshell, bathing your hamster is possible, but do all it takes to avoid it. Wetting your hamster can attract a series of life-threatening conditions, and that’s not what you want as a pet parent.
The good thing is that the little critters are naturally clean animals that know how to keep themselves tidy. As such, they seldom need human cleaning. And even when it becomes necessary, first consider the waterless ways of getting the work done.