Hamsters are clean animals and they will regularly groom themselves. Now and then you will see them using their tiny paws and tongue to tidy up.
They will even have separate toilet areas. Whether you provide them with a litter box or not, a hamster will have a certain spot where they go to anytime they need to have a bathroom break.
These pets will go by just fine without baths and their grooming sessions will keep them clean at all times. Long-haired Syrian hamsters, however, may require some hair brushing and trimming from time to time.
As a hamster owner, you have heard that water baths are unsafe for hamsters. If you are looking for the best alternative to bathing your pet in water, then sand baths are the way to go.
And here, we’ll be learning more about them. Read along.
Why are sand baths good
First, it’s good to know why sand baths are recommended and why they are the best bet for your pet. Below are some of the reasons why you should consider them:
Sand baths are good for cleaning your pet’s fur. Sand is abrasive and it will work like a scrub on the coat of a hamster.
It cleans thoroughly and gets rid of excess oils, moisture, things sticking on the fur, and any odors they may have.
Sand baths are cheap. All you need is the sand and a bowl to put the sand in and voila! Your hammy will be bathing in the sand as though they were in a bathtub.
Water baths are unsafe for hamsters as they remove natural oils from their coats and could bring them colds which can turn fatal for them. Sand baths are on the other hand safer for hamsters because they do not pose any health risk to them.
Sand is a natural bathing source for hamsters. In the wild, hamsters, just like other animals, will bathe with sand.
Providing your pet hamster with sand will make them use it just like they normally would in nature.
Hamsters love burrowing. A sand bath will help them dig into the sand out of their instinct of burrowing. They will enjoy playing in the sand while bathing at the same time.
When should you give your hamster a sand bath?
Being clean by nature, hamsters will not require bathing very often. You should only give a sand bath when they need one like if your pet has dirt stuck on their fur.
Instead of giving the bath randomly, you can place a permanent sand bowl in their cage for them to use whenever they feel like it. This will however require you to change the sand regularly because they could begin using it as a litter box.
Do hamsters like sand baths?
Most hamsters will naturally like sand baths because it’s the same as that they are used to in deserts where they originated from. They will roll in the sand and kick in it happily.
Some hamsters however will not like sand baths that much. They won’t even bother with it if you placed it in their cage.
If your hamster looks grimy though and you feel that they need the bath, you should try to encourage them to dig in the sand. You can hide treats in it and they will have a bath as they search for them. They may even begin to like it and do it without further encouragement.
Types of sand for hamster sand baths
Sands for bathing your hamster come in different varieties and you should be very careful when purchasing them. This is because some sand could be contaminated and have harmful chemicals like dyes in it.
Some of the best sands to use are:
- Chinchilla sand.
- Hamster sand.
- Reptile sand.
- Children’s play sand.
Should you give a sand bath or a dust bath?
Always make sure that you are giving your hamster a sand bath and not a dust bath. Just like water baths, dust baths are unsafe for hamsters.
Dust is harmful as it may cause respiratory problems for your pet when they inhale it. Opt for sand instead of dust when purchasing.
To be sure, feel the particles of what you are buying as both have different textures. Sand will have a rougher texture compared to dust which will have finer particles.
What to consider for the sand bath
You can buy a bowl for bathing your pet in or use one you already have. Ensure that it’s large enough for your pet to roll around in and heavy too to prevent it from tumbling over.
It should also be a little raised to minimize the amount of sand that your hamster kicks out when bathing. Avoid bowls made of plastic and wooden material as your hamster can chew them.
Pour the sand into the bowl but do not fill it up. The bowl will still need space for your hamster to fit in while bathing.
Regularly check the sand bath for droppings and pick them up whenever you spot them. If the sand gets soiled change it because it becomes risky for your pet’s health and will begin to produce odors.
However, it will not always be soiled because your hammy may not use it for bathroom breaks. If it remains clean you do not need to change it frequently.
Sand baths are good for cleaning your hamster. They are safe, they work well and most hamsters will enjoy them. You can motivate your hamster to have one by hiding treats in the sand.
Opt for sand baths instead of water and dust baths. Sands you can use are chinchilla sand, hamster sand, reptile sand, and children’s play sand.
You can give a sand bath to your hamster whenever you feel they require one or you can place a bowl with sand in their cage permanently so that they will have a bath when they feel like having one.
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