Pet owners love giving their cats and dogs baths every time they start smelling bad or if they just need a good shower. But is this also applicable to your cute little hamster buddies?
Can hamsters bathe in water, too?
The simple answer is, not exactly. Just so you know, the grooming needs of hamsters are not the same as those of your feline and canine friends.
This article discusses more about bathing your hamsters, how and when to bathe them, and more!
Do Hamsters Need to Bathe in Water?
Yes, hamsters need baths but not necessarily in the same way you imagine. Unlike other pets you might have, hamsters don’t need water baths. It is because of the way these animals have evolved. Washing or bathing in water may end up removing important molecules from the coat of your hamster, which can result in skin issues.
The only time when it is absolutely necessary to bathe your hamsters in water is if there is something stuck in their coats. Anything toxic on your hamster’s fur may lead to serious problems once your fussy hamster starts grooming himself using his tongue.
It is also not a wise idea to let kids do the cleaning of your hamster’s coat. These animals are really tiny so they may end up wriggling from the children’s hands. Just make sure you use a small amount of lukewarm water then use it to gently wash and rub the affected parts of your pet’s fur. Avoid submerging the head of your hamster in water because they tend to drown easily.
If the cage of your hamster is starting to smell to the point that you are thinking of giving your pet a water bath, the best thing you can do is to clean the cage as regularly as you can. The unwanted smells are often the result of dry urine and stale bedding and not necessarily your hamsters themselves.
Can You Bathe Your Hamsters?
Bathing your hamsters is usually not necessary unless your pets are truly really dirty. There is a good reason for this.
Hamsters instinctively know when they are already dirty and will clean themselves up as a result. Try to hold your hamsters and observe what they will do once you put them back inside their enclosure or cage. They will likely start to groom themselves.
Don’t take offense to this action, though. Your hamsters do it only because they don’t like to smell like you. A hamster’s hips are where its scent glands are located. They spread this scent and eliminate your scent by rubbing their hips and then grooming other parts of their bodies. Only then that they consider themselves clean.
Hamsters can become dirty in more ways than one. If they make waste inside the cage and you don’t clean it up right away, the dirt may end up stuck to your pet’s fur. Dirt, discard food pellets, old nesting, and other messes may also get matted in their fur.
When you notice something stuck into the fur of your hamster, the first thing you might think of is to bathe your pet. However, most of the time, this is not really the best choice.
When Do You Give Your Hamsters a Water Bath?
Even if your hamsters are fussy cleaners, there are still instances when a water bath may be necessary. Some of the scenarios when it makes sense to bathe your hamsters include the following:
- The fur of your hamster has sticky substances.
- The fur of your hamster has some toxic substances such as paint or nail varnish.
- Your hamster is suffering from a skin condition like a fungal or bacterial infection or even a mite infestation that requires using a medicated shampoo prescribed by a vet.
- Take note, though, that water may strip the fur of your hamster of the essential and natural oils that make their coat silky and healthy. This can make your pets more prone to colds that may be fatal for them.
How to Give Your Hamsters a Bath?
If ever it is really necessary to bath your hamster, here are the steps you can follow to clean your pet safely:
- Prepare a wet toothbrush.
- Get a clean toothbrush then wet it with water.
- Hold your hamster in the palm of your hand.
- Put your hamster on your palm and make sure that your pet stays still as much as possible. If holding your hamster is impossible, a good alternative is to put him on a flat surface.
- Use gentle movement to brush your hamster.
- Use the wet toothbrush to gently brush the fur of your hamster to get rid of any toxic or sticky substance that might be stuck in his fur.
- Allow your hamster to dry in a warm area.
After you are done cleaning your hamster, put your pet in an airy and warm spot where he can dry before you put him back inside the cage. Doing so will keep your pet from catching a cold.
What are the Possible Health Concerns with Dirty or Messy Hamsters?
If your hamsters have dirt in any part of their body or if they look very messy all of a sudden., this might not just be a case that only requires simple cleaning.
There is likely an underlying health issue that causes this hygiene concern. For instance, any traces of blood on the rear end of your animal may indicate an issue with its genitals or bowels.
You must be aware of the different health conditions that are common among hamsters so that it will be easy for you to spot any potential problem right away. One condition that is particularly nasty and is associated with fecal matter or wetness on the bottom is called Wet Tail. Unfortunately, this can be fatal so it is important to have a watchful eye so you can spot early warning signs before it is too late.
The Bottom Line
Can hamsters bathe in water? Yes, they can, but only when it is absolutely necessary. Water baths are not part of the regular hygiene routine of hamsters.