Some exotic pets never have any issues with their teeth. Unfortunately, the teeth of your adorable hamsters can cause a few problems. Similar to other exotic pets, hamsters have the kind of teeth that undergo continuous growth throughout the animal’s life. These teeth need clipping and trims now and then if your hamsters don’t wear them down themselves.
The teeth of your small pets play an important role in their overall health and well-being. Once they become too long, you need to know how to clip hamsters teeth.
Why Clip Hamsters Teeth
Most pet hamsters and other rodents won’t have any problems with their teeth throughout their life. If your little pals are happily chewing on food and toys during the day, you can be sure that their teeth stay healthy, which means you won’t need to clip them.
But if your hamster becomes sick or hurts a tooth, there is likely an overgrowth of a tooth or another dental concern that will arise. Once this happens, a tooth clipping is inevitable.
If some of the teeth of your pet have become noticeably longer than others, your pet refuses to chew all of a sudden, or your hamster is drooling, you might need to clip his teeth as soon as possible.
Omnivores like hamsters and chinchillas and herbivores like rabbits have these continuously growing long teeth that usually require tooth trims and clippings. These teeth are known as hypsodont teeth. The crowns or the visible portion of the hypsodont teeth extend a significant length beyond the animal’s gums.
This means that hypsodont teeth are uniquely long as compared to the teeth of cats, dogs, or humans. These teeth remain at the right length in normal herbivores thanks to the natural grinding action of chewing on hay, toys, and other food items.
However, most require manual regular cutting of their teeth because of some genetic and health reasons.
The front teeth or incisors of hamsters are the easiest to identify once they become overgrown. These teeth will often grow a great length to the point that they start curving and sticking out between the animal’s lips.
If they grow too long, these teeth will not just get stuck on things because they may also grow into the roof of the mouth or the gums of your hamster. The teeth in the back of the mouth, or the molars, can reach abnormal lengths as well although they seldom become overgrown in hamsters.
Molars are trickier to observe without the help of a speculum to check in the back of the mouth. However, a hamster with an overgrown molar will usually have a hard time swallowing and chewing and will also hypersalivate.
Steps to Clip Hamster Teeth
Just a word of caution: it is not an easy task to clip the teeth of your hamster. This means that if you have never tried doing it in the past, it might be a better option to just take your pet to the vet and let the pros do the job for you or instruct you how to do it.
It is also imperative to ensure that you have confirmed that your hamster really needs a tooth clipping. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of clipping the teeth of your small animal, you should take him to the vet every time it needs to be done. Take note that a steady and confident hand is a must to help calm your pet.
Follow these steps to clip your hamster’s teeth:
- Hold your hamster properly and safely by wrapping him in a small towel.
- You might want to ask for help with the job. An extra pair of hands will be much appreciated when clipping. One person will hold the hamster, gripping him at the scruff of the neck. It will immobilize the pet and force him into opening his mouth. The clipping itself will be done by the other person.
- You can use feline nail clippers for this task. When cutting your hamster’s teeth, see to it that you cut at an angle that is slanted in towards the animal’s mouth. Make sure that the tooth is at least half an inch long. This length is usually where the tooth turns opaque.
- Be careful when doing the cut, checking in carefully that the cheek or tongue of your pet is not in between the clippers and the tooth. It is also important that your pet is relaxed and steady throughout the process.
- Each tooth should also be cut individually. Trying to cut several teeth together may result in shattering or splitting.
- Grab a nail file and use it for smoothing down the sharp edges of your hamster’s newly cut teeth.
Clipping the Incisor Tooth of Your Hamster
When done the right way, tooth clippings don’t cause any pain. Due to the small mouths of hamsters, using a Dremel tool is unsafe because this is meant for bigger herbivores like chinchillas and rabbits. Small nail clippers or a pair of suture scissors can be used for clipping the overgrown incisors.
It is important to be careful to avoid clipping the teeth too sure which may cause pain and even possible trauma to the animal’s teeth. Most exotic pet hospitals offer tooth trims at a reasonable price performed by a doctor or a technician.
Clipping the Molar Tooth of Your Hamster
It might be trickier to trim molars compared to trimming scissors. The good news is that you don’t need to do it too often or at all. It is not easy to identify overgrown molars so, at this point, the pet is often already being checked by a vet.
Once the vet has confirmed that your pet has excessively long molars, they might be able to trim them while your hamster is awake with the use of a surgical tool meant for tooth or bone removal named a rongeur or another tooth-specific instrument.
Learning how to clip hamsters teeth can make a big difference in your pet’s life so don’t neglect this as a hamster owner.