Is your hamster refusing to go near his water bottle? Is your hamster sick? Lack of sufficient water in the system of your hamster is not a good thing at all. The good news is that you can fix this problem as long as you know how to save a dehydrated hamster.
Hamsters can drink water and they should do so regularly. If your hamster is dehydrated, you need to act fast. Continue reading below to know more about dehydration in hamsters, how it happens, and the proper care and treatment for dehydrated hamsters so they can be back on their feet in no time.
What is Dehydration in Hamsters?
Dehydration in hamsters is simply the loss of water from the body of the animal. It is a condition when the hamster already lost a substantial among of water through drooling, sweating, urine, diarrhea, or vomiting and has now reached a critical stage.
Dehydration is a serious problem since the body cells won’t be able to have their optimal function if there is no water. The cells may even shut down completely. There is also the issue of the minerals and salts that often come with the water content of the body but are missing now.
This is the reason why just the usual tap water alone is not enough to rehydrate a hamster. It is also important to add sugar, salts, and minerals to the diet of your small animal while he is in the process of recovery.
How Do Hamsters Become Dehydrated?
Just like the rest of the animals in the world, hamsters can experience dehydration for many different reasons. Most health concerns will require the animal’s body to overheat so that it can ward off a potential infection, for instance.
It is how a cold can become more difficult on a hamster, as well as some abscesses once they have already gone too far.
Another serious condition you should be wary of is wet tail. Hamsters that suffer from this condition become dehydrated in just a few hours. The good news is that this condition can be cured as long as it is discovered early on. When discovered too late, the hamster will already be too weak even if you do manage to treat the infection itself.
Diabetes is also a common issue among hamsters because there is never sufficient water for them. Diabetic hamsters will also urinate every few minutes while the thirst remains.
Digestive issues such as vomiting or loose stool can also cause dehydration in hamsters. Excessive drooling that might be a symptom of overgrown teeth or a potential neurological issue can also make hamsters dehydrated.
No matter what your hamster’s problem may be, a vet can usually treat it accordingly. However, the true risk of dehydration in hamsters lies in the fact that this will shut down the animal’s bodily functions little by little.
It is for this very reason that you need to save a dehydrated hamster more than the rest of the reasons.
How to Care For and Treat a Dehydrated Hamster
By now, you already know about dehydration in hamsters and how these animals become dehydrated, it is time for you to start treating it to save the animal. A professional such as a veterinarian should carry out the treatment.
You will have to find an exotics vet with enough experience and knowledge with rodents, birds, and reptiles. The good news is that for this particular issue, all vets can help you out.
The vet is going to give the hamster some fluids most likely through a shot because it is impractical to use an IV drip. Your vet will also give you some helpful recommendations on the medicines, if there are any, that you can administer to your pet afterward such as a few vitamins, for instance.
If your little pal is suffering from an underlying condition that is responsible for dehydration, such as vomiting or wet-tail, this will also be treated by the vet accordingly. In some instances, your hamster might need to stay with the vet for several days for additional treatments and close observations.
However, if your vet is unreachable for some reason, the good news is that there are several things you can try doing at home. While only a few of these will be as effective as a professional treatment, you can still try these for your hamster to start feeling better, even for just a bit:
- Add electrolyte water to your pet’s water bottle. You can use unflavored Pedialyte for this purpose which is very easy to find in most stores. If you have a diabetic hamster, however, this is not really recommended because of the sugar content of Pedialyte.
- Let your hamster munch on some slices of vegetables and fruits such as peeled apples, some leafy greens, lettuce, carrot, and cucumber. Just make sure you give your pet a little at a time because too much of these may lead to diarrhea that will only make the dehydration worse.
- Put the water of your hamster in a shallow dish to make it easily accessible for him. Sometimes, it might already be a very severe case of dehydration that your hamster can longer get up to reach the bottle’s nozzle.
- Plain water alone might not help that much because it lacks the minerals and salts that a hamster’s dehydrated body needs.
- Rehydrate your hamster orally using a needleless small syringe or an eye dropper. Hold your hamster gently but firmly and put a drop of water on your pet’s lips every 30 minutes. Going for more drops at one go might not be good at all.
The Bottom Line
These are the things you can do to save a dehydrated hamster. Make sure you follow these tips for the treatment to go smoothly. If you do so, your dehydrated hamster should recover in just a few days. Aside from the things you can do at home, remember that professional treatment will always be the wisest option to save your little animal.