Hamster health

It is really upsetting if your pet gets ill. Luckily, there’s lots you can do to keep you hamster happy and healthy.

A daily health check

Keep a close eye on your hamster's general health and give them a quick check over every day. By getting to know your hamster’s normal behaviour and habits, you’ll quickly be able to spot if anything’s not right.

Visit your vet if you notice:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Drinking much more or less than normal
  • Lack of energy/sleeping more than usual
  • Unusual swellings
  • Skin condition
  • Limping
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Signs of pain, such as sensitivity to touch
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Overgrown teeth.
  • Changes in your hamster’s behaviour can also be a sign they aren’t well.

Stopping your hamster getting bored

Boredom is a big problem for small pets and can lead to obesity, health problems, and behavioural problems. It’s important to keep your hamster active by providing them with lots of suitable toys and activities such as:

  • A 40-50cm deep layer of suitable bedding to burrow in - hamsters really love to dig!
  • Shelves and branches to climb on.
  • An exercise wheel - just make sure it’s large and has no spaces between the rungs which could injure their legs.
  • Cardboard rolls and boxes – great for hiding in and chewing.
  • A gnawing block to help them wear their teeth down.
  • Fun feeding - scatter some food around the cage and hide some in tubes, so they have an interesting treasure hunt.
  • Read more about creating the ideal home for your hamster.

Taking care of their teeth

You can help to keep your hamster’s teeth healthy by:

  • Giving them plenty of things to gnaw on, such as untreated softwood branches.
  • Feeding them pelleted food (each piece looks the same) instead of muesli-style food mixes. Muesli-style mixes might look more ‘fun’ because they’re brightly coloured and contain a mixture of shapes, but your hamster is likely to pick out the less healthy, sugary bits, which can lead to health problems such as obesity and painful overgrown teeth.
  • Avoid giving too many sugary treats.
  • Read more about the ideal diet for your hamster.