You probably shouldn’t
Today let’s talk about of the practices to preserve and maintain good health: Hygiene. And more specifically: Hygiene and cleanliness in little pets.
Pets are particularly different when it comes to hygiene. You could surely give a dog a bath, but you could not do the same for a cat or some other animals. There are even some of them that can actually take care of the cleanliness and hygiene by themselves, in the majority of the time.
And nothing can’t be as true as that for our little friends, the hamsters. Because they are so little, compared to cats and dogs, it could be so different than in bigger pets. But that does not necessarily mean that it can’t be done. Let’s find out if you can give a hamster a bath and, if you could, what are the best practices to make your little pet squeaky clean without any worries.
Is it bad to give a hamster a bath?
Generally speaking, it is bad to give a hamster a bath. You should not give a hamster a bath unless it is strictly necessary. Then, those are the times where you can give a hamster a bath.
Some of the cases where bathing a hamster is extremely necessary can be when they get a toxic material on their fur or when they get dirty with a substance that could pose a risk in their daily activities.
There are some specialists in the veterinary area noting that hamsters do not have any reason or need to get a bath (unless some of the cases mentioned above happen). They are not as familiar with water and, even in a little dish with water (resembling like a bath tub), they could answer negatively. They are not swimmers after all, so the need to learn to swim (or getting a bath) is not actually there.
The main reason they do not need baths is because, more like cats, they groom themselves. The odors they expel are not actually that strong (but if it is, there could be a possibility of an illness happening that would need to be checked by an expert) and, you may be confused with the odors on the cage where the animal lives.
What can make us to give a hamster a bath?
When they are in the wild and do not have a human caring for their cleanliness, hamsters take care of their hygiene just like cats would do.
However, when they are in the home with us, the cages where they live have all sorts of materials that can get stuck in their fur. So, what can make us to give a hamster a bath?
Old newspaper, food, other particles and especially feces can get stuck in their fur pretty commonly (because, after all, they are very active animals and they roam the entire space they have) and to clean the mess, it can be necessary to use a little bit of water. Just try not to use an awful lot of it.
Other substances like oil or dangerous ones should need to be cleaned thoroughly. Using a wet cloth can be a good option. The use of sand, like the one chinchillas use, can be actually a great option for hamsters too.
Also, try not to drop them in bowls or other containers with water. The experience could be so stressful for your little pet that it can bite you for doing that. So, don’t do it unless it is strictly necessary.
How to give hamsters a bath?
Whether you can give a hamster a bath or not, sometimes it is just imperative to actually make hamsters cleaner because of sticky residues on their fur or anything that can pose a risk for their health.
In those instances, you could be asking: Then, how to give hamsters a bath? The answer is a little bit different that what could you expect.
First of all, they should not get thrown into a bowl or any other container with water. This is so cruel because they do not know how to swim, making it a risky endeavor. The situation can be that stressful for a little hamster that they can bite you for even trying that with them.
What you can try though is something that chinchillas already enjoy: Sand. A sand bath would be amazing for our little hamsters, and you could probably see them rolling around the sand, enjoying the experience. And while doing so, the dirt and other substances can fall easily and naturally.
You should know though that buying dust instead of sand could be detrimental to the pet’s health, because their tiny grains can work like smoke, making a mess of the respiratory system of those little hamsters.
When the mess is actually even messier that can’t be removed with just a sand bath, try to clean the hamster thoroughly with a wet cloth or a shallow dish. And afterwards, dry it with a soft cloth… And give it a treat for “enduring the ordeal”.
So, when it comes to hygiene in little hamsters, yes. You can give a hamster a bath, especially in determined circumstances where their health can actually be compromised. But that does not mean that you should actually do it as regularly as you do with other pets.
When there are no other alternatives to remove any dirt or substance that can be dangerous to the health of the hamster, you could use the minimal amount of water you can. Avoid submersing it into a bowl or any other container filled with water. The hamsters do not know how to swim or they could actually catch a cold after a bathing session. In the last case, be sure always drying it off thoroughly and carefully after using water to clean it off.
And more importantly, use the same type of sand that chinchillas use (that you can buy from your local pet store). They actually enjoy rolling around sand and can help to remove dirt and other particles stuck in their fur.