Keeping your pet’s space clean is a happy medium between comfort and care. Hamsters are naturally clean animals, where they spend as much as 20% of their time grooming themselves and as a result have almost no odour. As such, it is not necessary to constantly bathe your hamsters. In fact, you should also never attempt to bathe your hamster with water, unless you need to remove toxic substances on your hamster’s body. Otherwise, bathing your hamster with water is never a good choice. Hamsters catch colds easily when they’re wet and may die as a result. To maintain a healthy level of cleanliness, you may consider cleaning their cages and toys only.
Some hamster parents want to clean their pet because of odours. You shouldn’t use water because they have no affinity for wate, and having wet environment around could agitate them. Hamsters are experts at self-grooming, but there could be pieces of bedding materials here and there since they reside in a cage. When you decide to clean them, consider the following;
○ Wipe your hamster with a soft cloth sprayed with waterless shampoo. Make sure you stay clear of their mouth, eyes, and other sensitive parts.
○ Sand or dust bath. This concept of bathing in sand or dust is common among chinchillas. Rolling in sand or dust keeps oils and dirt off their skin. Sand baths are recommended over dust baths as dust baths have been shown to cause respiratory problems in hamsters. Play sand is generally a great choice for sand baths, and plain reptile sand without calcium or dyes is safe for use too.
Brushing is an ideal way to clean your hamster and their fur, especially when they are dirty or have something stuck in their fur. Apart from keeping them free of dirt, pieces of stuff, and other messes, it keeps them dry. The longer their fur grows, the more they require brushing. It would help if you considered using brushes and combs or a soft toothbrush.
Since their furs tend to grow to a point where they could harbor specks of dirt, hamster parents may consider trimming with grooming scissors. You can use dog scissors for sensitive areas like ears because of the rounded edges and precise nature.
When considering bedding for your hamster, you might consider one that is similar to its natural environment, a bedding that is absorbent, soft, and comfy.
○ What materials should NOT be used as bedding?
Several unsuitable materials could be detrimental to hamster health. You should avoid using the following as bedding:
■Cat litter – hamsters struggle to digest the pieces they eat
■Pine and cedarwood shavings – they have sharp and abrasive edges that could injure your hamster.
■Corn cob – not ideal for eating as it can get moldy.
■Newspaper – ink is toxic to hamsters and can be detrimental to their health.