Most breeds of hamsters are very amiable and friendly pets and these petite yet cuddlesome rodents are available for domestication as golden, teddy and dwarf hamsters. Domestication started about a century back and hamsters are extremely popular as household pets in several countries throughout the world, especially in USA. In case you’re thinking about bringing home a hamster for domesticating it or already have one, then you’d be better off knowing about common ailments it is most likely to suffer from.
Common Hamster Health Problems Symptoms
Hamsters by nature are remarkably clean animals and also prefer to remain so throughout their lifetime. You’ll find them constantly attempting to keep itself clean by nibbling on the cage, scratching its eyes, ears and back. Your pet will also try to urinate or defecate in an area far away from its bedding in order to keep it clean and dry.
However, they’ve no control over their metabolic rates which is undoubtedly high and also have an immune system that isn’t quite robust either rendering them vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. Domesticated or pet hamsters are especially very prone to contracting ailments due to their living in an environment that is home to more pathogens than is found in their natural habitat. Some of the most common diseases that hamsters suffer from are diarrhea, wet tail, colds, penile plug, parasitic infection, hibernation, ringworms, and so on.
Things to take care of
Since hamsters like to remain clean that is ingrained in their DNAs, it goes without saying that you’d need to make sure that her living environment is kept clean. As your pet can’t make a burrow or tunnel of her own as she’d have done in the wilderness, she has to make do with the cage which is her home. That means the onus of keeping her and her home environment spotless and uncontaminated is on you.
Though keeping her cage spick and span is undoubtedly imperative, you should see to it that you’re not overdoing it. She’ll feel stressed out if you clean her cage more often or rarely clean the same as resorting to any of the extremes will make her insensitive to the distinct olfactory markers or indicators she uses to demarcate her territory. Instead of cleaning her cage every 2nd or 3rd day, keep a weekly cleaning schedule that is clean the coop once in a week. Keep the cage in a room where the room temperature is within the range of 65˚F-85˚F and doesn’t ebb and flow beyond 4˚F in a 24-hour period.
Providing a balanced diet
Diet invariably and indispensably is always the most significant determinant impinging on your hamster’s health. Additionally, you should follow and stick to a dieting regimen recommended by a vet just as you did with keeping her habitat clean. Since hamsters are crepuscular by nature, the ideal feeding time is during the evening, two to three hours post sunset.
Hamsters like all other rodents, animals or human beings need to have a balanced diet in order to keep themselves hale and hearty. In other words, the rodent should get her daily requirement of nutrients via the grains, seeds, fruits and veggies, and hamster-specific food items fed to her. Allow sufficient time to your pet to settle on the sort of hamster mix she prefers as these mixes are available dime a dozen in the pet stores.
You can refer to different sites that enumerate the sort of foods a hamster can eat or you may consult a vet for the same. However, keep in mind that there are certain kinds of items that you should strictly refrain from offering your hamster like bitter almonds, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and certain types of nuts and veggies. Make it a point to offer your hamster fresh foods including but not limited to broccoli, cantaloupe, apple, asparagus, banana, cauliflower stalk or leaves, celery, watermelons, peas, parsley, water chestnuts, green beans, and so on. Occasionally offer eggs, toasts, raisins, mealworms, crickets, and cheese as treats.
Clean the food bowl every day before you offer food and remove leftovers which might get contaminated harming your pet’s health. If you’ve a dwarf, then it is best to stick to single helpings of one tablespoon and also see to it that you don’t over-feed her. Coaxing the rodent to consume more than is necessary may make her obese or cause stomach problems. When offering fruits or vegetables see to it that the food items are thoroughly cleaned in running water as well as properly sliced or shredded.
Keeping your hamster physically active
These creatures love to rummage for food in the wild and they’re physically quite active. Since a domesticated hamster doesn’t have the liberty to loiter around on her own, the onus is on you to see to it that she gets her daily dose of workout. You can place a set of toys including tunnels, ladders, swings or a hamster wheel in her cage. More often, release her from the cage and let her scamper around as much as she can. However, always keep an eye on her and don’t allow children to come near her during the daytime. Moving around not only aids in digestion but also help prevent constipation.
Taking good care boils down to providing her with a clean living environment and balanced diets as well as keeping her active physically.