Hamsters are super cute, furry companions that make the perfect pets. However, hamsters can stink up your room if their cages are not cleaned regularly and their bedding is not changed.
Keep in mind that hamsters are not inherently stinky animals. They only make their surroundings smell bad when they mark their territory, are on their periods, or experience poor self-grooming.
Do Hamsters Stink Up Your Room?
Hamsters only stink when owners neglect their hygiene. Even though these animals are meant to stay in cages their entire lives, when you bring a hamster into your home, it starts viewing every room like its personal home.
Because of this, hamsters will sleep, eat, run, and pee in every corner, leaving marks and scents in an attempt to mark their territory.
However, other reasons could cause hamsters to stink up your room, including:
1. When Female Hamsters Go on Heat
As your female hamster grows up, there will come a point in her life she feels like she is in a rut, also known as heat. During this time, she will release sexual pheromones in the atmosphere using vaginal secretions in her estrous cycle every four days.
This is a tactic to attract male hamsters. Until she mates and conceives, the female hamster will also continue to get her period every fifth day.
This means that if you have a female hamster, she is likely to stink up your room whenever she goes on heat. When you find her vaginal marking different spots in your room, it is time for you to become cautious.
The best way to avoid harsh smells is to separate two female hamsters and keep them in different enclosures. Two hamsters will always become more stinky than one. Keep in mind that, unlike cats, hamsters cannot be spayed because they do not work well under anesthesia.
We understand that you might be trying to cover the smell of the hamster but do not use any chemical products, air fresheners, or scented beds as hamsters have a sharp sense of smell. Anything extraordinary will stress it out.
Moreover, start paying attention to when your hamster goes on this. This can usually happen up to seven times a month, especially when she is ovulating. During this time, use a clean tissue to clean your hamster’s backside to get rid of secretions so that she does not spread them around her clean bedding.
2. Your Hamster Has a Poor Diet
Like all other animals, hamsters fart; of course, it does not smell like flowers.
However, if your hamster has a poor diet and consumes too many dairy products like yogurt and cheese, you can expect its farts to smell worse.
Providing your hamster with a well-balanced meal is the perfect way to deal with this problem. Keep in mind that some foods naturally have a high lactose content, for example, apples, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. These can cause your hamster to be more gassy than usual.
A high-protein diet can also cause it to pass smellier farts, so the best thing would be to mix up its diet and include more vegetables.
A hamster will also pass smellier urine when consuming too many sweet and salty treats. This is because these foods will cause it to drink too much water, producing more urine with a stronger smell.
Remember, a hamster’s diet should mainly be made up of herbs and fresh seeds rather than acidic foods and carbohydrates.
3. A Male Hamster Marking His Territory
Unlike females, males give off bad odors approximately twice a year to mark their territory. However, these hamsters have more prominent bilateral scent glands than their female counterparts, so you can expect them to be smellier than females.
Male hamsters tend to rub their scent glands on absolutely any single thing lying in their enclosure. Twice a year, they release more hormones- a form of advanced territory marking. This causes the smell to be extraordinary and can cause your room to stink up significantly.
Whatever anyone suggests, surgical neutering or calcium chloride neutering is unsafe for hamsters. Moreover, remember that this phase is temporary- your hamster will not spend its entire life rubbing itself against everything and feeling the need to mark its territory.
Once you learn what time of the year your hamster starts his tactics, you can regularly clean the litterbox and switch up the urine bedding. This will help contain the smell and ensure it does not spread throughout your house.
Hang in there- your hamster’s excitement will die down, and soon, it will return to its usual self. Once you clean its enclosure and change the bedding, the smell will significantly subside.
4. Sick Hamsters
If you find that your hamster is causing the room to smell, check if it is sick. It might be soaking its fur with stinky urine if it is suffering from a bladder issue or kidney infection.
If your hamster is suffering from diarrhea or watery stool, it could be why your house is stinking.
Carefully inspect your hamster and check if it has a wet bottom or if there are bits of fecal matter stuck to its body or around its anal region. If that is the case, you can safely assume that it is normal for it to smell and that it needs medical attention.
Moreover, skin infections can also cause hamsters to smell bad. Hence, check to see if your hamster has an infected wound. Oral issues might also be the cause of the smell. Take a quick peek inside your hamster’s cheeks and check for any pieces of food that are starting to rot inside. You never know- that could be the cause of the smell!
Things to Do When Your Hamsters Stink Up Your Room
1. Get Bedding that Does Not Absorb Odor
When you choose your hamster’s bedding, you must ensure that it is absorbent so that odor does not smell throughout your house.
Here are the best kind of bedding to choose for your hamster:
- Chipsi Original
- Tissue paper cut up into small pieces
- Bedding made with paper, such as So Phresh
- Teabag bedding
The more absorbent the bedding is, the fewer the chances of your room stinking up until the next time you are ready to change your hamster’s bed.
- Ventilate the Room
If the cage that your hamster spends most of its time in has bars, you do not need to ventilate much as the ammonia smell would disappear naturally. However, the odor may be trapped within if your hamster stays in a tank with glass or acrylic doors.
Hence, you will have to provide sufficient ventilation by leaving the tank’s roof open so that the pungent smell of urine dissipates.
Getting a mesh lid for your hamster is the perfect way to ensure that your room does not stink. You can open up the windows to eliminate all unpleasant smells, but you must ensure that the outside air does not cause your room to get too cold.
3. Give Your Hamster a Sand Bath
Hamsters do not use water to wash themselves. They groom themselves by licking their fur so that their natural oils stay on their body. When in the wild, they can also take a sand bath. The sand acts as an abrasive that helps them eliminate any debris or dirt that might have built up on their coat.
Many hamster owners are unaware of how important sand is, especially within the enclosure. This is one of the main reasons hamsters start stinking up the room they live in.
All you need to do is create a particular area of sand inside the hamster’s cage and separate it with the help of wooden bridges. You can also use a deep ceramic dish and fill it with sand.
Another way to ensure they do not cause a mess is by training them to use a corner of the cage whenever they need to do their business. You can use a potty tray filled with sand or soiled bedding to encourage your hamster to pee or poop there. Remember, hamsters are smart and, with practice, can learn where their bathroom is.
Quick Tips to Remember
- Never blame your hamster for stinking up the room. Hamsters are generally very clean by nature, and it is usually the owner’s fault for not changing soiled bedding or taking care of the hamster’s hygiene.
- Do not give your hamster a water bath, as water removes the oils that protect the fur. An absence of oils on the hamster’s body will cause it to smell.
- Brush your hamster and give it sand baths often.
- Do not spray any deodorant within the hamster’s enclosure. Hamsters are sensitive to smell and can get stressed out when exposed to strong scents.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more