What Happens When a Pet Hamster Chews on Popsicle Sticks? [Options And Tips]

Unlike a pet dog or a cat that can lounge with you as you watch TV, or go to the park with you for a walk, a pet hamster will spend a majority of its life in its cage, as it can easily get lost or get accidentally stepped on when roaming around in a house.

However, just because you cannot spend all your time playing around with your hamster, you shouldn’t just leave it by itself in its cage without much to do.

Usually, the best tip is to keep adding different toys or chew sticks to your pet hamster’s cage to keep the furry little rodent entertained and occupied.

However, it is extremely important to choose a safe object before introducing it to your hamster’s environment.

Some pet owners unknowingly make the mistake of allowing their hamsters to gnaw and chew on wooden popsicle sticks, which can be hazardous to a pet hamster’s life and health in many ways.

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Can a Pet Hamster Chew on Popsicle Sticks?

If you have had pet hamsters all your life, you are not the only one who grew up caring for the little rodents. Pet hamsters are the common first pet in America and many other countries worldwide.

Since children do not have the experience or ability to care for a larger pet, they are usually allowed to own a pet hamster as the rodent requires relatively less attention and management.

Eventually, many adults who have developed deep emotional bonds with hamsters, and have gotten used to the low-maintenance care routine, still prefer to keep the rodent as a pet over any other animal.

This is because, unlike a dog or a cat that needs a larger space to move around and is constantly needy for physical attention, all a pet hamster needs is clean and cozy bedding, a cage that allows it to feel safe and protected, and a food and water bowl to survive.

However, if you truly care to give your pet hamster comfort, happiness, and joy during its lifetime, the best tip is to invest in special toys that keep your furry little friend engaged and entertained.

Since a hamster is an extremely common household pet globally, finding a hamster ball or wheel is quite easy.

However, apart from these easily available toys, what your pet hamster will truly enjoy is something to gnaw on.

Whether a hamster lives in the wild or has been born and bred in captivity, chewing on wood-like objects is part of its natural, instinctual behavior.

Hence, if you want to keep your pet hamster somewhat close to its natural habitat, it is important to provide it with some chewable objects.

However, what the hamster chews on could impact its health. Although wooden popsicle sticks are easily available, offering them to a pet hamster can fatally injure the little rodent.

Continue reading to learn why hamsters need something to chew on and what happens when a pet hamster is allowed to chew on a wooden popsicle stick.

Moreover, the article also elaborates on what you need to do if your hamster has already chewed on a popsicle stick, along with listing some safer chewable options for your pet hamster that do not pose a threat.

Let’s get started!

Also read: How Long Do Robo Hamsters Live?

Why Do Hamsters Need Something to Chew On?

Like cats like to sniff around and examine every new piece of furniture to appease their curious nature, a hamster needs to chew on wood-like objects too.

Whether the hamster is living in the wild or in a cage, its primal instincts will always remain the same.

For instance, the hamster will always be a territorial rodent that prefers to live by itself and gets aggressive when an unwelcome hamster enters its personal space.

Similarly, just the way a wild hamster will chew on the wood from trees, pet hamsters will have the same instinct to gnaw on anything wood-like that they can find. However, why do they do that?

Unlike most mammals, hamsters have extremely sharp and unique front incisors, which continue to grow throughout the hamster’s life.

By chewing on wood or other similar objects, the hamster wears down its growing incisors to keep them a certain length.

If the captive hamster is deprived of a suitable chew toy to gnaw on, its overgrown incisors will cut and damage the insides of its mouth.

As a result, the hamster will remain in constant pain, emotional stress, and will avoid eating its food.

Hence, if you have a pet hamster that you love, you do need a proper chew toy. However, why is a wooden popsicle a bad idea? Keep reading to find out!

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What Happens When a Pet Hamster is Allowed to Chew on a Wooden Popsicle Stick?

The main difference between the wood of a tree and that of a popsicle stick is the structural strength that allows splinters to form.

The wood of a tree is generally stronger and does not form splinters too easily. Hence, when a hamster living in the wild chews and gnaws on the wood, it can easily wear down its sharp front teeth without getting any splinters in its mouth.

On the contrary, a popsicle stick is very thin in shape and is made from very low-quality wood. Since it is designed to only hold the weight of candy or an ice cream, it doesn’t need much structural strength.

Hence, the popsicle stick breaks down quite easily when a pet hamster chews it with its extremely sharp incisors.

As a result, the wood splinters and the small sharp pieces of wood begin to enter the hamster’s mouth, which can be quite dangerous for the small rodent.

Some of the possible health hazards that can result from a pet hamster chewing on a popsicle stick are as follows:

  • The wood splinter could cut and pierce through the hamster’s soft gums. This can result in sharp and highly uncomfortable pain.
  • Since a hamster is an extremely sensitive animal, the physical pain can be enough to put the rodent in a state of panic and frenzy.
  • When this happens, the hamster may react by scurrying around in circles, itching and biting its own body, digging up its bedding, and even playing dead.
  • If the wooden splinters go deeper into the hamster’s mouth, they can form deep cuts on the hamster’s tongue and on the inner walls of its mouth.
  • Once again, the horrible physical pain may cause the hamster to react the same way mentioned above.
  • Moreover, if the popsicle stick has any germs or bacteria on it, it may infect the open wound on the hamster’s gum or tongue.
  • As a result, the infection can lead to the hamster getting sick.
  • If the pet hamster is not treated properly, the sickness, along with the physical pain from the piercing splinters, can cause your pet hamster to lose health quite drastically.
  • Furthermore, if a small wooden splinter passes through the pet hamster’s mouth and enters its throat, it can potentially damage the soft insides of the throat and can even choke the rodent to its premature death.
  • Finally, if a hamster with wooden splinters stuck inside its mouth is not treated on time, it might die due to a lack of nutrition and water, as the pain will discourage it from feeding properly.

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What do You need to do if Your Pet Hamster Has Already Chewed on a Wooden Popsicle Stick?

Usually, it is quite easy to tell when a pet hamster is not feeling alright. The kind of frenzy, sudden movements, and panic a hamster is able to display due to discomfort is almost impossible to miss.

However, it can be challenging to administer what is causing your pet hamster to react this way. Hence, you must go about this problem in the right way, so that the hamster gets the timely treatment it needs to survive.

If you have realized that the hamster has begun acting abnormally, or is not eating any food after playing with the wooden popsicle stick, the best tip is to rush to the nearest veterinarian on the block.

Explain to the doctor how your hamster has been acting, and also mention how it had been chewing on the popsicle stick so that the doctor can properly examine and treat any damage to the hamster’s mouth and gums.

Finally, make sure to properly clean the hamster’s cage and remove all small and big splinters so that the same situation is not repeated, especially while the hamster is already recovering from the previous incident.

Check out: Is Pine Bedding Good for Hamsters?

The Top Safe Chewable Options for Your Pet Hamster that do Not Pose a Threat

  • Natural wood, especially from fruit-bearing trees.
  • For example, not only will the branches from an orange, apple, or pear tree not splinter, but they will also be able to retain their shape despite being chewed multiple times.
  • Hence, you will not have to worry about getting new wood each time.
  • Dog biscuits that lack garlic.
  • Any hardwood that has not been treated chemically. 

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Final Thoughts

Caring for a pet hamster seems quite easy compared to most other domestic animals; however, the hamster’s extremely sensitive nature can, at times, make it quite challenging to keep the rodent healthy and alive. Hence, if you want your hamster to enjoy chewing on objects in order to keep its incisors in check without getting injured, the best tip is to invest in hardwood, dog biscuits, or natural wood from a fruit-bearing tree.

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