Hamsters are fantastic pets that offer love and affection to their owners. However, hamsters have a short life span and are vulnerable to a host of diseases that are difficult to treat. When this happens, you will likely be searching for a way to humanely end the suffering of your pet.
Follow these steps for a guide on how to humanely kill a hamster:
- Determine whether the hamster can recover.
- Offer care and comfort to the hamster.
- Prepare yourself emotionally.
- Bring the hamster to the vet.
- Home euthanization.
- Saying farewell.
Keep reading for an in-depth guide on what to do when your hamster is severely sick or injured. I will explore ways to make your hamster more comfortable in its last moments and how you can put it out of its misery with the least amount of suffering inflicted.
How To Humanely Kill a Hamster?
Here it is how to humanely kill a dying hamster?
You can not humanely kill a hamster that will live a long and healthy life. Hamsters can only be killed humanely when you are unable to provide further care for an old or ill hamster. As a result, you must figure out whether you can do anything to help your pet.
You can watch for numerous signs of a decline in your hamster’s health. Spotting signs of poor health early gives your hamster a better chance at survival. However, some of the indications come too late.
To determine whether your hamster is dying or not, keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Not eating or eating less
- Less active
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Wet tail
- Hiding inside enclosure
- Wheezing and sneezing
Suppose your hamster is showing one or more of these signs; it’s an indication that your pet is in poor health. However, just because these symptoms are present does not mean that your hamster is dying, and some medication could help it recover. As a result, you should consult a vet immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms.
If you can afford a visit to the vet and you have an older hamster or one showing apparent symptoms of severe illness, then you should proceed with whatever option you think is best.
In some cases, this means offering your hamster a swift and humane death. Although, you really should consult a vet when possible to know for sure what’s wrong with your pet.
The two most common causes of death outside of old age in hamsters are wet tail and pneumonia. Wet tail attributes for a high number of hamster fatalities, and the only treatment is antibiotics and hydration.
However, most cases of wet tail are fatal. Therefore it’s safe to assume that the most likely causes of your hamster’s poor health are wet tail and pneumonia.
When your beloved hamster is approaching the end of its life, you can still offer it some comfort and care before it’s time to end. Your hamster may not be in excessive pain, even if it is dying.
As a result, it’s worth creating a comfortable and relaxing environment so your pet can enjoy its final days.
Here are some ways that you can provide comfort and care to your dying hamster:
- Peace and quiet
- Regulate temperature
- Add more hiding places
- Give them attention
See below for a breakdown of the points mentioned above
Even a perfectly healthy hamster will be uncomfortable in a hectic or loud environment, never mind a sick and weak hamster.
Therefore, it’s best to provide your hamster with a calm and peaceful space in a quiet room. This helps give some comfort and peace to your hamster and prevents it from stressing out.
As hamsters’ health deteriorates, it becomes difficult to regulate their body temperature. As a result, you will need to offer your hamster a consistent and suitable temperature.
The best temperature for keeping your hamster comfortable is between 65 °F and 80 °F (18 °C and 27 °C). This allows your hamster to be comfortable and relaxed.
Therefore in cold climates like Alaska, you will need to keep the heating on, while in warm climates like California, you may need to use air conditioning.
Hydration is essential for hamsters. If your hamster does not receive sufficient water, it will suffer a slow and likely painful death.
Therefore you must supply your hamster with regular, clean, and constant water. You may need to assist your hamster with getting to the water, especially if it has become lethargic.
If you were in pain in your final days, I’m sure that you would appreciate some pain relief. Well, your hamster is no different. You can provide your hamster with pain killers available from your local vets or pet store.
Painkillers can help your hamster receive some crucial relief from discomfort and allow them to enjoy their last few hours peacefully.
Hamsters are borrowers and seek comfort in small dark spaces. Therefore, you may want to consider adding some extra hiding places for your sick hamster.
Additional hidden areas ensure that your hamster has sufficient privacy and security, easing their suffering and enhancing their living conditions.
If you have formed a bond with your hamster while it has lived with you, it will likely feel comforted by your presence. As your hamster’s health deteriorates, you should offer it attention and cuddles.
This will show your beloved pet some relief from their suffering and comfort them as they will likely be scared and in pain.
Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy or pleasant. However, there are some things to do that will make this passing easier. Preparing yourself emotionally for the death of your hamster is crucial in allowing you to deal with it healthily.
If you have children who love your hamster, you should talk to them before euthanizing the pet. Talk to them about why you choose to end the hamster’s life and how it’s a kindness, not a cruel act. Understanding the death of a pet can be a significant moment in a child’s emotional development.
If you plan on bringing your hamster to the vet for euthanization, you should familiarize yourself with the process. Check out the most common methods used. This provides you with insight into the process, which can comfort you.
Saying goodbye to your pet is another crucial aspect of preparing for its death. Spend time cuddling with your hamster and get the chance to say a proper farewell before it passes.
Once you have said your goodbyes and prepared yourself emotionally, it’s time to move on to the next step.
If your hamster is severely ill, it’s best to bring it to the vet immediately. Veterinary doctors are experts regarding animals. You could mistake a minor illness in your hamster for something more sinister, and your little furry friend could be spared.
Even if there is no hope for saving your hamster, vets are highly educated professionals, well versed in the best action for you to take. Your vet will assess your hamster’s condition then offer advice regarding how to proceed with treatment or euthanasia.
The most common process that vets use to euthanize hamsters is lethal injection or suffocation. Smaller pets like hamsters are usually put under anesthetic before a fatal infusion is administered to their chest.
The injection stops the hamster from breathing, causing a swift and painless death. In some US states, they prefer not to use anesthetics, and in some states, they may choose to decapitate the hamster.
In some cases, the hamster will be placed into a container that will slowly fill with toxic gas. The gas stops the hamster’s heartbeat causing death. The hamster will be pronounced dead after not breathing for at least one minute.
The biggest drawback to bringing your hamster to the vet is the inevitable expenses. Typically it will cost you anywhere from $50 to $150 to euthanize your hamster. This price varies from state to state, with more expensive areas like Los Angeles costing more than rural areas.
Bringing your hamster to the vet is absolutely the best way to ensure that it has a pain-free and humane end to its life. However, not everyone can spend over $100 on their hamster’s veterinary bills, especially since they have little chance of survival.
If you can’t afford a trip to the vet for your hamster, you can end its suffering yourself. However, this is not advisable, and you should bring your pets to trained experts whenever possible.
There are significant drawbacks to home euthanasia, and it could make investing in a trip to the vet worth it in the long run.
Here are the reasons why you should reconsider home euthanization for your pet hamster:
- Can be traumatic.
- Mistakes can worsen suffering.
- Less humane than a vet.
Saying goodbye to your beloved hamster is going to be a painful experience. There is no need to make this time more troubling by carrying out killing the animal yourself.
No matter what way you choose to end your hamster’s life, it will still be you doing it. As a result, it will likely make the pet’s passing more painful and could even be traumatic to some.
Another cause of concern for home euthanasia is human error. You are not a trained medical professional, and making a mistake while attempting to end your hamster’s life could have painful consequences for your pet. The whole point of euthanasia is to end suffering, not prolong or worsen it.
Finally, it would help if you always took your hamster to be ‘put down ‘ at the vet. Vets are experts with all the tools and equipment needed to offer your hamster a quick and painless death.
After considering all of your options, you still wish to continue with a home euthanization; you have a couple of options. Some of the methods mentioned below are somewhat gruesome but offer a swift end. So be warned before continuing to read that it may be upsetting.
The first way to humanely kill your hamster is to place it in a shallow hole in your garden. Then strike the sick hamster hard and repeatedly with a shovel or other heavy object, aiming for the head.
This may seem like a violent end to your hamster’s life. However, they are unlikely to suffer much as it’s a quick death.
Alternatively, you can suffocate the hamster using Co2. You can generate Co2 by mixing vinegar with baking soda. Follow the steps below for best results:
- Place 1 and ½ cups (354.88 ml) of baking soda in a large plastic bag.
- Place the hamster in a cage or container with holes in it inside the plastic bag.
- Add roughly 2-3 liters(8.45-12.68 cups) of vinegar and seal the bag.
The mixture generates Co2, which will suffocate the hamster. It can take some time for the hamster to pass using this method. As a result, ensure the bag is airtight and wait for at least an hour before checking to see if your hamster has died.
Check out, How To Empty Hamster Cheek Pouch?
If you’ve brought your hamster to the vet for neutralizing, they will likely provide you with helpful information regarding the disposal of the body. Some vets offer cremation, while others may take the body and dispose of it themselves.
However, if you have chosen home euthanization, you will need to deal with the remains yourself.
The best way to say goodbye to your hamster is by burying it in a yard or park. Put the hamster into a shoebox or small container and bury it a few inches below the surface. This allows you to give your hamster a meaningful send-off, and it hygienically disposes of the body.
Related Hamster articles:
- Why Does My Hamster Stink?
- How To Calm a Hamster Down
- Why Is My Hamster Running Around Like Crazy?
- How Long Can a Lost Hamster Survive?
- Why Does My Hamster Smell Bad?
If you have a severely ill hamster in your care, you should make the animal as comfortable and peaceful as possible. However, as the hamster deteriorates, you will need to decide on ending its suffering. The best way of doing so is by bringing the hamster to a vet to be euthanized.
However, if you are not in a position to take your hamster to the vet, you may wish to end its misery at home. You can do this by any of the methods mentioned above.
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