Hamsters are cute, fun pets to have. However, their small size makes them susceptible to injuries. Plus, it’s hard to notice if they’re sick or have other health problems. If your hamster passes away, you’ll probably want to know what went wrong.
Why Did My Hamster Die? Your hamster may have died due to a disease or an injury. While all pets are prone to the same problems, hamsters are more vulnerable in general. That said, it’s crucial that you always keep your hamster’s health and safety in check, especially if you have several hamsters living in the same cage.
If you know what signs to look out for, you can do whatever it takes to keep your furry friend healthy always. Keep reading to learn more about why hamsters die and what you can do to help your hamster live a longer, happier life.
Read What To Do When Your Hamster Dies
Hamsters Usually Die From Health Issues and Injuries
Hamsters, just like any other pet, can get sick or injured. Since they’re very small and don’t have a way to communicate with you, it’s hard to tell when your hamster isn’t feeling well. This fact often leads to hamsters not receiving treatments when they need them.
If you suspect that your hamster isn’t healthy, you’ll want to take it to the vet. Rodents are fragile. But a professional will know the best course of action is for your pet if it does get sick. It’s unfortunate when a pet dies, so you’ll want to learn what to look out for in hamsters.
Read What To Do if a Hamster Bites You
Infections and Diseases Can Cause Death in Hamsters
Hamsters can often have infections since many antibiotics don’t work on them and are even toxic. Diseases can quickly spread between hamsters, so make sure to separate any you suspect are infected.
When left untreated, infections spread rapidly through a hamster’s body. They’re tiny animals, so diseases can cause death quickly. If you see signs of infection, don’t hesitate to take your hamster to the vet as soon as you can to increase the odds of survival.
Some possible signs of infections include:
- Weight loss
- Messy or rough air
- Bloated stomach
- Change in appetite or thirst
- Changes in sleeping patterns
The sooner you react, the better. Offering clean, fresh food and water and cleaning the hamster’s bedding often helps to prevent many infections in hamsters.
Read How To Take Care of a Hamster
Abscesses in the Mouth Can Also Kill a Hamster
Hamsters with puffy cheeks are adorable, but there are times where large cheeks require a trip to the vet. Hamsters can form dangerous abscesses and painful infections.
Cheek pouch infections are a common health problem with hamsters. Bacteria cause these infections, leading to pus build-up in their pouches. It’s straightforward for the infection to spread to the rest of the body from there. It’s often fatal for hamsters.
Abscesses often happen when hamsters try to chew on something sharp. They get a cut in their mouths, which then leads to infections. When the bacteria enter the hamsters’ bloodstreams, chances are the rodents won’t survive.
Suppose your hamster has chubby cheeks but doesn’t seem to be storing food in their pouches. In that case, you’ll need to bring your hamster to the veterinarian immediately.
Read What Does a Dead Hamster Look Like?
Hamsters Can Die From Respiratory Infections
Hamsters can get colds, just like people. However, their lungs are much smaller than ours, making any respiratory infection very dangerous for them.
You’ll notice these symptoms if your hamster has a respiratory infection:
- Sniffling or sneezing
- Coughing or wheezing
- Trouble breathing
- A wet nose
A vet can offer possible treatments and let you know the best course of action. You don’t want to let the hamster alone when it has a cold. Colds are more severe for hamsters than other pets and can often be fatal.
Read Why Is My Hamster Biting the Cage
Wet Tail Disease Is Contagious and Can Be Fatal for Hamsters
The wet tail disease is very common among hamsters and is very contagious. The damp tail disease involves diarrhea caused by stress and bacteria. The disease makes an infected hamster look as though it has a wet tail.
The wet tail disease often affects hamsters that are very young, but it can also spread to hamsters of any age. Hamsters could die from this disease in a matter of days.
You may notice your pet sits in a hunched position, has a loss of appetite, and has unkempt fur. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that your hamster lives through the illness. Even when caught early, the wet tail disease can cause death in three days.
You’ll want to bring your hamster to the vet immediately. Your veterinarian may prescribe a treatment and let you know what to do next.
Hamsters Sometimes Die From Injuries
Hamsters also often die from preventable injury. They can’t let us know when they’re hurt, so you’ll want to have a vet inspect them.
Most preventable injuries in hamsters come from falls. You should always take great care when holding a hamster and make sure there’s no way for them to drop from a height.
Old Age Is a Likely Cause of Death in Hamsters
Hamsters don’t live nearly as long as other pets. While cats and dogs can live nearly 20 years, hamsters only tend to live between two and three years. If you’ve had your hamster for a few years, your hamster likely died due to old age. In that case, there’s likely nothing you could’ve done to prevent it.
Genetics can also influence how long your hamster lives. However, you should always try your best to provide your hamster with a long and happy life.
Read How Long Does a Hamster Live
How To Keep a Hamster Healthy
While it’s not always easy to know your hamster’s every move or problem, you can take many steps to keep your hamster healthy. Always ensure you handle your hamster with care and keep its environment clean. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after touching your hamster.
Overall, you’ll want to review these methods to keep your hamster healthy. In doing so, you’ll ensure that your pet has a higher quality of life, free of illness.
Separate Sick Hamsters
Make sure that you always separate sick hamsters from healthy ones. It’s common to keep more than one rodent and have them live in the same cage. However, hamster diseases are contagious and can easily cause rodents to fall ill.
It would be best to have a separate cage to hold your sick hamster. Keep it somewhere far away from the others and check on it frequently. Your hamster needs additional care to start feeling better.
Keep Your Hamster Warm
Many hamsters get sick from being in rooms that are too cold. You’ll want to keep your hamster away from windows. If it’s too hard to keep your pet warm, consider buying a heat lamp for your pet.
I recommend the GABraden Heat Lamp. You can get this from Amazon.com in various cities like Chicago, New York, etc. the United States. The light easily connects to the cage and is safe for use with rodents and other small animals. It’s perfect for keeping your hamster warm!
Most hamsters do best at room temperature. You should do your best to keep your hamster’s environment between 65 and 75°F (18.33 and 23.89°C). Like us, hamsters can get sick more quickly when they feel cold.
Read Why Is My Hamster Bleeding From Its Bottom?
Clean Your Hamster’s Environment Regularly
When a hamster’s space is full of bacteria, the animal is much more likely to get sick. You should thoroughly clean your hamster’s cage at least once per week. When cleaning, remove all of your hamster bedding and take time to disinfect the cage thoroughly.
To prepare a disinfectant, combine 2 tablespoons (29.57 ml) of white vinegar with water in a medium-sized spray bottle to disinfect the cage. You can spray down the surface, then dry it. Also, you can use antibacterial dish soap instead of white vinegar without being too strong for your pet.
Don’t use bleach or Clorox wipes as they can make your hamster feel sick. The scent can be overwhelming—chemicals are too strong.
It’s also good to remove any wet bedding you notice during the day and replace it. Hamsters only go to the bathroom in a few areas of their cage, making it easier to spot once you see it for the first time.
Overall, keeping your hamster’s home clean is essential for keeping it healthy. Many fatal diseases appear in dirty cages, so do your best to clean your hamster’s cage every week.
Handle Your Hamster With Care
It can be fatal for a hamster to fall out of a person’s hands and onto the floor. You always need to make sure that you and everyone else at home handle the hamster with care. The fall may not kill the hamster right away, but it can lead to injuries that cause death later.
If you let your hamster explore, make sure to keep the door to the room shut. You’ll also want to watch where the hamster goes carefully and don’t keep it out for very long. Finally, if you let the hamster walk on your bed, keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to fall off!
Wash Your Hands Before and After Handling Your Hamster
It’s important to wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. Hamsters can catch colds from humans. While you won’t notice a minor cold, it can be devastating to your pet.
As mentioned above, respiratory infections are fatal to hamsters. If you’re sick, you should avoid handling the hamster. You may also want to have someone clean their cage until you feel better.
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To summarize, hamsters can pass away, just like any other pet. They’re a lot more fragile and susceptible to injury, however. Always be careful when interacting with your hamster and do your best to keep it safe.
Hamsters often pass away when their conditions go unnoticed. If your rodent seems to be acting strangely, don’t hesitate to take it to the vet for treatment. Overall, hamsters don’t live nearly as long as cats and dogs, so dying of old age is also possible.
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