Hamsters are generally clean creatures by nature, but their urine does have a pungent odor that can be disgusting if you’re new to it. However, your hamster’s pungent urine isn’t necessarily a sign of illness.
If your hamster’s pee smells bad, it could be several reasons, including your pet’s diet, gender, or living conditions. Additionally, if your hamster is stressed, pregnant, or sick, those things could cause its pee to smell bad, as well.
Despite the smell, hamsters are generally pretty clean animals, so it isn’t usually an issue of hygiene. This article will look at the causes of stinky hamster pee in more detail. Keep reading to learn more.
Causes of Foul Pee Smell in Hamsters
There are several reasons why your hamster’s pee may smell abnormal. Let’s look at them now.
The first and most important reason for pungent-smelling hamster pee is diet.
Just like humans, what hamsters eat affects the way their urine smells. Hamsters can eat pretty much anything they get in their hands. Unfortunately, this also includes waste products from other animals, contributing to the bad smell.
Your Hamster’s Gender
A male hamster’s urine smells more potent than a female’s since he uses it to mark territories. However, females don’t excrete concentrated urine, but instead, their scent glands produce a smelly substance that you can easily mistake for urine.
Hamsters are territorial animals. They scent-mark their territory with urine, especially if a new hamster gets added to the cage.
In some cases, this will subside after a few days, but it may continue for much longer if the hamsters do not get along. That is one reason why you should never house two male hamsters together, as they tend to fight over territory and dominance.
If your female hamster is pregnant, she could be more likely to pee than usual, causing the cage to smell strongly of pee. If your hamster doesn’t have a cage, try to get one with plenty of room. I recommend the Ferplast Favola Hamster Cage (available on Amazon.com). It’s large, open size will make it easier for you to clean and reduce the smell of pee.
Stress can cause your hamster’s urine to smell rancid. If you notice your hamster’s pee has a foul odor, try to figure out what is causing the stress and eliminate it from your pet’s life if possible.
That could be anything from too many toys in the cage to an aggressive cage mate. It could even be an overly curious cat lurking around outside.
Urinary Tract Infection
Another reason your hamster’s pee may smell like ammonia is that she has a urinary tract infection. A urinary tract infection can be due to various problems, including stress, poor diet, diabetes, and more.
If you suspect that your hamster has a urinary tract infection, take her to the vet right away to get the problem resolved before it becomes serious.
Kidney disease is another possible culprit behind the strong ammonia odor from your hamster’s urine. But, again, this is a severe condition that deserves immediate treatment by a veterinarian. The treatment would involve antibiotics and fluids to help flush out toxins from your hamster’s kidneys.
Read Why Is My Hamster Limping?
Sometimes, the Stinky Pee Smell Isn’t Coming From Your Hamster At All
Occasionally, the foul odor that you think is urine isn’t coming from your hamster. Instead, it could be coming from its cage or from something in its cage.
It’s easy to overlook a hamster’s cage, assuming that no matter how bad it smells, it can’t be as bad as a dog or cat’s accident. But you’d be wrong. Hamsters have ammonia in their urine which gives off a potent odor. And while they tend to pee in one area of the cage, it doesn’t take long before the whole thing gets saturated with their scent. It can even make its way into the air, permeating your home and living space.
No one wants their home smelling like rodent urine, but what if there was a way to avoid this problem altogether? It turns out there might be a solution: making the bedding in your pet’s cage absorbent and keeping the cage clean can go a long way toward eliminating the smell of hamster pee. Check out this Youtube video to see how to properly clean your hamster’s cage:
If the hamster has a small piece of food hidden in his hideout and hasn’t eaten it, the food may rot, making the hamster’s surroundings smelly. So it’s always a good idea to check the cage for old food or any droppings that your hamster might have missed with their tongue when cleaning themselves.
Ensure you remove them and wash the cage thoroughly, including all of the accessories and toys. Doing so regularly can help keep the odor down to a minimum.
Read Why Is My Hamster Hissing?
How To Control Odors in Hamster Cages
As mentioned earlier, hamsters are adorable pets, although their cages may get smelly! This is the last thing you would wish to experience, so here are actionable control tips you can use to keep your hamster happy and healthy, no matter where in the United States you live!
Use a Cage Liner
Cage liners make cleaning easier by catching all waste and bedding instead of letting them fall on the bottom of the cage. The liners are made from non-toxic materials like fleece or paper towels that you can easily wash or replace as needed.
Additionally, you’ll still have to clean out your hamster’s bedding every day or two, although you won’t have to scrub every inch of the bottom of its cage each time. Furthermore, using a liner is also beneficial since it prevents your pet from coming into contact with urine and feces, which may cause health problems over time.
Find a High-Quality Air Freshener for Hamsters
High-quality air fresheners are designed specifically for small pets like hamsters and work well at neutralizing odors. In addition, they don’t contain chemicals that can harm your pet, so you won’t have to worry about using them in your hamster’s home.
And the good thing is that you can get a high-quality air freshener at an affordable price. Just be sure you get one made specifically for hamsters. A regular old air freshener meant to freshen your car is not okay. It can make your hamster very sick.
Toss Out Bedding Often
Hamsters need bedding so that they can burrow and sleep comfortably. However, while bedding is necessary for your hamster, it can also be an odor source if not changed often enough.
The two most common types of hamster bedding are aspen shavings, which come from aspen trees, and sawdust shavings from pine or cedar trees. Both are fine for use in a hamster cage, although aspen shavings tend to be more expensive and less aromatic than sawdust.
Regardless of which type of bedding you use, you will need to change it frequently. A good rule of thumb is to change out all the bedding at least once every week or two.
Air Out the Room
To get rid of the smell in your hamster’s cage, you should consider airing out the room. For instance, leaving the room for ten minutes to allow fresh air to flow through will help remove unwanted odors.
If possible, you should leave your hamster cage near an open window or door for about a half an hour each day. This will allow fresh air to pass over the contents of the cage and reduce some of the odors that may build up overnight.
Remember, though, that hamsters like warmer climates. Therefore, if you live somewhere cold like Alaska or New York in winter, don’t do this. Your hamster could easily catch a cold from the chill breeze coming through the window.
Additionally, you can place a small bowl of white vinegar in your hamster’s cage with them while they sleep at night. This will help neutralize some odors caused by urine or feces in the cage.
Read How To Cremate a Hamster?
Clean the Cage Frequently
Hamsters are elegant animals and often use a specific cage corner as a toilet area. Check your hamster’s cage daily, and remove any feces or urine-soaked bedding from the cage. Depending on your hamster’s diet and health, you may need to scoop feces out of other areas of the cage as well.
If cleaning each day wouldn’t work, choose a day of the week that you will devote to cleaning your hamster’s cage. First, remove everything from the cage, including toys and bedding, and wash all food bowls and water bottles using warm, soapy water.
Then, allow them to dry completely before returning them to your hamster’s clean cage.
Hamsters can carry bacteria that can make people sick, so it’s vital to disinfect their cages regularly. Most commercial disinfectants are strong enough to kill lingering smells and dangerous germs.
Look for safe products for use around small animals and use them according to the manufacturer.
Use Baking Soda
Sprinkle baking soda over your hamster’s bedding at least once a week, but preferably every day if possible. It acts as an odor neutralizer and will help keep your pet’s habitat smelling fresh even between cleanings.
Just be sure to use plain baking soda, not scented or deodorant varieties that could irritate your hamster’s eyes or nose.
Do Hamsters Stink Up Your Room?
Hamsters are great for kids! They can be very entertaining and cute, but before getting one, it is crucial to understand that they have needs that you must cater to ensure they live a happy, healthy life.
For instance, you need to know that hamsters are nocturnal animals. This means you may have trouble sleeping if your hamster is in your room.
Your only doubt should be whether hamsters can stink up your room.
While hamsters have a reputation for being clean animals, they can still get stinky in their environment. So as a house owner, you need to take care of their cages and observe cleanliness.
For instance, make sure you clean your room daily and allow ventilation. This will deter the build-up of any odor that could have caused havoc in your room. Ultimately, no one wants to live in a stinky home, and you shouldn’t make your pet live in an unclean cage. So dedicate your time and clean your hamster’s cage to avoid inconveniences.
Can Hamster Urine Make You Sick?
Mice, rats, hamsters, and other rodents can carry LCM, which could potentially make you sick. While the disease is more common in Europe, there are also some reports in the USA.
In addition, the bacteria can survive for months in dry conditions, like in attics, barns, warehouses, and abandoned buildings, making it a potential risk during cleanup efforts.
Rodents infected with LCM typically don’t experience symptoms of illness. As a result, the disease isn’t contagious to humans except through exposure to dried urine or feces from infected rodents that become airborne or get ingested.
Individuals can catch LCM by inhaling the dried particles of urine or feces from an infected rodent; for example, by disturbing dust that contains the infectious material. This is especially likely if the rodent droppings or urine are old enough to be dried out. People can also get LCM from eating food contaminated with rodent urine.
Read How Many Times Can a Hamster Get Pregnant?
How To Care Your Hamster
Your hamster will need room to roam around in, and you have to keep an eye on how much exercise it gets. A hamster wheel is an excellent way to encourage your hamster to exercise, and this will also prevent your little friend from getting bored while confined to its cage.
Be sure to clean and disinfect the cage regularly as it can become stinky otherwise while also serving treats and supplements to your pet. Ultimately, you will have peace of mind, knowing that your furry friend is healthy and happy.
Hamster urine has a high ammonia content, so it’s pungent. However, it’s not just ammonia that gives it the odor. Urine contains urea and other nitrogen-containing compounds. The ammonia compound gets produced when bacteria break down urea and those nitrogenous compounds.
Yet, urine from different species may have varying amounts of chemicals; this is probably why many people find the smell of hamster pee less or even more odorous than other rodents. Ultimately if you need to completely do away with foul smell in your hamster’s urine, use Resolve Urine Destroyer Spray from Amazon.com, which neutralizes odor on contact.
You may like the following hamster’s articles:
- How Long Can a Hamster Go Without a Wheel?
- Why Is My Hamster Lying Flat?
- How Much Water Does a Hamster Drink?
- Why Is My Hamster Not Coming Out at Night?
- How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Blind
- How Long Does a Winter White Dwarf Hamster Live?
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