Whether you’re in California, Texas, or somewhere afar, hamsters are great pets to have. Although hamsters are easy to take care of, it’s still essential that they remain hydrated and fed throughout the day. But what if your hamster isn’t drinking water—is that something you should worry about?
Your hamster might not be drinking water because it’s under emotional or physical stress. Hamsters react to their emotional health physically, and new experiences and stressors can create a lack of appetite and dehydration. That said, keeping your hamster happy is crucial.
Keep reading as I discuss why your hamster may not be drinking water throughout this article. I’ll also give tips and tricks for helping your hamster return to proper health.
It can seem frightening when your favorite pet avoids drinking their water or eating their food as they usually do. The good thing is that there’s a reason for it.
Hamsters won’t drink their usual water intake if they’re under any stress or if there’s a change in their lives. This process may occur from a wide range of different things:
- Your hamster may be reacting negatively to a change in its diet.
- Your hamster could be struggling to drink from their bottle.
- It may just be a fluke, and your hamster isn’t drinking as much as expected.
- Your hamster may be around new things, such as another hamster.
- You just brought your hamster home, and they’re your new pet.
- Your hamster will reach if you’ve moved it or there has been a change in their environment.
- Your hamster could potentially be sick, or they might not be feeling well.
It’s also important to remember that hamsters don’t drink a ton of water.
On average, hamsters need around two tablespoons (30 mL) of water a day, depending on their weight, to maintain healthy hydration. If your hamster isn’t drinking, they may be able to last around 48 hours before reaching peak dehydration.
If you suspect that your hamster isn’t drinking water, don’t hesitate to consult your local veterinarian after 24 hours. Vets are available all around the U.S., with California being the top city for veterinarians.
You should be able to find one that can check your hamster and advise you on what to do to make sure your hamster drinks again.
Hamsters are pets that rely on routine, and most owners will know their pet’s habits by observing the way they act. Their behavior is a huge clue when it comes to the evaluation of their health.
Although many reasons can cause your hamster not to drink water, it’s best to observe their behavior from time to time to find any changes or flaws in their daily routine or lifestyle.
Sometimes, the most subtle changes can be the reason why your pet isn’t drinking water or eating their food as they usually do.
Here are a few things to do when observing changes in your hamster:
- Watch to see if your hamster is trying to drink water out of their bottle. Also, check if they’re having trouble. Sometimes, the problem could be as easy as a clogged bottle.
- Give your hamster a bit of time to see if they drink any water. Sometimes, your hamster may drink less water one day and then return to normal the next day.
- Watch and notice if something subtle has changed in your hamster’s home. Sometimes, hamsters might need a little time to adjust to something new in their surroundings. It is usual for their stress levels to increase temporarily.
- Observe your hamster’s overall health. Pay attention to any changes in their behavior.
Hamsters tend to digest water relatively quickly and are very active animals. If your hamster has not had any water after 24 hours, it may begin to become dehydrated.
The following are signs of a dehydrated hamster:
- Lethargic energy levels
- Sunken eyes and a dull coat
- Less active
- Difficulties with movement
- Significant behavioral changes
- Problems with breathing and walking
If your hamster hasn’t changed after 24 hours, it’s best to find a new solution or consult with your local veterinarian, as previously mentioned.
Although there are many reasons why your hamster may not be hydrating, it’s best to focus on creating a solution.
Dehydration can be deadly for your hamster, especially if they don’t drink water within 48 to 72 hours. When creating a solution, begin by replenishing their water from the usual source from where they receive water.
If you’re unsure if your hamster is dehydrated or not, try using the following tips:
- Check your hamster’s eyes, and make sure they don’t appear sleepy or dull.
- Pinch your hamster’s skin and see if it holds its shape. If it does, they’re dehydrated.
- Monitor your hamster’s water levels, and see how much water they’ve had.
- Watch your hamster’s behavior, and notice if there are any significant changes in their energy level.
Sometimes, changing out your pet’s current water supply can be a simple act that gives your hamster the confidence to drink its water. It’s also best to ensure your hamster’s water bottle functions correctly and that they can reach it.
If these two common fixes don’t seem to help your hamster, feel free to try the following:
- Replace your hamster’s water bottle and give them a new way to drink water.
- Reduce any unique or everyday stressors in your pet’s environment.
- Try placing your hamster water in a small dish rather than a bottle.
- Clean your pet’s water bottle of debris and replace the water after 24 hours.
- Keep your pet’s water refreshed from the same source, as mentioned.
- Take your hamster to an expert for help or advice.
- Provide your hamster with familiarity, and help them feel safe.
- Limit loud noises and chaos in their surroundings.
- Watch your pet and monitor their behavior, sleep routine, and habits.
The ultimate goal is to help your hamster hydrate and return to optimal health. Unfortunately, it’ll only take a few days for your hamster to die from dehydration.
Before finding alternative solutions, it’s best to give your hamster a bit of space to see if they can resolve the issue independently.
If there has been no successful hydration after that, it’s best to come up with a few creative solutions to encourage your hamster to drink their water:
- Give your hamster a little bit of peanut butter.
- Train your hamster to drink from a bottle if they’re not used to it.
- Feed your hamster hydrating foods like apples and cucumbers to provide them with water.
- Use a syringe to give your hamster water every thirty minutes to an hour.
- Provide electrolytes to help your hamster hydrate. You can do this by using a syringe.
Sometimes, hamsters can receive hydration from their diet if given fresh fruits and vegetables—this may stall their regular water intake.
These tips can be helpful for your hamster, especially if they’ve not had water within 36 to 48 hours. Another option, as previously mentioned, is to contact your local exotic veterinarian. Most veterinarians can refer you to the correct person for assistance.
When you first bring home your hamster, they’re adjusting to a new home and a new environment. That means that they don’t, initially, know how to drink from a water bottle.
It’s normal for hamsters to learn to drink from water bottles. However, the angle and tube that the water flows from are unfamiliar at first.
To teach your hamster how to drink from a water bottle, try and follow these three tips:
- Place enticing food on the end of the straw, such as peanut butter, to direct them.
- Use the bottle to nurse your hamster when they’re young and learning.
- Try a few different bottles to see which one your hamster likes.
If your hamster has decided not to drink their water from a water bottle, replacing their water bottle with a small dish might be best. Some hamsters don’t like to drink water from a bottle and may do better with alternative methods.
Related Hamster articles:
- Why Is My Hamster Itching?
- Why Does My Hamster Have a Lump?
- How To Get Your Hamster To Like You
- Why Does My Hamster Lick Me
- Why Is My Hamster Not Eating?
- Is Aquarium Sand Safe for Hamsters?
- Why Is My Hamster Shaking a Lot
- Why Is My Hamster Sneezing?
Hamsters are excellent pets that need hydration, routine, and comfort. As owners, it’s our job to provide them with their needs in the best way possible.
Whether your hamster lives in the pacific terrain of Washington or on the east coast in New York, finding the right solution can be an easy process to achieve.
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