Since hamsters are usually energetic, the chances of becoming overweight are low. But that doesn’t mean they can’t become obese. If your hamster is a lot fatter now, it’s important that you find out what’s causing its weight gain and take the necessary steps to help your hamster get back in shape.
Your hamster is so fat, likely because it overeats and doesn’t get enough exercise. Like humans, hamsters need to burn calories to prevent weight gain. That said, encourage your hamster to exercise and feed it with less food to prevent obesity, which may lead to health issues.
This article will discuss why your hamster is fat in greater detail. It’ll also provide you with some tips on how to help your hamster lose weight and how to maintain your hamster’s overall health. Keep reading.
Is My Hamster Fat Due to Overfeeding?
Your hamster is fat, likely due to overfeeding. If your hamster eats more calories than it burns, it will eventually become fat. Obesity is bad for hamsters as it can lead to serious health issues. Make sure you feed your hamster with a healthy, balanced diet.
Here are some of the best foods and drinks that will keep your hamster healthy:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Hamster pellets
- Plenty of water
These are the only foods you should be feeding your hamster.
Don’t Overfeed Your Hamster
It’s still possible to overfeed your hamster even if you’re only using healthy foods, though. Therefore, always make sure not to give your hamster too much food. If you notice your hamster getting fatter, cut back on the amount of food you’re giving it.
Generally, hamsters only need one to two tablespoons of food a day. If you’re feeding yours any more than this, it’ll likely gain weight.
Check if Your Hamster Is Hiding Food
Another thing to consider is that hamsters hoard food that they don’t eat. Placing too much food in your hamster’s cage will only encourage your hamster to collect the food until it goes rancid.
Your hamster may hide much of its food so that you can’t find it. Eventually, the food will become moldy. Moldy food can be dangerous for your hamster; avoid overfeeding and regularly clean your hamster‘s cage if you think rotting food is present.
Your Hamster Is Fat Because It Lacks Exercise
Another likely reason your hamster is fat is that it isn’t getting enough exercise. Hamsters can get exercise in many different ways, and they generally enjoy being active.
If your hamster is fat, chances are it’s not burning enough calories. As discussed earlier, if your hamster eats more than it burns, it will become overweight.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the main ways hamsters can get exercise, which can help them lose weight and keep it off.
Explore the Cage
One great way for hamsters to lose weight and keep healthy is by exploring the cage. It may not seem like it, but hamsters have many things to do in their cages.
For example, they can:
- Climb around the cage
- Create nests
- Play with toys, stones, and other materials
By giving your hamster a decent-sized cage with plenty of activities to do, you’ll encourage it to explore and keep healthy. If your hamster’s cage is tiny, it won’t have enough room to explore. Your hamster will quickly become bored.
And when a hamster is bored, it’ll lay around and get lazy. No matter where you are in the United States, be it Florida or Washington, you can surely find a large hamster cage for your furry friend from the local pet stores. After all, hamsters are common household pets in the States!
Play on a Hamster Wheel
Having a wheel in a hamster cage is essential for your hamster’s health because it gives it the freedom to exercise whenever it wants. It’s super easy to find hamster wheels across the country and online.
An example of one is this Niteangel Super-Silent Hamster Exercise Wheel from Amazon.com. This hamster wheel is silent, so you won’t hear it late at night when your hamster is running on it.
Since hamsters generally exercise at night, having a quiet wheel is vital! And if you live in the US, you can expect to receive this product super quickly.
Explore Outside the Cage
Another fun activity is to allow your hamster to explore outside the cage. However, you shouldn’t simply open the cage and let it run free. Hamsters have lousy eyesight, so they might get injured if they run around freely.
Instead, you should keep your hamster supervised. It’s recommended that you use a hamster ball. Hamster balls are a way for hamsters to enjoy life outside of their cages, although they’re not risk-free.
While a hamster ball allows your hamster to exercise and lose weight, you shouldn’t let it run for too long. Since hamster balls are enclosed, your hamster can overheat in one.
Keep a close eye on it and remove it from the ball if you think it’s suffering from heat exhaustion. After your hamster explores in a ball, make sure to give it plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
How To Tell if a Hamster Is Fat
It can be hard to tell when hamsters are fat in many cases. After all, they have lots of fur covering their skin! One way to check if your hamster is fat is by comparing it to other hamsters.
However, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for, including:
- Heavy body weight: A healthy Syrian hamster should weigh no more than 7 ounces (198.45 grams), and a dwarf hamster should weigh no more than 1.7 ounces (48.19 grams). If your hamster weighs more than these figures, it’s overweight.
- Laziness: If your hamster lounges around all day and night and shows no signs of energy, it’s probably fat. Fat hamsters lose much of their energy, making them tired all the time—this may cause serious health issues in the long run.
- Panting: If you notice your hamster constantly panting rather than breathing normally, it could be because it’s overweight and unfit. However, panting can be a sign of many other things, so it’s best to contact a vet if you have any concerns.
- Unusual overall appearance: One of the easiest ways to tell if a hamster is overweight is to look at its overall appearance. Your hamster is likely overweight if it appears to have extra skin and a rounder shape than usual. It’ll also have excess folds of skin if it’s obese.
Read How Long Can a Hamster Go Without a Wheel?
How To Help Your Hamster Lose Weight
You can help your hamster lose weight by being more careful with what you feed it and ensuring it gets all the exercise it needs. With the following tips below, your hamster will get back in shape in no time!
Don’t Give Your Fat Hamster Fatty or High-Protein Foods
If your hamster is fat, you’ll need to make sure it avoids fatty foods and too much protein.
Examples of foods that will promote weight gain in hamsters include:
- Eggs: Since they’re high in protein, they can make your hamster gain even more weight. To avoid this, don’t give your hamster any eggs until it has reached a healthy weight.
- Nuts: While nuts promote good fats, you still want to avoid giving your hamster these because nuts will make it gain more weight, and that’s the opposite of what you want!
- Fruits: Fruits are good for hamsters, but only in minimal quantities. Since fruits are high in sugar, it’s easy for your hamster to gain weight from eating them. Only feed your hamster essential hamster food if you want it to lose weight.
And of course, there are other foods that you should never feed your hamster, like chocolate or deep-fried food. No matter how infrequent, you should never feed your hamsters these foods.
Taking care of your hamster and giving it the right foods in the right quantities will ensure it loses weight and stays healthy.
Different Hamsters Require Different Food Quantities
One of the most important things when it comes to feeding fat hamsters is the quantity of food you give them. Even if you’re providing healthy food to your hamster, giving it too much will make it gain weight.
I mentioned it briefly earlier, but it’s vital not to give your hamster more than two tablespoons of food per day.
If you have a more miniature hamster, you may even need to feed it less than this. If you’re unsure of exactly how much food to give your hamster, you should ask a vet.
Of course, the smaller the hamster, the less food it will need. Syrian hamsters need more food than dwarf hamsters, so it’s easier to overfeed dwarfs.
Read How Much Water Does a Hamster Drink?
Keep Your Hamster Hydrated Always
Ensuring your hamster is constantly hydrated is essential if you want it to lose weight or remain at a healthy weight. Luckily, water is calorie-free, so drinking it won’t make your hamster gain more weight.
Water can help with weight loss in several ways when it comes to humans. For example, water is known to suppress your appetite. Since that’s the case, the same can be said for hamsters.
If your hamster is thirsty and has no access to water, it may try to gain hydration from food instead. Of course, this isn’t an excellent way to gain hydration.
Your hamster will end up dehydrated and overeating, so it’s essential that your hamster always has a supply of drinkable water in its cage.
Be sure to check the cage regularly. Sometimes, hamsters may down their water, so check the water supply every few hours. It would be best to leave plenty of water in the cage before you go to bed because hamsters do most of their exercise at night.
Read Why Does Hamster Pee Smell So Bad?
Encourage Your Hamster To Stay Busy
You want to prevent your hamster from getting bored at all costs. If your hamster gets bored, it will lounge around and won’t get much exercise. If you don’t intervene, this will lead to excessive weight gain.
The best way to prevent boredom is to make sure your hamster has lots of toys and activities in its cage to stay busy. I’ve already discussed some activities, such as hamster wheels, balls, and cage exploration.
But there are other ways your hamster can stay occupied.
Put Small Rocks and Stones in the Cage
For example, placing some small rocks and stones in the cage is an excellent and cheap way to keep your hamster occupied. This may sound strange, but it makes sense. When hamsters have access to small stones and rocks, they like to pick them up and move them around.
Sometimes, hamsters will hide them or hoard them. As hamsters lift these stones and move them around the cage, they get exercise. Carrying a small stone isn’t much work for us humans, but it’s a complete workout for a hamster!
So, if your hamster is fat (or if you want to prevent it from getting fat), you should give it some stones to play with.
Consider Giving Your Hamster a Playhouse or Tunnel System
Stones are one great way to keep your hamster occupied and active, but many other things can also help.
For example, giving your hamster a playhouse will surely keep it active. An example of a playhouse is this Hamiledyi Wooden Hamster House (available now on Amazon). This playhouse gives your hamster the freedom to climb and explore the mini tunnel, which is sure to keep it occupied.
Another toy that’ll keep your hamster from gaining weight would be a tunnel system. Hamsters thoroughly enjoy exploring tunnels, so putting one in its cage is an excellent way for it to explore and remain healthy and active.
Climbing toys are also great options. Although hamsters can climb their cages, it’s good to give them even more things to climb around.
If you want to help your hamster lose weight by keeping it active, consider this HOSUKKO Hamster Climbing Playing Set from Amazon.com. It’s made of natural materials and gives your hamster plenty of ways to climb around and have fun (while being healthy)!
So, the more toys and activities your hamster has, the more likely it will be to lose weight and stay healthy.
Related Hamster articles:
- Why Is My Hamster Lying Flat?
- How To Bond With Your Hamster
- Why Is My Hamster Not Coming Out at Night?
- Why Does My Hamster Lick Me
- How To Humanely Kill a Hamster?
The leading cause of fatness in hamsters is overeating and not enough exercise. Hamsters only need a maximum of two tablespoons of food daily, so never give yours more than this.
It’s also essential to give your hamster plenty of toys and activities to keep it occupied. If the cage is too small or there aren’t a lot of toys, your hamster will get bored quickly. When this happens, it will lay around and gain weight.
Avoid fatty foods, such as eggs and nuts, if you want your hamster to lose weight. And most importantly, give it plenty of water.
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