How To Care For An Elderly Hamster
How to Care for Old Hamsters
Hamsters make great family pets. But, just like all other living things, they eventually get old and elderly hamsters need a little bit of extra special care. Help your beloved pet have the most enjoyable life possible, even in their old age.
Making Sure the Cage is Safe
Provide a one-story cage.This will ensure that your hamster will be able to reach everything in his cage easily without too much effort or discomfort.
Change the bedding.The bedding in your hamster’s cage should be spot cleaned daily. This is where your hamster’s excrement goes, so you don’t want to keep that around for too long. It’s unsanitary and will cause an odor. Throw out soiled bedding as soon as you see it and replace it with new, clean bedding.
Clean the cage regularly.It is important to keep your hamster’s cage clean, especially in their old age. You should remove the contents of the cage once every two weeks and thoroughly clean everything. Use something mild to clean it with like soap and water, rather than something with harsh cleaning chemicals that might harm your pet.
- Make sure you put you hamster in a secure location while you are cleaning their cage – like an empty trashcan or a bathtub with the drain stopped.
Make sure all toys are easily accessible.Older hamsters are less mobile than younger hamsters. Keep their toys stored in areas of the cage that they can reach without difficulty. If you notice that your hamster isn’t playing with a certain toy anymore, try moving its location to somewhere your hamster can reach it more easily.
Providing Food and Water
Provide a constant water source.You should give your hamster a stoppered water bottle so that they have continuous access to water. If you put a bowl with water in their cage, they will fill the bowl with bedding and other items. So it is important that you give them a water bottle instead.
Give them enough food.Make sure your hamster gets a balanced diet – this will lead to increased overall health. There are several different types of food you should consider.
- Pellets. These are easy to find in any pet store and include lots of different foods all ground together.
- Mixed seeds/grains. This kind of food gives your pet some variety, but also meets their dietary needs.
- Snacks. To give your hamster a completely balanced diet, give them some fresh foods every once in a while. Try carrots, grapes, celery, etc. But only give them small portions because they will hoard the leftovers and you don’t want your hamster eating a bunch of rotten food.
Be mindful of your hamster’s specific restrictions.Make special provisions considering your hamster’s age. For example, if your hamster has lost any teeth because of old age, mush his food together to make it easier for him to eat.
Ensure the food and water are easily accessible.Just like with their toys, you want to make sure that your hamster can easily reach all of their food and water. You don’t want them to be unable to eat because it hurts them to get to their food. Make sure your hamster is eating and drinking regularly to ensure that there are no problems with this.
Helping Your Hamster Exercise
Play with your hamster.Old hamsters need exercise too. It will help them stay strong and healthy at the end of their life. Try to gently play with your hamster, encouraging it to move around and be active.
Put your hamster in an exercise wheel.One of the first signs of old age in a hamster is decreased levels of exercise. Make sure your hamster has access to an exercise wheel so that they can use it whenever they want. This is an easy and important way for pet hamsters to remain active even in old age.
Use a hamster ball.If your hamster’s health allows, let them roam around in a hamster ball. These balls provide a great deal of exercise for hamsters because all of their movement is powered by their body. But make sure you keep an eye on your older hamster to make sure they don’t get too tired.
Showing Gentle Love
Hold your hamster carefully.All hamsters should be handled carefully, but older hamsters especially so. Just as elderly humans have hurts and aches in their bodies, old hamsters do too. Be gentle when you pick up your hamster and be sure to show extra care when carrying him or placing him back in his cage.
Speak softly.Hamsters are generally sensitive to sound, but older hamsters are even more so and can startle more easily. Avoid making loud, startling sounds around your hamster. Speak in a soft, calming voice when you interact with your hamster. This will soothe him and make him more comfortable.
Accept changes in behavior.As hamsters get older, their behavior may change slightly. This is common for most living things. An older hamster might get grumpier or seem less social than it was when it was younger. That’s okay. Just realize that this is a sign of old age, not that your hamster doesn’t like you anymore.
Watch for signs of illness.As your hamster ages, it is important to pay more attention to its health so that you can be prepared if something happens and your hamster needs medical attention. Watch for changes in behavior or physical symptoms.
- In general, hamsters live for about 3 years. So, once your hamster is about 2 years old, you should start watching for problems.
- Take your hamster to the vet if you have any questions or concerns.
QuestionWhat do you with a dead hamster?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you want to give it a respectful burial, double-bag it in airtight bags, then put it in a box with some old bedding and memorabilia and bury it outside your house (be sure to bury it at least three feet deep to avoid scavengers unearthing it). However, most zoning laws do not forbid placing it in the trash.Thanks!
QuestionWhat's the best type of bedding for a 3-year-old hamster with atrophied leg muscles? He's only able to crawl and wood slices do not give him enough grip to move around.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry fleece or packed paper-based bedding. Sand works too! Try not to get him anything light, as he would just sink when he falls.Thanks!
QuestionAre older hamsters more prone to wet tail than younger ones?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYounger hamsters can get infected by wet tail more easily than older hamsters. It is not common for older hamsters to get it.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have to mash food if the hamster is really old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on if their teeth are still strong enough to chew food. If not, you may have to mash or puree their food.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does it mean when a hamster dumps their food bowl out but doesn't eat anything and just looks at me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey might not like their food, so I would try a different kind. If your hamster still doesn't eat, then take them to a vet and have them checked out to ensure that they don't have any medical issues.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you know if your hamster is old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTheir fur will start to thin and they won't be as active as usual. They might be sleeping more and eating less, and their toys and wheel might not interest them anymore. The cage odor usually gets stronger, their usually round head may become pointed, and they'll walk slower and more leisurely.Thanks!
QuestionI just adopted a Syrian after my mouse passed. My mom won't buy a bigger cage for him, even though my old mouse cage (Kaytee critter trail with 2 levels) is definitely not big enough. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry and take your hamster out for exercise as much as possible, and save your money for a larger cage.Thanks!
QuestionI have a new hamster cage with a tube to get up to the next level. My hamster is 2, and I haven't put him in it yet because I'm worried he won't be able to get up the tubes. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would let him try to get up. If he can't, maybe try to help him until he gets the hang of it and can do it himself. As long as he's well and able-bodied, he should be able to handle the tube just fine.Thanks!
QuestionMy 2-years-old hamster is very skinny and I found some blood in her cage. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry feeding her more than usual. Hamsters are prey animals, so they are more likely to hide symptoms of illness. Try getting her checked out by a small animal vet as well.Thanks!
Video: HOW TO CARE FOR ELDERLY HAMSTERS
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