Hamsters are the most friendly pocket pets you can own. Now, whether you already own one or plan on getting one, you might be looking for activities for your little one and have questions like, can hamsters swim?
Yes, hamsters are perfectly capable of swimming. However, since hamsters are animals of the warmer parts of the world, they do not prefer swimming. This is why you might not see them swim much often. Additionally, it can stress them out.
This might surprise you, but in the wild, hamsters do not even clean themselves using water and there’s a good reason why. Water can be harmful to your little one. It can make him or her sick.
But, that’s not all. There is still plenty you don’t know about the swimming capabilities of a hamster and the potential risks you need to consider. Continue reading to find out more about this!
The Complete Guide To Hamsters Swimming – 5 Safety Basics
Swimming may even be considered a means of exercise for different domestic pets. It not only keeps animals entertained but also in the best of their shape both health-wise and grooming-wise.
The same goes for hamsters as well. But, unfortunately, water really takes a toll on a hamster’s health and many vets usually recommend avoiding washing your little one with water or letting them out for a swim.
This further complicates things for hamster owners and leads to numerous doubts. Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Without any further ado, let’s dive straight into this!
1) Do Hamsters Like Water Or Swimming?
Hamsters can swim but do they even like water or swimming? Unfortunately, no. Unless it is for drinking purposes, they generally prefer to steer away from water.
If you ever make your hamster swim, or if they accidentally get into a swimming pool, you will find them looking for a way out.
Keep in mind, if you force your hamster to swim, you will only be adding to your poor little one’s stress levels. It is certainly not worth risking your pet’s health. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other activities for your pet friend.
It will be discussed in the latter part of this article, so make sure you go through the sections mentioned below.
2) Can Hamsters Drown In Water?
Although they can swim, they’re not good swimmers and they can drown if the depth of the water is greater than their own length. In trying to finding a way out, your pet will get tired and eventually drown.
Even if your pet manages to find its way out, the emotional stress will likely worsen your pet’s health.
3) 4 Reasons Why Your Hamster Shouldn’t Get Wet:
As mentioned earlier, letting your hamster get wet intentionally or accidentally will make your little one sick. If you’re thinking of bathing your little one, here are 3 reasons to consider otherwise:
A) Makes Your Little One Stressed And Uncomfortable:
Hamsters are one of those little creatures that like to stick to a specific routine. Sudden changes are not their thing, which makes them very sensitive.
Since hamsters come from warm parts of the world, getting wet stresses them out. It is something new to them and due to this, their sensitive nature gets the best of them and they feel uncomfortable.
In fact, it may lead to emotional trauma which can end up being deadly for your little one. Even if your pet hamster manages to survive the emotional shock, he or she will be unhappy.
So, you should refrain from getting your pet friend wet.
B) Your Pet’s Immune System Becomes Weak:
The emotional stress buildup from getting a hamster wet directly affects its immune system. It weakens significantly, thus increasing the chances of your little one suffering from health complications.
The only way to strengthen your pet’s immune system back is to feed him or her a healthy diet comprising of nutrient-rich foods. The list of safe foods for your little one is long, but here are our top picks:
C) Your Pet’s Natural Oils Get Washed Away:
When your adorable little hamster gets wet, its natural oils get washed away. In case you didn’t know, these natural oils are found in the fur of your pet hamster.
It helps keep them warm, and at the same time ensures their hair and fur keep looking healthy. When your pet gets wet, either from taking a bath or accidentally, it removes these natural oils from its fur.
This makes their hair look weak, and their fur conditions also become worse. As a result, your pet will not get the warmth it is accustomed to. Hence, this also distresses your little one.
D) It Will Lead To Cold And Pneumonia:
Apart from the already weak immune system, getting your pet wet will severely increase the chances of your little one catching a cold. In worst cases, it will also lead to pneumonia.
Here are some symptoms of pneumonia to keep an eye out for if your pet gets wet.
- Frequently coughing
- Loss of appetite and refusing to eat
- Discharge from both eyes and nose
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately rush your pet to the local veterinarian for further diagnostics and treatment.
Considering these reasons, it is strictly recommended to keep your pet away from water to ensure they live a long, healthy, and stress-free life.
4) 7 Steps To Take When Your Hamster Gets Wet:
If in the unfortunate event that your furry friend gets wet, here are some steps that you need to take. Make sure that you take these steps immediately and don’t waste a second.
- Grab a soft towel, and towel dry your pet hamster. Make sure to thoroughly dry your pet.
- To dry the fur completely, you can use a hairdryer (set to cool). This will help you speed up the process.
- If your pet’s cage is ventilated, cover it with something and make sure no air gets in. Since your pet’s natural oils get washed away with water, you will have to keep your pet warm by covering it.
- Monitor your pet and look for any adverse effects such as sneezing, coughing, and wheezing for the next couple of days. This will help you determine whether your little one is sick or not.
- If you notice any adverse reactions, you need to contact the vet immediately.
- Since exposure to water stresses hamsters and affects their immunity, you need to feed them healthy fruits and veggies to help boost their immunity.
- Get your pet comfortable and spend time playing with it to help deal with the stress better.
5) What Activities Can Hamsters Enjoy?
Since you can’t take your little one to a pool, you might wonder, what activities can hamsters do safely and get entertained?
Here is a list of some activities that you can help your little one with. These will not only entertain your pet hamster but also eliminate the risk of stressing out your pet.
- Recreate hamster tunnels – Hamsters spend most of their time in tunnels in the wild. Recreating these tunnels in their domestic homes will keep them company and at the same time, ensure they feel comfortable in their own living space.
- Get a hamster wheel – Playing with the hamster wheel is an excellent activity for your little one. In fact, they absolutely love running in the hamster wheel. So, while your pet enjoys running on the wheel, he or she is also getting some workouts done that keeps them physically fit.
- Have some fun with your pet by creating simple games – Interacting with your hamster by taking part in a hamster-owner game will keep your pet comfortable and entertained. These are simple games such as tying your pet’s favorite meal to a string and then let your pet chase after it.
- Let your adorable little one out – No one likes being stuck in a room all day long. Hamsters sure don’t enjoy being in their cages 24/7. Letting them out will allow them to roam around and explore your house. This will also help alleviate any stress that has been troubling your furry friend.
Bonus activity: Does your pet have a favorite snack? If yes, when you let your pet out, you can hide that snack someplace reachable for your little hamster. Let your pet search for it.
This is an exciting activity that your pet will absolutely love.
How Can You Clean Your Hamster?
Since getting wet is not an option, you might wonder how do hamsters clean themselves? Or, how can you clean your hamster if you cannot use water?
When it comes to cleaning or bathing your pet hamster, you will rarely have to bathe your pet hamster.
Hamsters worry about their hygiene more than you do. This is why they are constantly grooming themselves and picking out debris from their fur.
Interestingly, if you own more than one hamster, you will find them grooming each other and help each other clean. Additionally, they also keep their cages tidy.
You can even litter train your little one. This will make them keep their waste limited to a specific part of their cage.
If you’re looking for ways to lend your little one an extra pair of hands, here are some ways to do just that:
- Keep your pet’s environment clean, and ensure you clean its cage routinely.
- Give your pet fresh food and remove the leftovers once your pet is done eating his fair share. Leftover foods attract flies and can get moldy, which is unhealthy for your furry friend.
- Provide your pet hamster with clean bedding. You can also change the bedding after some time when it is no longer comfy. Beddings usually absorb spillage, either from drinking water or from urine. Due to this, it will affect the quality of sleep your hamster gets. So, you should routinely change the bedding.
Apart from this, you can also help your pet with a sand bath! Sand bath might come as a shock to you but interestingly enough, sand bath actually helps clean your dear pet.
If you’re new to the idea of the sand bath, the next section is just for you!
1) What Is A Sand Bath For Hamsters?
In order to clean themselves and get rid of any smells, hamsters bathe in the sand. This not only helps them get rid of the smell, but it also helps remove grime from their bodies.
But, don’t let this distract you from the fact that you can use any type of sand. There is a special type of bathing sand that you can get for your little one.
The best way to help your pet with a sand bath is to occasionally make the sand bath available to them, rather than making it a luxury that is constantly available. Or else, your poor friend will take it for just a litter box in its cage.
2) 5 Steps To Prepare A Sand Bath For Your Hamster:
The idea of a sand bath is tempting and if you’re feeling the same, here’s how to prepare a sand bath for your hamster:
A) Get A Bowl For The Sand Bath:
To provide access to your little one with the special bath sand, you need a bowl. One with rounded edges so that your hamster can get in with ease and enjoy its time in the sand bath.
However, you should remember that the bowl should have some weight. This will prevent it from getting knocked over if your pet enjoys it too much and tries to roll around in it.
Another factor that you need to consider is that the bowl should be made of sturdy ceramic material. One that cannot be chewed or else your hamster may take it for a chewable treat and try chewing it.
B) Get A Good Quality Bath Sand:
Bath sand is the most crucial element of this entire hygiene experience and you need to make sure it is of good quality.
Don’t worry, these are readily available and you can either get it from your local store or from any reputable online store. When exploring the store, you might come across bathing dust.
Keep in mind, bathing dust and bath sand aren’t the same. Bathing sand is what your little one needs. If you accidentally get bathing dust, it will lead to respiratory complications in your furry friend.
C) Get A Bath Hideout To Add Some Fun:
Make the entire experience more pleasurable and enjoyable for your furry friend by getting a bath hideout. These are little hideaways made from a soft ceramic material.
Hamsters are playful creatures and they use these hideaways to run through them and jump from them.
D) Set The Mood And Grab The Supplies:
After getting all the three elements of a sand bath, you need to grab the bowl and fill it with the bath sand you bought. If this is the first time your pet is ever having a sand bath, simply place it in your pet’s cage.
Let your pet snoop around and he or she will likely jump right at it. Since there is no water involved in the sand bath, your little friend will not be scared of it whatsoever.
Instead, your furry pet will enjoy the entire experience and at the same time get to clean itself from any odor or grime.
Besides, hamsters can smell if not properly cleaned. This will help them get rid of it.
3) What Are Some Ways To Help Keep Your Hamster’s Cage Clean?
Hamsters tend to tidy up their cages by themselves. But, they still require a helping hand from time to time. Here are some ways to keep your hamster’s cage clean, without water, of course.
- Add a litter box to your pet’s cage – Hamsters that are litter trained will likely avoid spreading their waste and only stick to a specified area in the cage. But, instead of this, you can add a litter box that is intended to store their litter. This will lower the amount of accidental spillage of waste and other litter.
- Clean Or Change Dirty Furniture – Hamsters are one of those creatures that will chew on just about anything. If your pet has furniture in its cage that is made from chewable material, he or she will chew it one day and get the hang of it. When this happens, you will either have to change the furniture and get ones that are made with non-chewable material.
Make sure you routinely check and clean your pet’s litter box, change the furniture, and maintain comfy bedding for your pet hamster.
This will keep your pet comfortable and ensure they don’t get stressed due to a poorly maintained cage. Besides, this will also keep your pet hamster happy and get them to love you even more!
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can Syrian Hamsters Swim?
In short, yes! Syrian hamsters can swim and they are perfectly capable to do so. However, just like other hamster breeds, Syrian hamsters too can get stressed and sick after exposure to water.
2) Can Dwarf Hamsters Swim?
Yes, dwarf hamsters can swim as well. Due to their smaller size, they get even more stressed than other breeds of hamsters when exposed to water. So, you should never take your dwarf hamster to a pool.
3) Is It A Good Idea To Bathe Your Hamster In The Bathtub?
A bathtub generally allows you more freedom over the amount of water and controlling the depth. This may make you want to let your hamster out in the bathtub to clean itself.
But, it still isn’t a good idea to bathe your hamster in the tub. The walls of a bathtub are slippery and they may stress out your little one.
Additionally, bathing isn’t generally recommended for hamsters because it makes them sick.
4) Why Do Hamsters Stink?
Anything that isn’t cared for can start to get stinky. The same goes for your pet’s hygiene as well. Hamsters usually stink due to leftover food in their cages. Similarly, if your pet isn’t litter trained he or she may stink as well.
But that’s not all. Hamsters can stink due to certain diseases. If your pet stinks even after you spot clean its cage and give your pet a bath, you need to consult with your vet for further diagnosis.
Can Hamsters Swim – Conclusion:
Hamsters can swim and there is nothing that states otherwise. However, getting them wet is certainly not a good idea because it will lead to an emotional shock and make your pet severely sick.
In worst cases, it may even lead to your pet suddenly dying due to catching a cold, pneumonia, and the stress from exposure to water. Based on this, it is not recommended to let your hamster swim or be exposed to water.
The only way your pet can be exposed to water is if it is drinking water. Additionally, if you intend on bathing your little one, you can use a sand bath instead. This will help clean your pet and get rid of any odor or grime.