Bathing in water is a general process to clean up our bodies. And seeing your hamster not batting in water may concern you. You might be worried about its health and hygiene.
So, how to bathe hamster? How to encourage bathing? Hamsters do not require bathing in water in general. You must go for a sand bath. Yet, there are times when you may be forced to bathe your hamster with water, but you must maintain a certain procedure.
Here, we describe the reasons for bathing them along with the bathing process. In addition, we thoroughly examine the encourage-to-bathe context while detailing the sand bathing process.
How to Bathe Hamster: Summary Table
We’ve prepared the table below to provide you with at-a-glance information about hamster bathing.
|Bathe Your Hamster||Why||When|
|Water bathing||The fur coat has some stains (sticky or toxic substances)||Sand and dust bath failed|
|Sand bathing||Regular cleaning||Weekly|
|Dust bathing||If appropriate sand is not available||Weekly|
|Grooming||To maintain hygiene||Weekly or monthly|
How to Bathe Hamster [The 4 Different Ways]?
Now that you know why and when to bathe your hamster, let’s dive deeper into them!
Hamster Bathing with Water
As mentioned earlier, you should usually avoid bathing your hamster with water. But in consideration of the situation listed below, you can give a water bath to your hamster.
- Your hamster has been treated for skin problems, and the vet has advised you to bathe it with a specialized shampoo
- The hamster’s fur has something like oil or a sticky substance (chocolate, honey, gum, etc.)
- While playing with it, the pet’s fur got into some of your cosmetics, like lipstick, nail polish, hair gel, etc.
Water Bathing Procedure
Below is a step-by-step process for giving the hamster a water bath.
Step 1: Take two mugs of water and make them warm. Please keep in mind that “warm water,” not hot. Some refer to it as “lukewarm” water, which has a temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 2: Pour the water into a container now
Step 3: Take a piece of a damp cloth. It is better to have a pet-friendly wipe from the store
Step 4: Put the cloth inside the container and make it fully wet
Step 5: Take it out of the container and put pressure on it by hand to extract the water
Step 6: Wipe the specific body area of the hamster that needs to be cleaned
Step 7: Keep the pet outside of the cage until it dries
Alternative to Water Bathe
There are mainly three alternatives to a water bath. We detail those here.
Hamster Bathing with Sand
This section elaborates on bathing your hamster with sand.
Which Sand to Use
Before heading into the process, you should know which sand you should use. Below is a list of sand; choose one according to availability and cost.
- Children’s play san
- Tiny Friends Farm Bathing Sand Supreme
- Sand from the Hermit Crab (calcium carbonate)
- Sepiolite chinchilla sand
Sand Bathe Process
Below are the stepwise guidelines.
Step 1: Get a container. It is better if you can allocate a factory-made bathhouse (which usually costs around $3.5–$7.5)
Step 2: Pour the sand into the bathhouse (forming a 1-inch-high layer of sand)
Step 3: Place the tiny creature inside the bathhouse. In general, if you keep the bath house just outside the cage, it eventually takes a bath by itself
Step 4: Allow some time to pass. The hamster will roll over the sand again and again
Step 5: After it’s tumbled around for few times, take it out and dust it to remove sand. Here, along with the sand, the dirt will also come out
Check this video to give a sand bath to your hamster:
Hamster Bathing with Dust
The dust bath is very similar to the sand bath. In this case, you should use volcanic ash or pumice powder instead of sand. The process is simple.
Step 1: Fill the bathhouse with selected dust (a 1-inch layer)
Step 2: Leave it near the cage
Step 3: Allow your hamster to play on it
Step 4: Take it out and remove the dust (by gentle slapping)
As you know, hamsters are naturally bound to perform self-grooming, but there is something you can do. Also, your assistance in the hamster’s grooming is effective for maintaining a good hygiene context while reducing the need for frequent bathing. So, how can you help your hamster with grooming?
Perform a weekly checkup on the hamster’s skin condition. If your hamster is hairless, gently massage the skin with coconut oil.
Check the teeth’ condition (once a week); if any of those are broken or have any deep scratches, take the pet to the vet. We suggest you hang a salt lick inside the cage. This will help the pet have good dental health.
Brush the Fur
It is better if you can brush its fur coat twice a week. This will assist the pet in getting rid of dirt particles, tiny pieces of food, etc.
During the weekly inspection of your hamster’s health, check its nails. Take them to the vet if they have developed a curly shape or have become stone-like hard.
How to Encourage a Hamster to Bathe
To encourage your hamster to take a bath, you can do the following:
- Place the sand bath house just outside the cage (near the gate)
- Place the sand bath house inside the cage. But in this case, you should supervise; otherwise, there is a greater chance of every interior item (toys, exercise equipment, beds, pots, etc.) becoming sandy
Below are the answers to some common questions regarding hamster baths.
Q: Can a bath kill a hamster?
Yes. If you bathe your hamster like a dog or cat, it will die. For a water bath, you should use wet cloths to wipe it. It is always better to go for a sand bath, as hamsters are naturally habituated to it.
Q: Why can’t hamsters be water bathed?
Water bathing does not suit hamsters. They acquired this trait through evolution. In addition, their skin is very sensitive to water. A water bath can remove skin layers and even some crucial molecules of its fur. The result is the orientation of various health issues (mostly skin diseases).
Q: What should I do if my hamster accidentally gets wet?
Due to poor vision, hamsters may fall inside the kitchen sink or any water container. In such a case, immediately take it out and cover it with a clean cloth (putting some pressure on it very gently). Then you can use a hair dryer to make it completely dry. Remember to set the dryer very low.
Now you have a clear answer to your question about how to bathe hamsters and how to encourage bathing. Do not go for a water bath if it is not a desperate situation (a sand or dust bath cannot clean the hamster’s fur coat).
However, for the hamster’s sand or dust bath, you should supervise it. The reason behind it is that the sand particles may enter the hamster’s digestive system, creating some major health issues.