Hamsters and Dehydration: Get Answers to the Critical Questions You May Have


If your hamster is not acting like its usual self, and you notice it doesn't seem to be drinking much, you may be worried about dehydration. Just like all animals, a hamster can become dehydrated if it does not get enough liquids. However, since hamsters are so small, dehydration can be a serious problem and set in quickly. Severe dehydration can set in within a few hours depending on the activity level of your hamster, with death being possible if it goes without water for a day or two. If you suspect your hamster is dehydrated, you may have many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions about hamsters and dehydration.

What Are the Signs a Hamster Is Dehydrated?

If it does not appear that your hamster is drinking, you may want to know if it is dehydrated. Sunken eyes, dry mucous membranes, weakness, loose skin, heavy breathing, and lethargy are all signs of dehydration in this type of pet. One of the easiest ways to check for possible dehydration is to lightly pinch the loose skin just below the back of the head. Once you let go, the skin should go back to the way it was, lying flat. If it takes a minute to bounce back, or stays pinched, your hamster is dehydrated. Another way to check for dehydration is to touch your hamster's gums with your fingers. The gums should feel moist. If they feel sticky or even dry, your hamster is dehydrated.

Why Would a Hamster Be Dehydrated?

If you suspect your hamster is dehydrated, you may be wondering why. It may be because the hamster doesn't have access to enough water, is ill, or has engaged in too much activity. If your hamster didn't have access to water or has run on a hamster wheel for too long, the hamster should be able to rehydrate itself when you give it water. However, if your hamster is ill, it may be too weak to rehydrate itself or be suffering from diarrhea, which causes it to lose the water it is drinking.

Is Dehydration in a Hamster an Emergency Situation?

Dehydration in a hamster can be an emergency situation. An animal as small as a hamster can become dehydrated quickly. If your hamster is showing signs of being dehydrated, you can attempt to treat the dehydration yourself. Mix equal parts water and a rehydration solution, such as pedialyte, together. Use a small syringe to drop some of the mixture in the hamster's mouth. Ideally, you want your hamster to drink at least 0.5 ml every hour. If your hamster is not taking fluids and is becoming extremely lethargic, has diarrhea that isn't improving with the fluids, or has gone over 12 hours without fluids, you need to take the hamster to an emergency vet or vet clinic.

What Can an Emergency Vet Clinic Do for a Dehydrated Hamster?

If your hamster is suffering from severe dehydration, an emergency vet clinic may be able to help. They can administer subcutaneous fluids to help rehydrate your hamster and treat any illness he may be suffering with. Subcutaneous fluid involves injecting fluids into the tissue under the skin with a needle. Once injured, the blood and tissue absorb the fluid, rehydrating the animal. Once your hamster is rehydrated and its illness has resolved, it should be able to take fluids on its own again.

Dehydration can be a fatal problem in hamsters if it is not resolved quickly. However, if you don't know what the signs of dehydration are, what to do if you suspect it, and when to go to an emergency vet clinic, your hamster may die. Learning about hamsters and dehydration will educate you so you can help your hamster if you ever run into this situation. Contact a facility like the Gwynedd Veterinary Hospital for further questions or for emergency help.


18 April 2016

spaying and neutering your pets

Having your pets spayed and neutered is more important than most people realize. Not only does it help manage the pet population, but it can help your pet's behavior and protect them from unwanted and unsafe pregnancies. Our blog is all about spaying and neutering pets. You will learn about the procedure, the benefits and even the potential risks of having it done. Hopefully, the information that we have included here will help you come to an educated decision about whether your pet should be spayed or neutered. Take your time to read through everything compiled here and you should have little question about the procedure.