Hamsters have an average life expectancy of about 2.5 years.
In this article we would like to give you 6 signs by which you can recognize that he may die soon.
Note: Of course, these are general signs that are common, but do not have to be. Also, the presence of one of these signs does not automatically mean that your hamster is dying.
Look for multiple signs occurring at the same time.
What are signs that the hamster is dying?
When a hamster dies due to old age or disease, there are several signs of this in advance.
These show up in both appearance and behavior.
Here you will learn what to look for.
Because it is important that you can prepare yourself for the demise or, if necessary, visit a vet early, if it is a curable disease.
In the case of very old hamsters, it is also possible to ensure that he is kept pain-free. This way the end of life will be easier for both of you.
Even if this is not the nicest topic, it is part of keeping these little rodents.
We want to inform you comprehensively so that you can handle it better.
Sign 1: The coat
With age or illness the fur becomes thinner and can look shaggy.
Bald patches are also not uncommon.
These signs may indicate that your pet is simply infested with parasites and thus scratching out fur.
In any case, you should check what the cause is. Because it can be as well the failure of the organs.
So, by itself, changes in the fur are not a sure indication that your hamster is dying.
However, it is quite possible that the loss of fur or a shaggy, unkempt appearance is a sign.
This is because dying or sick hamsters can no longer manage to groom themselves completely. They either do not have the strength or the mobility to do so.
An examination by a veterinarian can provide information.
Sign 2: The weight
Older hamsters either lose a lot of weight or develop excess weight.
The underweight occurs when your hamster no longer eats properly. However, again, other causes may be responsible.
Among them for example:
inflammations in the area of the oral mucosa or cheek pouches
Problems in the area of digestion, such as regurgitation or diarrhea.
So, again, have a veterinarian determine what is causing this.
Overweight, on the other hand, occurs when your hamster is no longer as active and does not get enough exercise or is fed incorrectly.
Here it also depends on the exact cause. By changing the diet and increasing exercise, otherwise healthy animals can be brought back to a normal weight.
However, this does not work with injuries or pathological changes.
You cannot prevent the aging process either.
Nevertheless, you can ensure that your hamster has a high quality of life until the end through an adapted diet and more motivation to exercise, as well as painkillers if necessary.
Sign 3: The behavior
Dying hamsters can become very quiet and withdrawn.
Equally, however, they can become aggressive and launch attacks. They suffer more from stress, get scared more quickly or seem oblivious and are apathetic.
Now you are surely wondering how to tell that your hamster is sick or dying.
Any abrupt change in behavior indicates that something is wrong.
Whether it is an illness, injury, or imminent death, there is no way to know without a veterinary examination.
Sign 4: The need for rest
Older, sick or injured hamsters have a greatly increased need for rest.
The otherwise agile and nimble animals move slower and less. They sleep longer and more.
At otherwise active times, they appear slowed down to apathetic.
As with all other signs, this is not a definitive indication. Possible triggers for decreased activity include:
Stress and fear
Acclimatization in the new home
Shyness of people, other pets or noises
missing possibilities of species-appropriate movement
However, if the behavior suddenly changes, you should visit a veterinarian with your hamster. This usually indicates an acute illness or an injury that may not be visible.
If, on the other hand, the quieter behavior and lack of mobility gradually creeps in, this can indicate both age and illness.
Again, you should have a veterinary exam to find out possible treatment options and keep your hamster pain-free.
Sign 5: The food
Dying hamsters often eat less.
Therefore, check daily if your animal has eaten or is just “hoarding” the food, i.e. storing it in its sleeping house or a passageway.
The droppings can also be a clue.
If the amount decreases significantly, this may indicate an intestinal obstruction, for example. But also diarrhea is possible.
Therefore, pay close attention to your animal and also to how much feces is deposited.
Sign 6: The eyes
With age, the eyes often become cloudy.
Since hamsters can manage well even blind, this is not yet a sure sign of approaching death. Again, however, disease and injury can indicate changes in the eyes.
These are not only changes in color and perception. Sticking out and inflammation can also indicate that there is a serious health problem.
This in turn can lead to death. Either there is an injury, a tumor is growing behind the eyes or an inflammation is spreading in the organism.
Therefore, check your hamster daily to notice such changes early and if necessary still initiate therapy.
Frequently asked questions
How do you recognize a dying hamster?
In some cases this is not possible.
But the better you know your hamster, the sooner you can recognize the mentioned signs.
Sometimes treatment is possible, even if it only consists of painkillers, to give your hamster a few good last days.
When do hamsters die?
Hamsters have a short life expectancy, so you should expect only one to two years.
While there are some specimens that live longer, this is not a guarantee.
Even with good care and proper husbandry, you can’t count on your pet living to a ripe old age.
Do hamsters retire to die?
This varies from individual to individual and depends, among other things, on the cause of death.
In case of a heart attack or a brain tumor many hamsters do not retire.
If, on the other hand, they have had health problems for a long time and hardly ever come out of their sleeping house, they can also die in this place.
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