Hamsters are clean animals that have a slight but pleasant odor of their own. So they are not smelly pets.
However, it may happen that your hamster or hamster home smells strongly or even stinks. This always indicates a problem.
In this post, you’ll learn what odor is normal when keeping a hamster and when it’s a warning sign. A strong, unpleasant smell can be an indication of health problems.
Do hamsters stink? – Are hamsters smelly pets?
Hamsters are clean animals that spend a large part of their active phase cleaning themselves.
They create extra toilet corners in their corridors to deposit urine and feces only there.
They also do not have a strong inherent odor.
Hamsters are not inherently smelly pets. In the wild this would be fatal, because they would attract predators.
But why can unpleasant odors occur in the cage?
You can find out here!
Why do hamsters stink? – The reasons for the smell
If the hamster itself or the hamster home smell unpleasant or even stink, this can be due to various causes.
We show you the typical triggers.
Cause 1: Wrong bedding
In nature hamsters build underground tunnels. Here you will find a supply of food, a place to sleep as well as a toilet area.
The corridors and chambers are organized like the rooms in a house.
This in itself reduces the development of odors.
In addition, the urine can seep into the soil here.
In a cage already the creation of the corridors is not possible.
In addition, the urine is not led into deeper layers of the ground, but can only be absorbed by the bedding to a limited extent.
Hamster owners often make the first mistake here: too little or the wrong litter is provided.
The liquid can therefore not be sufficiently absorbed and therefore accumulates in the bottom tray.
Therefore, bring in an absorbent, thick layer of wood chips as a base. Two to three centimeter thick layers are not sufficient.
They soak through too quickly and then spread an unpleasant odor.
Cause 2: Lack of hygiene in the furnishings.
Just like the dish on the floor, other furnishings can also take on the urine smell over time.
Sleeping houses, toys and climbing facilities are among them.
You must therefore also clean these regularly and thoroughly or even replace them if necessary.
Cause 3: Too little space
A significant difference between hamsters living outdoors and as pets is the space available.
In the wild, these small rodents travel several kilometers per night. The area on which they can spread feces and urine is correspondingly large.
In a hamster home, this is much more concentrated in a smaller space.
Therefore, the larger the hamster home, the better. Because the excrement is also distributed differently here.
In addition, your hamster can keep a greater distance from the sleeping house and will therefore prefer individual corners or areas.
This makes spot cleaning easier for you.
Cause 4: Food remains
Hamsters hamster, this is completely normal.
However, this can become a problem if the food stocks are very large and mold, rot, decay or fermentation set in.
Especially at high temperatures, these processes start very quickly.
The associated odor can therefore assume extreme proportions within a few hours.
Another danger is that the spoiled feed can cause disease when ingested, but also simply when mold spores are inhaled or licked off.
Therefore, check supplies daily or every other day. Always offer only as much fresh food as your hamster can ingest in a short period of time.
Cause 5: Diseases of the bladder
Hamsters cope with a very low fluid intake.
They don’t sweat, are nocturnal and thus out during the cooler part of the day, and are evolutionarily designed from not needing to drink much.
Therefore, even healthy urine is very concentrated and thus more odorous.
However, the risk of urinary bladder disease is also higher.
Deposits in the form of sludge, semolina and stones are found more quickly.
On the one hand, these can increase the risk of bladder infections.
In the process, the urine smells much stronger.
On the other hand, they can block the urine. If this then escapes, it often stinks and has a sick smell.
In addition, sick hamsters also begin to smell. The fur may be wet with urine and soaked, so even a clean hamster home with fresh bedding will stink.
In any case, this is a clear warning signal and a veterinary examination and treatment is urgently needed.
Cause 6: Sexual maturity
With the onset of sexual maturity and reproductive ability, many things change in a hamster.
Among them, especially the behavior towards conspecifics and the smell.
Both males and females tend to mark.
That means especially with conspecifics in smelling distance, marks are set heaped.
Especially but not only people with a good sense of smell notice this quickly and strongly.
Cause 7: Diarrhea
By an infection or an infestation with parasites diarrhea can be produced just like due to spoiled fodder.
This usually smells stronger than normal, solid feces.
In addition, diarrhea may not only be more prevalent in the hamster’s home, but may also be found in the hamster’s fur. Thus, there is another source of odor.
Cause 8: Inflammations
Inflammations in the area of the mouth are often accompanied by bad breath.
If the cheek pouches are stuck together, this can also be true.
The same applies to infected wounds elsewhere on the body.
Cause 9: Lack of ventilation
If the hamster home is poorly ventilated, odors will be more prominent.
Urine doesn’t evaporate, and the litter stays damp longer and stinks.
Your hamster should not be on the train, but regular ventilation and good air circulation are still important.
You should already pay attention to this when choosing a hamster home.
Cause 10: Lack of personal hygiene
Old, sick or injured animals are often restricted in their movement. As a result, they can no longer clean themselves sufficiently or even at all.
This is often noticeable by the smell but also by shaggy, dull fur.
Here you can and should get to the bottom of the cause. Hamsters usually clean themselves extensively and thoroughly.
If this behavior changes, there is a health problem that needs to be treated.
On the other hand you should support your animal in these cases with the fur care.
Use a soft, small brush and a slightly damp cloth. A terry cloth washcloth, for example, is well suited.
Brushing and wiping with a rough cloth removes dirt and loose hair and stimulates circulation.
This contributes significantly to the quality of life and reduces odor.
Preventing stinky hamsters – this is how it works
The following tips will make it easier to keep odor to a minimum in your pet:
Choose absorbent bedding:
A combination of wood chips and straw is ideal. Also useful are cotton flowers or litter and hemp litter.
Keep the bedding thick:
The layer should be thick enough for your hamster to burrow in. In this way, moisture is better absorbed and the odor is more strongly bound.
Perform frequent and proper cleaning:
Spot clean or change the bedding daily or every other day. Once a week it should be completely replaced.
In addition, clean the bottom tray, side walls and the equipment of the hamster home with enzyme cleaner and replace them as needed.
Watch for food debris:
Remove food debris quickly and daily to prevent odor or health risks.
Check for health:
If there are sudden, strong changes in odor, there is often an underlying health problem.
Therefore, examine your pet daily to detect and treat the problem early.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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