Can hamsters fart? Answer, causes, treatment
Since hamsters have a complex digestive system due to their stuffed stomachs, you may be wondering if they can poop.
In this article we tell you the answer!
Can hamsters fart?
Yes, hamsters can fart. Besides absorption by the body, it is their only way of expelling gases produced during digestion. Burping, on the other hand, is not possible in hamsters.
Digestive system of the hamster
The hamster’s digestive system has some peculiarities.
Rodents have a stuffed stomach. This means that they have to eat numerous meals. This is the only way to transport the food and the resulting food mush through the stomach and intestines until feces can be excreted. Muscle power in the digestive tract is not sufficient for this.
As in other mammals, the intestinal flora is composed of different bacteria.
Among them are also species that ferment certain components of the food. In hamsters, this is necessary to prepare the nutrients for absorption through the intestinal wall into the body. Here they pass into the bloodstream and are used to nourish the cells.
Most digestion and absorption into the blood occurs in the small intestine. Fermentation, on the other hand, takes place in the large intestine. Since absorption is no longer possible here, water is removed from the feed mush and it is excreted as feces.
Since it is still rich in usable nutrients, hamsters eat their feces and return it to the digestive tract. It is thus utilized more efficiently.
This normal process already produces gases. Some of it is absorbed into the bloodstream and released through the breath.
The rest leads to farting.
6 causes of farting in hamsters
Although you usually can’t hear or smell when your hamster farts, it does take place and is a perfectly normal process. However, the amount of gas and therefore the frequency of farting is affected by a number of factors.
If there is a problem or an error in feeding, the amount and frequency can increase.
This may cause you to notice the flatulence after all, due to volume or smell. This should be a warning sign in any case. Because in addition to unsuitable food, it can also hide a disease.
- FODMAPs in the feeds
The abbreviation FODMAPs stands for “Fermentable oligosachharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols”.
Thus, these are fermentable alcohol and sugar compounds found in animal feeds. Oligosaccharides include fructans and galactans, disaccharides include lactose, monosaccharides include fructose and polyols include substances such as maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
Because they are fermentable, they ferment in the intestine and provide food for bacteria.
Gas is formed during the fermentation process in the intestine.
The process is normal and no cause for concern. However, if fed incorrectly, increased and sometimes painful flatulence can occur.
Fructose, for example, is found in larger quantities in fruits such as apples, grapes or cherries. Numerous dairy products are rich in lactose. Fructans are present in cereals and vegetables. Legumes and some cabbage varieties have high galactan levels. Maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol are found in cereals, fruits and vegetables.
So FODMAPs are hard to avoid when feeding your hamster.
However, you can control the amount. Instead of fructose-rich apples, berries are a good choice. Dairy products should be avoided and most legumes are not suitable for small rodents anyway.
- flatulent food
Cabbage, beans as well as other legumes, onions and garlic can cause considerable flatulence due to the substances they contain. However, they are not suitable for hamsters for this reason alone. Even small amounts can lead to symptoms of poisoning or even death, with the exception of some cabbages.
Suitable in very small amounts and with low frequency of feeding are:
However, if you offer them too often or overdo it with the quantity, strong flatulence of the hamster will be the result.
You may even notice the smell, because more gas is produced and its composition changes compared to normal flatulence.
If you feed only a few small pieces from time to time, this will not have a negative effect. Instead, you will enrich your hamster’s diet and contribute significantly to its health.
- swallowing air
When drinking and eating, air is inevitably swallowed.
Thus, some of the gas in the hamster’s digestive tract is not due to the production of gas, but is the result of eating. The ingested air, like gas, must either be expelled through the bloodstream or ends up in farts.
This is not dangerous.
However, it can become problematic if excessive amounts of air are swallowed. This is the case, for example, if your hamster eats very quickly or drinks hastily from a water bowl.
- dairy products
Mealworms and an occasional bit of egg are usually sufficient to meet your hamster’s protein needs.
However, opinions differ on dairy products: some recommend yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese in small portions. Others strongly advise against it due to the lactose content, among other things.
If your hamster reacts to feeding with severe flatulence, you should refrain from doing so. Obviously he is sensitive to lactose and may even get diarrhea.
Hamsters need sufficient protein to stay healthy. However, an over-supply will stress the digestive tract and kidneys.
This can not only result in increased flatulence, but can also cause organic damage.
Therefore, make sure that you adjust the food to the protein needs of your hamster. Pregnant and lactating female hamsters need more of it than other animals. However, they do not need to be fed a whole egg every day.
- overgrowth of bacteria
Diseases but also the administration of medication can influence the intestinal flora.
One possibility is that there are no longer enough bacteria available. This makes digestion more difficult. On the other hand, an overgrowth can occur. This indicates a disease and produces strong flatulence independent of feeding.
The more gas-forming bacteria present, the greater the amount of gas.
Although it is almost impossible to hear hamsters fart or smell the gas due to their small size and weight, the sound and smell may occasionally be detected in this case.
Loss of appetite, a distended abdomen, fluffed up sitting, a hunched back, and an increased need to rest, as well as weight changes, may be other signs of intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Treatment and prevention
Preventing flatulence and frequent farting in hamsters is primarily possible through proper feeding.
Also, allow your pet to eat and drink in peace.
If you notice further signs, such as intestinal noises, restlessness or a hard belly, you should urgently consult a veterinarian.
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