Keyword: vacation care.
If you have planned a short trip over the weekend, you are sure to ask yourself how long your hamster can manage without water and food in the worst case.
In this article we will explain how long you can leave your pet alone and what we would recommend in case of absence.
How long can a hamster survive without water and food?
In a healthy animal, up to two days are possible. However, you must then expect serious health consequences.
So, if you want to leave your hamster alone, you need to provide adequate supplies. Nevertheless, it is better to have a temporary control.
What are the reasons for not providing a hamster with food and water on a daily basis?
Travel / Hospital
If you are planning an overnight stay away from home, a hospital stay is imminent, or you cannot be there for your hamster for a few days for other reasons, having a family member or friend care for him/her is the best choice.
However, this cannot be assured in every case.
Other reasons for the issue of no eating or drinking are health related.
A hamster with broken teeth, digestive problems, or an infection may prevent the animal from eating or drinking water.
In these cases, you should always see a veterinarian immediately because it is an emergency situation. This can lead to death within a few hours.
Early treatment is therefore imperative. Therefore, do not wait a day or two, but immediately have an appropriate examination and therapy.
How much water does a hamster need?
Depending on food, temperature and humidity, a hamster should consume about 5 to 10 milliliters of water per day per 100 grams of body weight.
For a dwarf hamster, therefore, even a very small amount is sufficient.
If you offer a lot of water-rich fresh food, hamsters often drink little or not at all. As desert animals, they obtain the necessary amount of liquid to a large extent from food and have a low requirement.
How much food does a hamster need daily?
This depends on the type of food and the size of the hamster. Husbandry also plays a role: if your animal is able to exercise, forage or acquire a lot of food on a daily basis in a manner appropriate to its species, it will have a higher energy turnover.
With oil and flour-rich seeds is then enough for a dwarf hamster about a heaping tablespoon per day.
For a medium hamster it should be at least two tablespoons. Add to this green and fresh food as well as animal protein in the form of dried mealworms, cooked egg whites or dairy products.
Dry food can be offered by you in larger quantities, because hamsters build up a stock in their sleeping house. So they “hoard” and have a reserve.
In absence this is of course favorable.
However, make sure that this additional food does not become moldy, ferment or attract insects.
Green and fresh food should be given daily but only in small amounts and removed within a short time if your hamster does not eat it.
How long is survival without food possible?
There is no general answer to this question.
However, you should consider some factors when planning. These are:
the peculiarities of the hamster’s digestion
general state of health
Hamsters have very weak muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, they cannot vomit or regurgitate.
The food mush is not transported further without appropriate supplies.
This meant that hamsters have to eat small meals more frequently spread over the activity phase. Otherwise, the food may ferment in the stomach or intestines, resulting in regurgitation.
Cramps, pain and even blockage or death of tissue are possible as a result.
So the basic problem is not that the animals are no longer supplied with calories and nutrients. The fat reserves would also be suitable for this purpose. A big risk is the lack of further transport.
Therefore, always provide your hamster with more than enough dry food and water.
Because the dry food does not spoil so quickly. However, it also provides no or very little liquid. One or better several well-functioning water bottles belong therefore urgently to the basic supply.
Before you leave a hamster alone – checklist
It is always ideal not to leave your pet alone. At least one family member or friend should check if your hamster eats and drinks sufficiently.
In addition, it should be checked daily to see if anything has changed in its overall condition.
If you can’t ensure this, care is also available at some pet stores, veterinarians or animal shelters.
If that is not a solution either, the following checklist may help you:
- Offer enough food: In your absence applies – rather too much than too little. Seeds and other dry food are well suited. This may also include hay, dried fruit, vegetables and mealworms.
- Pay attention to the water: Offer your hamster two water bottles to be on the safe side. Check to make sure they are working properly and are not dripping or clogged. If your hamster does not accept water bottles well, use an additional shallow bowl instead.
- Check your hamster beforehand: if there are signs of illness, it is better to take the animal to the vet for care, for example, or – if possible – time your absence differently.
Note that two days can only be a rough estimate.
Even significantly shorter periods without food can cause considerable damage to the animal or even lead to death.
This is especially true if problems already existed: Underweight, advanced age, diabetes or inflammation around the mouth, as well as difficulties with the teeth, can cause food to be absorbed more poorly or not at all.
Therefore, check both your pet and the food stores you have created. If they are very large and your hamster seems tired and less active, you should not leave him alone.
It is then better to have the cause clarified immediately at the vet.
Lost hamster in the apartment
Hamsters are nimble, agile and intelligent.
Therefore, it is not uncommon that they escape in the free run or from the cage and you see your animal disappear behind a cabinet. Of course, it is also possible that you were not able to observe where the hamster was hiding.
In these cases it can happen that your hamster has neither food nor water available and dies behind a piece of furniture. This is especially true if he can not get out of a niche and is afraid.
Therefore, when designing the cage or hamster home, make sure that there are no escape routes. Design the free run safely and keep in mind that your hamster can squeeze through narrow gaps.
If your pet does escape indoors, do not chase it.
Stay calm during the search.
If unsuccessful, place the open cage so that your hamster can get back in on its own. Remove all supplies and note very carefully how much food and how much water you have provided. This way you can verify that your hamster is eating.
If you don’t know which room your hamster might be in, place a food dish with counted seeds in each room. This way you will prevent your hamster from starving and at the same time you will be able to find out where he is.
Be sure to find the doors between all the rooms. Once you know which room the hamster was in, you can put the familiar cage inside again. An already tame animal will go inside and use its usual sleeping place.
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