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If you are a responsible hamster owner, it is important to make sure that your pet has fresh water daily. There might be a water bottle in your hamster’s cage, which contains adequate water that lasts for many days. However, it can still become dehydrated in case the bottle malfunctions or leaks. It is a common phenomenon after all. Providing fresh water supply regularly is the most appropriate way to assure that it is hydrated.
The hamster must have easy access to water within its living environment. Many hamster owners supply an inverted water bottle that functions through a vacuum action. It means water is released only when the hamster tries to drink from it.
Water can be also placed in a bowl and then put inside your hamster’s cage. However, some people advise having a bowl, as well as, a bottle. When you check your pet’s water daily, it becomes simpler for you to observe if something is amiss. There can be issues such as a contaminated or tipped water bowl.
Before we discuss some smart tips to ensure your hamster is properly hydrated let us first see how long can a hamster go without water. A short answer to this question would be that they can live around three days since they last drank water. It means in case your hamster ate its food and had water on Tuesday morning; it can be in good condition until Thursday evening or Friday afternoon.
You should ensure that your hamster should not go without water or food longer than that. Else, it may develop serious health problems. However, its survival also depends on various other factors. These include how well it has been taken care of, the hamster’s age, the room temperature it is in, and whether it is healthy and ill among others.
How long can a hamster go without water?
The amount of water required by a hamster is a bit undecided as it can vary based on your pet’s size. Usually, a hamster needs around 10 ml of water per one hundred grams every day. It means if your hammy is an adult Syrian hamster that weighs about 10 grams; it will require 17 ml of water daily.
In case your hammy last drank water today morning, it can be alright for just 2 to 3 days. Now, that is without consuming any food as it can get hydration from its food too. Grains and dry pellets offer no or little water. However, fruits and veggies give them an adequate amount of water so that they can live without water for around or a week or so.
Has your pet hammy managed to escape and is loitering around? Be sure that it is quite good at locating and then drinking water from a tiny puddle somewhere or condensation from pipes. While the water may not be good for the hamster, it can do with such water in the worst case. However, its survival chance is limited when it is living in a closed cage.
Hydration of hamsters
A hamster can be quite prone to dehydration and cannot survive beyond a maximum of 2-3 days without water. These tiny creatures can become highly dehydrated after only a few hours of moderate or heavy activity when you fail to keep an adequate supply of water.
The water should be easily accessible and kept inside its enclosure. The hydration of hamsters is quite likely. That is the reason why their owners are warned not to leave their pets in exercise balls beyond 20-30 minutes.
Dehydration in hamsters
Is your pet hammy feeling ill or ignoring its water bottle? It is not a good situation in case there is inadequate water in the animal’s system. However, the problem can be fixed. These creatures should and can drink water and so if your pet is dehydrated, some kind of medical attention is required.
In brief, dehydration refers to the water loss from the body of a hamster. It means there is a loss of a lot of water through vomiting, urine, sweating, drooling, or diarrhea. The condition also means your hammy’s life is in great danger.
Dehydration is an issue as the body cells cannot function properly without water. They can also shut down fully. Even useful minerals and salts that are typically present in the hamster’s body along with water are now unavailable.
That is the reason simple tap water cannot rehydrate your dehydrated hamster. There is now a need to include sugar, minerals, and salts in its diet when it is recovering. The following section covers some useful tips to hydrate your pet hammy.
Ways to prevent dehydration in a hamster
1. Keep its water bottle always full- Many hamsters usually become dehydrated when the owners do not remember to refill the water bottles. So, do not forget about your little pet. Keep a close tab on its water bottle and refill the same with clean, fresh water whenever essential.
2. Do not let the pet overheat- Severe or mild heat stroke is another common reason for your hamster to be dehydrated. Hamsters can suffer from heat strokes very quickly. Hence, make sure that you keep the hamster cool, particularly in the summers. The room where the cage is kept should be well-ventilated.
Also, make sure that the cage is not receiving sunlight directly. If your hamster is traveling with you in a car, do not keep the cage next to a sunny window.
3. Give a balanced diet to your hammy –Giving a well-balanced diet to keep your pet healthy can work wonders for preventing dehydration. A healthy diet for your pet hamster should include good quality hamster mix, which is commercially available, a few sweet treats, and fresh veggies and fruits.
Other good choices for the diet of your hamster include cottage cheese low in fat, baked chicken, and low-fat yoghurt. All these food items are rich sources of protein and are major nutrients for your pet.
Speak to your vet if you are uncertain about the kind of food you should give your hamster. Some food items that should not be fed to the hamsters include raw potatoes, tomato leaves, and onions. Also avoid giving them watermelon, junk food, and chocolate.
Tips for hydrating a hamster
1. Rehydrate the hamster
It is a serious matter if a hamster is dehydrated. So, you should be quick enough to take your pet to the vet. At the same time, it may not be possible to take it right away. It is better to begin rehydrating the hammy at home so that it is on its road to recovery. It may be essential to use a syringe to administer liquids by mouth. These syringes are easily available at the local pharmacy.
· Experts recommend rehydration by mouth if diarrhea caused dehydration.
· We do not recommend plain water as it might dilute the reduced amount of sugars, salts, and minerals in its body now.
· The most suitable form of rehydration fluid for the hamster contains both sugars and salts both. Examples include unflavored Pedialyte and Lactade. You can find rehydration products at your local grocery and pharmacy stores.
· If you are unable to go to the shop, use homemade rehydration solution by adding a pinch of sugar and salt to plain water. Give this solution to your dehydrated pet. However, it is recommended to buy a rehydration solution as it contains a proper proportion of sugars and salts.
· The fluid should be drawn up preferably in a syringe with a 10 mm length. Cover your hamster comfortably in a towel using one of your hands.
· Use the other hand to position the syringe inside one side of its mouth. Empty the contents of the syringe drop by drop. Do not be in a hurry and ensure that your pet gets a proper chance to gulp the liquid in between drops. You should not force your hamster to have the fluid as there could be a threat of forcing the same into its lungs and that can be fatal.
2. Visit the vet
Now that you are familiar with what dehydration is all about and its symptoms, the next step is its proper treatment. A professional, such as a vet should do the treatment. He or she should proper experience in treating reptiles, birds, and rodents.
Your vet will administer necessary fluids to the hammy most possibly by a shot. That is because an I.V. drop may not be too practical. Your vet will also recommend what medicine may be required to give to your hammy later on such as a few vitamins.
If your pet hamster suffers from an underlying condition that caused dehydration such as vomiting or a wet tail, the vet will treat the issue as well. The vet may also ask that the hamster should be left behind for a few days. They may do that to keep the hammy under observation, as well as, further treatment.
It is important to note that your vet can give more advanced treatment to your hamster to cure its dehydration. The vet may also have other fluids such as lactated ringers solution and 0.9% saline so that your hamster can be rehydrated.
· The vet will try to figure out the severity of your hammy’s dehydration before he/she administers fluids. It will help them to compute how fluid is necessary to rehydrate the pet hamster adequately while not hydrating it more than required.
· The vet will possibly try to administer fluids by mouth in the beginning. In case the hamster is unable to drink on its own, the vet will use a sterile needle to inject the fluids.
· In case there is an underlying health issue such as diabetes or wet tail that led to dehydration, the vet will also treat that condition.
3. Give fresh produce to your hamster to eat
Fresh produce having a high proportion of water can also come in handy for your hammy when diarrhea is not the real reason for its dehydration. For instance, you may consider feeding it cucumber. Apples are also a good option because of their high water content.
However, consult your vet before you give any fresh produce to the hammy to cure the dehydration. If you introduce fresh produce to the hamster’s diet all of a sudden, it can suffer from diarrhea, worsening its dehydration.
By now, you are already aware of how long can a hamster go without water. You also know a hamster can get dehydrated quickly. So, make sure that it has an adequate supply of clean and fresh water always in the cage. If your hammy has become severely dehydrated, it is always better to take it to a vet. An experienced vet can take all the necessary steps for curing it. Separating your sick hammy could be possibly a good idea. You may start giving it rehydrating solution orally even before you reach the vet’s clinic.