It is finally the winter months and the time to bring out your colorful sweater collection. While we mostly tend to love the cold and snow for all the holiday festivities they bring on, it is not so much fun for our tiny furry little friends. For some breeds of hamsters, especially the Syrian variety, winters can be pretty harsh as they originally belong to warmer climates.
It is true that hamsters have developed a lot in the last 50 or so years since they started becoming a popular choice for pets in America. But severe temperature changes and sudden drops in mercury can have quite harmful effects on them. It is known that any weather with a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit can cause your hamster to feel constantly lethargic and a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause them to go into hibernation.
It is thus best to take measures to ensure that they are kept warm during harsh winters. After all, you’d want your cute little pet to be just as warm and snuggly as you feel wrapped up in your many woolen layers. So, if you want a few tips as to how to go about making sure your hamster pet is comfortable this winter, we have got you covered.
How to Tell if Your Hamster Is Cold
Hamster owners sometimes allow themselves to be fooled by their pets’ fur coat into thinking they are capable of warming themselves. But that is further from the truth as these rodents are really not that great at adapting sudden temperature drops.
There are several signs that convey when your hamster is cold and anyone looking can spot it. One of the most obvious signs that point to your hamster being cold is when they start shivering. Their extremities, such as feet, tail, and nose will feel unusually cold to your touch. When hamsters are very cold, they tend to go into hibernation. This state is usually preceded by a period of constant drowsiness and dropped physicality on their part.
Hibernating hamsters can look dead, which may freak you out. Unlike most other animals that hibernate during cold months, hamsters need a regular water intake. Getting them to drink water while they are sleeping is obviously a very difficult task, which is why hamsters often die out of dehydration when hibernating. So, here are a few ways to ensure that your hamster is comfortable and warm enough to not feel the necessity to go into a life-threatening hibernation.
Move Away From Cold Drafts
The placement of your hamster’s cage can make a huge difference to the temperature of their immediate vicinity, which in turn affects their body temperature during winter. Your house has various spots that are in the direct or indirect line of cold drafts getting in.
The simplest way to make sure that your hamster is warm is to ensure that its cage is not placed in a spot that is affected by the cold winds from the outside. If they are in the line of cold drafts, just relocating them to a warmer spot away from windows or cracks can do wonders.
Add Extra Bedding to the Cage
Adding insulated bedding to your hamster’s cage will ensure that the cold surface on which it rests cannot further bring down the temperature within the cage. Furthermore, this type of insulation ensures that the hamster’s body heat and the ambient heat of the cage are trapped within.
Extra bedding in your furry friend’s cage is the best way to ensure that it has a warm space to cuddle in. However, you must regularly pay attention to changing the bedding to ensure hygiene.
Place a Heat Pad Under the Cage
Heating pads for pets are all the rage in places having to endure colder climate these days. Portable and mini heating pads are available on most online stores and they come pretty cheaply. All you have to do is place a heating pad underneath the cage of your hamster so that it radiates the heat upwards in order to ensure that the cage and the hamster contained within are no longer chilly.
The best way to install a heating pad is by placing the cage on a raised grid or on non-conducting rubber feet and attaching the heat pad towards either side of the cage. Make sure that its placement is not directly underneath the cage to prevent causing overheating of burns. These appliances are safe and do not cause fire hazards as long as proper ventilation is ensured.
Wrap the bottom of the cage with a blanket
Most of us living in colder areas know how cold floors can get during winters. We either have heated floors or wear thick slippers and socks to ensure that our feet are protected from the chill of the floors.
Hamsters too need a protective layer to prevent whatever cold surface their cage is laying on from leeching off the ambient heat of their cage. Resting the cage on a folded blanket on the floor or wrapping the cage with the blanket is a good way to ensure your pet’s comfort.
Adjust the Central Heating
As mentioned earlier, hamsters need the temperature of their surroundings to not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause them to hibernate, which can have fatal consequences.
Hamsters do best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During winters if temperatures drop drastically low, you can still ensure that your hamster is comfortable and safe by setting your central heating at an appropriate temperature.
Thus, it is clear that low temperatures during cold winters can be harmful to your hamster pet and it is important for you to provide your pet with a comfortably warm environment. Reading about the adverse effects of colder temperatures on your pet may make winters seem such a daunting period for them to survive. But, if you follow these few steps we have provided, it will be an easy task to make the coming holiday season as enjoyable to your furry friend as it is to you.