Can hamsters swim? It’s a question everyone will ask at some point when they’re parenting a hamster.
To be precise, YES. As with most mammals, hamsters do have the ability to swim… but it’s not advisable for you to let your hamster swim. Aside from the fact that they aren’t big on swimming, it can be quite harmful to them.
Why it is not advisable to put them in water?
They’re more intelligent than they seem. Hamsters are perfectly capable of keeping themselves clean. Originating from a warm natural habitat, you won’t find these furry omnivores going for a swim or scavenging near water on a normal day.
Surprisingly, water can do more harm than good. It not only can cause the hamster to become stressed but it can also impede immune system functions. With a weakened immune system your hamster will be susceptible to a number of diseases that may prevent recovery altogether. Cold water can especially be dangerous and is often linked to acute pneumonia, a severe and life threatening condition in hamsters.
Adding to this, there are a number of other risk factors that are involved in letting a hamster swim:
- Putting your hamster in water won’t just wash away the odor or dirt that you’re trying to remove. Water has been proven to remove natural skin oils from hamsters, which can ultimately make it more difficult to groom.
- If the hamster becomes stressed after being exposed to water, then it may develop a sense of fear and starting biting even its parents.
- If the immune system is weakened after the hamster is exposed to water, then it can develop wet tail. West tail is a disease in hamsters that is characterized primarily by severe diarrhea and it can be lethal.
- If a hamster becomes exposed to water it may also develop hypothermia; another deadly condition in hamsters that impedes their ability to regulate body temperature.
So, with that said, what if your hamster is in dire need of a bath after being exposed to certain substances.
Can you give a bath to a hamster for cleaning?
Before you decide to give you decide to give your hamster a bath, decide if it’s completely necessary and use it as a last resort. Bear in mind that hamsters are fully capable of cleaning themselves by using their saliva. Similar to cats, hamsters can use their saliva to clean every corner of their body. Many are keen on ensuring that there isn’t much dirt on their body so there is no need that you should be at war with your hamsters about hygiene.
As mentioned earlier, exposing your hamster to water can have serious ramifications. There are a number of ways in which you can clean your hamster without getting it wet.
For instance, a sand bath may be a great way to remove any unwanted substances that the hamster has been exposed to. Stop on over at your local pet store and try invest in some chinchilla sand, perfect for helping hamsters remove any unwanted elements. Simply place the sand in a sturdy bowl and allow your hamster to climb in and clean itself safely and accurately.
In cases where your hamster has been exposed to dangerous chemicals that could irritate its skin or cause further damage – granted that there is no other way to remove the chemicals from the hamster – follow these steps below to reduce risk (only if you have to!).
- Using a basin, fill it with no more than two cups of water at room temperature. While not mandatory you can add one to two drops of pet shampoo to aid the removal of the substance.
- Wet a wash cloth and then swab the hamster gently using the cloth much like you would when petting it.
- Once you’ve removed the substance, respond immediately by wiping the hamster with a soft, dry towel to remove excess dampness.
- Once you’ve followed these steps, place your hamster back in its cage, taking care to ensure that it is warm.
What to do if your hamster falls in water?
As mentioned earlier, if you notice that your hamster has been in water, respond immediately by using a soft dry towel to remove the excess water and taking precautions to ensure that the cage is warm.
Another method is to carefully use a hair dryer – while it’s on cool – to remove water. Once you’ve ensured that you’ve dried the hamster, then there isn’t much else to do. Simply provide plenty of bedding to keep her cozy and keep a close watch for any telltale signs; such as sneezing or sniffling, which may signal a potential problem.
Can a hamster die from getting wet?
Yes. As mentioned above, a hamster can develop numerous fatal conditions after getting wet. They are susceptible to cold environments and thrive better in warm climates like where they come from in the wild. These are the main reasons why hamster owners are urged to avoid exposing their hamster to water.
The best course of action to keep your hamster safe is to provide it with a safe environment where it won’t easily get wet and can stay warm and cozy much like it’s natural habitat.