Q:

What do I do if my hamster smells bad?

A:

Quick Answer

If a hamster smells bad, and his bedding has been kept clean, the odor might be caused by a disease, injury or illness. According to WebVet, there are a few common conditions that affect hamsters, some of which may have unpleasant odors associated with them.

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Full Answer

Diarrhea, or liquid stool, is easy to identify on a hamster. His hind end should be inspected to see if the fur is clean and fluffy or matted down and discolored. Diarrhea is frequently caused by unfamiliar foods or excess fruits and vegetables. A hamster’s diet should be limited to hamster pellets and seeds until the diarrhea clears up, and he needs a supply of fresh water every day.

If a hamster has a skin infection, it could be producing an odor. Infections can be due to injuries caused by other hamsters or an accident that occurred in the hamster’s cage. These need to be treated by a veterinarian. Humans handling a hamster with an infection must wash their hands after handling him and consult a veterinarian promptly.

Keeping a hamster’s bedding clean and dry is important. It needs to be changed at regular intervals. If the hamster smells strongly of urine, he may have a condition that causes excess urination. Don’t feed a hamster any salty human foods because these may make him drink excess water. A veterinarian can advise about possible diseases and their remedies.

Sometimes hamsters have problems with food getting stuck in their cheek pouches. This may clear up on its own. After the hamster empties his cheek pouches, there may be noticeable lumps on the outside. If there is a problem, his cheeks may be tender, so they must be handled with care. Hamsters need plenty of clean, fresh water at all times, and particularly when there's evidence of a medical issue. If the smell gets worse or the hamster stops eating, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

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