How Often Should I Change my Hamsters Bedding?

when to change hamster bedding

How often should I change my hamsters bedding? 

Hamsters should always be in a clean environment which can be a challenge as they are not really that tidy. As they are active creatures as well, mess can be moved around the cage easily. That’s why their cage should ideally be cleaned once a week. This includes replacing their bedding. If you leave it longer than that, the bedding becomes too dirty with left over and spoiled food as well as poop and spoiled bedding. This can make your hamster ill.  

How long do you wait to change your hamsters bedding? 

Ideally all bedding is changed once a week, and on top of that it’s best to remove dirty bedding throughout the week as well as foods which will rot if left uneaten. While many hamsters have one area in their cage where they do their business, not all hamsters do this so you might want to look for wet patches around the cage. Spilled water can also ruin the bedding. When you place new bedding in the cage after a deep clean, make sure you put in enough to cover taking dirty bedding out throughout the week. There should be plenty of bedding left by the end of the week so your hamster can burrow and nest.  

Do hamsters smell? 

Hamsters communicate through smells, and males can be a little bit smellier than females at times. If your hamster cage is cleaned thoroughly every week, then there won’t be too much of a smell. Leaving soiled bedding in the cage will produce a strong smell, as they have very strong-smelling feces. It’s unlikely the smell disappears by just taking the bedding away. Pee can affect the plastic bottom of the tray, so it’s best to clean the cage with water and a cleaning product.

You can use a baking powder paste, vinegar or a pet friendly cleaning product to get rid of any smells. However, don’t use strong chemicals like bleach as it’s too strong for your hamster. The key thing is to make sure the environment is hygienic so you will have a happy hamster. 

Is it bad to wake a hamster up? 

It can stress out and scare a hamster if you wake them up from sleep, so it should be avoided. They are very stress and anxiety prone, so scaring them while they are somewhere they feel safe can make them feel uncomfortable. You are more likely to get a bite as well as your hamster is bound to wake up grumpily! So it’s best to just let them sleep and not disturb them.  

What does it mean when a hamster sleeps on you? 

If a hamster feels safe, it will show behaviors that suggest this, such as grooming, curiosity and sleeping. If your little hamster friend falls asleep in your hands if means he feels secure and safe in your presence and feels that he can let his guard down completely, so take it as a compliment. 

Can I wake my hamster up at night? 

A hamster’s natural sleep schedule wakes them up in low light, as they are naturally nocturnal animals. The best time to wake them would be at night, if you must. Although it is not recommended as they can get stressed if woken up suddenly. As they will be awake most of the night, just let them wake up by themselves when they feel it’s time to get up. 

Why is my hamster lying down flat? 

Hamsters lying down can be for a multitude of reasons. It could be a sign of illness, and if you suspect this a visit to the vet would be wise. Otherwise, your hamster may just be too hot! When a hamster is warm it will try to cool itself down by lying flat. You can help it by putting a cool rock in the cage. If the hamster is female and in heat, if you stroke its back, it might lay down, which is nothing to worry about. 

How do I get my hamster to fall asleep on me? 

If your hamster is comfortable being in your hand and doesn’t try to escape, you can try keeping it out of the cage for longer periods of time, stroking it gently and being still. It’s all about being a safe space for your hamster, so in doing this you make yourself safe and trustworthy without sudden noises or moves. Time, being calm and having patience will help you to make your hamster feel safe and your hamster might become so tame, they will fall asleep on you!  

How do I bond with my hamster? 

Spending quality time is the best way to bond with your hamster. They can grow very close to you and by spending a good amount of time per day just interacting with him, you will make him more comfortable. If your hamster is not very tame yet, start with talking and singing so your hamster gets used to you. Then you can slowly become more interactive with your hamster. Slowly put your hand in his cage or give him a snack to eat from your hand. When he is used to that, you can pick him up. Take your time and let your hamster take the lead, so you can grow a close bond in time.  

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How often should I clean my hamsters cage? 

Your hamster cage ideally not be left for more than a week without cleaning. A hamster who is living in a dirty cage has a high chance of becoming ill, it can also make them stressed or even depressed. Cleaning your hamster’s cage is part of having a hamster as much as giving them a healthy diet and feeding them every day. If you remove dirty bedding and fresh foods from the cage daily, the cage stays relatively clean and will reduce any smell which can build up when the cage isn’t cleaned often.  

What bedding is best for hamsters? 

Wood shavings are most popular and from these, Aspen bedding is generally thought to be the best bedding you can get for your hamster. It absorbs smells well and is soft. About roughly 4-6 inches of bedding is needed in the cage so your hamster can burrow and nest.  Other bedding options are Timothy Hay or dried grass.  

You might also like: Is it Bad if my Hamster Sleeps at Night?

What bedding should not be used for hamsters? 

It’s best not to buy any bedding with pine or cedar in it. They aren’t safe for hamster and can have negative heath impacts on your little friend. You should also avoid things like straw, as it can harm your hamster, and can cause irritation. 

Do hamsters really need bedding? 

Bedding is utterly essential for your hamster. It makes the cage comfortable and leaves places to burrow and hide things, which a hamster needs if it is to be happy and entertained. You should have about 4-6 inches of hamster safe bedding to make sure your little friend is comfortable. The tray of the cage should never be in sight. Studies have shown more bedding is better for your hamster’s health.  

Can hamsters suffocate in bedding? 

Hamsters naturally burrow in the wild, generally in soft sand, so suffocation shouldn’t be too much of a worry. However, this doesn’t mean you can use all kinds of bedding for your hamster. Cotton wool for example is dangerous as it can cause choking and internal blockages. If you use wood shavings, then there is no worry for suffocation at all, even with a thick layer of bedding in the cage. This doesn’t stop me checking in on my hamster though. I do like to know if she is fine if I can’t see her straight away!  

Can I use toilet roll for hamster bedding? 

Toilet tissue is safe for your hamster and can be a good and comfortable bedding for your hamster’s environment. As it’s not very easy to burrow in, you can mix it with their normal bedding to make it more comfortable and interesting for your hamster 

Can hamsters have blankets? 

You can use fabric at the bottom of the cage for insulation, but hamsters shouldn’t have fabric in their bedding as it isn’t always safe. Parts of the material can become undone, which can be dangerous for your hamster as there is a chance they will get stuck in the thread. The best thing to give them would be toilet paper if you feel they need some extra warmth. 

Can I use sand for hamster bedding? 

Hamsters would naturally burrow in sand in the wild, so it is safe for them. You can have a bowl of sand in the enclosure for your hamster to play in or go to the toilet in. It is a great way to make your hamsters cage more interesting and entertaining. Sand can make your room quite messy though as not all the sand will stay in your hamster’s cage! 

Can I move my hamster cage at night? 

While it’s understandable you want to move your hamster’s cage at night, especially if it’s in your bedroom, it’s not always a good idea. Hamsters can get stressed easily and moving them can make them feel unsafe. If you must move the cage, make sure they aren’t put in an area that can scare your hamster, or somewhere that is cold. Also be sure not to jolt or throw the cage around, as that can really scare your hamster.  

Do hamsters like Aspen bedding? 

Aspen bedding one the best bedding brands to get for hamsters. Wood shavings are soft and absorb smells well. Most hamsters like it. Bedding made of pine or cedar isn’t safe for them and should be avoided. You can mix things with your aspen bedding to make it more interesting for your hamster such as toilet paper. 

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