Can Hamsters Drink Tap Water?

Hamster drinking. Can hamsters drink tap water?

Can hamsters drink tap water? 

Can hamsters drink tap water? Yes, hamsters can drink tap water, however you’ll find that like many cats and dogs, they don’t like tap water that’s been standing for a while. So, if you give your hamster tap water, make sure you replace the water at least twice a day. Many animals, including hamsters prefer filtered water or rainwater.  To keep your hamster healthy you want to ensure you give them the best water available. If the tap water in your area smells strongly of chlorine for example, you might consider rain water or filtered water for your hamster.

What kind of water should hamsters drink? 

Hamsters should always have access to clean fresh water, regardless of whether this is tap water, rainwater, filtered or bottled water. In some places, tap water contains lots of chemicals, including chlorine, which is not very good for hamsters. Filtered water is always good for your hamster, but again, replace the water twice daily to keep it clean and fresh. Bottled water can have added minerals so read the label to see if it’s suitable for your hamster. Recycling and the environment might be a reason to filter rather than to buy bottled water. Fresh rainwater is fresh and clean for your hamster to drink as well. 

Is tap water or bottled water better for hamsters? 

Bottled water sometimes contains many added minerals so check the label to see what has been added. Small amounts of plastic are also present in the bottles, besides the plastic bottle itself which needs to be disposed of. On the other hand, tap water often contains many chemicals to clean the water, which can be bad for your hamster, especially if you live in an area where many hard chemicals are added. Filtering the tap water is a great solution which reduces waste, while providing clean drinking water for your hamster.  

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Is bottled water good for hamsters? 

You can give your hamster bottled water and depending on where you live and what the quality of the tap water is, your hamster might prefer it. However, plastic bottles are a real problem so filtered tap water or fresh rainwater can be great alternatives. 

Can water harm hamsters? 

Some people put hamsters in the bathtub to make them swim, and while they can swim, it stresses them out severely as they are naturally scared of water. Stress can make them very ill very quickly. They are also prone to hyperthermia when their fur gets soaked as they will not be able to dry thoroughly quickly. Never bathe your hamster or make her swim!  

Why is my hamster not drinking water? 

There can be several reasons why your hamster is not drinking water, the simple reason being that the water is not fresh or too full of chemicals, it could be that your hamster is drinking less than normal because you are giving foods full or water (think watermelon and cucumber) and you haven’t seen her drink, the worst reason being that your hamster is ill or really stressed. Replace the water with bottled or filtered water and see if your hamster is drinking at all. If not, call the vet and have your hamster checked out.  

What to do if your hamster is not drinking water? 

First check the water quality. If the water is dirty, old or stinks of chemicals, it could just be that your hamster doesn’t want it. If the water is fresh, check if anything is stressing your hamster out. Have you just brought your hamster home? Is there a lot of noise compared to normal? Have you moved the cage? Do you have any other animals nearby? If that’s not the case either, then check for any signs of illness. Does your hamster respond to you? Is she eating? Does she come out of her hiding? Does she pee or poop normally? If her behavior is normal, keep an eye on her as she might be drinking when you are out of sight. But if her behavior is out of the ordinary, or you are concerned at all, call your vet at once, to have her checked.  

Why is the hamster not drinking? 

If you have just brought your hamster home, it could be that your hamster is taking her time to get used to her new home and surroundings. It might take a while before she feels safe enough to eat and drink. If you have had her for a while, and nothing has changed that could stress her out, then get her checked out by your vet, as it could be due to being sick. 

How much water do hamsters need? 

Hamsters drink roughly 1 tablespoon per 100 grams of body weight per day. This means that a dwarf hamster weighing 40g will drink less than a teaspoon of water per day. While a Syrian hamster can drink up to 4 teaspoons per day. This doesn’t mean you only need to put out a couple of teaspoons of water per day, as you never want your hamster to be without. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how much your hamster drinks as it’s never good if she drinks far more or less water on any given day. 

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How do I give my hamster water? 

If your hamster is not drinking water you can try to give her some high-water content foods such as cucumber, strawberries or watermelon. The risk of dehydration will be far less if your hamster eats some of this food. If your hamster doesn’t eat any of the foods you offer, contact your veterinarian for advice as dehydration can be deadly. There is a chance that your hamster might be ill already with little to no signs. 

What is the best way to give my hamster water? 

There are two ways to give your hamster water; you can put a bowl of water in the cage, or you can hang a water bottle on the cage. Both options have their pros and cons. Hamsters like drinking from a water bowl, but the water gets dirty quickly. Water bottles are easy as water only comes out when the hamster drinks, however they sometimes get blocked and it’s easy to forget to refresh the water regularly. To be safe you can add both to the cage, so your hamster always has water to drink as dehydration in hamsters is dangerous and can make your hamster seriously ill.

My hamster is drinking a lot of water 

If your hamster is drinking much more water than normal, and you haven’t changed their diet, then it could be that your hamster is diabetic. If you suspect diabetes in your hamster, contact your veterinarian as a simple test can show whether this is the case or not. If you have changed your hamster’s diet, it could be that the new food contains less water than their normal food, maybe it contains more seeds rather than fruit for example. Or you might have added a food high in salt (which should be removed at once to avoid your hamster getting very sick).  To keep your hamster healthy, make sure you choose a high quality hamster pellet.

How long can my hamster go without water? 

Hamsters can quickly dehydrate so your hamster should always have access to fresh water. Your hamster can live without water for a day or two but the longer you leave her without water, the more she will suffer and once she is dehydrated, she will become seriously ill. To avoid this from happening, always have a bowl of water in the cage and if you leave your hamster overnight, the small investment of a water bottle specifically for hamsters will be a small but worthwhile investment.  

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Can dehydration lead to death in a hamster? 

It can be difficult to revive a hamster who is dehydrated, and just as in humans, dehydration can lead to death. It’s best to avoid this altogether by providing a water bowl with fresh water every day or if this is not possible with a water dispenser which is a water bottle from which your hamster can drink which holds more water than a water bowl. However sometimes the spouts get blocked, and water stops coming out, so always ask someone to check on your hamster every other day! 

What are signs of dehydration in hamsters? 

It’s not always easy to tell if your hamster is dehydrated, but some signs of dehydration are: 

  • Dry and sunken eyes 
  • Not grooming 
  • No peeing 
  • Weight loss 
  • Swollen tongue 
  • Slow moving and not exercising 
  • Confused behavior 
  • Skin stays in position when pinched rather than going back flat 

How do I treat dehydration in my hamster? 

It’s best to take your hamster to the vet at once, but if you can’t get your hamster to a vet, then you need to make sure your hamster gets minerals and salt. (Plain water will drain even more minerals from your hamster which can be deadly).  

You can give rehydration fluid from a syringe, which you can both buy at your pharmacy. Keep hold of your hamster and carefully put the tip of the syringe in your hamster’s mouth and give small drops of fluid at a time. Be really careful not to give too much and to have breaks in-between the drops so your hamster can breathe. 

Do hamsters like to play in water? 

Hamsters are naturally scared of water, and you will never see a hamster play in water out of choice. You will create a stressful situation if you try, which is not fair to your hamster who is already prone to stress. Try a sand bath instead, as many hamsters love to play in these, which will clean them at the same time! 

Can you bathe a hamster in water? 

While some hamster owners put their hamster in the bathtub when they are a bit grubby, there is really no good reason to do so as hamsters are scared of water and will become very distressed. Hamsters groom themselves and are normally very clean animals. However, if your hamster is a bit dirty for whatever reason, just use a damp cloth and wipe your hamster clean. A sand bath will also do wonders for your hamster.  

How do I make my hamster drink from its bottle? 

The easiest way to train your hamster to drink from the water bottle is to put a tiny bit of honey or peanut butter on the little ball in the spout. Your hamster will love the little snack, lick the ball and will soon realize there is water to be found. Soon your hamster will come to the water bottle to drink even when there’s no peanut butter or honey on the spout. 

How to make your hamster drink water 

If your hamster is not drinking water but seems healthy, it could be that he’s just adjusting to his new surroundings or is stressed over something. Remove the stress point and place fresh water in the cage. Also put high water content food in the cage for your hamster to eat. Cucumber, strawberries and watermelon are all high in water. Then leave your hamster to settle.  

If your hamster is dehydrated however, you will need to call the vet at once and have your hamster checked out as it can be deadly. You can find out if your hamster is dehydrated by doing a simple skin test. Take the skin of your hamster between your fingers and softly pull it. If the skin bounces back, your hamster is fine. If the skin stays where you pulled it, like in a tent shape, then your hamster is dehydrated and needs help at once.  

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