How To Care For A Dying Hamster? (In Last Days And Hours)

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 07:02 pm

Hamsters are sweet and pleasant, they brighten up our day, especially when we come back tired from work, with their actions they make us forget about our responsibilities and cheer us up.

However, hamsters have a short life span, and the moment comes when they die, so we need to make sure that their last days and hours are comfortable and enjoyable.

When hamsters are nearing the end of their lives, we need to provide them with a calm and quiet environment, to take other pets aside in order to reduce their stress.

In today’s article, you will learn how to make the last moments of hamsters more comfortable and painless, and how to cope more easily with the loss of your pet.

How To Care For A Dying Hamster?

Since hamsters age quickly or are sick at the end of their short lives, you should do everything you can to make the last moments of their lives more comfortable and painless.

Here are some steps to help comfort your dying hamster more easily.

The temperature should be comfortable for him

Hamsters need a temperature of 65 – 75 F to be comfortable and feel relaxed in their environment.

They are very sensitive and any temperature difference affects their behavior and health.

Therefore, to maintain the temperature as needed for his last hours of life, take the following steps:

  • If it’s too cold, increase the heat
  • if necessary, turn off the air conditioner so that the hamster does not get cold
  • take the cage out of the draft
  • check the bedding for sufficient depth

If the room where the hamster is, is too hot, it will bother him, so pay attention to the heating, remove excess bedding and move the cage out of the sun.

Remove the things from the cage

In the last days and hours, the hamster needs comfort.

Take things out of the cage to give them more room to be comfortable and to keep them from getting hurt.

Remove the following items:

  • wheels
  • rocks
  • pipes
  • bridges
  • climbing toys
  • plates

If you have other hamsters in the cage, remove them from the cage as well, because a dying hamster needs peace and quiet in its last to care for a dying hamster

Hamsters need a quiet environment

When hamsters are at the peak of their lives, they need a quiet environment.

In the last hours and days, they mostly spend the day sleeping, because they don’t have much energy to move and play.

They very rarely go out to eat and drink water, although most likely their appetite will be very weak, and some do not want to eat at all.


So provide them with a quiet environment and dimmed light to make them feel more comfortable before they die.

Here are some steps you can take to provide them with a quiet environment:

  • move other pets aside
  • turn down or turn off the TV and other receivers
  • do not clean their cage too much, without general cleaning
  • turn down the light in the room
  • speak softly because hamsters can hear 10 times louder than us

The quieter it is, the less stress there will be for the hamster in the final moments of its life, thus providing a more comfortable end to its life.

Bring food and water dishes closer together

In the last moments of his life, the hamster will not have the energy as before, he will not be able to move much.

Therefore, try to reduce the distance in the cage in terms of the necessary things that should be within his reach.

Try to keep what he needs to eat and the water bowl close to him so that he does not have to move much, because he will not have much energy.

Spend some time with your hamster

In the last hours of your hamster’s life, you should use the time to be by his side, talk softly to him, hold him in your arms, and show him that you love him.

Depending on how close you are to your pet, the hamster may find comfort in the company you keep him and he will be more comfortable and relaxed.

Hamsters release the love hormone, or oxytocin when they love someone, which helps lower their blood pressure and cortisol, which helps them relax and forget about the pain.

If your hamster loves you, it will release oxytocin and feel nice and relaxed in your company.

Of course, if you notice that the hamster does not want to hang out with you in the last moments of its life, then let it be as it wants, that’s the best way.

Read more: How To Humanely Euthanize a Hamster at Home? (Find Out Now)

Give him his favorite food

When it’s the last moments of a hamster’s life, we shouldn’t pay so much attention to whether the food we give them is according to the rules of healthy eating.

In the last moments, allow him to eat what he wants the most, and let him enjoy the food if he can eat at all, because before death hamsters have no appetite at all or have a very weak appetite.

Here are some favorite treats for hamsters to eat:

  • Apples
  • Cucumber
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Carrot
  • Blueberries
  • Seeds

Give them pain relievers

When hamsters die, they often have pains that make their situation even more difficult and the last moments of their lives.

Feel free to give them painkillers to make it easier, especially if they have the following symptoms:

  • too much sleep
  • dehydration
  • weight loss
  • shortness of breath
  • difficult movement

All these symptoms are signs that the hamster is in some pain before it dies, so you can get medicine from the vet to make it easier for the to care for a dying hamster

Let him do unwanted things

Before the end of their life, hamsters can become aggressive and do things that are not so pleasant, but you have to give in to them.

Allow them to be a little uncomfortable in the last hours, and ignore their bad behavior, which may be the result of pain or other problems they feel.

However, try to help them in a calm tone and try to touch them gently to show them that you love them in their last days.

Show them that you will miss them and that you care for them if they die.

How do you know a hamster is dying?

Hamsters have a short life span, their metabolism works quickly, their organs wear out quickly, and they live much less than other pets.

From the time they reach two years old, it is already considered an old hamster, and in a short time, the hamster can die.

When hamsters die it can be noticed by the following signs:

  • dehydration
  • lack of appetite to eat
  • attacks
  • blood in the urine
  • shaking
  • swelling of the eyes
  • they make strange noises
  • their fur and skin become coarse and greasy
  • bad smell

If you notice these signs, then you will know that the hamsters are living their last days or hours.

In such situations, you should provide them with a peaceful environment and comfort at the end of their life.

If the hamster is sick, then the veterinarian may recommend euthanasia, especially when the hamster is in a lot of pain, because of which the hamster cannot function at all during the day.

How long does it take for hamsters to die?

Some hamsters die very quickly and suddenly, while some die with worsening of their condition in a few days. It depends on whether they die of old age or disease.

If they die from diseases then it depends on what they are suffering from, for example from wet tail and dehydration they die very quickly in a few days, while dying from Cushing’s disease can take a longer period.

In any case, we need to make sure that we keep the hamsters in the best possible way, to provide them with treatment when they are sick, all in order to keep them healthy for a longer period of their lives.

Apart from timely treatment, hamsters that have a healthy and proper diet with vitamins and minerals live longer and healthier.

Read more: Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily? (How To Decrease)

Should we let the hamster die naturally?

When hamsters are at the end of their life, it is very difficult to make the right choice, namely whether to let them die in a natural way.

This depends on the condition of the hamster, for example, if the hamster can still eat, move and function then you are free to let it die naturally.

Whereas if the hamster is very sick, does not eat, does not move, and is in a lot of pain, then perhaps you should consider euthanasia.

Being in this condition he can’t function at all and is just struggling, and maybe it’s best to talk to a vet about having him euthanized.

Indeed, it is a difficult decision, but sometimes it is the most correct choice to end the life of our furry to care for a dying hamster

Should we hold the hamster when it is dying?

Whether to hold the hamster when it is dying depends on the hamster itself, and it also depends on whether it is dying of old age or disease.

If the hamster is dying of old age, it may allow you to hold it, but don’t hold it too much, because then it will use up more energy.

On the other hand, hamsters that die due to diseases, are more difficult to allow you to hold them in their last moments of life.

When they are sick, they don’t want you to hold them, because it causes them additional fear and stress. With sick hamsters, it is best to talk to them more than to hold them in their last moments.

When hamsters are sick, they are taught to hide, because that’s how they behave when they are in the wild and when they have dangers from predators, so they won’t want you to hold them.

If the hamster is sleeping in its last days, do not wake it because you will probably scare it, although we all want to spend as much time as possible in the last days of its life.

However, these are the last moments of the hamster’s life and we should allow him to be pleasant and comfortable.

How to cope with the loss of a hamster?

When a hamster dies, it is a difficult moment for every hamster owner, and each of us experiences the end of our pet in a different way and with different emotions.

In any case, none of us is indifferent when our pet dies, so we have some suggestions on how to help ourselves in the moments of sadness when the hamster dies.

Here are some suggestions:

  • remember the good times with your hamster
  • feel free to suffer as much as you need
  • realize that the hamster must die after a certain time
  • make souvenir pictures of the hamster
  • bury or cremate your pet
  • talk to your loved ones about your hamster

If you have more hamsters in your home, it can also help you cope with the grief you have.

You can buy a new hamster, although for that you still need to think for yourself when and if it is time for such a thing.

Finally, the death of a hamster is difficult for the hamster itself, as well as for us owners, but remember the beautiful moments and joys you had with your furry friend.

Frequently asked questions

What do hamsters do before they die?

When a hamster is at the very end of its life, it starts breathing anxiously and its heart rate gradually starts to decrease until it stops completely. Their jaw may also become stiff. When the hamster dies, it will no longer breathe or move.

What to do after a hamster dies?

When a hamster dies it is best and most humane to bury your pet. Cremation can also be done, but you will have to discuss this option with your veterinarian.

Do hamsters close their eyes when they die?

When hamsters die, they usually do it with their eyes open. A few minutes after they die they have an opaque film on their eyes. They become cold and sometimes give off a light smell.

Read more: Why Is My Hamsters Heart Beating So Fast?