Do Hamsters Need Sand Baths? Complete Guide

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:50 pm

We love our hamsters and do everything we can to make them have a more comfortable and happy life while keeping them in our homes.

Sand baths are one of the many things that are good for hamsters and provide many positive effects for both hamsters and us owners.

Sand baths help remove dirt from the fur of hamsters and maintain the hygiene and health of our furry friends.

In today’s article, you will learn why to use sand baths for hamsters, what are the benefits and how to set them up in a safe way for your pets to enjoy them.

What is a hamster sand bath?

A sand bath is completely different from a water bath, it has sand instead of water. A sand bath is great for hamsters to remove dirt and grease from their bodies.

Sand is abrasive, which makes it easier to remove dirty things from their fur and body.

The advantage of a sand bath is that you don’t need to use soap and water to clean your pet. Hamsters enter the sand bath, roll around in it and thus clean themselves.

You just need to put sand in the bathroom or a container that is large enough for the hamster to safely get in and out of and can roll around in.

It is very important that hamsters enjoy using the sand bath much more than the water bath because it reminds them of their life in the wild and their natural bathing instinct.

Do hamsters like sand baths?

Yes, hamsters like to use sand baths, because at the same time they play and roll in the sand, and clean themselves of dirt.

As far as hamster breeds go, dwarf hamsters like to use sand baths more than Syrian hamsters.

However, this does not always have to be the rule, maybe your Syrian hamster will like to get out dirty and roll around in a sand bath.

In general, hamsters like sand baths, however, it is normal that some of them do not want to use them.

If the hamster does not want to use the sand bath, try putting a treat inside the sand to encourage him to enter the bathroom.

Do hamsters need sand baths?

Hamsters do not need sand baths because they clean and groom themselves.

If the hamster’s enclosure is always well cleaned, and the bedding is changed regularly, then your hamster will not need a sand bath.

Sand baths are used when the hamsters will not be able to clean themselves well or if they start to smell bad, then a sand bath will help.

Hamsters, no matter how clean they are, sometimes need additional cleaning with either water or sand.

Since they do not like water and avoid bathing in water, a sand bath is an ideal solution in such situations.

Veterinarians themselves suggest using sand baths to keep hamsters’ fur cleaner.

Just be careful never to put your hamsters in dusty baths, as this can cause health problems, especially with their eyes and hamsters need sand baths

How often should hamsters use a sand bath?

It depends because hamsters should use the sand bath when they are very dirty, because they clean themselves, so there is no need for them to use the bathroom all the time.

The sand bath should serve as extra cleaning when needed, but it doesn’t have to be in their cage all the time.

Some owners leave the sand bath in the cage all the time, while others add it occasionally.

It is very important that the sand in the bathroom is clean because the more the hamsters use it, the more they will stain it.

Therefore, the sand in it should be changed regularly, the cleaner the sand, the better the effect of cleaning the hamsters.

If you leave the sand bath in their cage for a long time, the hamsters sometimes use it as a toilet, which is certainly not right, its purpose is to clean their body.

Do all breeds of hamsters use the sand bath in the same way?

Depending on the breed, hamsters may use the sand bath in a different way, although this may differ for each individual hamster.

For example, Syrian hamsters prefer to dig in the sand and transfer it to their backs, while dwarf hamster breeds prefer to roll in the sand.

In any case, all hamsters shake their bodies after they finish the sand bath so that the grains of sand can slip through their hair.

How to make a sand bath for hamsters yourself?

Making a sand bath for hamsters is very simple and any of us can do it very easily.

You need a container, which should be large enough for the hamster to get in and out of without your help.

The bowl should have enough space for the hamster to get inside and clean itself, if you have a bigger hamster you need a bigger bowl.

In the container, you should put sand intended for cleaning hamsters, and our recommendation is chinchilla sand, which is safe for hamsters and allows good cleaning.

If you can’t make a sand bath yourself, you can buy one from your local pet store where you can find various models in different sizes.

What is the best sand for a hamster bath?

We can choose different types of sand, and some as powder, but they should be avoided because they can cause problems for your pets.

By far the best sand is chinchilla sand, which is the safest for your pets.

There are other types of sand that are also good for hamsters, just avoid dust or powder, as they are risky for the health of hamsters.

Here are some characteristics of several types of sand:

  • chinchilla sand – is good for a sand bath and is mostly used, you just have to pay attention to the composition, the one made from natural pumice powder is especially good, which not only cleans the fur and skin of the pets but also protects it.
  • reptile sand – is a good alternative to chinchilla sand, but you should be careful with the choice because some types can contain calcium and be dangerous for hamsters.
  • reptisand sand – is very popular and is used by many hamster owners, because it does not contain dust and calcium, which are harmful to the health of hamsters.

In any case, it is necessary to check what is written on the packaging of the sand and its ingredients, because some may contain chemicals that are harmful to hamsters.

Can I use children’s play sand for a hamster sand bath?

Yes, play sand for children is a good alternative to a sand bath for hamsters.

Play sand for children is a cheaper option than commercial sand products made of chinchillas, reptiles, and others.

The only thing you must do before using this sand is to sterilize it before using it in the hamster bath.

Should I help my hamster to take his sand baths?

Hamsters generally do not need help with cleaning, however, Syrian hamsters may need a little help as they cannot roll as well as dwarf hamsters.

Long-haired hamsters also need a little help, and you’ll need to put some sand on their backs.

You can help the hamsters if you take a toothbrush and a piece of towel, then put the hamster on your body, or rather on the towel.

Hold the hamster with your left hand, and with your right hand put some sand on its back, then brush it with the toothbrush, do this several times so that the hamster can be cleaned well.

If the hamster doesn’t want you to do this to him and jumps out of your hands, then stop because he obviously not like something, maybe you’re holding him too tightly or he doesn’t like the brush.

How often do hamsters take these sand baths every day?

It depends, each hamster can use the sand baths in a different way and at a different time.

However, hamsters usually use sand baths at night when they are most active.

They can use the sand bath up to 10 times in one night, depending on how much they need, or if they are bored and want to have some fun.

Can I reuse my hamster’s sand?

Hamster bath sand can be reused after sifting through it.

In doing so, you should remove all parts where there is wet sand or if it smells a lot of urine.

Next is to put the sand in a clear bag so it can be reused.

In the meantime, you should clean the sand bath with vinegar and water, and dry it well, so that it is ready for the next use.

How to start using a sand bath for hamsters?

You don’t need to put your hamster in the sand bath, they will do it themselves.

Your responsibility is only to set up the sand bath for him, and the hamster will come by itself and happily jump into it.

He will play and at the same time clean himself of dirt and grease on his body.

It may throw out a little sand when dirtying in the sand bath, but that is completely normal.

After the hamster has finished using the bathroom, take its sand bath out, wash it well and keep it for the next cleaning of your furry friend.

Can I use sea beach or river sand for my hamster’s sandbox?

Yes, you can use it but first, you will need to prepare it in the right way.

For example, river sand is coarser and beach sand is finer, so you will need to use sieves to sift the sand and get the ideal sand for a hamster bath.

After you finish with the sieves, you should leave the sand in the deep bowl with clean water and leave it for 24 hours.

Rinse it well after a day to remove the salt if it is sea sand.

Finally, let it dry well and put it in the oven at 300 F for about 20 minutes to sterilize it, cool it and the sand for the bath is ready for your hamsters need sand baths

Problems using a sand bath for hamsters

Most of the time, using a sand bath does not cause problems with hamsters, but sometimes there may be some complaints or wrong moments when using the bathroom.

Here are two of the most common problems:

  • using the bathroom as a toilet – this usually happens when the sand bath is in the cage for a long time, and therefore it should be removed after using it.
  • refusing to use the sand bath – as some hamsters simply do not want to use it, in such a case there is no need to force them to use it if they do not want to.

Can Hamsters be Given Dust Baths Instead of Sand Baths?

No, sand baths are better than dust baths, because bath with dust has much smaller particles that can be dangerous for hamsters.

If hamsters inhale dust they can have respiratory problems and problems with their eyes and nose.

Therefore, our recommendation is to avoid dust baths, and use only sand baths for your pets.

Read more: Can You Wash Hamsters with Soap? Let’s Find Out

Why are water baths not recommended for hamsters?

Water baths are not recommended for hamsters because once they get wet, the hamsters will have dry fur, they will not be able to resist cold and moisture, and the heat will directly hit their skin.

It will take time for the hamster’s skin to produce its own oils to protect against water and protect its body.

When hamsters use a water bath, they also lose their protection against parasites.

Read more: How to Clean Hamster Poop? All You Need To Know