Last updated on January 28th, 2023 at 06:25 pm
Hamsters are small, timid animals that don’t need much to get stressed. When I got my hamster, he was very scared and probably stressed from the new home I brought him to.
Over time, he began to be calmer and more relaxed, but it takes some time to get used to the environment where he lives.
Before getting a hamster, I researched one of the most important things to know about why hamsters get stressed and how to reduce stress on my little pet.
How to reduce stress in hamsters?
To reduce stress in hamsters you should provide them with a large cage, a quiet environment, more fun in their cage, a temperature of 65-75 F, and free roaming.
Stress is dangerous for the health of hamsters and therefore we must relieve them of stress, in order to be able to protect them from diseases and premature death which are the consequences of stressful situations for our pets.
In today’s article, together we will find out how to relieve stress in hamsters more easily, why hamsters have stress, and how dangerous stress is for their health.
How does a hamster behave when stressed?
When hamsters are stressed they behave very differently than when they are calm and happy and certainly not stressed.
Here are some signs of stress in hamsters:
- When hamsters are stressed they lose their appetite for food and don’t want to socialize with anyone including us owners.
- They constantly make attempts to escape from the cage or if you let them roam free they will immediately try to find a way to escape the room.
- They often run in circles and behave aggressively, they may even bite you at some point.
- A stressed hamster is constantly biting the bars of the cage and grooming much more than normal grooming.
- When hamsters can be recognized by the way they breathe, they then breathe quickly and heavily.
- When hamsters are stressed, they have problems with digestion, that is, they get diarrhea, constipation, stomachaches, and similar symptoms.
If the hamster continues to be stressed he can only get problems with his health and therefore we have to find ways to relieve him from stress more easily.
How do you tell the difference between a stressed hamster and one that is just excited?
Sometimes hamsters are just excited and not stressed, so we need to know the difference so we don’t misjudge his condition.
When the hamster sees you approaching him, he will become hyperactive and start running and playing, which may mean that he is happy, but it may also mean that he is under stress.
To know what the difference is, you should pay attention to the other things he does in your presence.
If he screams then it is more a sign of stress or anxiety, but what he will do after squeaking is more important:
- if the hamster yawns and stretches it is a sign that it is happy and not stressed
- if the hamster continues to be restless after squeaking then it is a sign that it is under stress.
What are the causes of stress in hamsters?
As we said, hamsters are very timid and can easily get stressed.
When hamsters are stressed, it is enough to pay attention to their behavior to know that something is wrong with them.
The most common causes of stress are the following:
- when you bring it to a new environment because they need time to get used to the surroundings that surround them.
- Other pets near him, such as cats, dogs, etc., immediately cause stress in hamsters due to the danger of predators.
- Loud noises such as music, TV, many people in the room, or outside noise cause stress in hamsters because they have a very good sense of hearing.
- When hamsters don’t have enough toys and props they get bored and get stressed.
The more you manage to reduce all these causes of stress, the happier your pet will be and the less stressed they will be.
How to reduce stress in your hamster?
The more you notice that your hamster is often stressed, the worse it is for his health, and therefore you must react quickly and reduce his stress.
So let’s see what exactly you need to do to reduce stress in hamsters.
Hamsters need a large cage to avoid stress
The bigger the hamster cage, the lower the chances of stress.
When hamsters are in a small cage due to stress they will start to bite the bars of the cage, be hyperactive and behave aggressively.
For example, Syrian hamsters should not have a cage smaller than 450 square inches, while smaller dwarf hamsters can have a slightly smaller cage.
A wire cage
If you choose a wire cage it is more comfortable for the hamsters as it allows them to explore more, they will want to climb the bars which will be a lot of fun for them or they will go to the top of the cage (monkey barring).
The wire cage also provides better ventilation, which is necessary because the hamsters inside urinate and poop. Only small dwarf hamsters can sometimes squeeze through the bars of the cage and try to escape.
A glass tank is safer for hamsters as they will not be able to climb the bars and fall from the top of the cage but therefore has much poorer ventilation.
If you use a glass tank there won’t be as much bedding scattered around, which always happens with a wire cage.
And of course, it is much more difficult for hamsters to escape from a glass tank, almost impossible because they will not be able to climb into it.
When we are already talking about the cage, we should also mention the bedding in it, which should have enough depth so that the hamster can feel safer and stress-free.
Temperature is an important factor in reducing stress in hamsters
Hamsters are desert animals, but that does not mean that they enjoy too hot temperatures. The ideal temperature in the room where you keep the hamster should be between 65-75 F.
Anything more or less than this temperature will bother your pet and lead to stress. In addition to stress, high temperatures can also cause heat stroke in hamsters.
When it is very hot, reduce the temperature in the room, but do not use a fan because it will not help. The best option is to set the air conditioner to a temperature that suits your pet.
When it’s very cold, the hamster hates cold temperatures even more.
Avoid noise in the hamster room
When hamsters are exposed to loud noise, it causes stress in your pet. Any loud noises, TV, music, and loud talking of a large group of people in the hamster’s room cause stress.
Hamsters have an excellent sense of hearing, they hear better than us humans, and therefore any noise bothers them much more than us.
You can also use the bedroom as it is quieter there and will allow the hamster to be calmer and less stressed.
However, this is a temporary solution because if the hamster spends the night in your bedroom, it can wake you up from sleep with its nocturnal activities and exercise on the wheel.
Hamsters need a quiet environment to be happy and free from stress from their surroundings.
Make sure that there are no strong smells and aromas around the hamster’s cage so that they are not stressed
Hamsters get stressed if they are exposed to strong smells or aromas in the environment ie around their cage.
They have poor eyesight, but that’s why their senses of smell and hearing are excellent and they can smell smells very well.
Therefore, we should not leave onions, vinegar, or other foods with a strong smell near them, which will disturb our pets and cause stress.
This also means that you should never keep your hamster in your kitchen, as it will not be comfortable at all and will become irritated and stressed.
Too much light causes stress in hamsters
The hamsters we keep at home are crepuscular, which means they don’t like much light.
Hamsters living in the wild go out during the day, but because they have to find food to survive, not because they love the light so much.
For the hamsters that we keep at home, we should provide them with less light so that they are more comfortable and do not get stressed.
When the light in the hamster’s room is very bright, then apart from stress, the hamster can also get an eye injury, especially if the light is too intense.
It is best if you have a switch with light regulation, but if you don’t have one, then whenever you can, reduce the light in your pet’s environment.
More fun means less stress for hamsters
The more fun activities a hamster has, the less stressed it will be. That’s why you should provide them with more toys, climbing ladders, and tubes and of course, they must have an exercise wheel.
When your pet has enough fun in his cage, then besides not having stress, he will want to less run away from the cage, although still, more or rarer hamsters will think of running away.
Hamsters are very curious and they constantly want to explore their surroundings and change the objects in the cage from time to time, it will be interesting and fun for your pet.
Hide the food in several places around the cage so that the hamster can look for it, he will of course find it with his great senses, but it will be new fun and less stress for him.
Of course, do not forget to play with your pet in and out of the cage, and this is important so that he feels that you care for him and he will have less stress.
The stress of a new home
When you bring hamsters into your home for the first time, they will be stressed and scared, because any change in their place of residence is stressful for them.
In the first few days, the hamster may hide in the cage and come out only to eat, but after a few days it will slowly get used to the environment and calm down, and the stress will disappear.
When you notice that the hamster is moving freely around the cage, not hiding like before, then it is a sign that the hamster feels comfortable and without stress.
Gain the hamster’s trust in you
At first, the hamster will be stressed and afraid of its owner, and this is completely normal behavior of these small timid pets.
After a few days you can start talking gently and slowly to your hamster so that he gets used to your voice, since he has poor eyesight he will recognize you by your voice when you come to his cage.
A hamster can only see a few inches in front of him, so talking to your pet is the best way for him to gain trust in you, and then once he loves you, he will have no stress and will always look forward to your presence.
Hold your hamster properly so there is no stress
When you have to pick up your pet, the way you hold it is very important.
Always hold it with two hands, because it can easily fall out of your hands or escape if you use only one hand.
Keep it at a lower height from the floor, in case it slips from your hands, it will not be injured during the fall, because if it falls at a height greater than 25 cm, it can get fractures and other injuries to the body.
Finally, put him down again slowly with both hands and release him into his cage to continue his play.
Make a daily schedule of events
Hamsters like to always give them food or time when you let them free roam (play outside the cage).
When you often do the same routine at events, your hamster will wait for you to repeat the same cycle every day and will eagerly wait for you, and of course, there will be less stress.
The excitement of daily treats like food and playing outside the cage are stimulations that are sure to make your pet happy and cheerful.
Playing outside the cage reduces stress in hamsters
The hamster really needs a bigger cage to feel comfortable and relaxed, but you also need to let it out of the cage.
Once a day for an hour is enough to let the hamster out of the cage to run and play in the room with you.
It is even better if you give him toys, cardboard boxes, tubes, and similar things that will make him happy and satisfied, and he will not have stress.
Hamsters enjoy exploring, and when you let him into the room just be careful not to let him escape through cracks and similar places where he can hide.
If you want him not to bother you much at night with his exploration of the cage, it is best to let him run around the room before you go to sleep, so that he gets as tired as possible.
A clean cage reduces stress in hamsters
A clean cage reduces stress in hamsters, but they prefer that you clean the cage but not too much.
Therefore, it is best to superficially clean dirty bedding and leftovers from spoiled food, while thorough cleaning should not be done daily.
Hamsters love to smell the smell they leave on their bedding from their pee and poop, so a thorough cleaning doesn’t need to be done every day.
When you change the bedding, it is necessary to leave some of the dirty so that part of the smell that the hamsters love can remain.
A thorough cleaning of the cage once a week is enough, that way the hamster will be satisfied and the cage will be clean.
Do hamsters lose their hair when they are stressed?
Yes, sometimes it happens that the hamster loses its hair when it is stressed. They pull out their hair themselves when they are in a stressful situation.
Apart from a stressful situation, hamsters also lose their hair when they are bored, when they do not have enough communication with their owners, and when they do not have enough fun and activities in their cage.
Do hamsters recover from stress?
Yes, hamsters recover from stress, it’s just that they need time to pass from any stress or trauma they’ve experienced.
Stressful situations remain in your pet’s memory and they may be recalled at a similar moment, but over time they will forget them.
The most important thing is that the hamster does not have a lot of stress when you keep it in your home, because that way it will be happier and will not be reminded of traumas.
Of course, it is inevitable that sometimes there is stress, which is normal, but we must mention that the more hamsters are exposed to stress, the greater the chances of having problems and diseases in their life.
What sounds do hamsters make when they are stressed?
Hamsters use various sounds to communicate with their owners, it is their way of communication since they cannot speak.
When hamsters are stressed they make the following sounds:
- high-pitched squeak
- teeth chattering
Can stress kill hamsters?
Yes, sometimes stress can kill hamsters especially when they get sick from trauma.
If the hamster suddenly gets stressed by a loud sound, it can lead to heart failure, although this situation is rarer, but still possible.
When hamsters are stressed, their immunity usually weakens, and immunity plays an important role on which it depends whether or not the hamsters will be resistant to diseases.
Stress reduces the lifespan of hamsters, so we must pay attention to them and keep them as best as we can.
Hamsters are small and timid animals that very easily get stressed by noise, unfamiliar people in their environment, other pets, and other factors.
Stress is very dangerous to the health and life of hamsters and can cause illness and death in your pet.
To eliminate stress in hamsters we must pay attention to many things such as a large and clean cage, a quiet environment around the cage, less light in the room, and no other pets such as cats around their home.
Hamsters should be let out of the cage every day to play and run because it makes them happy and reduces their stress.
The better we take care of our pets, the less stress they will have, and the longer and happier their lives will be.