Hamsters clean their fur very often which helps them maintain their hygiene at an enviable level.
But looking at them from the side, we should know that there is a difference between grooming and scratching in hamsters.
Why are hamsters scratching so much?
Hamsters are scratching so much when they have dry skin, but this can also happen due to stress, allergies, or parasites.
Scratching in hamsters can be prevented if you prevent the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.
In today’s article, you will learn why hamsters are scratching so much, what to do in such situations, and similar questions related to the topic.
Why are hamsters scratching so much?
When hamsters are scratching too much then they have a problem with the skin, fur, allergy, or the appearance of parasites.
Hamsters can scratch so much when they are under some stress or are too excited.
So let’s read in more detail about each of these reasons.
Parasites cause scratching in hamsters
When hamsters have parasites then it presents a problem for them and they start scratching a lot more than usual.
The most common mites that affect hamsters are Demodex aurati and Demodex criceti.
These mites multiply if hamsters are under stress or live in poor cage conditions with insufficient hygiene and dirty surroundings.
These mites, in addition to causing scratching in hamsters, can easily expose parts of their fur.
When hamsters have parasites then they must be taken to a veterinarian who will prescribe appropriate therapy to remove mites.
Hamsters are scratching too much from allergies
When hamsters are scratching too much it can be from allergies. They can be allergic to something in their environment, mostly when a change is made in their cage.
Hamsters can be allergic to new bedding, some new food, water bottle, toys, and chemicals that we use to clean the cage.
Signs of an allergy are the following:
- breathing problems
- runny nose
- swelling of the feet
- wet eyes
In any case, when hamsters have an allergy they will be scratching very often and it is noticeable.
Apart from treatment at the veterinarian, it is necessary to clean the cage and all parts inside it to prevent the spread and reproduction of parasites.
Stress causes scratching in hamsters
It is known that stress is a great enemy of hamsters, in fact, hamsters can get sick or have skin problems from stress.
Stress can cause dry skin in hamsters and they will scratch much more than normal.
In order not to stress the hamsters and to avoid scratching, you need to provide them with the following things:
- More toys, tunnels, and hiding places to make them feel happy and satisfied.
- Hide the food in the cage to make it interesting for them to search and play foraging.
- The bedding should be deep enough for the hamster to burrow into, which allows for less stress and more comfort and happiness.
- A quiet and peaceful environment without loud noise, and without other pets that can scare them.
All these steps are important for the hamsters not to be stressed, which will allow fewer skin problems and avoid unnecessary scratching.
Dry skin causes hamsters to scratch very often
When hamsters have dry skin, then they are scratching more than they should. Dry skin irritates the hamsters and they are then scratched.
This can be easily noticed when you pet your hamster, if you notice that dandruff appears on your hand and on the hamster’s skin, then it is definitely dry skin that crumbles easily.
When hamsters have dry skin it can be for a number of reasons such as the temperature in their environment.
Hamsters need a temperature of 65-75 F to be comfortable and certainly not have dry skin, which will reduce scratching.
When the temperature is normal for hamsters it allows them to have moist skin and fewer problems and scratching.
Poor nutrition causes scratching in hamsters much more
If the diet of hamsters is not varied and rich in nutrients, they will start to have dry skin and will scratch much more.
Hamsters should eat protein represented by 16% in their diet, fruits, vegetables, pelleted food and of course clean and fresh water.
If your hamster has dry skin and is scratching a lot more than usual, then make sure it has a proper diet and eats everything you give it.
When hamsters are excited they are scratching a lot more
When hamsters are very excited they are scratching much more than normal. Hamsters have scent glands that will scratch when they are excited.
When the hamsters get over their excitement then they should stop scratching.
In these situations, scratching in hamsters looks like they have inflammation, but as we said, it should pass immediately when the excitement stops.
How to prevent hamsters from scratching due to dry skin?
One of the ways to prevent hamsters from scratching due to dry skin is by using extra virgin olive oil.
First, take a soft cotton cloth and apply some of the oil and then rub it on your hamster’s skin. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, then wipe off the excess oil from his skin.
This will help the hamsters to overcome the problem of dry skin and of course, they will scratch less.
What to do to prevent too much scratching in hamsters?
To prevent too much scratching in hamsters, you need to take certain measures and prevention.
Here are some tips in that direction:
- diet – it should be varied and balanced so that the hamster can get enough nutrients that help the hamster have a better immune system.
- Less stress – allows the hamsters to be more cheerful and happy and of course then they will not scratch as much. For less stress, provide them with more toys, entertainment, an exercise wheel, and tunnels all around the cage.
- A clean cage – is important so that there is no need for hamsters to scratch more than necessary. When cleaning the cage do not use products that can irritate the hamster and cause it to scratch more than normal.
- Regular vet checkups – will allow timely detection of possible parasites and other skin problems that cause excessive scratching of hamsters.
Follow these tips and your hamster will surely scratch less, that is, he will scratch only as much as is normal.
How much scratching is normal for a hamster?
When hamsters do not have skin problems they will be scratching very little.
it is easy to notice the difference between normal and excessive scratching because hamsters will constantly scratch when they have problems.
Just observe the hamsters and you will notice when they are scratching more than normal.
Is my hamster scratching or grooming?
When hamsters are scratching it is different from grooming and can differ in the time required for scratching which is much more frequent and lasts longer.
When hamsters are grooming it is in short intervals, while scratching lasts much longer and it is immediately noticed that something is irritating your pets.
When hamsters are scratched it is different from grooming because it creates exposed holes in their fur, which is not the case when they are being groomed.
Read more: Why is My Hamsters Nose Red? Let’s Discover
Hamsters are scratching as a result of stress, dry skin, allergies, parasites, and other reasons.
When hamsters are scratching much more than usual, you should reduce the reasons for this phenomenon.
Scratching hamsters will make their skin red and can cause inflammation.
Provide hamsters with a clean cage, a stress-free environment, and entertainment in their cage to prevent excessive scratching.