Hamsters are naturally very clean animals that groom themselves daily.
They maintain their hygiene by grooming, which is why we don’t need to bathe them, which makes it easier to take care of them.
But sometimes we can notice that they groom themselves too much and we become worried about this phenomenon.
Why is my hamster grooming so much?
Hamsters groom themselves so much when they have an allergy or skin irritation, or they groom too much when they are under stress. When hamsters have too much dandruff or have an infection, this can again be the reason for too much grooming.
In today’s article, we will learn about all the reasons why sometimes they groom too much, how to help them, and similar questions related to the topic.
Why is my hamster grooming so much?
Hamsters like to be clean and spend a lot of time cleaning, that’s the first reason why they groom themselves so much.
But sometimes stress can affect them and they will groom too much.
When hamsters feel threatened by predators, when they have an infection, when they have dandruff, and similar reasons, they groom themselves too much again.
So let’s look at all the possible reasons why hamsters groom too much in more detail in the following text.
Because of the safety of their scent
You can also sometimes notice how the hamsters after you hold them in your hands and pet them, they groom themselves immediately afterwards.
They do this because they don’t want to have any other odor on their body, in this case, the odor of their owner.
They will groom and lick themselves until the owner or someone else touching them cleans the smell.
Hamsters also immediately groom themselves when they poop or pee again so they don’t have any odor from their waste because they want to be clean.
Too much grooming means they are stressed
When hamsters are stressed they may behave strangely or groom themselves excessively. They then constantly groom themselves or lick their face and other body parts which is not good at all.
When hamsters groom excessively due to stress, you need to find out what is causing the stress, whether it is noise, unknown people, or predators.
First, you need to remove the cause of stress, and then see if your hamster will stop grooming all the time.
If it is constantly being groomed again, then the reason should be found in the hygiene of the cage or something similar.
Protection against infections
Hamsters can groom themselves excessively to protect themselves from developing skin infections.
If they are exposed to too much dust or dirt in their environment they will lose a lot of time in grooming.
Hamsters then, by cleaning their fur and skin, prevent the appearance of parasites, or prevent dirty fur which, if not cleaned, prevents the normal regulation of their body temperature.
Protection from predators
Hamsters sometimes know how to groom a lot to make them safer and more secure so they don’t get attacked by predators.
This is especially true for hamsters that live in the wild because any scent from something they’ve eaten or gotten out of can reveal their location and make them a target for predators.
Hamsters will therefore do everything they can just to not have a smell on their body and skin, and if necessary they will groom themselves much more than the normal time they dedicate to themselves.
Hamsters just like us humans can get dandruff that will irritate them and make them want to clean it off. Therefore, they may begin to over-groom to get rid of dandruff.
Dandruff in hamsters usually appears as a result of dry bedding, and it can also be due to improper nutrition.
When they have dandruff, a consultation with a veterinarian is needed in order to successfully solve the problem of dandruff in hamsters.
When should you be concerned about grooming hamsters?
Regular grooming of hamsters means that they are taking care of their health and this is completely normal behavior.
But when hamsters don’t groom themselves enough, it can mean that they are sick or due to old age.
Here are some situations where you should be concerned about hamsters not grooming themselves enough.
When they don’t want to groom themselves
If hamsters stop grooming, it will immediately show in their fur, which will become greasy and dirty.
Pooping waste can also stick to their tail, which is certainly not okay and should be of immediate concern to you.
Most of the time, the reasons for this untidiness of hamsters are illness or old age.
Here are some problems hamsters can have when they don’t want to groom themselves.
Diarrhea – then hamsters do not feel well because of diarrhea and stomach problems. When hamsters have diarrhea, it can be because of dirty or contaminated food, or from too many fruits and vegetables. At the same time, hamsters cannot groom their tail area well enough.
Wet tail – is a dangerous infection that appears as a reaction to the stress suffered by hamsters, a dirty cage, or temperature problems. Then the hamsters are lethargic and do not want to groom themselves at a normal pace until they recover.
Constipation – when hamsters get constipated, it bothers them and they stop grooming because they don’t feel well. Hamsters get constipated if they eat too much hard or dry food, and at the same time, they don’t drink enough water. Constipation causes weight loss and refusal to groom.
Cold – when hamsters have a cold they become lethargic and don’t want to groom themselves. When they have a cold you can recognize it by seeing that they have dirty and matted fur, they will sneeze and they will not want to be active.
Paralysis – in these situations, hamsters cannot groom themselves because they will not be able to move their head or they will not be able to move normally. Hamsters get paralyzed if they have a spinal injury if they don’t get enough exercise, or if they lack vitamin D in their diet.
What to do if hamsters constantly lick or scratch?
If you notice that hamsters are constantly licking or scratching, then you need to find out what is the reason for this behavior.
Most often this can be a consequence of stress, and then the hamsters will constantly lick and scratch mostly on their face.
When hamsters constantly lick and scratch, it can also be due to parasites or unhygienic conditions in the cage.
If hamsters come into contact with other infected hamsters or other animals, they can get parasites from them, specifically from fleas.
The most common symptoms that occur when hamsters lick and scratch are the following:
- thin fur
- scabs around the ears and nose
- red skin
- skin sores
Such symptoms can also appear if they have a poor diet without enough nutrients and rough bedding that does not suit them.
How to help the hamster when it needs grooming?
Every owner can help their hamster so that their pet can always groom normally, without over- or under-grooming.
So here are some tips in both directions to help your pet.
What not to do for hamster grooming
Here are some tips on what not to do to avoid irritating your hamster with excessive grooming:
- Never bathe your hamster unless there is a real reason for it. Or don’t bathe it until they get too messy. The reason is that any bath can negatively affect hamsters and cool them too much and they can even die if they get wet and don’t dry off in time.
- Hamsters should not be given medicines that are used for other sick hamsters or any other animals because they may have a bad effect on your pet, always consult a veterinarian first.
- Using various cleaners for their cage can irritate their skin and fur and cause them to groom too much.
- Do not use perfume when touching your hamster as it can have a negative effect on your pet which can make them groom too much.
What to do to help your hamster groom
To help the hamster in grooming, here are some tips:
- give him a healthy diet that will help him be healthy and avoid diseases, because diseases prevent him from grooming.
- Hamsters should always have sunlight because it helps for better care, of course, you should not overdo it because the hamster needs light, but also shade and less light.
- Always wash your hands so you don’t have odors that will irritate him and make him groom too much. This also helps prevent the spread of diseases from one pet to another.
- Once in a while you should let your pet use a sand bath which will keep their fur clean and nice and the hamster won’t need too much grooming.
- Hamsters with long hair have difficulties in grooming, so you will need to help them by combing them with a brush.
- The bedding in the cage should be changed regularly to prevent infections because then the hamsters need to be groomed much more than usual.
When hamsters groom themselves too much, it can be for several reasons such as protecting their smell, stress, greater safety from predators, and other reasons.
Hamsters are always grooming, but when they do it too much you have to find out the reason and help them.
If the hamsters are not groomed enough then something is wrong, usually it is due to illness.
To prevent the hamsters from grooming too much, you should pay attention to the hygiene in the cage, so that they are not under stress and keep them away from other pets.
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