Signs Of Old Age In Hamsters (+How To Comfort Them)

All Hamster parents want their little one to stay active and healthy for their entire life. But, with passing days, we see that our Hamster starts to get lethargic and sleeps more often. This is one of the most common signs of old age in Hamsters. There are many other signs that tell us that our Hamster is growing old, we should look out for them.

Loss of sight, visible changes in their fur, change in sleeping pattern, or even mobility problems indicate that our Hamster is getting older. Some other visible changes include loss of appetite, disinterest in grooming, and they start to spend most of their time hiding. Aging can develop a range of diseases in Hamsters, such as heart attack, dental pain, respiratory illness, and urinary tract complications.

If a Hamster has recieved good care and attention beginning from their young days, then they will not face much problems in their old age.

It is very important for us to understand some of these common signals, which suggests that our Hamster is getting older. During these days, it is important to take proper care of them.

As our Hamster gets old, they will depend more on us to stay happy and healthy.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Aging Process In Hamsters

Hamster AgeHuman Age
0-20 years0-6 months
20-40 years6-12 months
40-60 years1-1.5 years
60-80 years1.5-2 years
80+ years2.5+ years

In comparison to humans, Hamsters grow pretty quickly. They can change from baby to adult within a few months. Therefore, there is a vast difference in the ages of Hamsters and humans.

We can easily calculate the age of Hamsters once the first year of a Hamster is over. A Hamster will grow 40 years older when the human grows one year old.

Most Hamsters survive only for 2.5- 3years, in which when they reach 2.5 years of age, they are considered as seniors.

Signs Of Aging In Hamsters

Hamsters can survive only for 2.5-3 years, in which when they reach 2 years of age, they are considered as seniors.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

When Hamsters reach their senior months, then we can see some clear signs of aging in them, which are explained below:

Visible Changes In Their Fur

Just like humans, some Hamsters face problems of thinning of hair, hair fall out, or even change in their hair color as they grow older.

These symptoms are visible in Hamster after the age of two years. It starts from the lower abdomen and then starts spreading to the legs, hips, neck, and chest area.

With passing days, you will notice that the color of their fur start to fade and grease out. It will become much harsh and rough in it’s texture.

Once their fur color starts to fade, you will notice a visible change in the color of their coat for sure.

They Start To Lose Vision

As Hamsters turn old, their eye sight start to deteriorate. They develop some ocular issues. These incluse:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Blindness
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Conjunctivitis

Some Hamsters can grow cataracts at their birth itself, because of the parasitic or bacterial infection. Also, during their last days, some Hamsters can develope cataracts leading to blindness.

Hamsters can be treated to remove cataracts surgically. However, it is not recommended as it can be pretty risky.

They Face Difficulty In Hearing

Hamsters have an amazing hearing capability. They can hear sounds that even human ear cannot detect.

Sadly, this hearing ability starts to get dull once our Hamsters gets older and they can end up becoming deaf at some point.

If your Hamsters have drooping ears, then they are more likely to have ear problem due to how their skull is shaped and formed.

Also, if your Hamster is deaf by birth then they live totally on their senses. These senses will help them to detect predators and will also help them to understand commands and their surroundings.

You will get to know if your Hamster is losing it’s hearing capability. Their ears will no longer jerk in the direction of the noise and they will stop reacting to strange or loud noises.

There have been several cases where Hamsters were seen distressed due to the lack of hearing abilities. Therefore, in such cases, you should be more patient and gentle with their care. Also, you will see that a deaf Hamster is more violent towards humans.

In such cases, approach the Hamsters gradually and within the area of their vision. Then, allow them to smell you. This will ensure that they are aware of your presence and will not attack or bite you. Besides this, there will not be many changes in your Hamster’s behavior.

We Notice A Change In Their Sleeping Pattern

As Hamsters come close to their second birthday, you will see that their unbeatable energy starts to decrease.

They will spend more time sleeping than in earlier days. They will come out of their hideouts to play less often. Some of these signs tell that your Hamster is becoming older.

During these days, it is best to not disturb your Hamster when they are sleeping or relaxing. Although during night time you may see they play.

Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, which means that they stay active mostly at night. During late light, if your Hamsters stop moving at all, then there are chances that they have some mobility problems.

Mobility Complications

Arthritis is common in old Hamsters. Hamsters with arthritis will have joint inflammation. With passing time, it can be painful and slow down the movements of your Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Some of the common signs of arthritis in Hamsters include:

  • Difficulty in moving
  • They have a strange and wobbly walk
  • They lose balance on their back legs
  • They get irritated when held or touched
  • Ear wax build up increases
  • They face difficulty to jump over even small objects or onto high surfaces
  • They do not groom themselves like before

Arthritis can be caused due to the wearing down of the cartilage, which helped in our little one’s smooth movements.

Also, if you do not cheer up your Hamster or do not trick them into playing or exercising, they will become overweight in no time. Excess weight puts pressure on their joints, which in turn can cause wear and tear causing arthritis.

Arthritis can also be caused due to some kind of infection or joint injury. If left untreated, it can lead to several other mobility complications in our Hamsters.

You must take your Hamster to a vet, if you believe that they have arthritis. The vet may also recommend you to alter the diet of your Hamsters, to help them lose weight. A high-fiber, low-fat diet of a Hamster is essential for the best or the most favorable health.

The good part is that not all Hamsters in their old age have mobility problems. Some of them stay healthy and active throughout, just like when they were younger. However, it would be best if you observe your Hamster to make sure that they do not develop any complications related to mobility.

They Groom Themselves Less Than Usual

We often catch our Hamsters cleaning their ears, licking their paws, or even tilting their head to lick themselves clean. No Hamsters wants to keep themselves dirty, they are quite cautious and make sure that they stay clean.

A Hamster can also develop arthritis if they have problems in grooming. Every Hamster’s bottom must remain clean. This will make sure that there is no urine scalding, which occurs when the urine soaks into the fur of our Hamsters.

Also, if your Hamster has arthritis, even the smallest jump can be difficult for them. Due to this, Hamsters may face difficulty using their litter box.

Your Hamsters Will Use Their Litter Box, Tunnels, Etc. Rarely

During the old days, Hamsters become quite lethargic. They spend most of their time hiding in one place and come out of their hiding only to eat and drink.

Also, if your old Hamster has arthritis then they are less likely to use their litter box, tunnels, etc.

In such cases, try and arrange a bathroom mat for your Hamster. This bathroom mat when placed on the cage floor will make it easier for your Hamster to use rather than a litter box on which a Hamster has to jump.

This small step can help your Hamster to stand in for themselves without having to climb any barrier on their way. You can just clean or take the mats and throw them away and change them with new ones.

Have a look at these amazing hideouts. You can either get a wooden made hiding spaces for your Hamsters or fleece made snuggle bed, which they can get into and feel at home. These are some of my favorites.

Hamsters Start To Lose Weight

Most Hamsters tend to lose weight during their last days. You need to observe your Hamster intently to understand their weight change pattern. With the change in their weight, the owner must change the diet of their little ones.

Do not serve your Hamster excess pellets if they are over weight. However, if your Hamster is under weight, you may increase the quantity of pellets you feed your Hamsters every day.

Even after this, if your Hamster continues to be losing weight, then you must take them to a vet, as this weight loss can be a sign of some severe dental pain or digestive disorder.

Your Hamster Remain Stressful

Hamsters can get stressed pretty quickly. This tendency can increase with increase in age.

Sudden change in temperature is stressful for Hamsters. Therefore, it is better to keep your older Hamsters in the cage, inside the house where you have control over the temperature changes.

During winters, you must deliver food and enough heat to your Hamsters. On the other hand, during summers, provide them with water, ventilation, and watery vegetables so that their surroundings remain pleasant.

Dental Pain

Hamster teeth are different from human teeth. Their teeth grow throughout their life. Therefore, it is important to provide them with necessary chew toys for your Hamsters throughout their life to ensure wear down their teeth at a more accessible level.

Picture Credits: Nelson, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

Also, wearing down of teeth will help to avoid dental pain and other dental complications at later stages in their life.

Many old Hamsters are prone to painful dental diseases because of change in their teeth structure and skull shape with increase in their age.

This can also give rise to a condition called malocclusion in which Hamster’s teeth are not arrange correctly. This causes their teeth to grow out of control.

These conditions are excruciating for our little ones. It can even interfere with their eating and grooming habits.

Luckily, in Hamsters, most of these dental complications can be identified in the early stages, and necessary steps can be taken to avoid horrible conditions.

You can check out this set of 10, Hamster Chew Toys, your Hamster will surely love it.

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However, you must keep in mind that these dental diseases does not get fixed on its own. Vet guidance is important if your Hamster is showing any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen jaw or mouth
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • They are refusing to eat
  • Continuous dropping of saliva

Bumblefoot (Pododermatitis)

Pododermatitis commonly known as bumblefoot is a common health complication in old Hamsters.

If your Hamster has been living on wire flooring or hard and wet bedding from their young age then they can suffer from such issues. In some cases, overweight Hamsters also suffer from such issues. This is because their legs take a toll on their heavy bodyweight.

If your Hamster is suffering from bumblefoot you will notice that the fur around their feet and legs might disappear in patches.

The best option would be to take your Hamster to the vet. A delay in treatment can even lead to a situation where the amputation of the affected leg might be the only option left.

Heart Complications

With increasing age, the aorta of our Hamsters can get stiff, aorta is the major artery which supplies the oxygenated blood to their heart.

This can lead to irregular and abrupt heartbeats, which in turn can cause life threatening heart conditions in our little ones.

Stress can also lead to heart attack in Hamsters. If you ever notice your Hamster eating less, losing weight, not moving around, and coughing more, this tells that they have a heart problem.

If you notice any of these signs in your Hamster, then it is advised to take them to a vet. You must understand that our little ones are quite smart when it comes to hiding their pain. They can hide their pain until the situation gets terrible.

Respiratory Disease

As Hamsters get old, they can develop respiratory diseases. Symptoms of respiratory diseases are similar to those of heart diseases. Observing your Hamster’s health and behavior will help you learn more about their state.

One of the main signs of respiratory diseases in Hamsters is that they start to sneeze and produce nasal discharge. If your little one is living in a dusty or dirty cage or has been in contact with an infected creature, then they may develop severe respiratory problems.

Therefore, it is essential to keep their cage and playing area clean and dust-free. If your Hamster has serious infections, then the vet may also suggest some antibiotics for them.

Urinary Tract Complications

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is one of the most common health complications in old Hamsters. It can lead to fur loss in them.

If you ever notice that the fur loss in your Hamsters is restricted to the area around the tail, between the hind legs, and sometimes on the feet and up the belly, then there are chances that your little one is suffering from some kind of urinary infection.

These problems often lead to continuous leakage of urine. Urine is acidic, and constant contact with it can cause urine burn in the skin around those portions of the body.

If you suspect your Hamster is suffering from a urinary infection, then take them to a vet immediately.

Kidney Infections

Old Hamsters are prone to kidney infections. Some of the signs of kidney infections in Hamsters are the presence of stone in their kidney or even high attentiveness of creatinine and urea in their blood.

In most cases, the above mentioned symptoms are caused to the high quantities of calcium in our Hamster’s diet. Therefore, to prevent kidney stones, our little ones need to consume appropriate amount of calcium.

Kidney infection can sometimes be life threatening for our Hamsters. Therefore, you must take your Hamster to the vet if they have kidney stones.

You can tell if your Hamster has kidney stones by noticing a few signs. They will start to drink more water, you will see a sudden decline in their weight, they will pee a lot, and will stay depressed most of the time.

I found these amazing Hamster water bottles on Amazon, my Hamster loves it. Check it out!

How Do You Know When A Hamster Is Dying Of Old Age?

In comparison to humans, our Hamster grow pretty fast. One Hamster year is equivalent to 40 human years.

Most Hamsters survive only for 2.5-3 years. They are considered seniors when they reach the age of 2.5 years.

When Hamsters approach their last days, they come across different signs of aging. You will notice the above-mentioned symptoms once your Hamster starts to get old.

As our Hamsters get old, they will depend more on you to stay healthy and happy. Therefore, we must do our best to provide your Hamster with the life they deserve.

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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