10 Signs That Show Your Hamster Is Dying

When your Hamsters turn old or get sick, you may be concerned, assuming they’re going to die. You have been caring for your little one from the very beginning, watching after them and you understand their normal actions well. But how are you going to know if it’s anything serious? What are the signs that your Hamster is dying?

Some of the signs that indicate that your Hamster might pass away anytime soon include not showing interest in food, lethargy, respiratory disorders, repeated changes in body temperature, heart rate, and other critical life functions. Skin inflammation and flystrike may also be a symptom of a life-threatening illness.

The average life span of Hamsters lies between 3-4 years. Their average body temperature should be between 97°F-103°F ( 36°C- 40°C), whereas the heart rate should be between 250-500 beats per minute. Irregularities in these few things, shouldn’t be ignored.

You should understand some of these common signals, which suggests that your Hamster does have much time left. It is important to learn all the symptoms of a dying Hamster so that you can take proper care of them in their last days, and it will also brace you for those difficult times.

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

How To Know If My Hamster Is Dying?

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Domesticated Hamsters can live approximately up to 3-4 years if they are kept with proper care.

According to guinness book of world record, a Hamster lived for 7 years, the longest in world history.

If you observe your Hamster daily, then a few changes in the body of the Hamster will tell you that their death is near. One of these signs may be an underlying health condition followed by some other symptoms.

The sooner you will be able to detect the signs of illness of your Hamster, the higher will be the chance to save their life.

So, let’s get right into what these signs are:

Your Hamster Have Stopped Eating

If your Hamster is sick or unhappy the first thing they do is stop eating and drinking. All Hamsters requires a perfect balance of fruits, vegetables, dry pellets, and treats to stay healthy.

Whenever your Hamster refuses to eat and drink, there are high chances that they are not well or something is wrong with them

Also, older Hamsters show less interest in eating than younger Hamsters. Growing and developing Hamster can eat two times more than older Hamsters.

You should not worry when your older Hamsters do not eat much like they used to when they were young.

Just like we humans, it is important for our Hamsters to intake proper nutrients for survival and a happy life. But, you must never force your Hamsters to eat, it will just make them aggressive towards you.

If your Hamsters have stopped eating all of a sudden, then this might be a sign that they are sick or facing death.

Sometimes, metal and physical factors can be the cause of decreased hunger in Hamsters. It is advised to take your Hamsters to a vet if you have any suspicions about their health.

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Your Hamsters Getting More Lethargic With Each Passing Day

Mostly all Hamsters are very active and cannot sit in a place for a long period. They are physically very energetic. There is no doubt that the energy levels of each Hamster vary from the other.

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

You must spend more time with your Hamsters, this way you will become more aware of how much they make you run and jump around, and how active they are.

If your Hamster is not as active as before or is showing no interest in playing, then this might be the signal that they are dying.

Unusual lethargy is a sign of distress in Hamsters. To whether your Hamsters are just being lazy or are unwell, then them to a noise-free environment, and if they seem more joyful and lively there, then this lethargy or laziness is due to stress.

If your little one is not active and lively even in that comfortable environment, then they are either sick or are dying.

Your Hamsters Have Stopped Grooming Themselves

Hamsters spend 20-30% of his life grooming himself. Grooming keeps them happy also relieves them of stress.

If your Hamster is sick or dying, then they will show less or no interest in cleaning themselves.

Usually, healthy Hamsters have smooth fur or skin whereas sick Hamsters have matted and greasy fur. This little attention to clean skin is the first hint of skin problems.

Hamsters are prone to several physical or skin diseases such as parasitic and fungal infections or skin tumors, etc. If not taken care of, these diseases can even prove to be life-threatening for your Hamsters.

Some of the signs of a skin disease in Hamsters are bald spots on the skin, dandruff, or the formation of scales and peeling of skin in thin pieces. Therefore, it is crucial to observe and understand your Hamster’s grooming habits.

You Can See Flies All Around Your Hamster’s Enclosure

Flystrike n Hamsters, is a deadly skin infection.

Flies generally drop eggs in the manure of your pet. These eggs if not cleaned, later hatch maggots that may feed on Hamster’s flesh. It can be a life-threatening situation for your little one.

The environment where your Hamster lives are one of the significant causes of flystrike rather than the Hamsters themselves. If your Hamsters are dirty and soaked in their urine and their discharge waste, then they will surely attract flies.

If you ever see maggots in your Hamster’s body, immediately take them to a vet. Do not try to cure it or pull the maggot by yourself, you could worsen the situation.

Flystrikes should be dealt in primary stage, delay in treatment can take your Hamster’s life.

Frequent Changes In Your Hamster’s Body Vitals

During their last hours, Hamsters experience some unusual changes in their body vitals. Some of the body vitals include heart rate and body temperature. Some usual signals of Hamster’s body vitals are:

  • The temperature of the body: Should be between 97°F-103°F ( 36°C- 40°C)
  • Heart rate: Should be between 250-500 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory rate: Should be between 40-130 breaths per minute.
  • Capillary refill time: Should be between 2-3 seconds.

To observe the capillary refill time of Hamsters, what you can do is open their mouth and gently press it against gums around teeth, as you press it with slight force the light color will be noticed.

When the strain is removed, how much time the gums take to get back to the natural color will tell you the capillary refill time. 

If these body vitals tend to change their degrees from normal or show regular shifts day after day, it’s time to make a visit to the vet.

Your Hamster Is Gasping For Air

Usually, sick Hamsters make noises while they breathe. If your Hamster makes weird noises while breathing, then it can be a bad sign. It suggests that they might be having a cold, which is dangerous in Hamsters.

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

Some of the signs to recognize breathing complications in Hamsters are:

  • Coughs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sneezing
  • Puffing
  • Wheezing
  • Nose flaring
  • Rhinorrhea

Some Hamsters also breathe heavily due to stress and cold. Hamsters easily gets stressed. Some of the common causes of stress in Hamsters are loud noises, being in an overcrowded environment, threat of predators, and being held in hands uncomfortably.

You must try and make an attempt to do all you can to keep your Hamsters free from stress and then observe if your Hamsters are happy or not. If even after all the efforts your Hamster is not well, then there might be some serious health complication or you might be doing something wrong.

If your Hamsters are in their death bed, then they will look upset and start to breathe noisily. You will even notice that some Hamsters will breathe in short gaps.

Your Hamster’s Gut Movement Has Stopped

It is important to read and observe your Hamster’s body language and personality, this will help you understand when they fall sick or when something is wrong with them.

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

Also observe, how often they pee, poop, and the texture of the waste they discharge. Any kind of unusual change in their urine or solid waster will help us understand that they are not well.

Sometimes these changes are also the reason for a Hamster’s death. Abnormal changes in the texture, smell, and color of their waste or traces of blood in their urine are some deadly signs.

Gastrointestinal stasis is once such a condition in which Hamsters do not pass out waste discharge. Usually, this condition is a sign of an adverse health state. This occurs when Hamsters start to avoid their food and stop eating, which in turn leads to slowing down of digestion.

Sometimes Hamsters refuse to eat because their food lacks adequate nutrients. They require a healthy diet for a happy and stress-free life.

If you found out that your Hamsters have not excreted or passed out urine for the past 6 hours or more then you should make a visit to the vet.

Loose motions are common in Hamsters before the time of death. Also, during these times Hamsters stop drinking water, which makes them dehydrated.

Your Hamster Is Making Unusual Noises

If your Hamstesr have suddenly started o make abnormal noises, then there are high chances that they are not feeling well.

Hamsters who are wounded or are otherwise in pain may scream, especially if something aggravates the pain. They make sounds like teeth grinding and screaming.

When Hamsters die due to some health complications, they might whimper or make high pitched noises, unwillingly.

Other sounds to hear actively are breathing sound, which includes sneezing, puffing, squeaking, and wheezing.

Your Hamster Is Drooling A Lot

Hamsters start to drool excessively few days before their death. They drop uncontrollable saliva from their mouth.

The amount of saliva which they drop is far from our expectations, mostly when they are not drinking enough water.

However, the fur of your Hamsters soaks most of the saliva but it still gets messy.

In most Hamsters, the faces or the mouth gets swollen due to drooling.

Also, you will notice that their gums turn yellowish, white, or pale blue. This clearly explains that your Hamsters are not in their best health.

Your Hamster Is Continuously Shivering

If you catch your Hamster shaking or shivering, even when there are living in a comfortable environment, then it is a sign that your little one is in a state of shock.

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

The ideal temperature for Hamsters ranges from 68°F-74°F (22°C- 24°C). If you live in a place where weather conditions are extreme, then you might need to look into some source or some other alternative method to stabilize the temperature around their enclosure.

In some cases, Hamsters shakes due to the fear of death. Shivers can also be caused due to stress. These signs of your Hamster dying may be unacceptable to you as much as they are for your Hamsters.

Hamsters also shake their body if they have a heat stroke or heart failure.

Is My Hamster Dying Of Old Age?

As compared to humans, Hamsters grow pretty quickly. A Hamster can change from baby to adult within a few months. Thus, this can make a vast difference in the ages of humans and Hamsters.

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.

When Hamsters enter their senior months, then they come across with different signs of aging, some of the commons symptoms are explained below:

  • Change in the color of their coat or fur
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of hearing ability
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Mobility problems
  • Grooming issues
  • Weight loss

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

How Do I Comfort A Dying Hamster?

It is very important for your to learn about how to comfort your Hamsters in their last days. Listed below are a few things you can to ensure your little one is comfortable in his last days:

  • Maintain a comfortable environment: The ideal temperature for Hamsters ranges from 68°F-74°F (22°C- 24°C). If you live in a place where weather conditions are extreme, then you might need to look into some source to stabilize the temperature around their enclosure.
  • Provide them with a blanket: Blankets are great ways to keep your Hamsters warm and cozy. It will provide your Hamster a warm place to curl up and sleep. But do not just fix it around them, provide them with a room and let them roam in it if they wish.
  • Keep them hydrated: Feeding water in small quantities with the help of a syringe to your Hamsters is what you may do, but do not force them to drink when they deny. You do not want your little ones to struggle for air in their hard times.
  • Medical treatment: The last thing you can do is to provide your Hamster with proper medication prescribed by a professional vet. Do not give any medicine or antibiotics to your Hamster by yourself, you could make the situation worse.

Sources: Research Gate, Science MagNCBIScience Direct, Pneumonia infected Hamsters Research Gate,  Biology and Diseases of HamstersDehydration In HamstersHyperadrenocorticism in Three Teddy Bear Hamsters

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am currently studying Animal Nutrition. I have a pet hamster. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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