Having a pet hamster comes with lots of love, care, and sometimes worries. This cute, furry little creature is a super-sensitive animal, and keeping a routinely check on it is actually a good thing. One of the most common questions hamster-owners ask at some point is related to their water intake. You might suddenly notice your little hamster drinking more and more water. Or perhaps too little water. You may also have questions regarding the type of water that is best for them, or if your technique is healthy and safe.
We’re going to answer all of these questions in depth so you don’t have to worry about your hamsters’ water drinking habits and can positively contribute to their intake and health.
Water is a very integral part of any hamsters’ diet. In fact, it is necessary to provide a water bottle or feeder in their cage at all times so they can easily access it. But how much water is too much water?
How Much Water Does a Hamster Drink?
There is a chance that your hamster is drinking the normal amount required but it seems too much to you. Or it may be over-consuming it which can be a sign of a health problem or infection. On the contrary, it may be consuming too little of it which is also not a good sign.
The simple way to answer this is in numbers. The normal water intake for hamsters should be around 10 ml per 100 gr of hamster per day. What this means is, your hamsters’ size and weight impacts their water needs. For instance, a hamster weighing 170 gr will need about 17 ml of water every day.
One other factor that affects their water intake is how active they are. If your hamster is running around too much, it will need more hydration. If it has a more sedentary lifestyle, you will notice it does not drink a lot. Similarly, being a young or old hamster also plays a part in the water needs. The older one will end up consuming less water.
Also, keep your hamsters’ diet in mind. For instance, are you feeding it drier foods like pellets or grains? You will see it reaching out for more water. But if its’ already getting foods rich in water content, like fruits- you’ll see less water consumption.
Can Hamsters Drink tap Water?
You might be wondering if plain tap water is bad for your hamster. Do hamsters have any special requirements when it comes to the type of water? Should you opt for filtered water or bottled water?
Well, if tap water is your choice for yourself and your family-it should be safe for your hamster too. But it must be potable, meaning that it is safe to drink. You must ensure its’ cleanliness because hamsters, being so small, are quick to get contaminated. They are not able to eliminate tap water minerals like calcium and chlorine like humans do. So be very vigilant while feeding it tap water. If your area has hard water (rich in minerals). it’s best to avoid tap water. However, if you’re sure the tap water is not polluted, then there is no problem.
Filtered water is the safest choice. Moreover, make sure that the water is not too cold or warm. Room temperature is ideal.
Can Hamsters Drink From a Bowl?
Any hamster owner knows the debate between choosing a bowl or a bottle for their pets water. Well, both of them are technically perfectly fine. However, a bottle may be a better and safer choice for a few reasons.
Firstly, a bowl of water is more likely to get contaminated. As it is open, there is always a chance for it to get dirty. Urine, feces, hair, or any other unhygienic materials can fall into the bowl. It can also get tipped over and create a routinely cleaning up chore for you.
And there is another risk involved. What if your hamster accidentally falls into the water? This can have serious consequences if you are not there on time- from catching a cold to possibly drowning.
A bottle is enclosed, making it the more sanitary option and is easier to manage. A vacuum-action inverted bottle is the best because it only gives hamster the water when it actively drinks from it.
But there are sometimes when you can opt for a bowl. Sometimes your hamster may not be comfortable feeding from the bottle. There could also be a situation where the bottle malfunctions. Furthermore, the hamster can also chew on the bottle and damage it. It’s totally okay to give them a bowl of water at such times.
One benefit of the bowl is how easily you can clean it compared to a bottle. They don’t require a lot of physical scrubbing. The bowl might even be your only option as some hamsters simply refuse to use a water bottle. Choose a ceramic or metal bowl as the hamster can start chewing on plastic ones.
At the end of the day, it depends on you and your hamster’s personal choice. Some owners suggest using both a bowl and bottle especially when you have more than one hamster. They can also act as a backup when one or the other fails. For instance, if the bowl tips over and you’re away-the bottle will keep your pet hydrated. This combination of using both may be the perfect balance. Or you could simply use either a bottle or a bowl and find it enough. It all depends on what works best for your pet.
How Often Should I Change my Hamsters’ Water?
In the most ideal circumstances, you need to provide fresh water for your hamster ‘every’ day. Even when the bottle or bowl is not empty or even half-full, remember to refill it with clean new water.
This is important because it helps keep a check on how much water your pet is consuming. And it also helps you to keep an eye on issues like a leaking or malfunctioned water bottle or possible contamination in the bowl, etc. You really do not want to risk your pets health by going days without changing their water.
In warm weather, this becomes even more crucial. The hot and humid temperature can cause bacteria to build up in water bottles. It’s best that you change it every day, or at the most, every other day for your hamsters’ safety and health.
How to Clean a Hamster’s Water Bottle?
Your hamsters’ water bottle should ideally be cleaned thoroughly. Start by pouring out all the remaining water from it. Now, rinse the bottle in clean water. The key is to reach the inside of the bottle too. If it’s possible, stick your fingers in and rub it while rinsing. If you can’t do that, take a paper towel and wrap it around the end of a fork or spoon. Now get in there and clean the insides. Keep rinsing till you know its’ done.
A word of caution: You should not use a soap or disinfectant in this cleaning process. The reason being, it is simply not required and will just need more rinsing. Because you cannot risk leaving any traces of the soap and chemicals behind. You don’t want your hamster consuming these and getting contaminated.
Hamster Water Consumption Concerns?
If despite knowing all the requirements for your hamsters’ water intake and the factors that contribute to it, you feel that it is drinking way too much- you might need to seriously look into the issue.
Is your hamster drinking excessive amounts and also urinating frequently? These are symptoms of bladders tones or a urethra infection in hamsters. Also notice if there is a lack of appetite, or blood in the urine. If so, consult a vet and start treatment immediately.
Also remember that hamsters cannot take dehydration well. In fact, they cannot survive for more than one or two days without water. Have you noticed your pet has stopped drinking water? Lack of fluids can make your pet sick and if it goes unnoticed, can turn fatal. If its’ not taking water, try to feed it hydrating foods like cucumber, lettuce, carrots. Signs of dehydration include lethargy, sunken eyes, difficulty breathing, loose skin and poor appetite.
Dehydration also flares up if your pet is suffering from diarrhea. If your hamster looks severely dehydrated or sick- take it to a vet who might administer intravenous fluids to bring its’ hydration levels back to normal.
Owning a pet hamster comes with a whole lot of responsibility. Being well-informed and aware of your pet’s habits, knowing the do’s and don’ts and the signs of a problem- can help you take better care of your beloved pet.
Remember that a healthy and active hamster should drink a good amount of water so make sure you provide it an adequate amount. We hope this guide helped you make better decisions regarding your pets’ water needs.