Bathing Hamsters


By Tammo
Bathing removes natural and essential oils from the hamster’s coat, which can cause the hamster to catch a chill and die.

Curious Hamster In A WheelBathing should only be done in exceptional circumstances, like if your hamster has paint, varnish or anything toxic on its coat that may harm it if it licks itself or ingests it. The hamster will clean itself if it is dirty and the substance is not toxic. Chinchilla sand will keep the coat clean and grease free. Normally there should be no need to bathe your hamster with water at all during the course of its life.

If your hamster does get toxic or harmful substances on its coat, then you must bathe it unless you are able to cut it out of the coat, e.g. if there is gum or something sticky, that can usually be cut out of the coat.

The best way to bath a hamster is this:

  1. Get a bowl containing 2 inches of warm water. Test the temperature with your elbow to make sure it is not too hot or too cold.
  2. Wet the hamster and gently rub it into the dirty area to cleanse it. Take extreme care not to let any water get near the nose, mouth, ears or eyes.
  3. If your hamster has something particularly sticky that’s can’t be cut out in its fur, then you can use shampoo, but it must be baby shampoo. Again, make sure not to get it near the hamster’s face.
  4. Carefully rinse out the shampoo, and place the hamster on a towel.
  5. Dry very carefully; be careful of the hamster’s legs.
  6. Then, get a hair dryer and put it on its lowest setting. Hold it very far from the hamster and always keep your hand between the dryer and the hamster to avoid burning the skin.
  7. Wash your hamster on a warm day if possible to lessen chances of getting a chill.
  8. Make sure the fur is completely dry before returning the hamster to its cage or the shavings will stick to the damp fur.
This is not a safe way to bathe a hamster. There are no safe ways to do it. So please do not wash your hamster if it smells or looks a bit grubby. Only if there is something toxic on the fur that cannot be cut off. This method carries the same risks as all others but this is the best way if you absolutely have to do it.

If your hamster smells bad, it may be sick and should be brought to the vet as soon as possible. To keep your hamster clean and healthy, make sure its living conditions are cleaned out regularly.