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Do Hamsters Smell? (6 Potential Causes of Odor)

Do Hamsters Smell? (6 Potential Causes of Odor)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The short answer is no; hamsters don’t typically smell.

Hamsters are clean pets that don’t require much care. They self-groom and can’t tolerate being dirty or foul-smelling.

If you notice any strange smell, there must be something wrong.

Read on for more about why your hamster might smell. We’ll also give you tips on how to clean your hamster’s cage to eliminate any odor.

Why Does My Hamster Smell?

If your hamster smells, it’s usually from an external source. Hamsters groom themselves to deter predators. In the wild, if they’re super clean, their predators won’t be able to catch their scent. That’s why you can count on your hamster to keep itself spotless.

However, you might occasionally notice that your hamster stinks a little. How is that? There are several theories, such as:

1 – Something Within Its Fur

Sometimes hamsters can get some food or debris stuck within their fur. That’s especially true for Syrian hamsters, as they have long hair.

In this case, use a fine-toothed comb to remove anything stuck into the hamster’s hair, but make sure not to use water because it can harm the hamster.

A hamster’s fur has natural oils that insulate and protect its body. Water will remove such oils, leaving the hamster more prone to diseases.

2 – The Pee Corner

Hamsters usually choose an isolated spot in their cage to make it a pee corner. This section of the enclosure is often the most smelling.

If the hamster hangs out in that area for some time, it might catch a foul odor. In this case, you need to take two actions: clean the pee corner and give the hamster a sand bath.

A sand bath can be a great idea because:

  • It’s in line with the hamster’s natural instincts since he does it in the wild.
  • It doesn’t affect its body’s natural oils.
  • It isn’t stressful for your hamster.
  • It keeps your hamster clean without using water.

3 – A Dirty Cage

The cage should be the first place to look when you sense a stink. Hamsters are clean animals, but their hideouts aren’t.

Therefore, you need to clean your hamster’s cage regularly. In fact, you should make a habit of changing the bedding and removing any leftover food or stool regularly.

4 – Sickness

Some diseases may cause the hamster to smell bad, including:

  • Urinary tract infection: it may cause the hamster’s pee to smell very bad. It may even produce a foul-smelling discharge in old hamsters.
  • Wet-tail disease: it causes diarrhea with a pungent odor. This disease can be fatal if not treated properly.

5 – The Wrong Diet

When you feed your hamster a high-protein diet, it farts with an extremely foul odor. That’s primarily due to the nature of its digestive system.

A hamster’s digestive system goes one way with a flap over the stomach. In other words, it prevents the hamster from burping. Thus, after a hearty meal, your hamster can only release gas in the form of farts with a pungent smell.

If this happens, change your pet’s diet. Avoid boiled eggs and chicken for a couple of days until your hamster gets better.

6 – Scent Glands

Your hamster has scent glands that may emit strong odors. However, don’t worry because it’s perfectly normal. The hamster’s scent glands can be triggered by different factors in males and females:

  • In females: when a female hamster reaches sexual maturity, her scent gland secretes pungent-smelling sexual pheromones to attract males.
  • In males: if you keep two sexually mature males in the same enclosure, they’ll produce strong odors to mark their territories. Each one will try to produce a stronger smell to cover the other’s scent.

Does Hamster Poop Smell?

Typically, hamsters excrete small pebble-like poop that doesn’t have a pungent smell. However, it may be different from one hamster to the other according to three factors:

1 – Your Hamster’s Health Condition

If your hamster is sick, expect its poop to have a stinky odor. That scent is due to the rapid bacterial growth that happens with infections and diseases.

Such conditions are usually coupled with other symptoms, such as diarrhea, appetite loss, or lethargy. In these cases, visit your vet immediately.

2 – Your Hamster’s Diet

What you feed your hamster affects the smell of its poop. For a neutral-smelling stool, give your hamster more greens.

On the other hand, sugary food may produce more smelly poop due to the fermentation process. Make sure you feed your hamster a balanced diet to avoid this pungent odor.

3 – Your Hamster’s Hydration Level

If your hamster is dehydrated, its stool will have a more pungent odor. That’s due to the concentration of waste.

As a pet owner, you should ensure that your hamster gets an adequate amount of water daily to avoid health problems.

Why Does My Hamster Smell Like Pee?

The smell of pee indicates that your hamster has rolled into its pee. This behavior is unlikely since hamsters are generally clean animals.

However, it may happen if your hamster is very stressed in its enclosure. To avoid this problem, eliminate the factors that may stress your hamster.

How to Keep a Hamster Cage from Smelling

Cleaning your hamster’s cage weekly is crucial to its well-being. It helps eliminate any foul odors. For best results, follow these tips:

Use an Enzyme Cleaner

While regular cleaners can help you get rid of the smell, enzyme cleaners address the root cause of the bad odor.

Unlike soap and chemicals that may harm your hamsters, enzyme cleaners use useful bacteria and active enzymes to get into fabrics and deep clean surfaces.

These cleaners remove bacteria by disinfecting, deodorizing, and degreasing your hamster’s cage. That way, they eliminate the odor while posing no health threats to your pet or your family.

Change the Bedding Regularly

Your hamster’s bedding can be a source of bad odor. It may fold over some leftover food that rots over time or even some of your pet’s waste. That’s why you should change it regularly.

You should also change the bedding if your hamster was diagnosed with some problems, such as:

  • Fleas
  • Ringworms
  • Mildew
  • Parasites
  • Mites

If you change the bedding regularly, you’ll notice how cleaner the enclosure gets. In addition, it’ll make your hamster a lot happier, as it prefers cleaner environments.

Remove Waste Daily

Hamsters choose a spot or two in the cage to use as toilets. Therefore, you need to clean these corners every day to avoid bad odors.

Remove the stool and wipe the urine to ensure that the cage is clean and stress-free. This step is essential because if you leave your hamster’s pee and poop inside the cage, it might develop odors and harmful bacteria that cause health issues.

How to Clean a Hamster’s Cage

To thoroughly clean your hamster’s cage, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place your hamster in a safe place.
  2. Empty the cage of toys and equipment.
  3. Remove the bedding.
  4. Get rid of any dirt, poop, or food from the cage.
  5. Spray the entire space with an enzyme cleaner, and let it soak for ten minutes.
  6. Wipe the cage clean with a clean piece of cloth, and leave it to dry.
  7. Replace the bedding.
  8. Place the tools and toys back into the cage.
  9. You may have to repeat the entire process if the odor persists.

Final Thoughts

Do hamsters smell? Not really!

Generally, hamsters are clean animals that groom themselves to avoid predators. Therefore, there’s nothing much you can do to keep them cleaner.

However, in some cases, you may smell a foul odor from your hamster or its cage. To eliminate this odor, you should clean the cage thoroughly and remove the waste daily.

Typically, a hamster’s poop doesn’t have a strong smell. However, it may develop a stinky odor due to sickness, scent glands, or an unbalanced diet.

To get rid of any bad smell, learn the root cause first. Then, you can solve any problem.

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