You love your pet hamster and you want it to stay healthy and safe for as long as possible. This is why it’s devastating when you discover that your hamster has passed away.
When your hamster dies suddenly you’ll be left wondering what happened. You might not be sure what went wrong that would cause the hamster to perish.
Continue reading to learn about common reasons why hamsters die. This might help you to prevent it from happening with a future pet.
How Do Hamsters Die?
As you might expect, there are many ways that hamsters might perish. There isn’t one specific way that hamsters die.
Hamsters can die of disease or they can die from old age. A hamster could even die from being dropped from a height.
Since there are so many things that can kill hamsters you need to be careful to take care of them well.
What Are the Most Common Reasons Why Hamsters Die?
It’s been established that hamsters can pass away for many different reasons. It can be helpful to learn about the common reasons why hamsters die.
This will let you know about issues that you should look out for. It might help you to get your hamster to live for as long as possible.
1 – Falling
You always need to be careful when holding your hamster. Hamsters can get hurt if you drop them while holding them.
When holding a hamster high in the air it’ll be especially dangerous. If you’re a six-foot tall person, holding a hamster by your shoulders will be quite a height for them.
Dropping the hamster from this height could either severely injure it or cause it to die. This is a more common cause of hamster death than you might realize.
It’d be safer to avoid holding your hamster too high in the air. Also, be sure to handle your hamster properly to limit the risk of you dropping it.
2 – Starvation
You could easily kill a pet hamster by forgetting to feed it for a certain amount of time. Sometimes people buy hamsters because they’re supposed to be low-maintenance pets.
While hamsters aren’t hard to care for, you do still need to meet their basic care needs. If you forget to feed the hamster for a while it might starve to death.
This would be a terrible thing to do, but people have gone on vacation and come home to find that their hamsters didn’t make it. Hamsters can usually survive for three or four days without food, but this might depend on the age of the hamster and how healthy it is.
3 – Illness
Various illnesses can cause hamsters to pass away suddenly. Sometimes hamsters can get cancer and this will cause them to die over time.
There’s also a common illness known as wet tail that is known to kill hamsters. It’s essentially like a severe form of hamster diarrhea that causes hamsters to die of dehydration.
Take hamster illnesses seriously so you can do your best to save your pet. If you catch things fast you can treat the hamster and try to turn things around.
Not all hamster illnesses will be treatable, though. Get help from an exotic veterinarian for diagnosis if necessary.
4 – Respiratory Problems
You might not know this, but hamsters can die when they experience respiratory problems. Sometimes hamsters might get pneumonia when exposed to cold weather and this can be very dangerous.
If a hamster gets pneumonia, it’s going to be likely that the hamster will pass away. An infection in the lungs is among the most common causes of sudden hamster death.
If your hamster appears to be having respiratory issues it’s wise to reach out to an exotic vet. This will allow you to get the right treatment to try to help your pet.
5 – Stress/Heart Disease
Stress isn’t something that will kill a hamster right away, but it can have a negative impact on its health. Many things can cause hamsters stress such as loud noises, improper environments, and being handled too much.
Sometimes stress will cause heart issues to be exacerbated. This might cause the hamster to have a heart attack and die suddenly.
For the sake of the hamster, it’s best to avoid causing it stress. Do your best to limit the hamster’s stress exposure so that it can remain healthy.
6 – Old Age
If a hamster is lucky it might live long enough to die of old age. Hamsters aren’t going to live forever.
These little pets only live for two or three years depending on the species that they belong to. Some hamsters might die a little bit earlier than this as well.
So you need to be prepared to say goodbye to your pet hamster within two or three years. If you do the best job that you can, your hamster will survive for years and eventually die of old age.
Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily?
Hamsters aren’t pets that are going to live for a long time. As mentioned above, they have relatively short lifespans.
A hamster will only live for as long as three years if things go perfectly. Many hamsters aren’t capable of living much longer than two years.
There are a number of different hamster diseases and problems that can cut their lives short. So some hamsters will die early due to having certain health issues.
It’s not uncommon for hamster owners to make mistakes and contribute to their early deaths. So you want to do your best to care for hamsters optimally if you want them to live for as long as possible.
How to Tell If Your Hamster Is Dying
There won’t always be warning signs that your hamster is about to die. Certain situations might cause a hamster to die suddenly.
However, there are signs to look out for that will tell you that your hamster is in rough shape. A hamster might be about to die if you notice that it is having breathing issues.
Often, hamsters that are approaching death will experience choppy breathing. You might notice that the hamster doesn’t have a very strong pulse either.
If you see your hamster having issues with a stiff jaw this could be a sign that death is approaching. It’s also common to see hamsters experience tremors when they’re close to death.
You’ll know that your hamster is truly dead when it stops breathing and moving. You can check for a pulse to see if the hamster shows any signs of life and then move on from there.
What to Do When Your Hamster Dies
Having your pet hamster die will be an emotional experience. You never want to have to deal with a pet passing away, but this is a reality of hamster ownership.
Since these pets only live for two or three years you’ll likely lose hamsters fairly often. If you choose to keep caring for pet hamsters it’s something that you’ll get used to even if it does make you feel emotional each time.
After your hamster passes away it’s important to clean the cage thoroughly. You want to clean the cage and make sure that you leave no traces of bacteria behind.
This is to protect any other hamsters that you own or to get the cage ready for a new hamster. Take the hamster’s corpse and put it in a shoe box or some other type of box.
The most practical way to handle this situation is to bury the hamster in your backyard. Dig a small hole that’s deep enough that animals won’t be able to bother it.
Next, place the shoe box with the dead hamster inside of the hole. Cover the hole with dirt and you will be finished.
It’s also possible to have pet hamsters cremated if you’d prefer to do that. This will cost a bit of cash, but you can inquire about this possibility by speaking to an exotic veterinarian if you so desire.
Can They Die From Loud Noises?
No, a hamster is not going to die because of hearing loud noises. Loud noises might cause the hamster to feel stressed, though.
Hamsters generally don’t like loud noises. They’re very sensitive to loud noises and will get scared by them rather easily.
If you want your hamster to feel comfortable in your home it’s best to give them a quiet space. Try to keep the hamster’s cage somewhere in the house where it won’t be overly noisy.
This will keep the hamster from being too stressed by loud noises. It’s never wise to keep hamster habitats in the same room where you play loud music or play the TV loudly.
Can They Die From Stress?
Stress itself won’t kill your hamster, but a hamster can die because of the complications of stress. Earlier, you learned that stress can exacerbate heart problems.
Some hamsters have heart issues and stress will only make things worse. A hamster that is under a lot of stress might die due to having a heart attack.
It’s best to do what you can to limit stress in hamsters. This will protect your pet and work to keep it healthy.
Do Hamsters Make Noise When They Die?
There isn’t one specific noise that is associated with hamster death. However, you might hear labored breathing or squeaky breathing when a hamster is struggling to draw breath.
So you could say that these types of noises will accompany hamsters dying in most situations. Some people say that hamsters squeak a bit before they die, but this isn’t always the case.
Do your best to look out for your hamster and try to recognize when it’s sick. If the hamster is able to be treated you might be able to keep it from dying.
Some situations aren’t going to be good, though. Hamsters can have a tough time recovering from some illnesses and respiratory issues can be especially bothersome.
Knowing more about hamsters and why they die will help you as a pet owner. Now you have a much better idea of what causes these pets to die.
There are so many reasons why hamsters might die that you need to consider. These pets might die of old age if you do an excellent job caring for them, but they could easily die long before that happens.
Some people accidentally kill their hamsters by dropping them. This is terrible and unfortunate, but it’s more common than you might believe.
Others might have hamsters die because of illnesses, respiratory issues, and cancer. There are so many health problems that can pop up when caring for these little pets.
To protect your pet, simply focus on giving it the best care possible. Feed it a high-quality diet and ensure that it gets enough exercise.
Give your hamster an environment where it can thrive. You’ll have a good chance of keeping a hamster alive for two years or slightly longer if you put in the effort.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.