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.

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Having a pet hamster is something that can be so fun. They’re very interesting little pets that you just might fall in love with.

This doesn’t mean that taking care of a hamster is always going to be simple, though. Many things about hamsters can be a bit annoying or tough to deal with for new owners.

For example, you might notice that your hamster is pretty smelly. Did you check on your hamster one day and find out that it smells sort of like fish?

This is something that might make you worry a bit. It’s also something that you likely want to change since most people don’t want to have to deal with having an overly smelly hamster.

Read on to learn why a hamster might smell like fish. This should help you to figure out what you need to do to solve the problem.

Female Hamsters Will Sometimes Smell Like Fish

Before you worry too much, it’s good to know that your hamster is likely fine. The most likely scenario is that you’re raising a female hamster and everything is normal.

Female hamsters have a four-day cycle and they can smell very fishy during certain days. This is a normal part of a female hamster’s cycle and some hamsters might smell a bit more than others.

Some people have noted that the smell isn’t too overwhelming while others have said that the fishy smell has been enough to make them gag. It might depend on the hamster as well as other factors that are tough to determine.

There are certain types of hamsters that appear to have stronger smells than normal. For example, it’s said that female cinnamon hamsters have a particularly pungent odor.

If your hamster is female, then there’s a good chance that this is a normal smell and that you don’t need to worry about it. In this case, you might just be new to raising hamsters and you’re encountering this fishy smell for the first time.

Health Issues

There is a possibility that the fish smell is an indication that your hamster is experiencing some sort of health issue as well. Sometimes hamsters can get infections and they might wind up smelling sort of fishy.

Female hamsters will sometimes get infections in their wombs and this might cause a strong smell. When pus starts to build up in the womb, it’ll make the female hamster emit a very fishy smell that might be tough to bear.

When this occurs, there might be a yellow discharge and you might also see some blood stains. However, it’s also possible that the infection could be present even if there is no discharge.

This means that you simply must be a proactive hamster owner. If your hamster appears to be ill or off in any way, then it’s going to be best to call the veterinarian to get the hamster checked out.

A veterinarian is going to be able to examine the hamster to determine if everything is okay or not. If an issue such as an infection is causing the hamster to smell bad, then you’ll be able to get to the bottom of the issue.

Once you know what’s wrong, the veterinarian can recommend a treatment to try to get things back to normal. Antibiotics often help to provide temporary relief, but it might be necessary to spay the hamster to eliminate the issue completely.

Hamster Cage Cleanliness Issues

Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re causing the smell by not cleaning the hamster cage enough. If you aren’t cleaning the hamster cage as regularly as you should be, then it’s going to get quite stinky.

Even though hamsters are very easy to care for overall, it’s going to be important to clean the hamster cage at least once per week. You need to give your hamster fresh wood shavings and bedding so that you can keep the cage from becoming too smelly.

Failure to do this could lead to the cage smelling very bad. Some people might describe the types of smells that will pop up as fishy, but they might smell different.

You might need to clean the hamster cage more often if you’re concerned about smells. For instance, many hamster owners wind up cleaning the toileting spots of the cage more often so that the smell doesn’t get too bad.

Understand that failure to clean the hamster cage can lead to hamsters experiencing health issues. A hamster that lives in an unclean environment might get quite sick.

You don’t have to clean the cage every single day, though. In fact, your hamster might become stressed if you try to clean the cage daily.

To keep the hamster comfortable during the cleaning process, it’s essential to find a safe and comfortable space to put the hamster while you do the job. After cleaning the cage, the hamster should be able to enjoy how nice things smell with the fresh shavings that you placed inside.

Final Thoughts

Hamsters might smell kind of fishy for a couple of different reasons. Sometimes hamsters will smell bad because you haven’t been taking the time to clean the hamster cage as often as you should.

If this is the case, then changing your cleaning habits should be enough to solve the problem. Female hamsters might also smell fishy naturally due to their normal cycle causing bodily changes.

Certain types of female hamsters can smell fishier than others. There’s a good chance that the fishy smell that you’re noticing is coming from your female hamster, and it might be normal.

It’s also true that a very strong fishy smell can be an indication of some type of infection. It isn’t always easy to tell if a hamster has an infection, but after some time a hamster will act sluggish if they have an infection.

If you’re at all worried, then it makes sense to just call the veterinarian to get things handled. You’ll be able to figure out if anything is amiss and you can always ask for advice about the hamster smell and what you can do about it.

That should be everything that you need to know about why a hamster might smell fishy. Hopefully, you’ll be able to solve this problem if there is an issue so that you can get back to enjoying your pet hamster and having fun together.

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Author

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.

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