Hamsters are the charming faces-small, round, hairy, curious—and it can be tempting to acquire one on impulse. Although these pets are easier to care for than some pets, they still require a lot of dedication and care to help them thrive and live healthier lives.
Most hamster parents may not know the care, cleaning and care of their pet. Unfortunately, the careless cleaning of the hamster cage not only makes it smelly; it can make your pet sick, not to mention you!
How Often Do You Need To Clean Your Hamster Cage?
Hamsters are clean pets and always keep their sleeping, playing and potty areas separate. Although this property helps to keep your habitats fresh for a long time, this does not mean that you should neglect daily cleaning and maintenance.
Collect the poo every day, clean the toilet area and provide your hammy with fresh food and water. Use a shovel or gloved hands to remove soiled bedding and discard.
When it comes to water and food, it is mandatory to wash the food trays and replace food that has not been consumed if you want to prevent your pet from eating contaminated food and water. It is also important to clean daily to avoid the accumulation of bacteria and germs.
Daily maintenance is critical for a responsible property, but weekly deep cleaning and disinfection is also required. A weekly deep cleaning will allow you to spend more time in the cage, even if it is only the size of a pint. This type of cleaning requires disinfectants such as vinegar, a lot of brushing and rinsing.
Although this type of cleaning is required only once a week, you can do it as many times as you like. Deep cleaning if you notice a pungent smell of ammonia, the bed will look dirtier than usual or if your pet does not stick to one place on the toilet.
This routine is for a single hamster; if you have more than one that shares the cage, you can’t wait a week. You can do this twice a week, because the more hamsters there are, the more they pee, poop and leave food leftovers.
Ideally, the California Hamster Association recommends cleaning the habitat on the same day each week to minimize your pet’s stress.
What makes a hamster cage Bad?
A hammy usually spends most of his time in his cage, unless you put him in a practice ball or a carrier when you are out and about. Because of this, most often he will pee, poop and throw food into his beds.
What makes the shelter smell most of the time is peeing. The good thing is that it is easy to clean, as the animal chooses a corner for peeing. This corner is the same, unless he decides to move the location of his nest.
The pee corner is usually the furthest from the nest, so removing or cleaning the corner is enough to eliminate the smell. However, hamsters poop in a separate corner. If you have more than one hamster in a cage, there is a good chance that there will be several corners of peeing, although it depends on whether your pests share a nest or just the cage.
Feces, as a rule, are everywhere, but they do not smell, because they are dry. Be sure to remove them, however, because they look bad.
As for food, hamsters tend to store food that has not been consumed in one place, reserving it for after (it is the hamster’s instinct to make sure that he always has enough to eat). When the food accumulates, it could start to smell, and it will help you if you take it out every day. If the hammy is not seriously ill, he will not smell; these pets are clean, non-smelly creatures and always keep their smell to a minimum.
Tips and mistakes to avoid when cleaning a hamster cage
You can badly clean the cage of your hammy and harm your pet, even if you have the best intentions. The good thing is that the mistakes are honest and you can easily correct them.
Here’s what you should pay attention to.
Step 1: Take your hamster to a safe place
Once you have collected your supplies and are ready to start cleaning, you want the hammy to come out of the cage for this. Cleaning is a stressful operation for the animal, and finding a safe place in the meantime will reduce stress and avoid health issue if it clutches during cleaning.
You can use the carrier or an exercise ball if you are sure to clean less than an hour. An exercise ball is a closed room, and it will need food and fresh air.
Step 2: Empty the cage
Now that your hammy is safe and far away, remove all the beds and discard the material used, even if it looks clean. It is best to provide your pet with a fresh and clean shelter. Also remove hiding places, food, food bowls, water bottles, toys and wheels to prevent soiled bedding and food from being trapped under the items.
Put the items aside and identify the one that needs to be cleaned, although most look clean and do not need to be rinsed. When you find the hamster nest and food reserve, keep some of the food and nest back in the cage when you finish cleaning.
Use a spreading shovel and gloved hands all the time to avoid direct contact with the waste. Also avoid inhaling the animal’s waste directly, as this can expose you to health issues such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM).
Step 3: Wash the cage thoroughly
Once everything is out, you will have an empty and dusty matter. Rub the empty cage with mild soap, cage cleaning solution or hand soap and warm water.
You can also use vinegar instead of soap, but you need to thoroughly clean the residues as soon as they are ready. If you can still feel the solution, it will be way too much for your hammy
Sometimes white, crispy pink spots do not peel off easily and may require intensive washing or soaking beforehand. You can dismantle the cage (depending on its type), which will allow you to thoroughly clean any place and reduce the hassle of accessing small doors and rooms. Dry the matter with a towel to prevent the formation of mold or to prevent the bed linen from sticking to damp places.
Daily cleaning can help remove superficial stains, but if dirt begins to dig into accessories, bedding and cage surfaces, thorough cleaning is required at least once a week.
If you love your hamster and make him happy, healthy and leave your house feel good, do in your best interest to clean the cage and the hamster itself.
However, hamsters are sensitive creatures and can find the cleaning process and a new cage stressful. Try to make the process easy and safe, make sure that your pet finds the cage as familiar as possible, without being dirty.