Everyone loves to take care of hamsters. Aside from their cute, furry bodies, they also got a spunky attitude to them.
Though they’re friendly, some hamsters can have a lot of personality that will surely keep both kids and adults entertained.
But, as part of taking care of a hamster, you need to make sure that its cage is clean as much as possible.
And, with keeping the said enclosure clean, you’ll have to consider changing the bedding you placed in there regularly.
But, how often should you change the bedding on your hamster’s cage?
Well, if you still haven’t figured that out, you don’t have to worry a bit.
Continue reading below to find out how often you should do the bedding change for your hamster pal’s cage.
How often should you change hamster bedding?
Unlike most animal homes, there is no specific timeframe that you need to follow to clean your hamster’s bedding. You only change your hamster pal’s bedding if it’s soiled. If not, then you’ll only need to place fresh beddings at least once a week.
Frequency of changing hamster bedding: The must-knows
As mentioned earlier, there is no definite timeframe that you’ll have to follow when you’re changing your hamster friend’s beddings.
After all, our furry friends wouldn’t be dubbed as low-maintenance pets if you’d need to remove their beddings every day, right?
However, even if there is no strict schedule, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or APSCA, recommends changing the old bedding at least once a week.
Why is this so?
Well, as veteran hamster fur parents know, these little rodents not only pee and poo a lot. They also love to hoard some (or maybe most) of their food beneath the beddings.
And, as fur parents know, the beddings absorb the hamster’s pee. Thus, if you leave all those materials lying on the already soiled bedding, chances are they’ll become super breeding grounds for bacteria.
Hence, it’s a good idea to do spot cleaning from time to time. Whenever you have a few minutes to spare, make it a habit to inspect your hamster pal’s cage.
As soon as you see that your furry pal’s bedding is full of filth, then better replace it with a new batch. Even if you’ve just cleaned out the bedding yesterday, change it still once you see it’s soiled.
After all, it’s better to be extra clean than to make your hamster a living bait for harmful bacteria.
On that note, it’s also a wise idea if you change your hamster pal’s bedding after it recovered from an illness. Even if it looks pristinely clean, you need to replace it with a new one.
Why is that?
Well, if your hamster recently fell ill, chances are his pee and poo are filled with bacteria. Once they deposit these materials into the bedding, chances are the bacteria and virus already bred there.
If you let your newly-recovered rodent roam around the microbe-infested bedding, your hamster will most likely become reinfected again. And, you wouldn’t want that, right?
Just make sure that when you’re removing the old bedding, the new batch will make your hamster feel equally comfortable in it as when it had its old one.
How to clean your hamster pal’s bedding
So, if you’re all feeling excited to keep your hamster pal’s bedding clean, then better continue reading.
With a small shovel, scoop out the soiled bedding (those that have a pee and fecal material on them). Don’t forget to wear working gloves even if you’re using a shovel to collect the dirty bedding.
If you find leftover food on the bedding, make sure to pick them out as well. But, since food is solid, you don’t need to change the bedding if it isn’t wet or moist.
As to the bedding near its water bowl, better remove and change it to prevent mold and mildew growth — no need to replace the surrounding bedding if they aren’t moist.
However, if you find that most of your hamster pal’s bedding is filthy, then better replace the entire batch of bedding. Though it’s quite a hassle, you’d rather choose to be safe than sorry later on.
But, before you go ahead and remove the bedding, make sure to find a nice spot where you can safely move your hamster pal.
After which, scoop out all the bedding inside the enclosure and place it in a plastic bag for disposal.
Once you’ve removed the old bedding, take out all the hamster fixtures in the cage as well. Better clean them up as well if you find them soiled.
Now that you’ve made your hamster pal’s cage empty don’t forget to disinfect the cage’s floor to remove harmful microbes lurking on it.
You can also combine disinfecting the bottom of the cage with spot-cleaning with a damp cloth. This will help in removing the grimy spot off the corners of the enclosure.
Once done, wipe the hamster’s cage dry to avoid leaving moisture. If you’re not busy, you can even air dry the enclosure.
Now that the cage’s dry, then you can go about placing a fresh batch of bedding on it. Replace the fixtures that you’ve removed earlier on before placing your hamster pal back in the cage.
If you want a more detailed take on the proper way of cleaning a hamster cage, click on the hyperlinked text to read more about it.
Consequences of infrequent hamster bedding change
Now that you know the ideal frequency of changing your hamster’s bedding, what will happen if you don’t do it as recommended?
Say, for instance, you’ve had a pretty hectic week at school or work, and you haven’t paid much attention to your hamster pal other than feeding him. And, since you’re busy, you don’t have enough time to replace his bedding.
Well, it’s safe to say that if you don’t change the rodent’s bedding as soon as it’s soiled, you’re making him more susceptible to diseases and illnesses.
Since a hamster’s bedding is like its litter, your hamster will drop his excrements there. No matter how small the mess is, the bedding will absorb everything, making it a good breeding ground for microbes to grow.
Add the fact that your hamster pal will occasionally drop water on the bedding. With increased moisture on the bedding, it also serves as a suitable medium for mildew and mold to grow.
Though you’ve saved on money by infrequently changing your hamster’s bedding, you’ll have to shell out more once your furry pet becomes sick. What with all the medications and vet professional fees you’d have to pay.
So, don’t wait for your hamster pal to become sick to change his bedding. Do it the soonest you spot that the bedding’s soiled, and your rodent friend will become the happiest pet in the world.
Types of beddings for your hamster pals
Unknown to most fur parents, there are two major types of shavings or bedding material that you can use to turn your hamster cage into your furry pal’s home. Please take a look at them here.
This is the most popular choice among hamster fur parents as bedding material. You can buy them from your local pet shops or ask for them from furniture or woodworking shops near you.
This material is the most common bedding material used by fur parents for their hamster friends.
Though there are pine and cedar shavings available, these two aren’t suited for hamsters due to the fumes and chemicals that come with them.
Are you now ready to make your hamster cage a haven for your tiny friend? If you are, better apply the tips mentioned above so you’ll be guided.
Also, you can read up on how to make your hamster pal warm in this article.