Comforting a Dying Hamster

How to Comfort a Dying Hamster

To comfort a dying hamster, you have to make sure that you keep them warm and at a comfortable temperature, keep them hydrated, make sure their home is calm, clean, and quiet. You should also give them loads of attention and provide them with a comfortable bed to sleep as well as give them treats. 

Read on as I look into different ways to comfort your dying friends, signs that your hamster won’t escape death, and answer frequently asked questions on the topic.

Signs Of a Dying Hamster

Hamsters are resilient pets, but an accident, stress, disease, or even old age may swiftly wreak havoc on their health because they are so little.

Keep a watch on your hamster if they are 2 or 3 years old, have had a fall, or have any other form of mishap that might cause injury, is unwell, or are stressed. Take them to the vet as soon as possible if you see one or more of the signs listed below.

If it’s a sickness, getting a diagnosis as soon as possible might save your pet’s life!

Signs to look out for include:

Lack Of Appetite

One of the most prevalent indicators of illness or time up in hamsters is a lack of appetite, which might explain why they aren’t eating or drinking.

When a hamster is on the verge of death, they refuse to eat or drink. There may be signs of Dehydration and rapid or severe weight loss.

Even though hamsters sleep during the day, they require frequent feeding. Keep track of whether your hamster is eating or not and how much he’s eating.

If your hamster is eating less but still eating, keep a close check on him during the subsequent day or two. You should take your hamster to the vet as soon as possible if he stops eating.

Weakness And Less Activity

Hamsters are normally quite active, especially at night. If your hamster sleeps most of the day, don’t be alarmed if they frequently rest when the sun is up.

A hamster that is not moving and appears apathetic or sluggish might be a symptom of disease, stress, even death. Unlike a stressed rodent, a dying hamster is usually unable to move or respond to stimuli from its environment.

If your hamster looks to be less energetic and vibrant than normal during the next several days, pay close attention. Take your hamster to the vet if the hamster’s activity levels do not return to normal.

Hamsters will hibernate if the temperature remains cold for a long period. If you believe your hamster is hibernating, warm up the area and make sure water and food are accessible when it wakes up.

Alterations in Behavior

Keep an eye on your hamster’s behavior and appearance for any changes. In badly affected pets, a damp tail might produce lethargy and a ruffled coat.

Furthermore, a hamster with a serious, life-threatening disease may become immobile and refuse to eat. Pain and vulnerability in hamsters can cause them to modify their behavior, making them more fearful, aggressive, and agitated than usual.

Respiratory Problems

Look for signs that you’re having trouble breathing. Your hamster may be dying if he or she is gasping or heaving.

Noisy and heavy breathing are also signs of respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.

A hamster’s vital signs will change as it approaches death. Its breathing may become difficult, its heart rate may decrease, and its body temperature may fall.

The time it takes for a hamster’s capillaries to refill will also increase, and its mucous membranes will take longer than 2 seconds to recover to their normal color.

In cases of severe oxygenation problems or poisoning, the mucous membranes may seem strangely colored, white, or blue.

Gastrointestinal Abnormalities

Keep a watch on your hamster’s stomach for any problems. A highly contagious condition known as “wet tail” affects hamsters.

This condition can quickly progress and lead to death if not addressed soon. Excessive diarrhea and a decrease in appetite are two indicators that your hamster is dying.

Bloody Discharges

In particular, look for a runny nose, red or irritated eyes, and swollen cheeks. Hamsters have a runny nose when they’re sick, and they’re especially sensitive to colds.

These infections are normally not life-threatening, but if they persist, see a veterinarian.

Your hamster transports food through pouches on his cheeks. These pouches may be unhealthy if they appear to be full for an incredibly long time.

Any hamster discharge that is bloody should be examined. If you see blood coming out of the hamster’s anus, eyes, ears, nose, or mouth, it means it’s sick and about to die.


Ascertain that your hamster does not suffer from diarrhea as a result of consuming contaminated food. A common hamster ailment is a wet tail, which is followed by diarrhea.

It might be an indication of a serious infection or that your hamster is dying. At the base of your hamster’s tail, look for a wet, mucus-like substance.

If your hamster has diarrhea and changes in food and activity levels, he or she may have a wet tail.

A wet tail might be lethal within 48 hours. As a result, you’ll need to move swiftly and seek advice from a veterinarian. If the veterinarian discovers a wet tail, antibiotics, anti-diarrhea medicine, or fluids may be prescribed.

Your Hamster’s Eyes Become Sticky

As your hamster gets older, his or her eyes will begin to change. As they become older, their eyes may get more matte and sticky.

When a piece of dust or bedding becomes trapped in an aged hamster’s eye while they are resting, the condition is known as a sticky eye.

As a result, their eyeballs get stuck together when they wake up. You may help them get out by gently cleaning their eyes with a dampened handkerchief.

It primarily affects elderly hamsters, although it can also affect younger hamsters.

How Do You Make Your Dying Hamster Comfortable?

Longing for your little one is always not an easy experience, but it is unavoidable for a pet with a 2-3 years life span. More than everything else, you wish the best for your dying pet, but the question is how to make the dying hamster comfortable.

I wrote this article so that you can know how to make your hamster comfortable in their final moments with you.

Here are some tips for making your pet more comfortable.

  • Avoid Dehydration
  • Keep your hamster at an optimal temperature
  • Provide pain meds
  • Provide a safe environment
  • Provide them with a calm, clean and quiet sleeping place
  • Give them attention
  • Remove things from the cage
  • Add more dens and hideout
  • Cuddle
  • Remove other hamsters and newborn

Read on as I dissect each of the methods above and many more on making your hamster comfortable.

Avoid Dehydration

Because they are so little, hamsters are noted for not eating huge amounts of food. Instead, they prefer to keep their food hidden. They do, however, require food and water to exist, just like any other living thing.

The lack of hunger and thirst are two of the first indicators that your hamster is dying. Their bodies are malfunctioning. They don’t feel the sensations of hunger or thirst any longer.

Your hamster does not require food. It is OK for them to go for several days without eating. On the other hand, Dehydration might make them feel restless and perhaps lead to a painful death.

Hamsters require roughly 10ml (2 tablespoons) of water per 100g of body weight. So, if your hamster weighs 200g, he or she needs to consume about 20ml (4 tablespoons) of water every day.

To see whether your hamster is dehydrated, do the following:

  • Take a close look at your hamster’s eyes. They’re undoubtedly dehydrated if they’re drooping, sunken, dry, dull, and/or listless.
  • If your hamster’s tongue has enlarged, they are very dehydrated and should be taken to the veterinarian right away.
  • Pinch the scruff of your hamster’s neck lightly. Everything is fine if the skin returns to its usual place shortly. Your hamster is dehydrated if the skin keeps its shape or slowly goes back to its usual posture.
  • Make sure your hamster’s bottle or dish has enough water. Your hamster hasn’t been drinking and might be dehydrated if it hasn’t changed much since the last time you filled it.
  • Your hamster may be dehydrated if you observe little or no urine/wet patches in their cage or if the urine has a black hue to it and a strong stench.
  • Your hamster may be dehydrated if they have trouble breathing.

To keep your dying hamster from being dehydrated, do the following:

  • Provide them with meals that are rich in moisture, such as watermelon, cucumber, or apples. Make sure the apple is peeled, and the watermelon and cucumber seeds are removed. Limit yourself to very small quantities. It might induce diarrhea if taken in high amounts.
  • Place a glob of peanut butter on the drinking tube and ball (if available) of the bottle to entice your hamster to drink it. Your hamster will get a mouthful of water when he or she leaks his or her tasty food.
  • If your pet isn’t interested in the peanut butter, remove the bottle from the cage, take him up, and gently place the bottle into their mouth to “nurse” them. If you notice any symptoms of suffering, please stop the procedure immediately.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately if all of the following fails and your hamster has been without water for more than 24 hours.

Keep Them at Optimal Temperature

A hamster’s ability to control his or her body temperature may deteriorate as he or he grows older or becomes ill.

They may enter a hibernation condition if it becomes too cold, which can lead to hypothermia. If they become too hot, though, they may experience heat stress or heat stroke, resulting in agonizing death.

To keep your hamster warm, do the following:

  • Maintain a temperature of between 69°F and 72°F in the room where they are. They will enter a hibernation condition if the indoor temperature falls below 60 ℉ (15 ° C.).
  • Fill their enclosure with basic, unscented torn toilet paper. This will not only give them a cozy bed to sleep in, but it will also keep them warm.
  • A heat lamp might assist them in keeping their house warm. Make sure the cage is big enough for them to get out of the heat if they need to. Inside the cage, place a little hamster housing to help your hamster to avoid the light. Keep a thermometer in the cage if you choose this option so you can control the temperature. Your hamster may get heat stress or heat stroke if the temperature rises over 77 °F (25 °C) for a long time.
  • I do not recommend using heating pads because most (if not all) heating pads are incompatible with plastic. You’ll have to use it within the cage (unless you move your hamster into a reptile tank). If your hamster gets his hands on it and chews on the cable or pad, the results can be tragic. Making a heating pad out of flax seeds or rice grains is a safer option.

Provide A Calm, Clean, and Quiet Sleeping Place

As your beloved animal buddy approaches death, he or she will need to sleep more to conserve any remaining energy.

To keep them comfortable when they sleep, make sure they have a clean, dark space that is free of noise, draughts, and wetness.

If you have two or three hamsters in one cage, separate the sick one into a separate cage to avoid stress from other animals and activity and to reduce the possibility of illness transfer to the other hamsters.

Even when they are sick, hamsters are known to exercise. Remove any wheels, tubes, and climbing devices from their cage to avoid them from harming themselves or burning all their reserve energy.

If you think your hamster may benefit from some exercise, talk to your vet about it. You may be able to add the toys for a short time.

Remember that your veterinarian is there to assist your hamster in reaching the rainbow in the most pleasant manner possible. Make use of what they know. You and your veterinarian can work together to keep your pet safe and happy.

Provide a Safe Environment

Even as they approach their death, hamsters can be playful creatures. Therefore, you should ensure that you remove any climbing devices, wheels, or tubes that may hurt them as they play.

Make sure that their sleeping environment is clean and dark to enhance comfortability.

There should be minimal to no noise at all as they sleep. The sick hamster may transmit the disease to other hamsters if kept in the same environment.

You should separate them and keep the children far away from the sick hamster to avoid this.

Using an isolated may serve many purposes, it can keep your hamster comfortable, reduce the impact of the disease on other hamsters and keep the pet happy. The isolated spot should be somewhere they cannot be disturbed by family members, other animals, noise, or light.

Give Them Attention

Even though hamsters are naturally solitary, they may develop attachments to their human partners.

As they approach death, your company may be able to give them comfort and security. Stay close to them while interpreting their signals if this is the case.

If you try to touch your hamster and they try to run away or bite you, this is their method of communicating that they need some alone time to save their limited energy.

Furthermore, depending on their illness’s severity, they may be in agony, and your hands, unknowingly or unintentionally, maybe injure them.

Give Them Treats

If you think that your pet has a short time with you, you should give them treats to make them comfortable. Treats can be in the form of mealworms that will make them feel loved and happy. 

Entice your pet so that he can eat his favorite vegetable or fruit. This will give the hamster moisture, thus keeping it hydrated.

However, you should restrict the animal to small amounts. If they try to bite you or escape, that is a way of telling you that they need their own space. 

Comforting Hamsters FAQs

How Do I Know That My Hamster Is Dead?

When a hamster is dying, its respiration becomes more frantic and choppier, and its pulse gradually decreases until it is exhausted. It’s also likely that your hamster has tremors or a clenched jaw.

Signs of a dead hamster include:

  • There is no obvious breathing or movement
  • Sphincters have been released.
  • There is no pulse.
  • Capillary filling time is nil.

What Causes a Hamster to Die Suddenly?

These little critters are popular among families with young children because of their short lifetime, tiny size, and relative simplicity of care.

However, hamsters are not as easy to care for as many may imagine, and if they are not properly cared for, they can develop a number of issues that can lead to death.

Here are a few factors that might cause your hamster to pass away unexpectedly:


It is particularly harmful to hamsters. They are easily upset and despise change.

A hamster exposed to stress for a lengthy period of time, such as a filthy cage, excessive or rough handling, or abrupt temperature changes, among other things, can develop serious health problems, some of which are deadly.


Pneumonia in hamsters is rare, but it can be exceedingly infectious when it does develop. It occurs when a hamster is exposed to viral or bacterial diseases and environmental stressors such as a filthy cage, extreme cold, droughts, among others.

You may observe the following signs if your hamster has pneumonia:

Fever, a dull coat, a loss of appetite and weight loss, constant coughing and/or sneezing, Respiratory discomfort, and/or Mucus discharge from the nose and eyes.

Dirty Cage

Hamsters are hygienic animals. The majority of them have a clear distinction between where they use the toilet and where they sleep.

If your small furry friend’s cage isn’t cleaned often enough, he or she won’t be able to tell the difference between the sleeping quarters and the toilet.

This can generate a lot of stress in your hamster, which might lead to the development of stress-related disorders such as a wet tail.


Pet store animals are typically abused and kept in poor and overcrowded circumstances. This generates stress in hamsters, which can lead to illnesses like wet tail, pneumonia, and other infections.

It is preferable to avoid purchasing a hamster from a pet store. Because hamsters are at the bottom of the food chain, they are excellent at concealing any bodily difficulties they may be experiencing; this is their survival tactic.


Extreme temperature fluctuations have a negative impact on hamsters. Heatstroke can occur if a hamster is subjected to temperatures exceeding 72 °F (22 °C), which can be lethal. 

The risk zones might be found in vehicles or near a window that gets direct sunlight if your hamster is dribbling, moving slowly, or resting flat on the cage floor. Your hamster is most likely suffering from heatstroke if his or her body is limp and/or trembles when handled.

Act soon if you see any of the aforementioned signals. The first step is to relocate your hamster to a more comfortable environment. Place them on a moist towel or softly spray them with cool water after that.

Fumes or Vapors

One of the benefits of having a hamster pet is that they are tiny enough with their belongings and, therefore, can be kept out of the way.

Many owners, however, are unaware that these hamsters have an advanced olfactory sense. As a result, a hamster can be killed by gases from a boiler or heater.


Pets are amazing creatures, and owning one can get you very attached to them. It is important that you know how to handle your hamster as it approaches its rainbow bridge.

I hope this article will help you comfort your hamster appropriately so that it can experience a happy and peaceful death.

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