Why Do My Hamsters Keep Dying

Why Do My Hamsters Keep Dying?

Your hamsters keep dying because they aren’t getting enough oxygen from the air. One solution is to purchase a larger tank and ensure that the wheel is large enough to fill with air swiftly. It would be ideal if you also double-checked the tank’s cover for any holes.

Your hamsters could potentially be dying from being overfed; some hamsters become stuck in their water bottles and drown while trying to drink from them.

This article will go through the most common reasons for hamster fatalities in great detail and prevention strategies and potential treatments.

Causes of Sudden Death in Hamsters


Infections caused by bacteria or parasites entering through wounds or the mouth can cause sudden death in hamsters, but once within the hamster’s system, these invaders can cause havoc within days.

Pale gums or no teeth, an emaciated or bloodied look, or a change in appetite and eating habits are signs of infection. Many hamsters cease eating before becoming ill; in some circumstances, the hamster will experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and labored breathing.

Death might occur within days if the infection spreads to the heart muscle or lungs.


There are a lot of misconceptions about how diet affects hamsters. The following are some possible causes:

  • Malnutrition. If you do not provide enough food for your hamsters, they may become starved and die.
  • Dehydration. Hamsters do not produce tears or sweat; therefore, if they do not have access to water or a good hiding spot when they become overheated and thirsty, they may perish.
  • Dysentery stasis syndrome develops when food is not processed correctly in the digestive tract, causing the stool to expand and become more difficult to expel; this results in a severe loss of water, which leads to severe dehydration and mortality.
  • Dental issues. Because hamsters’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, if they don’t eat enough roughage, they may become enlarged and penetrate the gums, causing infection and death.

Old age

Because they have less resistance to infection, older hamsters are more prone to succumb to the disease. Older hamsters are also more likely to die from other causes, such as poor bone structure caused by the effects of aging on the neurological system.


The environment in which they reside impacts how long they survive. They may develop bored and perish if they do not have adequate area to exercise or do things.

If your hamster appears bored, try providing new toys or anything intriguing to keep them occupied.


Another reason your hamster might not be living is because of its genetics. Because of the amount of time it takes to grow, some hamster species take longer to mature and may not survive as long as others.

Although genetics is challenging to regulate, you can do more to ensure that your hamster eats healthy foods and exercises so that their bodies grow faster.

How To Prolong the Lives of Hamsters?

When hamsters have a range of enrichment options in their cage, such as tunnels and toys, they live much longer. So, here are some suggestions for extending the life of your hamster:

Change the hamster’s cage more frequently than you believe. It’s easy to keep a cage until it starts to smell, but you should consider cleaning it out once that happens.

Also, if a section of the cage is underneath or in an area where your pet likes to sleep, it could make it sick. To prevent the spread of bacteria, replace dirty bedding, food, and water bowls regularly.

Replace the water in your hamster’s bowl regularly. If the water is unclean or moldy, the hamsters will not be able to drink and will become dehydrated, which could make them sick. 

Furthermore, if their water has been sitting for a while, it may have spoiled, and they may not want to drink it. If your hamster’s water is foul or moldy, dump it into a new bowl, fill it with fresh water, and retain the old water to pour on their food to drink whenever they want.

Wipe down any cage bars that have become dusty or filthy. Do not starve them; dust the bars; do not use a rag or anything similar because you don’t want hair all over your hamster’s cage.

Allow them to munch throughout the day and provide delights such as sunflower seeds or cheerios. Keep your hamster’s cage clean by changing their bedding frequently and throwing out their water bottle every other day if you’re using a disposable bottle.

Avoid overhandling your hamster because they may become stressed or hurt if they aren’t used to it. If your hamster stops eating, loses its color, or becomes sedentary, take it to the vet.

Do not add a second hamster until at least three months have gone since they require time to bond with their owner. Wait at least two weeks after your hamster dies before getting a new one; this is critical for bonding.

Give no human or animal food to your hamster. Pellets, seeds, and fruits should be the only foods a hamster consumes.

More essential, do not become enraged with your hamster if it is grumpy or has a poor attitude.

Dying Hamster FAQs

Why do hamsters die at such a young age?

Hamsters live for two to three years on average. During their first year of life, they have an increased risk of dying.

If you expose them to many predators or dangerous environments, their longevity will be significantly reduced. A hamster’s lifespan shortens if its diet is excessive calories and it gets too little exercise.

The diet of a hamster is crucial. If its meal is excessively high in sugar or fat, it will become obese and live a shorter life. Like other rodents such as mice and rats, Hamsters like to hoard food, leading to health problems or even death if they overeat.

Due to their lack of a thick coating of fat and fur, hamsters are also vulnerable to the cold. Temperatures below 12.8 C are too cold for them.

They spend most of their days underground in burrows, which helps them stay warm throughout the colder months.

What does a dying hamster look like?

A dying hamster appears frail and unwell, and it continues to chirp small squeaky noises. They can also consume approximately 200-300 grams of food every day.

Here are some things you can do if you suspect your hamster is dying:

  • Check to see if they’ve stopped eating – Usually, you can tell whether they’ve stopped eating by looking at their droppings. If they aren’t, it’s most likely because they aren’t getting enough food.
  • Examine their confinement – are they in an insufficiently sized cell? Hamsters require a lot of space, especially as they age. They may become anxious due to a too-small pen, which could lead to disease.
  • Check the temperature – Inspect their bedding and, if necessary, add additional. A hamster’s ideal temperature is between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius. A temperature that is too hot or too cold can cause illness and even death.
  • Examine their activity level – If a hamster isn’t highly active, it could indicate illness. If your hamsters seem to be sleeping more than usual, check the temperature of their bedding.
  • Examine their breathing – If your hamster has been breathing heavily for more than 30 minutes, it could be unwell or dying.
  • Examine the droppings – Healthy hamsters have small to medium-sized dark brown droppings that have stiffened at the end.

Is it possible to dispose of a deceased hamster?

Identifying the species of a deceased hamster is the first step in disposing of it. Hamsters have brown or black fur, long, slender tails, and yellow-orange eyes, making them easy to spot.

Look for the ringed tail and scaly ears to narrow it down even more. Chinese hamsters are smaller and lack chairs than other species.

Calling your local pest control service is the most straightforward approach to getting rid of a deceased hamster. These experts are knowledgeable about rodents and have the equipment necessary to eliminate them from your property.

They’ll also have legal instructions for getting rid of rodents in your location, so you don’t have to be concerned about putting yourself or others in danger.

If the hamster’s carcass is on your property where pets aren’t allowed (i.e., in your house), or if it poses a severe health danger (i.e., virus), you should get rid of it.

Final Thoughts.

Feeding a hamster low-sugar diets like vegetables and fruits can help it live longer. Also, ensure there is enough room to develop its muscles by digging and running on wheels. Because hamsters live in underground tunnels, they must be allowed to dig burrows in their cage daily. 

Some hamsters tend to overeat. Removing any leftover food will help avoid obesity. It is usual for hamsters to get feeble as they age; if you want to keep your hamsters alive for as long as possible, there are several variables we described above that you should keep an eye on to ensure that they are healthy and happy.