Hamsters have fluffy fur that is super soft. As a result, when they begin to lose hair or develop bald patches all over their bodies, it is frequently a sign that something is wrong.
You might be wondering why your hamster may lose its hair. Molting, allergies, friction, dietary deficiencies, excessive moisture exposure, stress, and health conditions are all factors that influence the amount of fur your hamster has.
Read our informative guide below to fully understand why your hamster may have gone from hairy to scary.
8 reasons why your hamster may lose its hair
Because nearly all animals molt, it is not uncommon for your hamster to shed some fur or for its hair to feel thinner when stroked. However, your hamster’s hair loss could be caused by other factors. These are some examples:
- Molting. You may notice that your hamster loses a little bit of hair in the spring to keep cool during the hot summer months, only to regain it again in the autumn as they layer up for the winter. This is a fairly common occurrence, particularly in Syrian and Russian hamsters, which shed their hair more than Chinese or Roborovki hamsters.
- Reactions and allergies. Some hamsters scratch more than others, resulting in bald patches. This is common when they have a skin rash or are allergic to something, such as their bedding. You should look into it further by inspecting their fur for fleas, ticks, and mites.
- Friction. If your hamster spends a lot of time rubbing against the bars of their cage, toys, or other abrasive items, or if they are obsessed with burrowing, their fur may be falling out due to friction.
- Dietary deficiencies. Hair loss in hamsters can also be caused by eating too many whole grains or not getting enough protein or vitamins. This is why it is important to provide your hamster with a balanced diet of pre-packaged muesli and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Excessive moisture. If you have a leaking water bottle, this could be the cause of your hamster’s baldness. Moisture affects hamster fur in the same way that it does us, and the extra water prevents healthy hair from growing.
- Age. A nursing female hamster may lose a little hair while feeding her babies, but this is nothing to be concerned about because her hair will grow back glossier than ever once weaning is complete. Age-related hair loss also affects older hamsters, as it is not uncommon for a hamster’s hair to begin to change color and even fall out, just as it does in humans. This usually occurs in hamsters over the age of two and begins in the tummy before spreading to the legs, hips, neck, and chest.
- Stress. Yes, even with human servants to look after them, hamsters can become stressed. Changes in their living conditions, a lack of human contact or toys, and a lack of stimulation can cause your hamster to become bored or anxious, causing their fur to fall out.
- Health conditions. You should never completely dismiss hair loss however, as severe hair loss can be the symptom of some serious medical problems such as a kidney infection, renal failure or mange.
What to do if your hamster starts to lose its fur?
It can be difficult to determine whether your hamster’s hair loss is normal or not, but because molting occurs in autumn and spring and is minimal, if the corresponding periods of time correlate, then molting is most likely the cause.
If you notice any significant changes in your hamster’s behavior or appearance, you should always seek veterinary advice. It could be as simple as adding vegetables and fruits, whole-wheat pasta, cooked eggs, and even cheese to their diet. Alternatively, your veterinarian may advise you to add a supplement to their food or water bottle.
Also, remember that too much of a good thing can be harmful. Hamsters enjoy seeds and nuts, but when consumed in large quantities, they can contribute to baldness.
If you suspect your pet has parasites, there may be additional symptoms to look for. Swelling around the bottom and belly, constipation, and weight loss are all symptoms. Your veterinarian should be able to treat these with antibiotics and shampoos, restoring your furball to full fur capacity in no time.
Finally, inspect their enclosure. Is there enough entertainment to keep them entertained at night? Is their plaything too sharp, or do they require something softer? In terms of substrate and bedding, use smaller shavings or aspen, especially if they like to burrow, and softer bedding for a more restful sleep.
Will my hamster’s fur grow back?
If your hamster’s hair loss is normal and caused by shedding, it will grow back as your hamster requires more warmth.
Most other causes of fur loss are curable, and if the underlying condition is correctly diagnosed and treated, your hamster’s hair will begin to grow back and replenish over time.
Nobody wants to see their hamster suffer from alopecia, but if you provide them with the best bedding and a nutritious diet, it’s unlikely that they’ll shed more than is necessary for their optimal body temperature.
If, on the other hand, your hamster is becoming less hairy and more frightening by the day, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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