Caring For Old Hamsters

by Hamster Care

Hamsters make good pets, for the right owner. Like all living creatures, they grow old, and elderly hamsters require a little extra special care. As a good owner, you should have attentive health care of your hamsters from young to old age. Caring for old hamsters is the most important thing and we have done our research to tell you some age-related changes in them.

If you suspect that something is wrong with your pet, then you might find matching symptoms in our ‘Hamster Illnesses’ section. Although it may be something easily treatable such as a flea infestation, there are lots of hamster illnesses that cannot be treated at home. Even though the treatment may cost money, your hamster really needs to go to a vet if you suspect something is wrong, as your pet relies on you to keep it safe and free from pain.

If you can’t find any condition with matching symptoms in our illnesses pages, then you might want to try looking in a hamster book that contains an illness section. However, if your hamster is bleeding a lot, is having trouble breathing or sounds as if it’s in pain then it’s unlikely to be a problem that you can fix yourself, and so we recommend taking them to a vet.

Hamster Illnesses In Old Age

As hamsters age, they can suffer from numerous health conditions that often occur less frequently in young or middle-aged hamsters. As well as your hamster moving around less and sleeping more, your hamster may be unlucky enough to develop one of the following conditions:

  • Tumors
  • Dry Ears
  • Kidney Failure
  • Constipation
  • Cataracts
  • Tooth problems
  • Thinning Hair
  • Liver Problems

If your hamster is over the age of about eighteen months, then it’s a good idea to set aside a bit of money every few weeks in order to cushion against any vet’s bills. It’s very upsetting but you’ll need to bear in mind that, although some conditions can be treated in old-age hamsters, others cannot. Give your pet the end up beingst life possible for as long as it’s got!

Need more information? Check out Common Hamster Illnesses And Symptoms

Dental Problems

Hamsters’ teeth are usually very firm and healthy, but occasionally they can develop problems. Healthy hamster teeth will be of even length, and quite yellow. Don’t be alarmed if this hue makes them look a little grubby. As hamsters grow up, it’s entirely natural that their teeth will be a little darker than when they were very young.

Each tooth in each of the two sets of teeth (top and bottom) should be of roughly equal length to the one next to it. The bottom two teeth will be slightly longer than the top two teeth. If one tooth is a lot shorter than the one next to it, then that tooth may have broken. Although it will grow back eventually, it might be causing your hamster pain, or be preventing your pet from eating properly.

Another thing to watch out for is whether or not your hamster’s teeth are overgrown. Instead of trying to identify overgrown teeth by looking at the teeth themselves, it’s a good idea to take cues from the hamster’s body and behavior. Do they have any blood around their mawayhs, or little nicks on their body that could be explained by tooth marks? Most importantly, is your hamster unable to eat properly? If the answer is yes to these questions, then we advise that you get your hamster to the vet to get their teeth checked and possibly treated.

In old age, your hamster may develop dental problems. Its teeth, for example, may become crooked, loose, brittle, or overgrown. If hamster’s teeth become too long, they may hinder its ability to chew.

READ MORE: Problems With Hamsters’ Teeth

Trouble Walking

If your hamster is not walking well, it’s likely that you’ll need to take your pet to the vet. Below we’ve outlined some potential causes for this symptom, but it’s likely you’ll have to take your pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis. In serious cases, this disease can paralyse your pet’s back legs or cause them to seize up, forcing your hamster to hop around. If so, your hamster may have a paralysed or broken leg (or legs), which mean it needs to be taken to a vet.

  • Scurvy – if you don’t provide enough vitamin C to your hamster, then it may develop the condition known as scurvy.
  • Falls and accidents – has your hamster offers suffered a fall recently? Make sure you’re giving your pet foods containing enough vitamin C, as well as all the other nutrients your pet needs.
  • Strokes – if your hamster is rocking backwards and forwards when it’s sitting down, or is swaying as it walks, then your hamster may have suffered a stroke. If you take your hamster to be checked by a vet, then they may be able to tell you how extensive the damage is, and to what extent your pet will recover. If your hamster has had a stroke then it can lead a full life, but sometimes it may need help eating and drinking. Some stroke damage can be healed, but some is permanent. We recommend taking your hamster to the vet if you think it’s had a stroke, not necessarily to get treatment, but in case your hamster now has some specific requirements that it will need you to fulfill.
  • Dehydration – if your hamster is suddenly listless and not walking around much, then there’s a strong chance that your hamster is either severely dehydrated, or has a serious illness. If your hamster is showing these symptoms and you don’t think your pet is hibernating, we recommend taking these hamsters to see a vet.
  • Old age – if your hamster is slightly older, and the tendency to walk around less has been very gradual, then this may be simply because of old age group. As hamsters get older, like humans, they become a little less likely to be quite as active as they once were.


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