Do Hamsters Need Sand Baths?

by Hamster Care

Do hamsters need sand baths?

Yes, hamsters need sand baths. This is the only way for them to thoroughly clean their fur and remove any extra oils or other objects that might find their way into it.

Hamsters should never get wet!

Hamsters are animals that cannot get wet because this will cause their fur to lose its insulating qualities, and this will expose the hamster to the elements such as cold and heat.

Forget about hamster shampoos and all that crap that only fills the pockets of those who hate nature and don’t give a damn about what is good or not for your hamster. (Just look at the cells in which these poor animals are kept in petshops, and I’m not even talking about pet mills, oh God!!!)

So don’t believe everything you hear! You should never wet a hamster!

Ok let’s continue, to see how hamster’s do next to grooming to stay clean.

Why do hamsters need sand baths?

Sand is the only option these animals have to keep themselves clean in the wild; in fact, if you walk on a dirt path, you’ll notice that there are spots where rainwater has washed away the dust and left a layer or pile of sand in its place. In their natural environment, hamsters use this to take a bath.

Because it is the only substrate in the cage that is truly natural, hamsters enjoy rolling around and digging in the sand.

This sandbox is enrichment for your hamster because they play in it and spend time there to prevent boredom.

The hamster has even been known to doze off entirely on the sand.

Can you give hamsters a bath?

No, you should not give your hamster a bath; instead, you should avoid wetting it unless it has poured a dangerous product, for example, on its fur.

In these cases, you can simply do spot-cleaning by wetting a cloth with warm water and gently passing this cloth, which you have just moistened and wrung out, over the area to be cleaned, following the direction of your hamster’s hair.

Once the area is clean, use a dry towel to wring out any remaining moisture from your hamster’s fur before placing it back in its cage.

Otherwise, hamsters are serial groomers; they clean themselves thoroughly and take sand baths to keep themselves clean, and this is sufficient.

Water baths are extremely dangerous for hamsters, so don’t give your hamster one.

What would happen if you gave your hamster a shower?

If your hamster gets wet, it could die within a few days, either from the flu or a cold.

The skin of hamsters, like ours, secretes oils that form an insulating layer, which aids him in his underground life and the harsh life outside.

Either way, the stress of getting wet caused the wet tail.

The hamster’s fur also protects him from parasites, ticks, and other insects and fungi.

Hamsters have an olfactory identity that allows them to distinguish between members of the same family.

If a hamster falls into a pool of water in its natural habitat and survives, there is a good chance that its mother will never let it return to the family burrow because it will lose its smell by falling into the water and having its hair cleaned of all the oils that cover it.

Hamsters also dislike getting wet because the oils that cover their fur, such as their Scent Glands, leave a scent and an olfactory trace wherever they go, which helps the hamster find their way back to their burrow even on a moonless night, using only their highly sensitive sense of smell.

You will tell me that my hamster is properly installed in his cage, that my room is at an ideal temperature, and that my hamster has excellent bedding with all of the nesting material that he requires.

Yes, but your hamster knows what he needs better than you, and all of this may not be available at all times, and nature does things well.

Just don’t shower your hammy, okay? Please!

Why are water baths not recommended for hamsters?

Your hamster is extremely sensitive to low temperatures; in fact, if the temperature falls below 20°C, it will begin the hibernation process.

Hamsters that have been wet will have dry fur that has not been anointed and is no longer waterproof, allowing cold, moisture, and heat to reach the hamster’s skin.

Wet fur, even when dried, is not insulating until the hamster’s skin produces and secretes oils that discover the hairs and make them waterproof and insulating.

The hamster’s protective oil layer, which also protects it from parasites, will be lost.

How does the hamster take its sand bath?

To begin with, sand is as clean as water and has even been sterilized, and it has nothing to do with dust or dirt.

A bad sand bath will also cause respiratory problems and lung infections in your hamster; avoid dusty sand, colored sand, mineral-enriched sand, tinted sand, and perfumed sand.

When a hamster wants to take a sand bath, he enters his sandbox; Syrian hamsters prefer to dig in the sand and pass it on their backs, whereas dwarf hamsters roll in the sand.

The hamster then simply shakes its body, allowing the sand grains to slip between its hairs.

When the hamster shakes its body more vigorously, these grains of sand will pick up excess oil from the hamster’s fur and eventually fall back into the sandbox.

When the hamster rolls in the sand, it also drops anything that has become entangled in its fur, such as a seed shell or a dried leaf.

To complete his daily grooming, the hamster only needs to add a short grooming session to lick and smooth his fur.

Should I help my hamster to take his sand baths?

No, in principle! Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, require a little assistance because they do not roll completely in the sand like dwarf hamsters.

Teddy bear (long-haired) hamsters will also require you to sprinkle sand on their back.

Take a dry towel and a toothbrush (the kid kind) or a small brush for small pets if you want to assist your hamster in bathing in sand.

Place the towel on your lap, sit on the floor, and place your hamster on the towel.

Hold him with your left hand while taking some sand from his tray with your right hand and sprinkling it on his back.

Allow him to shake if he wishes, then brush him with the toothbrush to remove the sand and repeat two or three times.

Stop if your hamster is hesitant and wants to jump out of your hands; you are most likely injuring him because the brush is hard. Who knows what lies beneath the sand!

Do not put pressure on your hamster.

What to do if my hamster has a very dirty fur and needs to be washed with water?

Yes, I understand that even though it is extremely unlikely, your hamster may get something poured on his back and you will need to wash him to clean his fur.

Simply take a clean rag, wet it with warm water, and wring it out thoroughly.

Apply this cloth to the area of the fur you want to wash and repeat until the stain is removed.

The hamster should then be tested before being returned to its cage.

This operation is not recommended for older hamsters, in cold weather, or if your hamster has just awoken.

How often do hamsters take these sandbaths every day?

In fact, hamsters will take a sand bath during the day if they wake up with an itch on their back.

However, hamsters take a lot of sand baths at night, and they are more frequent in the summer.

Your hamster can take up to ten sandbaths in the same night, especially if he is bored in his cage!

I recommend that you keep the sandbox in your hamster’s cage at all times; if the cage is too small, get a bigger one!

Is it possible to live in a house without a bathroom?

How big should my hamster’s sandbox be and how do I clean it?

At least 4 to 5 inches tall, with a 2 inch sand layer. These figures can be doubled for large Syrian hamsters.

The larger the sandbox, the better; aim for at least 10X15 thin.

You can then build a small hideout in a sandbath corner to encourage your hamster to bathe.

Because your hamster can use his sandbox as a toilet or to hide food, you should sift it daily and replace it at least twice a month.

Replace the sand with a small handful of the old sand to keep your hamster’s scent.

Also, before filling the sandbox, wipe it with a cloth soaked in water and vinegar to prevent bacteria growth, especially if your hamster poops in it.

Which sand to use for my hamster’s sanbath?

The best and least expensive option is “children’s playsand.” This sand has been sterilized and is free of dust; as a precaution, sift it before adding a thick layer to your hamster’s sandbox.

The ones used for chinchillas are the most expensive.

Avoid brands that contain dyes, additives like calcium, and those with a grain size that is too fine, and stay away from dust in particular.

Sand that is too dusty will not slide off the back of your hamster; instead, it will adhere to its hair and form agglomerates that will irritate the skin and make the fur less insulating and dirtier.

How to sterilize the sand of my hamster bath sand?

Simply spread the sand on a plate, cover with baking paper, and bake for at least 15 minutes at temperatures above 100°C.

Remove the sand, allow it to cool, sift it to remove dust, and then sift it again to remove large pieces such as oyster shells, sea wood, and algae.

Keep the sterilized sand in an airtight bag away from humidity.

Can I reuse my hamster’s sand?

Yes, but are you that cheap, or are you just trying to help you out?

It is not at all expensive!!! However, you can reuse the sand if you sift it thoroughly and remove any areas that smell like urine or appear wet.

Fill a clean bag with sand, then clean the bin with water and vinegar (half water, half vinegar), let it dry, and replace the sand.

Can I use sea beach or river sand for my hamsters sand box?

You can use them, but not directly!

The grains in river sand are generally large, whereas beach sand is generally too fine!

You must use sieves to obtain a sand with an ideal grain!! like the one of the children’s playsand.

You will then use another sieve to remove any large pieces that could lacerate your hamster’s skin, such as shell fragments.

Fill a can with clean water and soak the sand in it for 24 hours to thoroughly wash it. Rinse it the next day to remove all dust and, especially, salt if it is marine sand.

The next day, wash it, dry it, and sterilize it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the sand from the oven, allow it to cool, and then use it.

How do I know if my hamster is taking his sand baths?

It’s simple: your hamster will enter the sandbox, roll around in it, throw sand on his back, shake, and have a good time in it!!! He only refuses to sing in the shower!!!

If not, a hamster that does not take sand baths will leave no trace in the sandbox, and its fur, in particular, will appear to have places where the hairs are stuck together.

His fur will be rough and he will have bits of leaves, stuff on his back, and intertwined in his fur. He will become cold and will not appear even at night.

If you put your nose up to him, he can even smell bad!

What could prevent a hamster from taking his daily sand baths?

A hamster may be prevented from taking sand baths for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed below:

  • Fear of leaving the nest, which happens with new hamsters. Moving the sandbox closer to the entrance of your hamster’s nest and installing a small hideout in the sandbox can help and taming your hamster is the final solution.
  • Illness, old age or injury can also prevent your hamster from taking his sand baths, if he has a bad back because of a wheel that is too small or a fall, if he has a broken leg, if he is simply sick, in this case you must help your hamster to take his sand baths, at least once or twice a day, especially if you see him trying to do it but he can’t!
  • Bad timing. I advise you to leave the sandbox permanently in the cage of your hamster. If your hamster wants to take his sand bath but he can’t find the container, he won’t do it just because you finally put his sandbox without the cage!


You can build your own sandbox for your hamster and place it on the side of the cage with the least amount of bedding, away from his food and water bowl.

These sand baths are popular among Hammies because they help them relax and avoid stress-related illnesses.

An older hamster may require assistance with sand bathing.

If your hamster has a broken leg, take it out of the sandbox until it heals.

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!

Waiting for our next post here.

By HamsterCareTip.Com.

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