How to clean out your dwarf hamster cage?
Cleaning your dwarf hamster cage isn’t a fun task but it’s absolutely necessary for keeping your pets happy and healthy. You should clean your hamster cage once a week to provide a healthy environment for your pets. Remember that your hamster(s) will spend the majority of their lives in the home you provide for them, so keep it in good condition! In the following 10 simple steps, I’ll show you how to clean out your dwarf hamster cage.
Step 1: Take the hamster(s) out of the cage and place them in an exercise ball
This should not be a problem if you can handle your dwarf hamster. You’ll have to get sneaky with new hamsters or dwarfs who don’t like being picked up.
A hamster ball with a few treats inside is usually enough to entice any dwarf hamster away from its bed. Once the hamster is in the exercise ball, make sure the lid is securely fastened. You don’t want to spend the night chasing down an escaped hamster, especially a Roborovski! (Believe me)
I usually tape the lid of the hamster ball to keep any would-be escape artists at bay. You’ll be surprised at how dwarf hamsters can get out of almost any situation. Their strategy is either brute force or flexibility; they can fit through the tiniest of gaps. Each hamster will require its own exercise ball and plenty of space to run around in. The best bet is probably your living room; just make sure there are no stairs or other household pets nearby.
Step 2: Get rid of the filthy sawdust, bedding, and expired food
Replacing the sawdust is critical because that’s where all the dirt has accumulated since you last cleaned the cage.
It’s simplest to simply tip the sawdust from the cage into a black bin bag. This is usually the most expedient option. You might come across some buried food that a dwarf hamster has hid from its cagemate. It’s always fun to see what your pets were up to while you were sleeping.
Remove the bedding from the hamster house(s) and place it in the black bag as well. I usually leave a small amount of bedding and return it to the dwarf hamster houses later. This means their scent will remain so they don’t get too stressed when they return home.
Most hamsters have a separate Poo area. It’s not a pleasant place to be, but at least it keeps everything in one place! Later on, this will most likely require more scrubbing.
Step 3: Remove the cage’s accessories
There’s no need for rocket science here; simply disassemble your cage.
Some cages are easier to disassemble than others. Just make sure to take out all of your cage tubes, platforms (if possible), and accessories like food bowls and toys.
Step 4: Use an animal-safe disinfectant to clean the cage surfaces and accessories
Using a pet-safe cleaner to remove all dirt and harmful bacteria is probably the most important part of the cleaning routine.
I always suggest using a high-quality disinfectant spray that is suitable for dwarf hamsters. You’ll need to use a sponge or brush with the spray to thoroughly clean the cage. You should also thoroughly clean all cage accessories and toys.
Step 5: Allow the disinfectant to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing and drying
Allowing the disinfectant to sit allows it to do its work! 15 minutes should suffice; use these minutes to check on your hamsters and ensure they are healthy. After that, simply rinse and dry the cage.
Step 6: Add new substrate (wood chippings)
After cleaning and reassembling the cage, the next step is to add some new substrate. You can use wood chips, sawdust, or pet-safe bedding if they are safe for dwarf hamsters and you have enough to fill the bottom of your cage.
I buy wood chippings in bulk because it’s cheaper and I always have enough left over to clean every hamster.
Layer it up a few inches so your dwarf hamsters can burrow beneath (this will promote natural behaviour).
Step 7: Add clean bedding and refit tubes
It’s now time to replace the bedding, which should be soft and comfortable like this. To keep your dwarf hamster’s scent in the cage, replace some of the bedding you removed earlier. This will immediately make your hamster(s) feel at ease in their clean cage.
This is a good time to replace any plastic tubing in your cage. This may take some time depending on your cage and tubes. Just make sure they are completely secure and properly fitted.
Step 8: Rearrange the cage accessories
Now that your cage has been reassembled, it’s time to put your cage accessories in place. Replace the food bowl and water dispenser, and take any other toys you want to keep in your cage.
It’s a good idea to change up the look of your cage and reposition some accessories to provide mental stimulation. This is a type of animal enrichment that promotes natural behaviors and, best of all, it is free!
Step 9: Place the hamster(s) back into the cage
Hopefully, you or a friend were able to pay attention to your hamsters during this time. It’s finally time to take your well-worked dwarf hamsters home!
I put the exercise ball in the cage and then remove the lid, allowing the hamster to leave and explore whenever it feels ready. Depending on your pet’s personality, this may take a few minutes or a few seconds.
Step 10: Clean and disinfect the exercise ball
After you’ve safely returned your hamsters to their clean home, the final step is to disinfect the exercise ball(s) you’ve just used. This shouldn’t take long, and once finished, you’ve completed all of the steps!
So there you have it: the 10 steps to cleaning your dwarf hamster cage! If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, please leave it in the comments.
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