Hamsters are born with a full set of teeth that grow continuously throughout life. If your hamster’s teeth become overgrown, they can cause injuries to his mouth and interfere with the alignment of his jaw. You can help keep your pocket pet’s teeth down by placing safe, hard objects in his cage for him to gnaw on.
What can be put in a hamster cage to keep his teeth down?
Hamsters need natural materials to gnaw on to keep their teeth filed down. Hamsters that need to gnaw will:
- Bite their cage bars
- Gnaw at any items they can find, such as their exercise wheel or hideouts
This behavior’s known as a stereotypy and signifies that your hamster’s deeply stressed and unhappy within its environment. You can stop it by adding chew toys to your hamster’s enclosure to shorten its teeth out.
Plastic items are too easy to chew holes through and can be eaten, causing a dangerous impaction. Wooden chew toys are the best kind because they’re hard enough to file teeth but won’t cause gut problems.
Providing your hamster with a variety of wooden and tree-based toys will give him something to play with and chew on to help keep his teeth worn down. Pet stores sell untreated wooden blocks in various shapes and sizes that you can place in his cage. You can even purchase an untreated four-by-four of lumber and drill big holes in the piece to make it more interesting for your hamster.
Snacks with snap
Giving your hamster certain crunchy snacks can help keep his teeth trimmed, while also providing him with some healthful nutrients. The ASPCA recommends the occasional dog biscuit, and you can also purchase treats in pet stores that have been oven baked and contain a blend of vegetables, nuts and grains. In limited quantities, fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery and apples can be offered as a crisp morsel.
Calcium treats and mineral blocks can be either placed in your hamster’s cage or attached to the side of a wire habitat for easy access. These stones will supplement your hamster’s normal diet with extra calcium and vitamins, while also giving him another item that he can chew on to keep his teeth worn. Your hamster can carry and toss the loose blocks around his cage as a form of play that will also sharpen his teeth.
Domesticated hamsters have a much more diverse selection of toys and treats available to them than their wild ancestors. But you can still look to nature to find items for your hamster’s cage that can help wear down his teeth. For example, Hamsterific recommends pine cones, while the ASPCA suggests twigs or pieces of wood that haven’t been exposed to any pesticide treatments.
Can you trim hamster’s teeth?
In most cases, you won’t need to trim a hamster’s teeth. Hamsters can keep their teeth filed down to a suitable length.
However, if your hamster is sick or lazy and can’t shorten its teeth, you’ll need to assist. The process of cutting your hamster’s teeth so that they’re shorter is called trimming.
Unless you’re trained or highly experienced, you mustn’t trim your hamster’s teeth yourself. While it’s possible to do so with a sharp pair of clippers, any mistake will make matters worse.
Why you shouldn’t clip a hamster’s teeth?
While leaving your hamster’s teeth to continually grow without intervention is dangerous, cutting them without experience risks hurting your pet hamster.
You shouldn’t cut your hamster’s teeth because you could:
- Trim off too much of your hamster’s teeth
- Catch your hamster’s gums or tongue, harming them
- Introduce harmful bacteria into your hamster’s mouth
- Cause your hamster to become frightened of you
Give your hamster a wooden or textured treat so that it can trim its teeth naturally.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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