Hamsters can choke sometimes. However, it is something that could take place very rarely. How scary would it be to think of your hamsters choking? It would be even worse if you were not even near them. Furthermore, how frustrating would it be if you spotted your hamster choking and did not know what to do? Hamsters can choke on different occasions, as aforesaid. So we’ll look into under what circumstances they’d encounter this and what steps you should take to overcome it.
Keep in mind that it is completely different from what you do for a human who struggles to breathe or a hamster who is choking. So, it is important to know what would cause a hamster to choke, the things you should do to avoid that happening, etc., so let’s get into it right away.
Table of Contents
Can hamsters choke on bedding?
Hamsters usually choke on bedding. Hamsters usually fill their bedding with whatever they come into contact with. So, chances are that they may even end up swallowing some of their bedding as well. Hamsters are renowned for burrowing in their bedding.
So, chances are that they may even tend to inhale some of the things that are available there and choke after that. There could be occasions where some people end up using appropriate bedding for hamsters. Those beddings would pose a massive risk to the hamsters, and choking is one of them. Additionally, it can injure their mouths as well as their cheek pockets.
You may come across certain bedding types that are classified as safe to use for hamsters, but others are not. They can even make the hamsters suffer from choking. I suggest you avoid using fluffy bedding. Usually, they are made with cotton and another material called kapok. It is also like cotton. However, the long fibers in this fluffy bedding can get stuck in the hamster’s mouth and even in the throat. Ultimately, it can cause choking.
Can hamsters choke on food?
Yes, the hamsters can choke on food if they end up eating the wrong type of food. Further, if they end up eating long pieces of food, it can also cause choking. Having said that, this is not something that happens very often. However, there is a possibility for this to take place. If the hamsters don’t chew the food properly, chances are that they may end up choking.
Hamsters can eat a wide array of foods. Whether it’s fruits, vegetables, seeds, insects, or pellet food. However, certain food items are not appropriate for the hamsters to consume as they may result in their choking. For example, I don’t recommend giving celery to hamsters because it is one of those inappropriate foods that can cause choking. Celery is a nutritious food item.
However, the stringy fibers in celery would come up in their stalks and result in the choking of the hamsters. It would be so much more difficult for the hamsters to chew those, and chances are that they would lodge in the hamsters’ throats. Ultimately, it can block the hamsters’ airways and make them choke.
You should also avoid feeding certain seed types to the hamsters. That said, seeds are a crucial food item when it comes to the food intake of the hamsters. So, before you feed any kind of seed, you need to check whether it can cause a choking hazard for the hamsters or not.
If I further elaborate on this, Syrian hamsters can eat both big and small seeds. On the other hand, if we look at dwarf hamsters, they will not be able to eat large seeds as it would undoubtedly cause them to choke. Considering that I don’t suggest feeding watermelon and apple seeds, as they would cause this trouble for the hamsters.
Hamsters would struggle to eat watermelon seeds because they are difficult to digest. If they accidentally end up eating those, it can result in choking as well as intestinal blockages.
Can hamsters choke on water?
Hamsters can choke on the water as well. They are prone to choking on water. Keep in mind that choking is one of the most common causes of hamster death. So, to prevent this from happening, you need to ensure that you keep monitoring them when they are on the water.
Can hamsters choke on toilet paper?
Hamsters can safely use toilet paper. Even if your hammy swallows the TP, it is safe.
The purpose of contemporary toilet paper is to quickly dissolve in water. Additionally, it will fragment as it enters your hammy’s stomach, making it easy for him to pass it out. Even so, it won’t be apparent.
Can hamsters suffocate in sawdust?
Hamsters can choke on sawdust. Many people tend to use sawdust as bedding for hamsters. However, you should not use it for bedding because it will produce dust, which is harmful to the hamsters. In other words, the dust they produce will cause hamsters to have breathing problems.
How to tell if your hamster is choking?
There are some signs that they are choking that you can look for. For example, if they seem to be drooling and breathing heavily, they are likely choking. Additionally, wheezing and pawing at its face or neck are two signs that a hamster is choking. Apart from that, if you spot hamsters with a lowered chin or chest, chances are that they are choking.
Furthermore, if they have flattened ears, it means they are choking too. Last but not least, if you spot the hamsters wiping their mouths on the cage bars, you could presume that they are choking. Keep in mind that even though hamsters tend to look like they are choking, it doesn’t mean that their entire airway is blocked. They may still somehow manage to breathe a little.
What to do if my hamster is choking?
If you spot the hamsters choking, you need to first see whether they can still breathe. If you think they can breathe, give them some time so that they can try to put out whatever objects are choking them. There could be hamsters who will expel the objects, and they would want some time to do that. However, if they continue to struggle to breathe freely, you must act quickly. If it is necessary, you could even pay an emergency visit to the vet doctor as well. In most cases, however, all you have to do is give them some time to expel the lodged objects on their own.
Turn Hamster Upside Down
If the choking was caused by objects, turning the hamsters upside down is the simplest way to remove them. You need to try out a simple trick to do this. First, you should hold the hamsters properly so that you can do this easily. Thereafter, you can turn the hamster’s head upside-down. In other words, you need to bend the hamsters. Once you do that, you can press their chest.
When you press the chest, you need to be cautious when you apply the weights there. Needless to say, hamsters are small animals, and they won’t be able to bear more weight. When you compress the hamster’s chest, it makes them throw out the stuck objects in their airway. When the objects come out of their airways, it will save them.
However, if that doesn’t work and you presume that it will not be successful, you need to take them to the vet as swiftly as you can.
Insert a Q-Tip
Inserting a Q-tip is another simple way to assist choking hamsters. If you are someone who has prior experience with doing this, you can even try this at home. However, performing this is somewhat tricky when compared with the above methods. To do this, you simply have to get a stick. It should be more like the toothpick, which is covered with cotton and has a q-shape on one end. You can call this a Q-tip, as its shape is more like a Q. You can easily purchase them from the markets.
If you don’t want to try this method at home, you can get medical assistance.
Doctors are well-trained in performing these. They will simply pull out the lodged objects from the hamster’s airways. However, if they are in pain, you could see them jumping as well. Usually, the doctor will insert the stick into the hamster’s mouth via their throat. It has the ability to go deep into the hamster’s throat and expel the lodged object. Unless you want to infect the hamsters, make sure you use a new stick every time you use it.
If the hamsters don’t seem to be making progress, and if you spot them still struggling to breathe, it is very unlikely that this method will work out. The movement of this stick is restricted. So if this process took a couple of hours and they still seemed to choke, you will have to try out another method.
It is also possible to perform surgery on a choking hamster. Having that could be a very critical and risky mode of doing this task. What the doctor would usually do here is cut the hamster’s neck. They will then remove the object that has become lodged in their airway. I would suggest you try out this method only if the above two methods don’t work out.
Keep in mind that performing surgery would be somewhat risky for the hamsters. Hamsters are small animal creatures, and it will be extremely difficult for them to not breathe freely for a longer period of time. One disadvantage of performing surgery is that it only needs to be done once. Unless it would be risky for the hamsters.
How to prevent choking in hamsters?
You need to first increase the time that you spend with the hamsters. That way, you can care for them more. Further, always ensure that you don’t place any harmful objects closer to the hamsters. That way, you can prevent them from choking. You must take all these precautions so that you don’t have to deal with choking the hamsters.
Can a hamster choke to death?
If your hamsters were choking while having something block their airway entirely, it would turn out to be fatal for the hamsters. On the other hand, if your hamsters are choking while taking breaths on and off, that means you can try removing the object in them. If not, you can take them to the vet and see.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can dwarf hamsters choke?
Despite your best efforts to prevent it, dwarf hamster choking can occasionally occur despite your precautions. It’s frightening to consider that your hamster could suffocate, especially if you might not be there to save it. Even more terrifying is seeing your hamster choke while unsure of how to assist.
Owners can take precautions to lessen the risk of their hamsters choking. Knowing the proper technique to remove the obstruction from your hamster’s airway is crucial since saving a choking hamster differs greatly from saving a choking person.
Sometimes a hamster that has choked can release the thing on its own. However, you can try to save your hamster by turning it over and applying chest compressions.
The hamster sounds like choking
If your hamster sounds like it’s choking, it’s because it has a respiratory infection. Further, they may tend to do that due to heart disease or even stress as well. So if you come across this kind of sign, you need to take the hamsters to the vet as promptly as you can. Then the veterinarian will be able to determine the root cause of that. Depending on that, they will prescribe the appropriate treatment for that.
In conclusion, hamsters may suffer from choking occasionally, but in most cases, they will be able to recover from it on their own. So you don’t need to get involved in it or try to help them expel the object at the very moment they start to suffer from choking. Instead, give them some time so that they will try to do it on their own. However, if they keep struggling to do that, you need to take them to the vet soon. On the other hand, you need to be mindful of the factors that can cause the hamsters to choke so that you don’t have to deal with this kind of situation.
Hello, my name is James and I’ve been caring for tiny pets for over 14 years with a passion. I enjoy passing on my expertise to other individuals in order for them to have the same amount of enjoyment as I do.