Dehydrated Hamster: Is Your Hamster Safe ?

In my experience dehydration in hamsters is a big problem. I once had a dehydrated hamster and the concerning part is I did not know what was wrong with him. He suddenly stopped drinking water and looked weak. I got suspicious and consulted experts and veterinarians. That’s when I knew my hamster was dehydrated. So I thought it is important to share this information with you because this is very important as a hamster owner.

So what does dehydration in hamsters really mean? In simple words, dehydration is the water shortage in a hamster’s body. So, a dehydrated hamster may lose so much water either from urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating and even from drooling. Once they lose too much water, they are in so much trouble. Dehydration is troublesome as hamsters would not be able to function their bodies well due to lack of water. Unfortunately, there is a high tendency for them to die.

Apart from that, once they are dehydrated they would start to miss the salt and mineral contents they get from the body’s water content. You cannot use simple tap water to rehydrate them due to this reason. Once the hamsters recover, you would want to supply them with salts, minerals, and sugar as well. So, in this article, we have covered everything you would want to know whenever your hamster goes through dehydration. So. Let’s get into it.

How do hamsters get dehydrated?

Hamsters may suffer from dehydration due to numerous reasons. For example, a wet tail condition could be one condition that could factor in hamsters dehydration. Wet tail condition is in fact diarrhea that happens in hamsters and it is caused by the hamster’s intestinal bacteria. Hamsters would suffer from dehydration within two hours since they go through the wet tail condition. If you leave the wet tail-infected hamsters unattended for too long, chances are that it could turn out to be serious for them. Apart from that diabetes is one more condition which would factor in hamsters’ dehydration. Once they experience diabetes, they would keep urinating once every few minutes. Yet their thirst will never go.

Besides these, issues related to the digestive system such as loose stool or vomiting could result in hamster’s dehydration. Furthermore, if the hamsters are going through any neuro issues or if they have any overgrown teeth, it could result in dehydration as well. So, you can always treat the root cause of dehydration if you happen to determine it at the start. However, if dehydration continues to spread faster, it may result in the malfunction of the whole body of the hamsters.

How to know if your hamster is dehydrated

Less drinking

If the hamster tends to skip drinking water, it literally means the hamsters are dehydrated. That said, if you are uncertain whether your hamsters drink water or not, you could simply mark a spot on the water bottle and see whether the water level goes down after about one day’s time. Generally speaking, hamsters would consume about 10 ml of water per 100g of their body weight of the hamster’s.

Skin is dry

Besides, if the hamster’s skin seems to be very tight and dry, it literally means the hamster is going through dehydration. To check this, you could simply scruff the hamster and see whether the skin comes back to the initially placed location. You could simply hold the hamster with one hand and use your other hand to pinch the pack off the hamster’s neck.

Once you do this, you could see how fast the skin comes back to its original place and if the skin comes back faster it means the hamsters are healthy. On the other hand, if it takes a longer time, or if you can spot a ridge once you pinched the hammy, it is very likely that they are dehydrated.

They look tired

In addition to the above facts, if the hamsters tend to look tired and weak, chances are that they are suffering from dehydration. Once the hamsters suffer from dehydration, they would consume their energy only for breathing and eating purposes. They would not be as energetic as they used to be. Furthermore, they would not be enthusiastic about running their wheel or playing. Instead, they would try to look for a place and sleep. Lastly, you could see a very dry and warm nose on them as well.

The drastic drop in weight

In addition to the above, if you could see a drastic drop in the hamster’s weight or if they seem to be skinny it may also indicate the fact that your hamsters are going through dehydration. Besides, the loss of fur and thin fur are a couple more signs of dehydration.

Hamster sunken eyes

You could spot the dehydrated hamsters carrying droopy sunken and dry eyes as well. So, once the hamsters experience dehydration, you could see how their eyes sink and tongues swell as well. In fact, this is one of the prime factors you could use to determine that the hamsters are dehydrated.

How long does it take for a hamster to become dehydrated?

It would only take one day for the hamsters to dehydrate. However, it would take about three to four days for the hamsters to die from dehydration. This duration would vary depending on hamster species as well as on the environmental conditions. For example, temperature and humidity in the room would impact the dehydration among the hamsters. If I further elaborate, higher temperatures would speed up the dehydration process.

If your hamster has diarrhea for more than 6 hours you better go to the veterinarian and get medication. Also if the hamsters don’t get food and water for more than 48 hours, they would face dehydration or death. If you spot your beloved hamster that tends to show signs of dehydration, you need to provide them with fresh water right at that moment itself and keep monitoring them constantly.

What happens when a hamster is dehydrated?

Hamsters may go through a number of issues when they dehydrate. For example, their eyes may look sunken. Further, they may carry dry mucous membranes too. In addition to that, they would be lethargic, weak and show difficulties in respiration as well. Apart from that, they would develop loose skin too. If you fail to remedy this, chances are that it would make a fatal impact on the hamsters eventually.

How long can a hamster go without drinking water?

Hamsters can go without water for about 2 days. However, they would become dehydrated after 24 hours without having any water. Hence you need to provide water for the hamsters at all times. That said, if you had shifted the hamsters from one place to another, they may probably avoid drinking water for about 24-36 hours. So, if you have done that, you need to closely inspect them and allow them some time to adjust to the new conditions.

How can I save my dehydrated hamster?

How can I save my dehydrated hamster

Since now we know what dehydration is and its root causes of it, you can start treating it. However, I suggest you contact a veterinarian first. Further, the veterinarian should be an expert on exotic pets such as rodents, reptiles and birds.

They will prescribe painkillers if it is necessary. For example, they may probably recommend some vitamins for the hamsters. If the vet determines the underlying cause of dehydration is wet tail or vomiting they will treat them. Chances are that they may probably request the hamsters to be admitted to the hospital too. That said, if you don’t want to go to a vet doctor to treat the hamsters there are some simple things that you could do at home to rectify them.

First, you could try giving fruit slices or veggies which have water contents for the hamsters. For example, you could consider feeding them with veggies such as cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce leafy greens, carrots, etc. However, when you feed the hamsters with these ensure that you give them at moderate levels as excess consumption of these veggies would also result in unnecessary issues. Next, you could consider adding electrolyte water to his water bottle. For example, Unflavored Pedialyte may work here. However, you should not try using these if the hamsters are suffering from diabetes. Pedialyte contains high levels of sugar and hence why you should refrain from using those.

Moreover, it would be best if you could place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish so that it can access the water quite easily. Chances are that there could be some hamsters that may suffer from severe dehydration and they will not be even able to reach the water bottle nozzle.

Next, try to rehydrate the hamsters by mouth using either an eye dropper or a small syringe. You simply have to hold the hamster firmly but without making them uncomfortable. Thereafter place one or two water drops on their lips every 30 minutes. Don’t provide too much water at one time as then it might also go wrong. Further plain water would also not be beneficial here as it may not contain the required salt and minerals for a dehydrated hamster body.

So, above are some of the useful tactics which you could practice to treat a dehydrated hamster. Once you follow these guidelines, dehydrated hamsters would be able to recover. Bear in mind that you should avoid feeding the hamsters with overly wet food since it may upset their stomach. Hence best would be to use a dry grain mix.

Besides all these, ensure that you avoid placing the hamsters in too warm spots such as near heaters or near cooking places. Also, avoid keeping them closer to cold drafts as they may also impact badly on the health of the hamsters.

How to rehydrate hamster

You could consider rehydrating the hamsters if they have run out of water for a couple of hours. All you have to do is simply allow them to drink some water to make them feel good. However, if you think your hamsters are suffering from severe dehydration I recommend you to bring them to a veterinarian as promptly as you could. The doctor may recommend some intravenous fluids to rehydrate the hamsters. The doctor also prescribed some salt and minerals along with other fluids to rehydrate them.

Bear in mind that rehydration is a somewhat slow process. As such do not put so much pressure on the hamster and make them drink more and more water. That said, you will find the following tips very useful in rehydrating the hamsters.

Try to increase the water intake of the hamster’s drink. Furthermore, try giving some electrolyte water instead of plain water. Besides, you can be tactful in placing both a water bowl and a water bottle for them to drink. Suppose that your hamsters are not willing to drink water, then I suggest you feed them with some veggies such as cucumber or even some apple slices. That said, always keep in mind to feed those in moderate levels.

Try purchasing rehydrating solutions which are specifically made for hamsters. You can easily purchase these from local pet stores. If you still can’t find them, try searching for them online. If none of these methods work, you could consider paying a visit to the veterinarian.

How to prevent dehydration in hamsters

You can prevent dehydration among hamsters and there are some simple yet very important steps you could do to overcome this situation. For example, you could check whether their water bottle works well and whether you could spot any blockages in the bottle’s nozzle. Ensure that there is nothing stuck to the nozzle. Ideally, the metal ball at the nozzle end should move freely whilst allowing a proper water flow. Additionally, you could simply squeeze the side of the bottle and check whether the water drips from the nozzle.

The hamster is drinking the water without any blockages from the water bottle

Apart from that, a temperature around 20-23 degrees Celsius or 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit would be ideal for the hamsters’ proper growth. furthermore, you need to make sure that you are keeping the cage in a place where the hamsters will not gain direct sunlight and direct heat.

Furthermore, you could prevent the hamsters dehydration by providing them with a dry commercial mix. Feeding them wet food in excess would create digestive issues and result in diarrhea. Hence why I recommend you avoid overfeeding them with veggies such as cucumbers, lettuce etc. Do not provide too much apple or watermelon for them.

Consider that you have put two hamsters in one cage and one gets sick. Then, you need to immediately remove one from the cage as chances are that it can spread to the healthy hamster and result in dehydration as well. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after interacting with the hamsters. That way you could protect both hamsters as well as you from hygiene problems.

Are electrolytes good for hamsters?

Electrolytes are good for hamsters. It could be really handy in rehydrating the hamsters as the plain water would not turn out to be useful at all times. There are flavored electrolytes that would stimulate the water-drinking ability of the hamsters.

However, if your hamsters are going through diabetes, I don’t recommend using flavored electrolytes for them. Some of the commonly used electrolytes are Pedialyte and Gatorade and both of these are rich fluids. However, even after providing these fluids, I suggest you take the hamsters to the doctor for their opinions as well.

How do you make electrolyte water for hamsters? 

When I searched for a good recipe, I found this on the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association website. You only need a few ingredients. First, you should arrange four cups of water, two tablespoons of sugar or honey and ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda. Thereafter, you need to bring the water to a lower boil temperature and add sugar / honey and salt to it. Keep stirring them until it dissolves. Next, bring the solution to room temperature and off a small amount of the solution to the hamsters once every 30 minutes.

Can you give hamsters Gatorade?

Although you can use sports drinks such as Gatorade for hamsters, you should give them a very little amount of it. Because you cannot use carbonated drinks for the hamsters as it could be bad for them. But in situations like hamster dehydration, you can use Gatorade as a fine way of rehydrating the hamsters. Having said that, you need to use this option only if they require some help with rehydration. Furthermore, always use these at moderate levels only.

Keep in mind that Gatorade contains about 21g of sugar in a 12 oz bottle. Too much exposure to sugar would make healthy hamsters obese. On the other hand, when you use an unhealthy hamster it may provide sufficient energy and necessary weight for the hamster.

Gatorade has higher components of sodium when compared with other sports drinks. Besides, it has got its unique color due to the artificial dyes included in it. The sodium content of this solution would be beneficial for the nerves and muscles of sick hamsters. Furthermore, it would be crucial for the hamsters to retain water as well. However, if you happen to feed them with excess sodium levels it would increase their hypertension in them. further, you may use an eye dropper to feed the hamsters with Gatorade.

Can I give my hamster Pedialyte?

The best is to use unflavored Pedialyte on the hamsters. You may easily obtain this product from the local pharmacies. The recommended time to use it would be 30 days once it is open.

How much Pedialyte can I give my hamster?

I suggest giving 0.5 ml of Pedialyte every hour to the hamsters. Don’t overfeed them as then it might go wrong.

Homemade Pedialyte for hamsters

It is a very simple process to make homemade Pedialyte for the hamsters. This is a very useful option to rejuvenate the dehydrated hamsters and bring them back to normal life. So, in terms of the required ingredients, you need to arrange,

  • 4.5 cups of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, etc.

To start off you should put all of these ingredients together in a large bowl and mix them well.

Next, you may add the 4,5 cups of warm water and stir it well. Once it is complete, store them in an airtight container and use them when it is necessary. You may use this solution for about 30 days. anybody could afford to make this solution as you can easily find these ingredients. Besides, the ingredients are not that expensive either. You could either use a cotton swab or a pint brush to give this mix to the pets. Ensure that you offer this in small quantities from time to time and monitor how they respond to that.

Hamster rehydration formula

You can make a hamster rehydration formula by adding the same amount of water and rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte together. You can feed your hamster using a syringe. Only give them 0.5 ml every hour until they recover.

Hamster dehydration death

It is important that hamsters have cool water, especially during the hot season. Only then can they control their temperature in the body. So, if the hamsters happen to miss drinking water for too long they can become dehydrated. Hence, if you don’t attend to it on time chances are that it would result in the death of the hamsters. However, before that, they would develop sunken eyes, respiratory issues etc. Besides, they may be less energetic and tend to sleep all the time too. Therefore, always ensure that their water bowls are filled with freshwater and that they can access water easily.


To wind up, I hope you found much more useful information with regards to the dehydration of the hamsters. As you may now understand, your beloved hamsters may suffer from dehydration due to numerous reasons. As such, it is vital that you figure out the root cause for this and then act swiftly and smartly to rectify it. So, finally, I hope now you are much more confident and well aware of how to give a happy, safe and healthy life to the hamsters.

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