Fleas are common on many of our household pets. Cats, dogs and other animals can all get these annoying bugs, this leads people to wonder if hamsters can catch fleas. A lot of people may not ask this question, it seems strange that hamsters could pick up fleas when they are inside their house all day. So can they?
Yes. Hamsters can get fleas and this, most of the time, happens no matter their living conditions. It is simply just a thing that happens! Fleas are quite incredible animals due to their ability to quickly spread and attach themselves to new animals. Syrian, Robo and Dwarf hamsters can all get fleas. This article will be looking at how hamsters catch fleas, signs that they have fleas and what you can do about it!
How do hamsters catch fleas
So we know that it is possible for fleas to get attached to hamsters, but how exactly can they? This is a good question to ask, hamsters are naturally solitary and stick to their cage. This means that the risk of them getting fleas is actually quite low, after all, who can give them the fleas in the first place! However, we know that they can catch fleas.
Fleas love hamsters, as they do with most animals, and they are very good at spreading. This means that there is always a chance that one will get attached to your hamster. Hamsters can catch fleas from other animals in the house, such as a dog or a cat. Your hamster doesn’t need to have had contact with these animals, they could be somewhere that the pet was previously. This can be enough to spread fleas to your hamster! Flea eggs can be inserted into hamster bedding and therefore easily spread to the hamster, as well.
Fleas can also spread from us! Humans can get fleas from other animals and, due to our close contact with our beloved pets, can easily spread onto a hamster. This is probably the main reason why your hamster could get fleas, simply from human contact! There’s a lot of illnesses, such as a cold, that hamsters can catch from humans. This is just another one of them!
How do I know that my hamster has fleas?
The primary symptom of fleas in hamsters, as with any animal, is a constant and persistent scratching. This may be a problem for diagnosis as hamsters love to scratch and groom themselves all the time, so what makes this any different?
The scratching associated with fleas is a lot more severe than with normal hamster grooming. Hamsters may gnaw themselves or rub their body against the cage to stop the itching. This is a clear sign that your hamster isn’t just following their usual grooming routine. You may see hair loss and skin rashes if fleas continue on your hamster. Your hamster will look ill which means that you should be able to tell that they have a flea infestation.
It’s also possible to see fleas on your hamster. You don’t need a microscope to see them and they can be viewed normally. If you see any black dots on your hamster, these are flea faces and can be a telltale sign that your hamster may have an infection of fleas. Fleas themselves can be seen moving on your hamster, or anywhere in the cage. You should be able to spot them.
Check your hamster’s fur to see if you can see any of these fleas. You can also check their bedding and toys to see if you can see any fleas. They should be obvious, especially if the infestation has grown. Comb your hamster and see if there are any differences in their fur, any black dots or little fleas.
Ways to prevent a flea infection
Although flea infections are unlikely, they can still occur. The primary way you can minimise the risk of your hamster getting fleas is by minimising the contact that they have with other pets in the house. For instance, if your pet goes in the same playpen after your previous pet then you should wash the floor before continuing. Prevention is the best way to solve this issue.
Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage on a regular basis as well. Flea eggs can be planted in bedding and fleas absolutely thrive in dirty and damp conditions. Cleaning your hamster’s cage regularly will help to deter fleas from infesting your hamster. Do checks whilst cleaning to ensure that fleas are not already present.
How to treat a flea infestation
Flea infestations may be harmless at first but they can become a huge problem for your hamster. Your vet is the best resource for this problem and they can advise the best way forward. Take your hamster to the vet and they should be able to give treatment for fleas which kills the fleas and the eggs. You can buy this spray online but it is typically intended for dogs and cats, you may not know about the effects of this treatment on hamsters. Therefore we always recommend going to the vets first!
Once you apply the treatment, ensure that you clean your hamster’s cage fully. Eggs in the bedding and around the cage can reinfect your hamster if you are not careful. You can use the travel cage or a playpen to house them whilst this is occurring.
How to care for a hamster whilst they have fleas
There may be a wait for a vet appointment and you will have to deal with this issue before the vet sorts it out. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Replace cardboard and wooden toys. These can be hard to clean in a way that fully removes the risk of reinfestation. Plastic toys are fine, just clean them as normal.
- Make sure that you replace your hamster’s bedding. This can reduce the risk of a major infection occurring as it removes many of the eggs from the cage.
- Be with your hamster more, your presence can calm them and improve their condition.
- Ensure that your hamster is constantly given the right amount of food and water.
- Treat your entire house to prevent fleas from spreading. Clean the floor and other areas where your hamster may have been.
Are flea infections deadly?
Flea infections in animals can absolutely be deadly if they are not treated properly. Fleas can lead to infections as well as illnesses such as wet-tail. Wet tail is caused when the hamster is stressed and flea infections can absolutely stress your hamster out. A flea infection can also make other illnesses, such as flu, even more deadly for your hamster as their health is already adversely affected by the fleas.
Conclusion – Can hamsters get fleas?
Hamsters can absolutely get fleas but it is very uncommon. If you live with a single pet then it is extremely unlikely that your hamster will get fleas. However, it is still possible which means that it something that you must be aware of. Fleas are dangerous and can result in your hamster acquiring other illnesses which could lower their lifespan. A vet should be your first place to call when it comes to a flea infestation. You can help your hamster through this by being there for them and constantly cleaning their cage. Try to avoid physical contact with your hamster, you don’t want to get fleas!
Has your hamster had fleas before? Any products that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!