A dead hamster is such a sad occurrence. It brings us great pain and suffering when it happens, alas it is inevitable. Having a hamster inevitably means that, one day, your hamster will sadly pass away. The lifespan of a hamster is fairly short, so you need to spend as much time with them as possible before the day comes. However, when a hamster dies, what should you do?
We will be looking at all of the things that you need to do when your hamster dying. Including: burying your hamster, disinfecting your hamster habitat and coping with the loss.
Ensuring that your hamster is dead
There have been many occasions where a hamster hasn’t died at all, but they have simply been hibernating. This is a state for a hamster which is like death but they are not dead, simply sleeping. Ensure that your hamster is dead through these signs:
- See if your hamster’s cheek poach is warm
- Stretch your hamster’s limbs, they will be rigid if your hamster has passed away
- See if there are any signs of breathing.
- Stroke your hamster and see if their whiskers twitch
It is likely that your hamster has indeed passed away, but it is important to make sure. Check out our hibernation guide if you think your hamster is indeed hibernating.
Burying your hamster
Burying our hamsters is a sad affair but it is something that we have to do properly. It helps us to get over the loss and allows us to create memorials to our deceased friends. Burying your pet can be easy. Ensure that you bury your hamster within 24 hours so that they do not begin to decompose. When it comes to what to do when your hamster dies, burying is very important.
Figuring out where to bury your hamster
This can be quite hard, depending on where you live. If you live in an area with a garden then this can be easy. Find somewhere in the garden where you can dig fairly deep, this can be a grassy area ideally. This area should have plenty of space around it.
One of the options, if you have no garden, is cremation, there are many pet cremation services that exist and this could be the perfect solution in your sad time. You can organise this with your vet and you will usually receive the ashes of your lovely hamster. You can then place the ashes wherever you want, you could even make a small shrine so that you can remember your pet.
How to bury your hamster
Dig a grave around 3 feet deep. This is to deter predators such as foxes from discovering your hamster’s bodies and digging down to eat it. Once you have dug the grave, place your hamster into the grave and say your final goodbyes. Then push the dirt back onto the grave and ensure that it is sealed. You may want to place some form of mark to show that the grave is where it is. You can then add flowers or a gravestone to remember your pet.
Cleaning the habitat
Cleaning your hamster’s habitat for the final time will indeed be sad, but it is necessary. You may want to get another hamster, or you may wish to sell the cage to someone else. Either way, cleaning the cage means that it won’t smell and that you can free up the space that it is taking up. You can follow our hamster cleaning guide here.
Make sure that you have disinfected absolutely everything. If you are planning on getting a new hamster, throw away any wooden or biodegradable toys so that the smell and markings of your old hamster don’t scare your new one. Ensure that your pet’s toys no longer have their scent on them.
Consider putting all of your hamster’s toys and cage in the bath to soak it in soapy water. This will ensure that the cage is 100% disinfected.
Coping with the loss
Coping with your loss of a loved pet is extremely hard. The years that we spent with our hamsters are always in our heads but we need to learn to move on. This may be why you are asking what to do when your hamster dies, to find a way to cope with the grief. Here’s some tips for moving on after the loss of your pet.
Getting another hamster
A completely natural thought that may come into your head is just to buy another hamster. This is fine, as long as you actually have the resources for it. Ensure that your cage is ready and that you have food and treats before getting another pet. Don’t make it an implusive decision as this could hurt the wellbeing of your new hamster.
Make sure that you have the time commitment for your new hamster as well. Hamsters are more than just playthings and obviously require a lot of work!
Creating a memorial
Another good idea for coping with the loss is creating a memorial to your deceased pet. This could be something as simple as a post on social media or even a physical shrine near their body. You could plant flowers on the grave or do other things to make it look nice. Consider getting some printouts of your beloved pet so that you can remember them forever.
You could even get a stuffed toy version of your hamster. Sites like CuddleClones produce custom-made toys of your pet to fit their likeness. There are so many options to choose when it comes to remembering your pet, you don’t want to forget them!
Thinking about the afterlife
Some religious pet owners may want to think about meeting their hamster in the afterlife. We won’t go into this in-depth here but here’s our guide on if hamsters go to heaven.
Talk to people
One of the most important things you can do when coping with grief is to talk to other people about it. You can talk to friends, family and even to strangers on online hamster forums. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed by it as it is perfectly normal to be sad over this. Consider writing down your feelings as well, this may help you to cope with the problem.
Conclusion – What to do when your hamster dies
A hamster dying is an incredibly sad time for all involved. A hamster may have a short lifespan but what they lack in years they give 100% back in love and affection. This is why we love them so much. Remember to check if your hamster is dead before burying them and check out our tips on how to deal with the grief of loving a beloved family pet. Make sure to always talk to someone about this as talking about your grief can be incredibly important.
How did you deal with the grief of your hamster dying? Let us know in the comments.