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Hamsters are incredible creatures, they love to climb, eat and make our lives wonderful! They are generally clean creatures, which means that if you are asking why hamsters smell, it’s not just because they are unhygienic! There’s a lot of things that could cause your hamster to smell, and this article will be going into all of these things! Hopefully, by the end of it, we will have answered your question in full.

We will be going into if hamsters are meant to smell, reasons why they would be smelling and what you should do to stop them smelling. It will also cover if you should give them a bath.

Are Hamsters Meant to Smell?

The fact is, hamsters are not actually meant to smell! They are extremely clean animals, and will constantly groom themselves. You will notice this whenever you observe your hamster, they are constantly using their tongue to clean up. As long as they have the ability to do so, your furry friend will always be making sure that they look, and smell, their best.

Female hamsters may smell during certain times, but we go into this further on in the article.

A lovely black ham!
A lovely black ham!

Why do Hamsters groom themselves?

As we now know, hamsters love to groom themselves! But why? The primary reason for this is to remove their scents from their body. This is because they are a prey animal and they, therefore, feel the need to protect themselves against wild threats. They are obviously safe from their usual predators, but they don’t know that! So they will scrub at their body to remove any trace of their scent.

Another reason is that they don’t want to smell like us. Hamsters are territorial and don’t like to smell like other animals. They may love you, but they have boundaries!

Reasons Why Hamsters Smell.

Regardless of these facts, your hamster may still smell. If this is the case, then there could be a various amount of external reasons why this is happening. As in, things that aren’t your hamster’s fault. Let’s take a look at some of them, and see if we can figure out why your hamster is smelling!

Unclean Cage.

Probably the main reason why your hamster is smelling is that the cage hasn’t been cleaned for a while. Hamsters love to burrow and roll around in their bedding. This means that your hamster will inevitably pick up the scents of their surroundings! There’s only so much that they can do by grooming themselves.

Generally, if the cage is starting to smell, then your hamster will start to smell as well. You need to make sure that the cage doesn’t smell because this will inevitably affect your furry friend. An unclean cage can also have health problems for your pet, as it can cause them to become stressed and develop illnesses such as wet tail.

What a cute hamster!
What a cute hamster!

Ill hamster.

Another reason why your hamster may smell is that they could be ill. This is typically the problem if the cage doesn’t smell and has recently been cleaned. Some of the illnesses that could cause your hamster to smell include:

  • Diarrhoea – Commonly caused by having too much to drink.
  • Wet tail – Caused by stress
  • Intestinal problems – Such as bacteria infections
  • Dental issues
  • Infections – Especially a problem if your hamster has hurt themselves.

Other illnesses can cause your hamster to smell, but this is usually a secondary problem. Illnesses may cause hamsters to be unable to clean themselves, or may make them so slow that they can’t properly do it.

Female Hamster in Heat.

One of the more embarrassing things that could cause your female hamster to smell is that they could be in heat! This is where a female hamster puts out smells that attract male hamsters to mate with them. This will be a fairly potent odour which may be unpleasant for humans. You can get rid of this smell with bedding like carefresh, or by using air freshener on your room.

There’s unfortunately no way to stop this! The good thing is that the mating season doesn’t last long, only for a few hours, and then the smell should go. Make sure to give your female hamster some peace during this time.

A glowing hamster!
A glowing hamster!

How to prevent hamster smells.

So, we know what the general causes of hamster smells are. But that’s not really what you need to know, you need to know how to prevent them from happening! An odorous hamster can stink out a room, and it can also effect their health in the long-term. This means that sorting out this problem is vital for the wellbeing of you and your hamster.

Cleaning the cage.

So, if the cage is dirty, you need to clean it! This should be the most obvious solution. You can clean it every week generally, or every 2 weeks if you engage in spot-cleaning. If your hamster’s cage is smelly, you should make sure that you clean it straight away. As stated before, a dirty cage can be dangerous for your hamster. It’s also not very pleasant for you either! You can find our guide on this here.

If the cage is clean, but it is still smelling. There’s some things that you can do to make the room smell nice. These include:

  • Getting better bedding, such as Carefresh.
  • Ventilating the room by opening a window.
  • Using non-toxic air fresheners.

Consider putting baking soda at the bottom of the cage, under the shavings. This can help absorb smells, and it’s a cheap way of sorting out your hamster’s cage smells!

This hamster is cleaning itself!
This hamster is cleaning itself!

Use the correct bedding.

One of the best ways of making sure that hamsters smell nice is to use the correct bedding and floor shavings. Sawdust isn’t very good at covering the smells of a hamster, so you may want something better! We go into this in more detail here. For covering up smells, we recommend Aspen or Carefresh. Our hamster has carefresh and it works wonders in covering up smells before their cage is cleaned! Make sure to get bedding that is absorbant as well, stale hamster pee doesn’t smell very nice!

Let them clean themselves!

You need to make sure that you don’t give your hamster a bath, this can actually be worse for their health than if they were left to smell. Hamster fur is coated with natural oils, these protect your hamster’s fur and also allows them to clean themselves easier! We go into this in more detail here. Your hamster loves to clean themselves, it’s a natural part of their life in the wild! So don’t disturb them when they are cleaning themselves.

Teach them to use a litter box.

Teaching your hamster to use a litter box can be a great way of helping to keep smells to a minimum. Place the litter box, filled with hamster-safe sand, and place it where your hamster normally goes to the toilet. It can be hard to toilet train them, but it can work! Just make sure to change it.

Does Hamster poop smell?

Hamster poop is generally not meant to smell. This is because the droppings are dry and therefore don’t have any real scent to them. This means that hamsters are able to hide their scent even more. Hamsters will often hide their poo as well, so any scent is likely to be covered up by the bedding.

If your hamster poo smells, it could be a sign of diarrhoea. This is because the hamster’s poo will be a lot wetter and therefore likely to have some form of a smell. Try cutting out liquidy treats, such as lettuce, out of their diet and see if that improves the situation. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider taking them to the pet. Illnesses that may be easy to sort out for humans can actually be dangerous for our furry friends!

Hamster smells of urine.

If your hamster smells of urine, it’s likely that this is because the cage isn’t clean. So you should take the advice that we gave above. Hamsters love to clean themselves, but they will inevitably smell like their cage. If their enclosure smells of urine, so will they! You will want to clean the cage for yourself as well, a room that smells of urine isn’t very nice!

A cute dwarf ham!
A cute dwarf ham!

Conclusion – Do Hamsters Smell?

This guide has told you everything you need to know about hamster smells and how to prevent them. Hamsters are usually clean animals that groom themselves constantly, but they need your help to keep them clean! You can do this by regularly cleaning their cage and ensuring that you don’t give them baths. Hamster smells can happen for all kinds of reasons, some of which may need a vet to sort out. But the usual cause is an unclean cage. Hamster poo doesn’t usually smell!

Has your hamster smelt before? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!

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