5 Easy Ways Your Hamsters Could Die? (& How To Prevent Them)

We all want our furry friend Hammy the hamster to live a long and satisfying life.

But, is that really possible?

Pet hamsters seem to die so easily!

Why is that?

Key Takeaway:

Hamsters die when they develop skin abscesses, suffer from heart problems, and contract intestinal bacteria. Their lives are also in danger if they break a limb or suffer an intestinal block that leads to constipation.

Up next in this article, we’ll let you in on 5 reasons why hamsters die easily and what you need to do to prevent this from happening to your dear pet.

hamster dies

Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily? (And How to Help Them Live Longer!)

No matter how much love you give your hamster, you’ll always be aware of one cruel reality. Hamsters have a short lifespan and there’s not really much you can do about it.

Or is there?

Ok, there may not be a miracle longevity pill that will get your hamster to live forever, but coming up next, you’ll see some of the most common reasons why hamsters die. You’ll also find some handy tips that will help you to prevent premature hamster death.

Let’s get the ball rolling with the first one.

#1 Wet Tail Disease

How do hamsters die?

One of the reasons hamsters die is that they can contract diseases.

Amongst the most deadly hamster diseases is a wet tail disease (proliferative ileitis). This disease has a high mortality rate even when you are able to detect and treat it quickly.

What is it?

Proliferative ileitis refers to diarrhea or wet stools. This disease can kill a hamster within just 48 to 72 hours.

This disease is more common in baby hamsters that are about 4 weeks old than it is in adults.

What causes it?

Proliferative ileitis is provoked by intestinal bacteria. Here are some of the factors that can trigger it.

  • Excessive handling
  • Environmental changes
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Separation from its mother (this is more common in baby hamsters that are weaning at about 4 weeks old)
  • Change in food
  • Death of mate

Many hamster owners wonder, can hamsters die from stress? As the list above shows, most of the changes that trigger proliferative ileitis are bought about by stress.

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

Yes, there is! Take a look at the following tips.

  • Do not overly handle your hamster. When you do, make sure you do not make any sudden movements or noises that could frighten him. Hamsters are naturally timid animals.
  • Keep your hamster’s cage in the same place. Avoid moving the cage from room to room unnecessarily. He needs to see daylight for 12 hours a day if possible.
  • Clean your hamster’s cage regularly (at least once a week). Provide him with new bedding and hay for burrowing in and eating.
  • Do not take away baby hamsters from their mothers. Weaning takes place at about 4 weeks.
  • Feed him the same hamster pellets every day and enrich them with fresh fruits and vegetables. Do not feed him more than one tablespoon of food per day (about 12 grams).
  • If your hamster’s mate dies, you might want to consider getting him a new one.
hamster vegetables

#2 Heart Disease

Other conditions hamster owners need to be aware of are congestive heart failure and atrial thrombosis. Most hamsters die within weeks of contracting one of these serious conditions.

What is it?

Thrombosis could cause blood clots and blockages on the left side of the heart. This may force your hamster to begin breathing quickly and for his heart to beat irregularly.

What causes it?

Heart conditions tend to present themselves in older hamsters. The Syrian hamster is most susceptible to them as they occur in 70% of old-aged hamsters of this breed.

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to avert heart disorders in old hamsters. But endeavoring to keep your hamster healthy will help to prevent unnecessary hamster death.

To keep your pet hamster healthy, ensure he is able to get enough exercise in his cage. He must have access to a hamster wheel to prevent unnecessary weight loss and stress on his internal organs.

#3 Constipation

Your pet hamster is no doubt full of energy throughout the day and night. But he will not have the same lively disposition while constipated.

Hamster constipation is fatal if you do not treat it.

What is it?

Hamster constipation occurs when the intestines block or when a portion of the intestine folds in on itself.

What causes it?

There are a number of factors that contribute to this condition. Here is a list of some of them.

  • Parasites
  • Eating their bedding
  • Intestine inflammation
  • Pregnancy
  • Not enough access to clean, fresh water
  • Sub-standard diet and eating habits

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

Hamster constipation is not pleasant, but thankfully, there are a number of ways to prevent it. Here are some of them.

#4 Broken Limbs

Tragedies are also a common cause of sudden hamster death. This occurs when hamsters fall from a height or break a bone and do not recover.

What causes it?

Your hamster’s body may not recover from certain injuries that lead to sudden death. Here are some of them.

  • Falling from height
  • Getting a body part caught in exercise equipment
  • Getting a body part caught in his cage wire

Sounds awfully painful, right?

Is there anything you can to do prevent it?

Here are a couple of tips to ensure your hamster lives as long as possible.

  • The sudden death of your hamster may occur if it falls from a dangerous height. Get him an escape-proof cage from a pet store and watch him carefully if he is outside of his cage.
  • Keep your hamster away from other pets that are larger than him as they may try to harm him. Make sure that children are gentle when handling this small living creature.
  • Your local pet store should sell a safe mesh cage with openings that are not too small. The right cage will not present any dangers to your pet.
  • Pet stores sell pieces of exercise equipment that are made of solid surfaces. These will prevent him from twisting an arm or leg in any of the mechanisms.

#5 Skin Abssesses

A hamster might suddenly die if it develops skin abscesses that remain untreated. Abscesses and infections can prevent the hamster from reaching old age.

What are they?

Infected pockets of pus under the skin of your hamster are known as abscesses.

What causes them?

Abscesses develop for a number of different reasons. Here are some of them.

  • Fighting
  • Injuries from dangerous cage conditions
  • Wood shavings

Is there anything you can to do prevent them?

Most causes of skin abscesses are preventable. Here’s what you must do to help your hamster live a healthy life.

  • Do not put more than 2 hamsters in one cage. If you see your hamsters fighting, remove one of the hamsters and keep them separate.
  • Good pet stores should sell cages that are great for keeping your hamster safe. Even still, make sure there are not any protruding wires poking out of it that could cause injuries.
  • Do not use wood shavings as hamster bedding. Give him aspen bedding that will help to keep the dust down.

How Long Do Hamsters Live?

We all want our hamsters to live long and fulfilling life. But how long can we really expect that to be?

Hamsters live on average 18 to 36 months.

The Lifespan of Pet Hamsters

How long your hamster lives may depend on his breed as some types of domestic hamsters have a short lifespan and others have a slightly longer lifespan. Most hamsters reach old age at just 12 months old.

Here are some of the average lifespans for some of the most popular types of domestic hamsters.

Hamster BreedAverage Lifespan
Syrian hamsters 2 to 3 years
Chinese hamsters 2 to 3 years
Winter white hamsters1 to 3 years
Roborovski hamsters2 to 3 years

old hamster

Why Hamsters Die: Common Hamster Illnesses

Hamsters make wonderful pets, but like other animals, they are in no way immune to getting sick and dying. These illnesses are sometimes brought on by viruses and other times simply by old age.

What are the most common hamster ailments you need to look out for?

Here is a list of some of them.

  • Wet tail disease
  • Congestive heart disease
  • Constipation
  • Skin abscesses
  • Coughs and colds
  • Conjunctivitis

Why Do Hamsters Die Easily?

Hamsters are fragile animals that you need to keep a close eye on. A hamster that gets sick could suddenly die if it does not receive the medical attention it needs.

But perhaps you’re wondering…

Why are hamsters so delicate?

Here are a couple of reasons.

Hamsters are Small and Have Delicate Bones

If a hamster breaks a bone, it is not often possible for a vet to repair it because they are so small. If he falls off of a table onto the floor, he might break his back.

Falling from a height could kill your hamster instantly, but if it doesn’t could have internal bleeding and will need immediate medical attention. Getting him the attention he needs within the first few hours after an accident is essential.

Some Diseases Are Hard to Detect

A pet hamster might carry a disease for some time before symptoms begin to show. When they do, it is often too late to do something to help them.

Some Conditions Do Not Have a Cure

Heart failure and thrombosis only have treatments and do not have a cure. A hamster with this problem could die within less than a week without treatment.

Hamsters Are Timid Animals

Pet hamster stress is an issue that can lead to diarrhea. Loud noises and sudden movements are enough to stress your hamster.

Young Hamsters Are More Vulnerable

A baby hamster is prone to diarrhea at around 4 weeks when weaning. Do not take it away from its mother too soon.

Can Hamsters Die Suddenly?

The span of the average hamster’s life is 18 to 36 months. Even still, your hamster might seem to die suddenly.

Why is that?

Here are a couple of reasons why hamsters seem to die quickly.

  • Your hamster might contract a disease that doesn’t show symptoms for a while. By the time the symptoms appear, it might be too late to save your hamster.
  • Hamsters are very fragile. If he breaks a bone or falls from a height, this could kill him. A disease or illness could put a strain on your hamster’s heart or lead to his sudden death.
  • Some hamsters are prone to disease as they get older. The Syrian hamster is prone to develop heart conditions as it gets older.

How to Prevent Infections From Spreading In Your Hamster’s Cage

Do you have 2 hamsters living together in one cage?

If one of your hamsters develops an illness you must remove him from the cage. You will then need to clean the cage to prevent the infection from spreading.

Hamsters can spread illnesses from one to another through sneezing and coughing. So, if you suspect your hamster is ill, avoid letting him mix with his friends until he is better.

How to Clean Your Hamster Cage

So, how can you clean your hamster’s enclosure and stop the spread of infection?

Here are some important steps for you to follow.

  1. Clear out the cage and throw the bedding in the garbage
  2. Clean and sanitize the cage, food bowl, toys, and exercise equipment
  3. Replace the drinking water and clean and sanitize the water bottle

How to Prevent Your Hamster From Getting Sick or Injured

Hamsters are energetic animals and love to run around, eat, and play. But hamsters can die if they get sick or suffer an injury.

Is there anything you can do to keep your hamster happy and healthy?

Yes, there is! Here are a couple of tips.

Make Sure his Cage Is Escape-Proof

You must keep your hamster in a cage he cannot escape from. That way, he is less likely to fall from a height and injure himself.

You will be able to find the safest housing options at good pet shops.

Keep Your Hamster’s Routine the Same

Abrupt changes in his surroundings or diet could cause the hamster to feel worried and give him severe diarrhea. A predictable stress-free routine is a key to a happy life for your pet.

Take him for Regular Check-Ups

If your hamster’s behavior is unusual, take him straight to the vet. A hamster care plan will ensure you are able to take him for regular check-ups so the vet can detect any issues early.

Keep Sick Hamsters Separate From Healthy Ones

This will prevent illnesses from spreading from one hamster to the other. Disinfect his living area after you remove the sick hamster.

The Keys to Keep Your Hamster Healthy and Happy

In an ideal world, all hamsters would be able to live happy lives well into their old age. But as we have seen in this blog post, hamsters can suffer from a number of illnesses that can affect their immune system, cause difficulty breathing, and other health problems.

Key Takeaway:

A hamster might die prematurely if it has heart problems and suffers a heart attack, constipation, broken limbs, or even skin abscesses. Some hamsters catch colds and pass them on to other hamsters in their cages.

To ensure your hamster lives a long and happy life, feed it a balanced diet, make sure it gets plenty of exercises, and take it to a qualified veterinarian for regular check-ups. If one of your hamsters or other rodents displays any unusual behavior, separate him from the others.

Did you find the tips and information on this page interesting? Well, at Oddly Cute Pets, we’re always striving to provide you with the latest guides that will help you to take care of your hamster and other small pets. Make sure you keep up to date with our most recent posts.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment