Hello, my name is Valerie and although I am the pet parent of a dog, I am also a lover of all things pets.
My friend has a hamster which is a fascinating creature to watch.
I got to thinking about how she keeps the little thing clean and did some research about hamster baths.
I found out some very interesting things about sand for hamster baths.
Why do Hamsters Need Baths?
When you think about bathing your hamster, this is not a typical bath with water.
Bathing with water is never advisable with a hamster because they are so little and susceptible to colds. Getting wet is one way that he will catch a cold.
Another reason not to water bath a hamster is that you will remove the essential oils from their fur. It is these oils that help to keep the hamster healthy.
If you absolutely have to water bath your hamster, or use water on some area they have soiled, then be sure to do it in a warm area. Get the fur dry as soon as possible and return him to his cage to keep warm.
For a great article on dwarf hamsters bedding click here!
Having a sand bath is the way a hamster keeps his coat clean and shiny. It prevents the fur from becoming greasy and smelly.
If you leave the sand bath in the cage for extended periods it will also become dirty because it will absorb the oils from the fur.
Your hamster may also begin to use it as his toilet. Ideally, after every sand bath, you should remove the sand and clean the tub.
What is a Sand Bath?
A sand bath is a small container which you fill with sand instead of water.
The container should be large enough for your hamster to roll about in, and also easy for him to climb into and get out of.
Instead of filling the bath with water, you fill it with sand which will remove dirt and grease from your hamster’s fur.
Do Hamsters Need Sand Baths?
Generally speaking, hamsters keep themselves very clean. Provided their cages are kept clean and bedding changed regularly, they should stay nice and clean.
Occasionally, even though the cage is clean, they will still get dirty and their fur oily. Hamsters detest water and water baths, so sand is the better way to clean them.
If your hamster seems to be extra smelly, or the smell does not go away after his sand bath, you should see the vet.
Dust baths are not recommended for hamsters because the dust can give your pet respiratory problems.
Do hamsters actually like sand baths? Every hamster is different, although most do enjoy rolling around in the sand.
For hamsters who enjoy their sand baths, it is also a good way of exercise for them.
How Often Should a Hamster be Bathed?
This is a personal thing and entirely up to the pet owner. Some pet owners place the bath in the cage every second day, while others do this less often.
What is important is that the sand is clean, so taking it out of the cage makes sense so it does not get used as a toilet.
Once he has used it as a toilet, he will not use it to bath in again.
Do Baby Hamsters Need Sand Baths?
Baby hamsters do not need baths.
This is because their oil glands only develop after about a month and to bath them before this age may harm them, particularly if they put the sand into their pouches.
Can You Make a Sand Bath?
If you want to make a sand bath for your hamster, you can find a shallow, clean container, or a bowl that is big enough for him to comfortably move around in.
He must be able to climb in and out.
There are plenty of sand baths available online and in pet shops, and they have been designed for small animals so you may want to consider spending a little money for one of these.
How to Give Your Hamster a Sand Bath?
Really, there is nothing you need to do, other than sit back and enjoy his antics in the sand bath. Your hamster will do the rest. It is a natural instinct for him to climb into the sand and roll about in it.
He will enjoy himself rolling about in it, while cleaning his fur, similar to you and I getting a massage.
One thing to remember is that the hamster may get excited about rolling in the sand so it is a good idea to wedge the sand bath into a corner of the cage where it will stay in position until he is finished.
Once your hamster has had his bath, remove the tub and sand, remove the sand, wash the bath and dry it. Make sure that before his next bath it is completely dry.
Types of Sand to Use
It is important to use sand rather than dust for the bath. Dust will give your hamster health problems.
Can you use chinchilla sand? Yes you can. This is safe to use for hamsters. Look for sand that is dust free.
You can buy sand from pet shops or online. Make sure to check that the product is dust free.
Any product which is labelled as ‘powder’ should be avoided as it is more likely to do harm than good.
What About Beach Sand?
There are two schools of though about this one.
Some people swear by using the sand from a clean beach.
If the sand has pieces of shell in it, it should be sifted, although small pieces of shell that your hamster will nibble on can be good for him as they contain calcium.
The reason why people disagree with using beach sand is that you never really know how clean the beach is.
Bacteria is a huge problem with such small creatures and while you cannot see any debris, the beach may be contaminated with dog urine and other contaminants.
Unless you intend to sterilise the sand, you may want to stick to sand that is specifically made for hamsters.
The Best Sand for Hamsters (and some baths too!)
1. Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Chinchilla Bathing Sand
It is naturally absorbent and will keep that coat shiny and clean. The sand is also perfect with chinchillas who need to be bathed daily to keep their fur healthy.
The sand is designed to clump easily so makes removing debris easy and convenient. Simply use a little scoop to remove any lumps.
You will notice right away that this sand produces very little dust as you pour it into the bath. Your hamster will enjoy rolling around in it.
You should remove any soiled sand right away, and change it all once a week.
2. SatisPet Hamster Sand Bathroom Large in Blue – Plastic Sand Bath Container with Scoop
The bath does not contain any toxic or harmful substances so your hamster is safe even if he chews on it.
You can take the bath out and clean it after every use, it fits into a corner so it will stay steady while your hamster rolls about in it. The bath is lightweight and designed to fit into most cages.
Your furry friend will be happy with this sand bath, and his cage will stay cleaner for longer. He’ll be able to dig and burrow to his heart’s content, which means extra exercise for him.
The bath is big enough to fit a large hamster so will also be suitable for gerbils and dwarf hamsters.
The bath is very stable so your hamster can roll about without it overbalancing and tipping over.
3. Habitrail Ovo Pet Habitat
If your pet uses it as a bed, you may want to get another one to be used as bathroom. They fit nicely into cages. They are large enough for a hamster to comfortably turn around in.
The bath can be washed in warm water and detergent to keep it clean, and is attached to the side of the cage.
When you open the lid, the entrance is blocked off so you can clean the area without your hamster escaping. It also means that small children cannot accidentally let your hamster escape.
While this looks like something from outer space, it works very well for little creatures.
Well, I hope you’ve learned a few things about bathing a hamster. I certainly have!
I never knew they were such interesting little creatures and I also think that they will make excellent pets for people who don’t have space for large pets, or people who are unable to go outside.
These tiny creatures provide hours of endless entertainment.