My hamster keeps scratching, what should I do?
Gerbils can get fleas and other parasites that make them scratch, such as mites. If your gerbil appears to be scratching a lot, we recommend that you arrange for your vet to see your gerbils to check if this is why they. Your vet will be able to make a diagnosis and recommend the best course of action to deal with the fleas (if they are the problem). They will also be able to advise on handling your gerbils while you are treating them, as they need to be kept warm and calm to avoid stress.
If your gerbils do have fleas, then you will not only need to treat your pets, but the area they inhabit too. Fleas spend a lot of time off the animal, so you will need to make sure you keep supplying fresh bedding and clean their container and sleeping quarters thoroughly.
You can buy suitable products to keep your gerbils free of parasites from your vet or pet shop. But make sure that you either use what the vet prescribes, or if you buy a product over the counter, then check it is one specifically for use on gerbils, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t be tempted to use a flea product for dogs on your gerbils, for example.
My hamster is suffering from diarrhoea, what should I do?
Your hamster may be suffering from a potentially fatal disease such as wet tail or Tyzzer’s disease. Please contact your vet as soon as possible for advice. (link through to pet health guide pages)
How often should I carry out a healthcheck on my pet?
You should check your pet on a daily basis to make sure there are no signs of disease or injury. Simple changes in behaviour in relation to feeding, activity and toilet habits often give a clue that all is not normal. If in doubt or you find anything abnormal contact your vet for advice.
How often should I feed my hamster?
Hamsters are omnivores and require some animal protein in their diet. The easiest way to do this is to feed your pet daily with a complete food specifically for hamsters, which provides all the nutrients in the correct amounts and proportions. Water must be accessible at all times and bottles are often easier to keep clean, however hamsters appreciate being given a bowl of water occasionally so they can splash about and wash.
What should I put in my hamster’s cage to keep him occupied?
Regular exercise is important to keep your pet fit and prevent boredom, which could lead to behavioural problems. Items for the cage, such as hamster wheels, boxes and tubes are fun for both you and your pet.
My hamster has lumps on its skin – what are they?
Tumours are quite common in older hamsters, especially females. Identified as a hard lump, a cancerous tumour can be distinguished from an abscess because it is often accompanied by fur loss and poor condition. If you think your pet has a tumour take it to the vet immediately. For further information please contact your vet.
My hamster is sneezing. Does he have a cold?
Hamsters are able to catch the common cold from humans and suffer from similar symptoms including a runny nose and sneezing. In more severe cases they may have laboured breathing, runny eyes and refuse to eat or drink and as a consequence suffer from weight loss. To help avoid your pet from catching a cold, don’t handle him if you’ve got a cold yourself. If you think your hamster has started to get a cold treat him early as if the cold is severe then it can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. For further information please contact your vet.