Are you wondering, “Why is my hamster drinking so much water?”
Last year, one of my hamsters increased its water intake, so I had to consult several vets to find the problems.
And I’m here to share my experience with all concerned hamster owners and give tips on stopping excessive drinking.
Just keep reading.
- Excessive drinking in hamsters can be due to environmental or medical reasons.
- Hamsters don’t drink much water, but they need constant access to water.
- You can manage excessive drinking in hamsters with some simple tips.
Why Is My Hamster Drinking So Much Water?
Excessive drinking in hamsters has many possible causes – from something as simple as wrong food to more severe health issues like kidney disease.
It’s vital to keep tabs on how much your pet hamster drinks to ensure it’s in good health and spot potential medical issues on time.
So, why is my hamster drinking so much water? Let’s talk about the reasons in detail.
When hamsters are stressed or getting used to a new environment, they don’t drink or eat much.
But once they’re comfortable in the new cage, it’s normal for them to increase their water intake to compensate for the dehydration.
And sometimes, hamsters get dehydrated due to a malfunctioned water bottle. Once it happened to me, and my hamster drank more than usual for the next couple of days.
Since then, I always do the pinch test – pinching the scruff to see if the skin will snap back quickly – to determine if my fluffy pet is well-hydrated.
Besides dehydration, hamsters drink more water when it’s too hot to lower their internal body temperature.
According to vets from Aspen Commons Animal Hospital, the optimal temperature for your hamster’s cage is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it should be away from direct sunlight. (1)
Overheating is a serious problem because hamsters have thick fur and can get a heat stroke if they don’t have access to water.
3. High Activity Levels
Hamsters are playful animals and like to run and play in their exercise ball. And it’s normal to notice your pet drinking more water after a long period of increased activity.
4. Dry Food Diet
Why is my hamster drinking so much water? I quickly noticed that my pet started drinking more than usual on a strictly dry food diet.
My vet explained that hamsters get water from vegetables and fruits. And pellets, grains, and seeds aren’t as rich in water, so it’s normal for hamsters to drink lots of water to get hydrated.
Also Check: The 3 Best Food For Hamster
5. Diet Rich in Salt
Besides dry food, a diet rich in salt can also be why your hamster drinks so much from its water bottle. Too much salt leads to dehydration, which makes your pet thirsty.
Choose healthy foods with minimal salts, such as root vegetables and apples.
6. Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs are one of the medical reasons for excessive thirst and drinking.
These infections are more common in pet hamsters than you think because hamsters are tiny, and it’s easy for bacteria to enter the urinary tract and bladder.
Animals with UTIs urinate more often than usual, so they’ll naturally drink more to restore their water levels.
Besides excessive urination and drinking, you should also watch for bloody urine, pain, lethargy, and elevated body temperature.
UTIs won’t get better without medical attention, so you should contact your vet. If you don’t treat it on time, it can lead to kidney disease.
This video helped me a lot to recognize UTIs in hamsters.
7. Digestive Issues
Diarrhea and other digestive issues can dehydrate your hamster’s small body and make it thirsty all the time.
And diarrhea is very common in hamsters, especially when they’re young and stressed. Vets call it wet tail.
Unfortunately, excessive thirst is one of the classical signs of diabetes. That’s because diabetes makes your hamster pee more often to remove the excess sugar from the blood.
Increased appetite, weight loss, hyperactivity, or lethargy are other common signs of diabetes.
In female hamsters, eating and drinking more water per day can be a sign of pregnancy. After all, your pet needs increased calories and water to develop its babies.
It’s also normal for a nursing female hamster to be thirstier than usual.
10. Kidney Disease
Why is my hamster drinking so much water? Unfortunately, kidney disease is one of the possible reasons, especially if you have an elder pet.
Kidney problems cause increased urination, excessive thirst, and weight loss. It’s usually due to untreated diabetes, infections, or high blood pressure in the kidneys.
Finally, some hamsters start drinking more than usual because they’re bored or depressed. It’s how they try to attract your attention and communicate their unhappiness.
And now let’s talk about how much water healthy hamsters should drink. After all, you should know what amount of water is a sign of increased thirst.
How to Tell If My Hamster Is Drinking Too Much Water?
According to vets from PetMD, “Hamsters drink approximately 10 milliliters of water per 100 grams of body weight per day.” (2)
Most hamsters weigh around 150 grams, so they should drink about 15 milliliters of fresh water or about three teaspoons of water.
However, Syrian hamsters weigh around 200-250 grams. It’s normal for them to drink more water than their smaller brethren.
It’s not necessary to measure your pet’s water consumption every day.
But if you notice that your pet needs extra water or you need to refill the bottle with water more frequently, you should try these seven tips after consulting with a vet.
And check this video to see a cute thirsty hamster!
7 Tips on How to Stop Excessive Drinking in Hamsters
You can stop your hamster from drinking too much once you figure out what’s causing the excessive thirst. These tips should help you.
1. Check the Water Bottle
As I already said, I once had a faulty bottle, and my pet had problems drinking from it, leading to mild dehydration.
To avoid such problems, ensure that the bottle is made for hamsters and check it from time to time for clogs. Don’t use a water dish in the cage because the water will get contaminated.
READ MORE: How to Teach Hamster to Drink From Water Bottle
2. Maintain Proper Temperature
During the hot summer days, I place a chilled bottle in the hamster cage to prevent overheating and keep my pet cool. If that doesn’t work, I move the cage to the coldest spot in the house.
3. Change the Diet
According to hamster experts from PDSA, the best diet for hamsters includes commercial pellets, Timothy hay, fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. (3)
As an occasional treat, I give my pet hamsters some boiled eggs, nuts, and mealworms.
4. Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
If your hamster has diabetes, monitoring its blood sugar levels and adjusting its medication will reduce excessive drinking.
5. Provide Mental/Physical Stimulations
Did you know that hamsters can run about eight miles per night? I was also surprised when my vet said my pet lacked enough physical activity and drank out of boredom. (4)
You should ensure your pet has plenty of mental and physical stimulation by providing an exercise wheel or an exercise ball. Tunneling equipment also satisfies your pet’s natural desire to explore and burrow.
6. Keep the Cage Clean
Maintaining proper hygiene is vital to prevent bacteria overgrowth in the cage and complications, such as UTIs.
7. Regular Vet Check-Ups
You should take your hamster for a routine check-up at least once a year or more often if your pet is older or has unusual symptoms.
How do you know if your hamster is thirsty?
If your hamster is obsessed with its water bottle, it’s probably thirsty. To determine if your pet is well-hydrated, pinch its scruff. If the skin snaps back, you don’t have anything to worry about.
How often should a hamster drink water?
Hamsters should drink water daily but don’t drink much – around 10 mm per body weight. You can use a marker to draw a line on the bottle and keep tabs on how much your pet is consuming.
Can hamsters have too much water?
Yes. Drinking too much water can cause electrolyte imbalance, which can be fatal.
Do you have to change hamster water every day?
You should change the water daily and check the bottle for leaks or blockage.
Is tap water safe for hamsters?
You should avoid tap water if it’s high in chlorine. Distilled or bottled water is the best option for hamsters.
Why is my hamster drinking so much water?
Excessive drinking is often due to dehydration, hot weather, or increased activity. But it can be a sign of underlying health issues.
Still, how much water your animal drinks depends on other factors, such as diet, room temperature, environment, and activity.
If you’re worried, you should speak to your vet. Hamsters are fragile pets with short lifespans, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have you ever dealt with excessive thirst in hamsters, and what was the reason? Share your experience with us in the comment section.
- 1. James. Hamsters and Cold | Aspen Commons Animal Hospital | Vet Clinic in Auroa and Southeast Denver, CO [Internet]. www.aspencommonsvet.com. 2016 [cited 2022 Oct 4]. Available from: https://www.aspencommonsvet.com/2016/02/15/aurora-co-vet-hamsters-cold/
- 2. petMD. What Can Hamsters Eat? Carrots, Grapes, Tomatoes, and More | petMD [Internet]. Petmd.com. 2016. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/nutrition/evr_ex_hm_what-can-hamsters-eat
- 3. Feeding your hamster [Internet]. www.pdsa.org.uk. Available from: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/small-pets/your-hamsters-diet
- 4. Physical and Mental Stimulation [Internet]. www.bridgevilleanimalhospital.com. [cited 2022 Oct 4]. Available from: https://www.bridgevilleanimalhospital.com/articles/general/514788-physical-and-mental-stimulation
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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