Hamsters are very adorable creatures that are well-known for their puffed cheeks, as well as soft fur. That’s why if you notice that they start to have bald spots, something must be wrong with them. In this article, we are going to tackle various causes of hamster alopecia or hamster losing hair.
Typically, hamsters start to lose hair when they are of age. But if your hamster pet is still young (1.5 years in a human year), there is a severe reason for a hamster fur loss. In this article, we will answer the question “why is my hamster balding” and what solutions can you do.
Some reasons for hamster baldness are lack of nutrients, parasites, allergy, friction, moulting, excessive moisture and stress, just to name a few. Stress can also be a crucial factor of hair loss for hamsters, just like it is for humans. You need to know the reason for your pet’s alopecia for you to completely treat it.
WILL MY HAMSTER’S FUR GROW BACK
You may be wondering why your furry pet is currently experiencing hamster fur loss and if their fur will regrow. It actually depends on the amount of damage that was done. The fur regrowth can take up to six weeks, but they might not grow back if the roots are damaged.
That’s why you need to make sure that the main problem is diagnosed early to be treated as soon as possible, and the hair loss won’t become severe.
REASONS OF HAMSTER LOSING HAIR – WHY IS MY HAMSTER BALDING
Don’t feel alarmed if you notice a couple of hamster bald patches on your furry pet, as there are a lot of possible reasons why it happened, and it is a common occurrence. Balding or fur loss is pretty common with hamsters but there is no good reason for them to experience such illness.
Unless it’s a sign of ageing, but even with that, there is a big difference between balding from ageing and balding from well, serious health problems.
Your hamsters losing hair doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a disease. It could be a nutrient deficiency problem or being exposed to some allergens. Whatever the reason may be, it is paramount that it gets treated as soon as possible.
Moulting is one of the reasons for your hamster losing hair. They tend to lose more hair during the spring in preparation for the summer season. As summer is the hottest season, hamsters shedding makes perfect sense so that they would feel cooler. Their fur will start to grow back during the autumn season in preparation for winter.
Syrian and Russian hamsters shed more compared to Chinese or Roborovki hamsters. If the cause of fur loss is moulting, you don’t need to do anything else but wait for the summer season to be over.
Too much whole grains and a lack of protein or other essential vitamins can also be the cause of your hamster’s alopecia. That’s why you need to make sure that your hamster has a balanced diet than just sunflower seed and corn. High protein, vegetables, and some fruits are essential in a hamster’s balanced diet.
You can also consult your veterinarian with which specific foods your hamster should have. Some of the good foods for hair loss include whole wheat pasta, cheese, unseasoned cooked eggs, and unsweetened cereal.
Some might be shocked to know that hamsters get stressed as well, but they definitely do. Some of the reasons include changing environment or living space, lack of toys, too much human contact, and stimulation in general.
To alleviate your furry friend’s stress, make sure that the enclosure is big enough because the cage size might be the cause of your hamster’s stress. In line with that, you also need to clean the cage regularly but not too often.
Ensure that your hamster has an ample amount of food and water that are replenished every day or every other day. Place the cage in a quiet location because hamsters get stressed with a constant loud noise, and most importantly, don’t forget to let your hamster out of the cage at least 10 minutes a day.
The age-related reason is common with hamster fur loss as well as the change of hair colour. It usually happens to hamsters more than two years of age. The bald patch on hamsters starts at the tummy area then spreads out to the neck, chest, hips and leg area.
A hamster who just gave birth also experiences loss of hair while feeding its babies. However, there’s no need to worry because their hair will grow back as soon as weaning is over.
If the reason for your hamster losing hair is old age, make sure that your hamsters are always comfortable. Some of the things you can do are adding softer food to your diet, such as porridge, cooked chicken, steamed veggies, and rice.
Aside from that, you also need to make sure that their habitat is clean and warm. However, don’t overdo it and stick to your usual schedule unless you notice a pungent smell because a hamster will notice when their environment changed, and that can cause stress to them.
Rubbing on Something
One example of excessively rubbing on something is when hamsters bite on bar cages one too many times. Because of consistent friction, bald spots on their nose area may form. Another instance is when your furry pet often rubs against their toys or other abrasive items.
Fights and Wounds
Numerous hamsters living in one cage will cause them to fight because hamsters are territorial and are solitary creatures. Fights can result in wounds, which can turn into bald patches. That’s why it’s essential to separate your hamsters once they reach six weeks old.
Having water bottles that leak can also cause your hamster fur loss because moisture affects hamsters as much as it affects humans. The extra water is detrimental to preventing hair growth.
Ticks or Mites
Ringworms, mites, ticks and fleas can also cause hair loss to your pet. Hamsters with ectoparasites may itch and scratch themselves excessively, which can cause their hairs to fall out. If you suspect that your pet has parasites, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Excessive itching is not only caused by parasites. It can also be a sign of an allergic reaction. Some causes of allergic reactions include bedding and the foods that they eat.
For bedding, check if it has any ticks, fleas or mites. It is imperative that you immediately contact your veterinarian if you’re unsure what the cause for excessive itching is.
HOW TO TREAT HAMSTER FUR LOSS
You might be alarmed if your hamster pet starts losing its hair but don’t lose hope. Most probably, the condition is treatable. That’s why you need to learn what the root cause of the problem is. May it be diagnosed by a veterinarian, a diet change, a change of environment or cage and separating them from other hamsters. In this part of the article, we will tackle the solutions to various causes of your hamster’s hair loss.
Vet consultation is essential and should be one of the first things to consider when resolving your furry pet’s hair loss dilemma. That is because vets can properly diagnose the root cause and give you the most appropriate solution.
You shouldn’t guess what happened to your hamster in these scenarios because it may cause more harm than good. For instance, if it has something to do with mites, the vet will prescribe the appropriate medicine. You have to make sure to only use medical treatments like antibiotics but only if it’s prescribed by a vet.
Another scenario is that if the problem’s root cause is food-related, they can provide you with the right foods that your hamster should take and the proper amount of each and how frequent.
To know the hamster’s condition, your vet might take a skin or hair test. You will be informed regarding this ahead of time so that you can make the necessary preparations. You must use a secured vet carrier to ease the stress on your hamster.
Change of Diet
Make sure that you follow the vet’s orders regarding the food your pet should eat. If you noticed that the symptoms came back after the diet change, make sure to let your vet know immediately and bring the new dry mix packet you feed your hamster to the vet.
If your hamster intakes less than 16% of protein, it could result in hair loss. That’s why you should cut back on cereals and feed them with foods containing protein. Here’s our guide on hamster food and diet.
Some good sources of protein include seeds, tofu and nuts, excluding almonds. Take note that excessive protein can cause harm as well. Make sure that the protein intake will not be more than 20%. If adding protein does not help, you might consider adding iron to your diet. This will be achieved by feeding them hard-boiled eggs, dried fruit or cereal.
Put Oil on Bar Cage or Change cage
If the reason for your hamster fur loss is bar biting, you need to put oil or apple bitter spray for them to stop biting the bars. If it doesn’t work, you need to switch to a bar less cage-like, such as an aquarium or bin cage (plastic box). You can learn more about hamster bar chewing.
Separate the Hamsters
Like what was previously discussed, hamsters in the same cage may regularly fight because they are territorial and solitary creatures and fighting results in wounds, resulting in hair loss. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure that you separate the hamsters once they reach six weeks old.
You can keep their enclosure close but not close enough that they can reach each other, hear, or smell each other. Also, don’t try to reintroduce your hamsters to one another because they might recognize each other as threats instead of being friendly.
Keep the Cage in the Dry Room
Ensure that the enclosure is in a dry room because moisture and extreme change in temperature may cause the hamster to lose hairs; use a dehumidifier if needed.
Aside from that, choose a calm and quiet area for your hamster’s cage because constant loud noises also make them feel stressed. If possible, keep a steady temperature between 18 to 22 degrees celsius because they often get sleepy and might start hibernating once the temperature drops to less than 10 degrees.
Put the cages away from windows or air vents because it can get freezing in these areas. Keep them away from extreme hot locations as well, such as furnaces or heaters.
Hamster fur loss isn’t uncommon. They usually shed fur during their periodic shedding cycles. You might notice that their fur becomes thinner during these times, but they don’t become completely bald.
It is also normal for male hamsters to develop a bald spot on each side of their body where their oil glands are. No treatment is necessary for this as well.
With these tips, as well as the advice from your local veterinarian, your lovely pet will grow back its fur in no time. We hope that this article has been eye-opening and helpful.