Keeping a hamster isn’t just an all warm and fun feeling. There are many things that you should take into consideration as a responsible pet owner; proper handling, the right cage, beddings, what to feed them, and how to clean them.
You probably landed on this article because you are asking what sand is safe for hamsters? Being a great pet owner starts with great research.
This article will cover how to bathe your hamster safely and what is the best sand for hamsters that you can get online and from a pet shop. Moreover, the reason why can’t just pick up any bathing sand or dust powder.
While hamsters are quite good at keeping themselves clean and they actually spend about 20 per cent of their time grooming, they still need help from you. But not with soap and water which actually does more harm than good because it will also remove the essential oil covering their fur. And this is where a hamster sand bath comes in.
- Basic hamster supplies that you need from day 1
- How to keep your hamster happy
- Best hamster cage
- How to take care of a hamster for beginners
BATHING A HAMSTER/HOW TO CLEAN/BATHE YOUR HAMSTER
People automatically think that the way to clean or bathe a hamster is getting them wet but that’s so far from the truth. Hamsters don’t like getting wet at all, while they can swim, it can be very dangerous and stressful for them. Here’s our article about can hamsters swim.
There’s only one way to bathe a hamster and it’s through bathing sand. Use a sandbox and sand bath to keep them clean, happy, and healthy. Hamsters will roll on the sand to clean their fur and also use this sand as their toilet for peeing. It’s hard to train your hamster to poo on the sand though.
Remember, this is the only safe way on how to give a hamster a bath.
WHAT IS HAMSTER SAND BATH
Hamster sand is an item that helps your hamster clean their fur and stay tidy. Hamsters also use a sand bath as a toilet [mostly for peeing]. Some people think you can simply use any sand but that’s not true.
Sand from the outside is filthy and mostly likely carrying bacteria. You can buy sand that is specifically made for your hamster’s hygiene. You can find them in pet stores or online shops. With all that, how can we actually find safe sand for hamsters?
ALSO READ: Best hamster litterbox and hamster sandbox
IS SAND GOOD FOR YOUR HAMSTER
The simple answer is yes. But, not all hamster sand bath out there is suitable. Sand dust/powder is not safe, its particles are too tiny which can be inhaled by your hamster which is dangerous for their respiratory.
It’s important that you use a sand bath that is not too fine and without a scent. You can also use the reptile’s sand but without the added calcium. You must change the sand once a week or every 3 days or whenever the sand is damp/moist or when it smells of pee.
Don’t get frustrated if your hamster doesn’t poo on the sand, as long as they use them to clean their fur and pee on it, that’s good enough.
DO HAMSTERS LIKE SAND BATH
As usual, it is vital to test if your hamster likes the new sand bath. First, place ample enough on a ceramic bowl or sandbox. Introduce them to your hamster. In the beginning, they might not know what to do with it but just give them time.
After this, if you see your hamster going there and wriggle their fur around, obviously, they love it. However, don’t get too comfortable, if your hamster develops any changes in behaviour, this might be a sign that your hamster is developing a bad reaction from the sand.
It’s important to read reviews and ask your hamster community for their safe hamster sand bath recommendation.
HOW TO LOOK FOR A SAFE SAND FOR HAMSTERS
A hamster sand bath is a product specially designed for hamsters to help them clean themselves. The sand’s abrasive properties help remove dirt, small, and excess moisture from your pet’s coat. There are several varieties of sand baths for hamsters that can be bought from pet stores. However, not all of them are equally safe. Read on to learn more about which proper sand bath to use.
Is scented sand bath safe for hamsters
Many sand baths come with a scent designed to mask the odour of hamster pee, which is okay as long as the smell is mild and not too strong, but, of course, zero scents are better.
You might think that a good-smelling sand bath is the best because it pleases our human noses, but that isn’t the case for our hammies. Hamsters possess a keen sense of smell, which is why using a strongly-scented hamster sand bath isn’t the best option because it will irritate their nose, and worse, might also cause them respiratory problems or can cause irritable mood.
Not almost like a powder – Must be dust-free
As mentioned, there are several varieties of hamster sand baths. The powder-like variant is often mistaken as a sand bath, but this type of sandbath for hamsters is actually called dust-bath– the kind that isn’t recommended for hammies.
That being said, you should avoid buying the ones that are almost like powder. The best sand bath for hamsters should feel like a grain when you rub it between your fingers. If it’s powder-like, its particles can easily be inhaled and will most likely cause harm to your hamster’s respiratory system.
It’s made for rodents or reptile’s sand
There are many types of sand baths; some are designed for specific pets. When buying a sand bath for hamsters, you would want to go for the ones specifically made for hamsters, or better, for several types of rodents.
Using a sand bath for reptiles is also okay, but you should read the package carefully to make sure that the one you’re purchasing doesn’t have added calcium. Like scented sand baths and dust baths, the ones with calcium are equally harmful to your hamsters’ respiratory system, so avoid using these types at all costs.
Don’t use cat’s or litters that are too big
While it is tempting to replace the hamster sand bath with a cheaper alternative such as cat litter, it isn’t in your little critters’ best interest. The particles from cat litter are toxic to your hamsters’ lungs when inhaled, and are also known to irritate hamsters’ eyes, too. If your hamsters get sick because of these poisonous substances, then you might end up spending more on a visit to a veterinarian.
The best bathing sand for hamsters should not be too fine but also not too big like cat litters. Stick to a hamster sand bath and don’t use litters that are too big. If the litter are massive for your hamster’s feet, it can cause trouble with your hamster’s tiny feet.
Don’t buy bulk if untested by your hamster
If you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily, we recommend buying a small amount of hamster sand bath first and see if your hamsters will like it or use it, or if they don’t develop an irritation or other problems. If you buy a big bulk of sand bath and later realized that it is not the right brand/variant for your hammies, then you’ll end up spending more to get them treated, plus the sand bath will most likely end up in the trash bin.
SAFEST AND BEST HAMSTER SAND BATH TO BUY
Now that we’ve covered the most important things to consider when buying a hamster sand bath, this article wouldn’t be complete without a list of sand bath brands that we think fits the considerations we’ve listed above. Let’s have a look at the following items:
Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Bathing Sand
Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Bathing Sand is excellent for your hamsters because it is 100 per cent made from natural sand. It is dust-free, bacteria-free, absorbent, which are the qualities of a good hamster sand bath.
The grain is big and doesn’t produce powder-like clouds which are dangerous for hamsters. Although I recommend you buy one and see it for yourself, since, some hamster owners reported different experiences.
Zoo Med ReptiSand Natural
The best environment that we can give our pet hamsters is the environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. And this is precisely the reason why you should choose Zoo Med ReptiSand Natural Red sand bath. It stimulates the natural habitat of many land-dwelling animals who love to burrow themselves in the sand.
And, although the Zoo Med ReptiSand Natural Red is made for reptiles, as we mentioned, it is totally okay to use sand baths for reptiles that don’t contain calcium, and the granule is fine enough but not too powdery. Making this product one of the best alternative hamster sand baths in the market.
Children’s Play Sand
While this Play Sand is designed for children, it is made from non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials making it safe to use for little rodents such as hamsters, gerbils, and the likes. Moreover, the sands used to make this product are carefully processed, washed and dried before packaging.
Although this product has gone through a rigorous process before being rolled out in the market, we still recommend baking and drying this before using just to be extra sure that microorganisms that are possibly living in the sand won’t get in the way with you and your hamster’s happy moments.
Sepolita Bathing Sand Dust
You might be wondering why we’re including sand dust in this list when we don’t recommend dust sand, the answer is because Sepolita Bathing Sand Dust isn’t actually dust. But more of sand grains that won’t irritate your hammies, it is made from all-natural materials with absorbent properties that will absorb the excess dirt and moisture from your pets’ fur.
We recommend Sepolita rename this product to avoid confusing or pushing their customers away.
What’s more, is that they are selling trial packs so you don’t have to buy that much in your initial order which is an economical way to test your hamsters’ reaction to their product without breaking your bank.
VERDICT FOR THE THE BEST SAFE HAMSTER SAND
Weird at it sounds, the best hamster sand is ReptiSand by Zoo Med. The sand is not too fine or almost dusty or powder-like. The grain sand is great and it doesn’t have any calcium in them. They are also easy to find from online shops and exotic pet stores. My hamster loves it and that’s a good enough reason for me to vote this up versus a specific sand bath that is called “dust bath” or “sand powder”.
KEEPING THE SAND AREA CLEAN AND SAFE
We’ve covered the qualities of an ideal hamster sand bath to look for, and we’ve also shared some products we believe represent these qualities. The only thing that’s left to discuss is how to properly maintain the sand area clean and safe for your little furballs of cuteness.
So, if you want to keep them cute and healthy while ensuring they’re far from being dirty, definitely read on.
Remove the solid sand
You should regularly check their sand bath. When the sand feels moist and the grains are starting to clump together or becoming solid, it is time to replace the sand bath. You can scoop the wet/clumped parts and refill them with new sand.
By regularly checking your hamster sand bath, and replacing them when they need to be replaced, you are minimizing your hamsters’ chance of contracting an infection from bacterial growth from the moist sand bath.
Clean the sandbox
Empty the sandbox and clean it out properly at least once or twice a month or depending on how often your hamster uses it or how dirty or smelly it is. Remember, hamsters have a strong sense of smell, so if it gets too smelly for the human nose, your hamster might start doing their business somewhere else or possess irritating behaviour.
Cleaning the sandbox also prevents bacterial growth that could potentially affect your pets’ health in a negative way.
Watch out for irritation
As we’ve already established earlier, not all hamster sand baths are trustworthy. Some contain harmful substances that may make your hamsters sick. You should always be on the lookout for your hamsters, especially if you introduce them to a new sand bath.
If your hamster started sneezing and wheezing, developed goopy eyes, suddenly lacks energy, and displayed a sudden change of behaviour after using the new sand bath, then you know that it’s time to change hamster sand bath brands. If these symptoms persist even after changing your sand bath, then you’ll need a visit to a vet.
Hamsters are a bunch of hygienic creatures. We all know that they clean themselves often. But a little help from us, their human parents, goes a long way to ensuring that they are as healthy as they can ever be in our care. With the use of a hamster sand bath, you’re making them extra clean.
We’re glad that you made it this far because it shows that you are taking your hamsters’ health seriously. We hope that you find the content of this article useful. And this is us wrapping this article up in best wishes for your hamster-caring journey!