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How Do I Clean My Hamster's Fur?

A healthy hamster will groom itself every day. If you have a short-haired variety, you will not need to do any extra grooming, and even a long-haired type doesn’t require much. However, there are some things that you can do to assist the hamster’s sense of being well-groomed.

Short-haired hamsters look after their own fur, but may need a little bit of help as they get older.

hamster hygiene
Hamsters like to keep themselves clean

If your hamster manages to get dirty, start out with a sand bath. Most hamsters love having one of these. They simply wriggle around a bit in the sand, and that removes most of the dirt from their coat.

If the sand bath doesn't remove the dirt, or if you’re worried that your hamster may lick off the dirt, and that the dirt might upset his stomach, a liquid bath may be necessary, as a last resort.

Bathing A Hamster

If you are giving your pet a water bath, make sure his head doesn’t go below the water. The water should be lukewarm, not hot, and not cold. An adult should carry out the bathing, as hamsters are delicate and slippery little things. If you need to use a shampoo, make sure it’s one that’s safe for hamsters. Use the cool setting on a hairdryer to dry them off quickly before they get too chilly.

Long-haired hamsters are every bit as fastidious as their short-haired cousins, but need a little extra help cleaning themselves. They will usually enjoy a sand bath, and will also benefit from an occasional brushing and trimming session.

long haired hygiene
Long-haired hamster hygiene – a bit of human TLC is required

To brush your long-haired hamster, place it on your lap and let it settle down before moving in with the brush. A wide-toothed comb is good for a first run-through. Thin-toothed combs will tug at the hair more and therefore make the grooming session a painful and stressful one for the hamster.

Brush gently and hold the hair between the hamster’s skin and the tangled area, so that you can keep the hair between your fingers and the hamster’s skin slack. This will mean that untangling the knot doesn’t pull on the hamster’s hair root.

If the hair remains knotted and untidy after the session, a trim may be in order. Hamsters hate being put on their back, so you will need to trim the fur with the hamster standing on a surface. Take off just little bit at a time, and never pull at the hair.

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Alicia, 1 December 2019

My Russian hamster is quite aggressive and how would I clean her because she keeps herself clean enough like wild hamsters though I am fine but her coat is all matted and nasty. So what would you suggest for me to clean her a little easier?

Frances, 11 September 2018

Hamsters are very beautiful.