Why Does My Hamster Keeps Scratching?

A hamster that scratches itself repeatedly with its back legs will be suffering from one of the following: dry skin, mange, mites, fleas, or some form of allergic reaction.

If the hamster’s ears are dry and look ‘flaky’, it might simply be a dry skin issue, a common symptom in warm, dry spaces such as houses (and one that humans suffer from too). You can help the condition by applying a little petroleum jelly to the back of your pet’s ears once a day. This should be enough to stop the itching and to keep the skin hydrated.

mange is very painful
If a hamster is forever scratching itself, there’s an underlying problem

Does Your Hamster Have Mange or Mites?

Mange is another cause of itching in hamsters. Sarcoptic mange is brought about by an infestation of a certain type of microscopic mite. These cause the skin to become dry and irritated, until it becomes scabby and crusted. The mites themselves are not visible to the human eye unaided, so you need to look for the symptoms. The crust-forming critters burrow under the hamster’s skin, and the condition soon becomes very painful for your poor pet.

Treatment includes thoroughly cleaning the cage and purchasing Ivermectin drops from your vet in order to help fight the mite.

If your hamster has dry skin all over its body, with irritation to match, it could be down to non-mange mites. Mites are tiny invertebrates that live on an animal’s skin. In small numbers they are not much of a problem – but small numbers can very soon become large numbers! Once there is a major infestation it can get very uncomfortable for your poor pet. His skin will become crusty, and there may be some hair loss. A vet will prescribe medication treat the problem.

Is Your Hamster Allergic To Something?

Hamsters are sometimes allergic to something put in their enclosures, resulting in itchy and irritated skin. It could be a toxic wood or chemical from a handmade chew or toy, an item of food, or something in the house environment that disagrees with the hamster. (Then again, it may be due to fleas.)

Allergies can be dangerous if not diagnosed and treated. If the scratching is accompanied by issues such as wheezing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, or discharge from the nose or eyes, it is probably down to an allergy.

This doesn’t rule out the possibility that the hamster may be suffering multiple health issues. For example, itchy skin plus a runny nose and breathing problems could indicate a respiratory infection and mite infestation double whammy. A vet will be able to provide guidance and, hopefully, a diagnosis.

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Olivia, 14 May 2020

Hai! I was wondering if/ how I can help my hamsters itching problem. Thanks.

Caitlin, 3 May 2020

just today I cleaned my hamster tank and I have noticed that he started scratching his ears, legs, and back. It is the same bedding I always use so I don't think it's an allergic reaction. He also tried to fall asleep behind his wheel when he has tunnels he had made. I am very confused and worried.

Savannah, 19 April 2020

My hamster Gizzy has been scratching his ears alot today and is nibbling on his legs and bedding I'm worried about him I don't want him hurt

Elizabeth, 14 April 2020

My hamster is scratching his lower back and leg. I’m really worried, is there anything I can do with us in lockdown?

Cal, 12 April 2020

My hamster also seems perfectly healthy just this itching thing he’s been having recently Not sure what to do during this pandemic:( I tried taking certain treats out to see if it was the food, changed bedding not sure what to do.

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