Hamsters like to play and then groom themselves. When you look closely at the hamster, you may notice that he licks itself a lot.
Why do hamsters groom themselves? Hamsters will keep grooming themselves at all times, and it is because of a variety of reasons. Hamsters groom because of stress, skin infection, dandruff, marking their territory, to protect themselves, and skin parasites.
It usually happens because a hamster loves to stay neat and clean. They are naturally so conscious about their hygiene and cleanliness.
Why do hamsters groom themselves?
In this article, we have added 7 main reasons that make hamsters groom at all times. Along with this, we have added a detailed guide to prevent excessive grooming in your pet hamsters.
Let me explain all the reasons in detail here:
Hamsters love to stay clean
Hamsters are one of the most decent pets you can ever have. They love to clean and groom themselves. Whether it is playing, going to pee or poop, or in your hands, he will always groom itself after that.
You will see a hamster licking its feet, body, and other parts. It also brushes its hair and ears to remain neat and clean. If you have a hamster, you probably do not need to take care of their cleanliness as they do a better job than you.
Not all hamsters are the same. Some are efficient in grooming, while others are too lazy to groom themselves again and again. You don’t need to worry if your hamster is not grooming itself.
To mark their territory
Hamsters are territorial animals. They do not like to have any smell on them other than their scent. If you touch a hamster or if it goes to play, it is most likely that it will clean itself at once.
This gesture shows that hamsters do not want any other animals or humans to come near their territory un-necessarily.
To protect themselves from predators
Another reason your hamster likes to clean itself is that they are protecting themselves from any animal attacks. Hamsters are prey animals, and they must do everything to save themselves from any predator attacks.
If you look closely, your hamster will groom itself from the hip area. The hamster’s unique thing about the hip area is that it contains a particular scent that the hamster spreads throughout its body. This scent keeps the hamsters safe from predators.
Hamsters groom themselves when stressed
A hamster gets scared too easily. If they are being mishandled or in a stranger place, your hamster will most likely go into depression and stress.
When your hamster is stressed, you will see a disturbing way of grooming done by the hamster. You can easily distinguish between the regular grooming and the stressful grooming of your hamster.
Less touching your hamster can reduce stress. You can also put your other pets from the hamster so that it will not panic in the presence of any predator. New places and loud noises can also make your hamster groom its face.
For additional symptoms of stress, you can notice if your hamster is biting the cage or not. If it bites its cage also, then your hamster might be stressed, and you need to do something effectively to release its stress. Stressed hamsters can die.
Hamsters can have an allergy or skin infection
Hamsters can have diseases and allergies too. It happens when your hamster goes to play in a dirty place. Tropical insects can also be the cause of infection and allergies.
If you see your hamster scratching and grooming itself, then take a close look at the fur. Maybe you could spot the allergy. If you know the spot, then contact your vet at once or take it to the vet. Allergies can be harmful to your poor hamster.
Hamsters can get parasites from other pets
If you have other pets in your home and are not checked for worms regularly, they can infect your hamster with worms and parasites.
Your hamster would groom itself a lot to get rid of the worms, but some parasites are severe, and they would not leave quickly.
You can take the help of a vet in this case, and a sand bath will be helpful in this case. It would be best if you also took care of your other pets, especially cats and dogs, as they are prone to such types of worms, and they can infect your other pets and even you and your kids.
Hamsters can have dandruff
Well, just like humans, Hamsters can have dandruff too. Dandruff in their fur causes them lots of itching. If you see your hamster grooming vigorously, then it might be having dandruff in its hair. Dandruff might happen due to issues in their bedding being too dry or something wrong with the diet.
The best thing to fight dandruff is to consult a vet. You can also reduce dandruff by changes in the diet. Mix some chunks of carrots, a little shredded cheese, and few olive oil drops into their regular seed food. Doing this for some time will reduce the amount of dandruff from your hamster, and he will stop grooming itself harshly.
How to stop your hamster from excessive grooming?
Grooming is beautiful and natural. If your hamster grooms itself, then it is its nature. But if the grooming sessions are long and you sense your hamster might be having issues, then you need to act promptly on that. Here are some of the tips that can prevent your hamster from over scratching:
Keep the cage clean
Cleanliness is a vital part of pet care. If you want to make sure that your pet hamster or any other pet does not get ill or infected, then a cleaning session is necessary.
Make a routine of cleaning your hamster’s cage at regular intervals. Clean all the litter nicely, ensure that no mites enter into the cage, and trouble your poor hamster. In this way, your hamster will remain clean all the time, and its over-grooming will come to an end.
Take care of the diet
Healthy food makes your hamsters healthy and strengthens their immune system. Your hamster requires a proper and balanced diet to live a good life.
A heavy diet can make your hamster clumsy, and it will also make your hamster aggressive. Angry hamsters overly groom themselves and often get hurt too. Try to give your hamster proper food and also let it spin on its wheel to digest that food.
Use pet-friendly products in the house
When you clean your home, the cleaning products leave a specific odor to the house. This scent can cause disturbance to your pets, especially hamsters, and it might groom itself vigorously.
Try to buy animal-friendly products for cleaning so that their smell would not make your hamster uncomfortable.
Let it soak the sun
Lastly, the sun is the primary source of energy. Your hamster might like to hide in dark and cold places, but it also needs sunlight to soak some energy and remain clean.
Place your hamster in a well-ventilated area where it can soak the sun for some time. It will decrease the excessive grooming for sure.