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Hamsters and Cold

Do you have a pet hamster? If so, you’ll want to take extra care to keep your little pet at comfortable temperatures as winter approaches. Hamsters are very sensitive to cold, and don’t do well when the thermostat drops. Read all about cold-weather care for hamsters in this article from your local vet Dunedin.

Hamster Temperatures

Hamsters do best in temperature ranges between 65 and 75 degrees. While Florida is known for having mostly balmy winters, there are those few days or even weeks each year where the temperature plummets, and we have to trade in our flip-flops for covered shoes and maybe even put on a sweater. Just like Floridians, hamsters are more suited to warmer temperatures. Some of the dwarf hamster breeds will burrow when the weather gets cold, but others, like the Syrian hamster, don’t always know how to keep warm. Hamster habitats also are often not set up to accommodate deep burrowing, so your little pet may just curl up shivering in his little hidey-hole.

Hibernation

Temperatures below 60 can trigger the hibernation process in hamsters. Hibernation allows animals to slow their body processes and enter a deep sleep, rather like a self-induced coma. While hamsters can and do hibernate, this state is very dangerous to them. Hamsters, unlike many other hibernating animals, need to drink lots of water while hibernating. Since drinking water while sound asleep isn’t exactly a natural thing for any animal to do, many hamsters die from dehydration while hibernating. A hamster that is hibernating may appear dead, except that his body will be limp rather than stiff.

Keeping Your Pet Warm

Hamsters will often shiver if they are cold. Your pet may become lethargic, and lose interest in his food and water. His little feet, ears, and nose may also feel cold to the touch. Make sure to keep your little furball’s cage in an area that has no drafts, and keep an eye on the thermostat. When temperatures drop below 60, you will want to take steps to keep the little guy warm. A space heater is an option, but just be sure to monitor it. With Florida’s sometimes-wacky winter weather, you don’t want your little pet to get too hot if the temperature fluctuates. Another option is to get a heating pad that will fit under your pet’s cage. You can also pile a bit of extra bedding around your little guy’s hidey-hole to help insulate it.

Do you have any questions about caring for hamsters? Please contact us any time. As your local vet clinic Dunedin, we are here to help!

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