How to Care for an Injured Hamster

Updated on June 11, 2018
Happy hamster eating and stuffing his cheeks
Happy hamster eating and stuffing his cheeks

How Hamsters Get Injured

Small animals like hamsters are prone to falls, drops, and other mishaps. If the hamster gets dropped accidentally it can suffer a serious injury, and if the drop is high enough the fall could be fatal. This is why you should be especially careful when you're carrying your hamster. And you should be especially watchful and careful when a child is holding a hamster.

Never let your hamster loose in your house, as this could result in your hamster getting injured. Hamsters love to jump, run and play, and they can easily injure themselves if you don't take preventive measures.

Signs of a Serious Injury

  • Your hamster stops eating and refuses to eat
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Limping
  • Labored breathing
  • Aggression from a hamster that was very tame before
  • Squeaks or cries of pain
  • Your hamster stops moving and sleeps more than usual. As a hamster gets older, it's going to sleep more than when it was younger. However, if your hamster suffers a fall and starts to sleep more than usual, you should worry.

What to Do if Your Hamster Gets Injured

I'll quite often get an email or a call from a person saying, "I dropped my hamster, now what do I do?"

What you need to do will depend on how seriously your hamster was injured. A hamster dropped from several feet onto a hard surface or floor can suffer broken bones and serious internal injuries. In such a case, having it euthanized is the most humane thing to do. If the hamster is bleeding from its mouth or having convulsions, it is probably not going to survive. But If it just broke a toe or leg, the veterinarian may be able to help the hamster.

If you suspect that your hamster is seriously injured from a fall or other cause, take it to the vet to be checked. Don't let the little animal suffer. It may well have to be euthanized, but this is the best thing to do if it is badly injured.

Be sure that you know a good vet that will treat hamsters before you ever need one. Don't wait until the last minute to find a vet or it may be too late.

Avoid handling an injured hamster unless it is absolutely necessary. If it is injured and you need to pick it up to go to the vet, wear gloves so it won't bite you and make you drop it again. Transport your hamster to the vet in a covered cardboard box if you need to.

If a hamster is injured and in pain, it may stop eating; if this happens, you're going to have to visit the vet to get it treated and get pain medication. This often happens if it has a broken rib. With pain medication and hand feeding it can survive, if you give it a lot of care and spend extra time with it. Ask the vet about how to hand-feed an injured hamster, and what to feed it.

Hopefully the injury to your hamster won't be as serious as you think. With luck the vet will be able to help your hamster and before long your pet will be back home with you.

Preventing Hamster Injuries

Because hamsters' bones break so easily, especially if they are dropped, I tell hamster owners, and people wanting to get a hamster, to find a local veterinarian—before you need one—who would treat a small animal like a hamster. Call and make sure they treat hamsters.

Use care when handling your hamster so that it doesn't suffer a bad fall. Hamsters can squirm, and a excited or scared hamster can nip at you, causing you to drop it. If you're going to hold your hamster, sit down on the floor or on a bed, because your hamster will not suffer as bad a injury if it falls onto a soft surface like a bed. If children hold the hamster, they should always be supervised and they should always be on the floor or on a bed.

If you have a cat in the house, you must insure that the cat cannot get ahold of the hamster in any way and injure it.

If the hamster is in a wire cage, the wires must be close enough together so that the hamster cannot escape between them. Hamsters, especially dwarf hamsters, can get through holes you would never think they would be able to.

Injuries From Cages

If you keep your hamster in a wire cage, keep wire cutters handy, so that if your hamster gets caught in the wire you can free it quickly and easily. This possibility is the reason that I always use tanks instead of wire cages for my hamsters.

If you have a door that drops down on your hamster's cage, make sure you fix it so it can't slam down on a curious hamster. Install a spring or a twist rod to prevent the door from closing quickly.

Safe Wandering

Consider buying a plastic hamster ball in which the hamster can travel and explore your home safely. The hamster goes inside and then they can wander around the house and explore safely.

Exercise Wheels

Not only can hamsters can suffer a broken bone from a fall, they can injure themselves running on their exercise wheel. Back when wire wheels were in common use, hamsters often injured their legs and toes and suffered sprains from catching their legs or toes in the wire on the exercise wheels. But with the new solid exercise wheels, hamsters suffer far fewer injuries. Also the new exercise wheels are a lot quieter. Don't use a wire exercise wheel unless there is nothing else available.

Beautiful dwarf hamster
Beautiful dwarf hamster

Injuries From Hamsters Fighting

If you try to keep Syrian Hamsters ("Teddy Bear Hamsters") together, they will fight, sometimes to the death. If you are breeding them, you need to take the female to the male's cage, watch so she doesn't get injured, and as soon as she is bred take her back to her own cage. Russian Dwarf Hamsters can be kept in small groups if the cage or tank is large enough.

Hamster Illnesses

There are many other reasons besides falls that a hamster may be feeling poorly and need a vet's attention.

What Does it Mean if My Hamster's Rear End Is Wet?

If you see your hamster's rear area get wet and stay wet, it needs to go to the veterinarian and be treated for wet tail. Wet tail is a very serious hamster disease. The veterinarian will treat it with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which may save its life. Hamsters get wet tail from being kept in cages that are not clean. Your hamster's bedding needs to be changed at least once a week, and the cage, tank, or enclosure needs to be cleaned with warm soapy water and be completely dry before you put the bedding back into the cage. Shredded newspaper makes a wonderful bedding.

Small Wounds

Just like on a person, a small wound on a hamster should be cleaned and treated with antibiotic ointment. Keep the wound clean and dry, apply antibiotic, and the wound should clear up quickly. If it doesn't, take the hamster to the vet.

If you are at all in doubt about what kind of care you should be giving to your hamster, take it to the vet.

Mites

If you see an otherwise healthy hamster suddenly lose patches of hair, it may have mites and it will need to be taken to the vet. You'll need to take its cage outside and clean it very well. Never buy a hamster with patches of missing hair. If you have healthy hamsters at home, you may bring mites home and infect all the hamsters with mites.

Constipation

If you think your hamster is constipated, give it two to three drops of cod liver oil to take care of the problem.

When You Choose Your Hamster

Never purchase a hamster that is in a cage with other hamsters that appear sick. Unless all the hamsters are healthy, go to a different pet shop to make your purchase.

More on Hamster Care

Here are a few other things hamster owners need to know.

Nails Need Trimming

You can trim your hamster's nails, but you will have to use extreme care that you don't cut off your hamster's toe or foot, and you should wear gloves so it can't bite you. If you don't feel comfortable trimming its nails, take it to the vet.

Your Hamster's Teeth

It's perfectly normal for your hamster's teeth to be yellow. No, you don't need to brush your hamster's teeth. But you do need to provide your hamster with wooden chew sticks so its incisor teeth will be kept worn down.

Put Your Hamster in the Right Spot

Your hamster needs to stay between 60 and 80 degrees. Avoid drafty places for your hamster's tank or cage. But also be sure that you don't place your hamster's tank in full sun, because it can heat up quickly and injure or kill your hamster.

What Should Hamsters Eat?

Be sure that you know what foods your hamster should and should not eat; here's a complete discussion.

Colds

Hamsters can and do catch colds from their human friends, so always wash your hands before and after you handle your hamster. If you know you're sick, then don't handle your hamster, because you can make it sick too. Sick children should also be kept away from the hamster, especially if the child is running a fever.

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        ell 

        10 days ago

        my two robo dwarf hamsters got in a fight and one ended up injured and bleeding...he doesn't show any signs of serious injury but i separated the two anyways. please help i don't know what to do now!!

      • profile image

        Anna 

        2 months ago

        Brenda!!!

        You say you loved your hamster, you are not an animal lover in fact do you?

        Why did you not take her to vets straight? How the f..k even think of step on her to make her die? You supposed to run to the vet ASAP and not think of how to kill her.

        You some people just disgustingly unable to take care of a pet, I wish all of the freeky owners get what they deserve in the end. Finished.

      • profile image

        Veryworried 

        3 months ago

        Hi! My husband was cleaning my hampsters cage. My 3 year old dropped a rock on my hampsters in the container she was in while cleaning. We thought she was dead but was still breathing. It fell on her upper body near her head. She is still alive but can barely move. She won't get up but can barely move her front or back legs. What should we do???

      • profile image

        WON!WON! 

        4 months ago

        Please help,my dog reached up and snatched my russian dwarf hamster out of the ball while i was cleaning the cage... And for the longest time she didnt move, She's been shoving her head into the bedding and breathing rapidly. HELP. I dont know what to do

      • profile image

        Joshua 

        4 months ago

        So I was moving my hamster from her cage to go play with her downstairs right and for some crazy ass reason she decides it's an amazing time to practice skydiving and of course she lands and her neck is bent backwards so I'm panicking like a motherfucker so I just click it back into place and then she acts like nothing happened like wtf btw this was about 5ft high onto a wooden floor head first (p.s she died last year from old age she was 4 yrs old this happened when she was 2)

      • profile image

        Vanesa 

        5 months ago

        My hamster hurts her small toe and it’s bleeding, how can I help her cure?

      • profile image

        Darsini 

        5 months ago

        Around a week a go one of my hamster was bitten by it's mother(she was pregnant; I have already moved it to another place) and it's tail was bleeding. I tried to take her so that I can check on it injury but it during come to me as it still isn't used to me yet. Yesterday I noticed that my young hamster's tail looked weird and one of its paw was red and swollen . It was also limping. So I had it transferred to a storage box as I was worried that it might be affected and the other hamsters might oso contract it. I am really worried about it . What should I do ?

      • profile image

        Alyssa the bitch 

        5 months ago

        so cute

      • profile image

        help! 

        7 months ago

        My hamster has blood around his eye and there is a cut should I take him to the vet or not.

        - thank you

      • profile image

        Jin 

        7 months ago

        My hamster just gave birth few days ago and has been taking care of her litters well. But last night, while I was out, my other hamster which is pregnant from another cage escaped and got inside my mother hamster's cage. They got into an ugly fight. I separated them right away when I found out. The mother hamster is badly injured. Her left arm has a big bite wound and her left eye is kinda busted (though I cant really tell because it's covered with blood). As of now she's still nursing her babies. There is no vet in our area so I dont know what to do.

        Question:

        1. Can I touch the mother hamster to treat her wounds? If yes, what kind of antiseptic should I use that is safe for nursing hammie?

        2. Do you think my hamster will survive?

        3. Worst case scenario and she dies, what should I do with the babies?

        4. Why did the other pregnant hamster attack the mommy hamster?

        Thank you

      • profile image

        Isabelle’s 

        8 months ago

        How about if a hamster is going to try and get through your bed and you try to push it away and it gets injured and the hamster is to weak to move or get up and fall down

      • profile image

        Isabella 

        8 months ago

        My hamster fell and got injured in her nose. She was bleeding but I stopped the bleeding. Now she’s making weird noices while breathing. What should I do? :(

      • profile image

        brenda 

        9 months ago

        so my hamster died today. i left a little of the top of the cage open last night and this morning my mom found him on the floor a few feet away from the cage. Note that the cage was on a shelf. The hamster was laying dead but was still breathing. he was taking big breathes until he stopped breathing. he didn't move and his eyes were HUUGEE!!. i think that he escaped him cage, hit his head on the glass table below the shelf, and he hit is head when he hit the floor, and he kept walking but he couldn't so he fell. I let him suffer but my friends said i should step on him but i didn't want to or i would feel more depressed. I BELIEVE that happened bc how the hell can a hamster in its cage like on a shelf appear to be on the floor the day after?? I loved her so much but me and my dad will do a funeral tomorrow and dig her up in the soil :(

      • profile image

        Rose 

        9 months ago

        Please, please, please help! We have a dwarf hamster and she has deep gashes on both sides of her neck. We have a cat and all sign show that the cat got to her. She's in the corner of her cage shivering. We are a bit ecomonimically challenged. What can we do? Please help, I really don't want our hamster to die. We just got her two months ago and she's the sweetest thing. Please, please, please help me.

      • profile image

        Scarlett 

        10 months ago

        Hello! I have 2 dwarfs hamsters and this afternoon I found one of them screaming cause the other was attacking it, the bottom of the hamster was all bleeding and looked really sore, he’s also got blood on some of his back to.. I read on a website that when hamsters are happy their ears are up, he used to be really friendly and always had his ears up now he’s quite to himself, I’ve split the 2 hamsters up in different cages cause I didn’t want to risk him getting hurt anymore, what should I do about this?

      • profile image

        Nayeli 

        11 months ago

        I have a gerbil and today my dog got a hold on him. he limping now and the dog got a hold on his tail. What should I do?? Help!!

      • profile image

        Hartsa 

        11 months ago

        Please help! My hamster im not sure what type it is, has a swollen rib, it seems to be squashed but its still alive but is refusing to eat and is running away whenever i touch it (its usually not like this) the front part is all squashed im scared it might die please what should i do?

      • profile image

        Sandra 

        12 months ago

        Hi there we have a rat and a hamster and we put the cages a bit too close and the rat got a hold of our hamsters leg. It is swollen and shes limping now. We have no vets in the area thats willing to treat hamsters, please advise. Thanx

      • profile image

        Ash 

        13 months ago

        My dog took my hamster from my hands while I was holding him and ran off I grabbed the hamster her seems to be fine no bleeding but should I take him to the vets just to be sure

      • profile image

        Please! Before it's too late!!! 

        14 months ago

        Please! Help! What should i do?? I have a pet guinea pig (teddy bear type) and he always love to play outside of his cage (i mean my whole house) and one night, when he is outside of his cage, i suddenly found him bleeding and i think some little pesty rat bite him, i dont know what to do! Mom used a wet wipes so he will stop bleeding, i really love my Squeak-squeak (his name) i dont want him to die! Please!

      • profile image

        help!!! 

        14 months ago

        my hamster ZeZe's eye is swollen and there is a circle around her eye pls help

        ..

      • profile image

        Morgan chambers 

        15 months ago

        My hamster got it's paw stuck in the wire it is purple and was bleeding what do I do

      • profile image

        Armonie Dunner 

        15 months ago

        My hamster is so fat and it can't get up it can't eat and it can't drink water because it is to fat and it is so weak so I am so scared it is going to die

      • profile image

        Christen 

        15 months ago

        I woke up this morning and my hamsters one foot is missing what should I do?

      • profile image

        Lydia Laughland 

        15 months ago

        I have three roborovski hamsters, and one of them, Spot, is very aggressive. He has already injured one of them, Nutsy, by biting his legs and now it is bleeding he attacks the other one as well but not as much. I tried separating them but it was driving the aggressive one crazy. Is there another way of training/educating them to be together without fighting?

      • profile image

        Alyssa 

        16 months ago

        My hamster has a 3 story cage and his wheel is on the 2nd floor and he fell off and then he fell down to the 1st floor and he is linping now and I just got him 2 days ago PLEASE HELP MY HAMSTER

      • profile image

        Hailie 

        16 months ago

        My Hamster had his wheel fall on him and he's only 3 weeks old!!! I think he broke his arm and leg on one side and may have internal isuess I'm really scared that he might pass away and I don't want to bring him to the vet because my vet would most likely put him down. He's not in any pain so I'm really wondering what I should do. He moves his head around like he has brain damage but like I said he's not in any pain. What should I do?

      • profile image

        Cassandra 

        16 months ago

        PLEASE HELP!!!My baby hamster lives with 2 other hamsters and for some reason I think he gets bullied by them? One day almost all his fur was gone? I don't know what is going on!! And now my baby hamster is just limping but breathing and he looks like he has a broken back and his legs don't look like they function properly?he doesn't move but he breaths. He might be dying?What do I do?

      • profile image

        Vanessa Greene 

        17 months ago

        My mother hamster had baby it's been 2 weeks today I went to check on the baby's and I found one of the baby with scratched up eye,bleeding head and bleeding nose what should I do

      • profile image

        sierra 

        17 months ago

        Im really scared because I was going to give my hamster a treat and i think the bag scratched his butt. It looks red but im not sure if its a vein. Help Im worried!

      • profile image

        Ella 

        17 months ago

        My Syrian hamster named Storm I took out of her cage and sat down on my bed she was carawling too fast and she jumped off of my hand and hit the wall. I picked her up because she wasn't moving and I sat with her in regret of holding her at night. She wasn't moving until I checked her limbs to see if they were broken. Nothing looked injured so I put her in her cage and kept an eye on her. The next morning I loooked at her face and she had the biggest bruise on her nose. I don't know if I should bring her to the vet or not. Any help?

      • profile image

        Esther 

        18 months ago

        I was with my dwarf hamster after 20 minutes or so i forget shes with me sleeping by my teddy bear, then i THINK i accidently hurt her bc i put my hand on her with probably too much pressure for a little thing like her. I will never forgive myself if she broke bones. i'm scared

      • profile image

        Kyla 

        20 months ago

        My friend dropped her hampster and he blacked out then blood or red colored mucous came out of his nose has an abcess on his stomach and she thinks he cracked a rib !!!!!! Please help !!!!We cant let epe DIE!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Ellie Dilbert 

        20 months ago

        I need help fast my hamster is bleeding after having a fight what should I di

      • profile image

        Israella 

        20 months ago

        My hamsters bum is bleeding PLEASE HELP ME

      • profile image

        Dylan 

        21 months ago

        my hamster fell from hogh distance because my cat pushed the cage off

      • profile image

        Jazmine 

        22 months ago

        I believe my robo hamsters were fighting and one has injured the butt of the other what should I do

      • profile image

        Annette 

        2 years ago

        Help! My iPad fell on my Chinese dwarf hamster and it hurts its arm and maybe it's leg

        It started shaking a lot but after I pet it a little it calmed down and seems to be walking fine, but whenever it stands or sits or cleans itself its arm seems in pain.

      • profile image

        eMeRaLeD ThE HaMsTeR 

        2 years ago

        My Russian dwarf hamster won't walk and will crawl with its head tilted almost like a person trying to hear through a door and its little face looks like it's in pain (it has been dropped a few times) but it was fine this afternoon and there are no vets near our area what do I do???

      • profile image

        Dani 

        2 years ago

        My hamsters arm is bleeding, I believe that his brother had bitten him or they got into a fight last night, he's not limping but I'm worried.

      • profile image

        Kirby West 

        2 years ago

        My hamster was trying to climb on me and I accidentally moved and fell about 3 feet onto a hard surface, He did survive the fall but didn't move for a split second, he looked like he was in pain and limped for a minute but started to walk again perfectly fine, I gave him fresh water and is about to see if he will eat anything to see if he has a broken rip or something.

      • profile image

        ElizabethHuston 

        2 years ago

        2 of my female winter hamsters got into a fight and I do not have the money to go to a vet currently. One of my hamsters was injured and it's lower body is covered in dry blood, what should I do? Also I did separate the 2 hamsters.

      • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

        Thomas Byers 

        3 years ago from East Coast , United States

        I would keep it as quite and calm as possible and take it to a small animal vet if at all possible.

      • profile image

        henry palencia 

        3 years ago

        I need help my hamster was dropped as my little brother was holding it and it appears to have its right hand broken and its right leg either sprained or broken

      • profile image

        Elli 

        4 years ago

        My hamsters bone is sticking out but its not the rib

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 

        5 years ago from Wales

        Another great hub on these wonderful little pets. Again I vote up,across and share all around.

        Eddy.

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