It might be that your pet has really fluffy fur, but this has its limits. Another possibility is that your hamster may be getting fatter.
So, is my hamster overweight? ( Should he go on a diet )
The best way to know for sure is to talk to a vet, but sometimes this is not necessary as it can be quite obvious that your little fluffball is getting bigger and bigger.
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What are the signs of obesity in hamsters?
Hamsters, once they reach adulthood, have an ideal weight of 5-7oz (150-200g). There are smaller species called dwarf hamsters that only weigh a fraction of that. Generally, a fully grown dwarf hamster reaches under or a bit over one ounce (25-50g), depending on the exact species.
You can measure and keep track of your hamster’s weight by using a kitchen precision scale. If its weight gets higher than the norm, then your friend has gotten fat.
Another way to tell is by paying attention to your pet’s behavior. If it doesn’t walk around as much or use its exercise wheel, this means it may be overweight. Having a vet check your hamster is a good idea at this point.
As we’ve mentioned, it may be difficult to tell if your pet is obese or just really fluffy. They are usually plump, which is why they’re so cute, and on top of that, their cheek pouches can make them appear fat.
If you’re not sure, you don’t have to measure it just yet. Simply offer your pet a treat and once it has it in its mouth and its cute little hands, lift it up gently and take a look at its body.
If the shapes are lean and flat, you have nothing to worry about. But if even in this position you notice similar plumpness, round lines instead of straight, you’ll know it’s time for a hamster diet.
Why is my hamster overweight?
Too much food
Usually, the reason behind your hamster becoming obese is simply the amount of food it eats.
You should always pay attention to how much you feed your pet, as hamsters are known to hide their food. So, if you think it’s eating too fast so it must be hungry, think again.
The fact is that a good portion of the food you give it for the day will be stashed away.
This is their natural behavior, regardless of their habitat. Hamsters are foragers, and in nature, they will travel long distances to find something to eat.
But they won’t eat everything they come across. Most of it will be stashed inside their cheek pouches to hide for later.
And your little friend does the same thing. It doesn’t matter that it has its own little living area, or that it gets food on a regular basis, their instinct is to bury the seeds under bedding all around the cage, or in their house.
For a Syrian hamster, two teaspoons of dry food a day are more than enough. Resist the urge to put in more if you see that the bowl is empty. This just means that it gathered everything, ate just enough, and hid the rest.
If the bowl still has some food, that’s perfectly fine and means that it still has some food stashed away.
Always check with a vet how much food you are supposed to give to your hamster.
Too much sugar
Another reason your pet may be overweight is the type of food it’s eating.
Hamsters love indulging in sweet, sweet fruit and nuts. Nuts are a great treat and as such should be given rarely.
Fruit and veggies are also good as they provide additional nutrients but can have a lot of sugar which can cause health problems. Be careful of the amount of sugar and nuts your pet eats.
Lack of exercise
Everyone needs a good exercise to stay healthy and fit. Especially pets.
Providing your hamster with enough room to run around is a great way to make sure it doesn’t get overweight. But space in its cage isn’t enough.
We love the large Prevue Hamster Cage from Amazon. Latest prices here.
Having an exercise wheel is a must. An additional solution is to put your hamster in an exercise ball when you let it outside. This way, you are certain it won’t eat or touch anything it’s not supposed to, and it will get a good work out.
Floor time is good. Allow your hamster to safely explore your home or room. Just like the hamster in this video.
This is less likely unless you have a friendly duo.
But just to make sure, if your female is the one who seems overweight, and you know you’re doing everything else correctly, then let a vet take a look. Maybe you have tiny hamsters coming your way.
Unfortunately, certain types of tumors can cause a hamster to appear fat. Luckily, this is not a common problem, so you don’t have to start worrying just yet.
First, make sure that everything else is covered before considering this unfortunate reason.
How to get your hamster back into shape?
It’s dangerous for your hamster to stay overweight. It may look adorable, but it can also get sick and die sooner as a result.
To get your hamster back in shape you should:
- Feed it less
- Change its food to a balanced diet
- Get it to exercise (e.g. by making a maze that has a tasty award at the end),
- And make sure it uses the wheel.
Take care of your pet
Paying attention to little changes in your pet’s appearance and behavior will help in preventing any health issues. Your hamster will live longer and you’ll get to be friends with a little fluffball that is fit, happy and healthy.