Summer is coming. While you may enjoy the warm temperature during the months, your hamsters may not. Hamsters thrive best in temperatures between 69 and 72 F (20 – 25 in Celsius) and over-heating can be fatal for your hamster! It is vital we to be sure that their home’s temperature is well monitored. Since hamster bedding can help a lot in managing temperature, and having the right one may help our hamsters get over the heat!
Tip: You may wish to invest in a small thermometer to keep near the enclosure to monitor the internal temperature of the cage. Temperatures can rise quickly, and vary throughout the day, which can make your hamster unwell.
At the end of the day, your hamster relies on you to meet his or her needs as the temperatures outside starts to soar, so how do you prepare the best bedding for your hamster in the summer? In this article, Myspet will introduce some good and bad ways to organize your hamster’s home.
How Important Is Bedding To Hamsters Anyway?
Let’s look at a typical hamster cage. In your hamsters cage there should be a bedding and a substrate. Substrate is what lines the bottom of the cage, and bedding is a (normally) softer texture that should help with absorbing smells.
As in the wild, hamsters spend a decent amount of their time to dig around their environments, and build nest. In our human environment, it is their bedding that help replicate their natural environment. The closer to their natural environment, the better and happier they live.. Not to mention that wise bedding also help manage the heat and the smell.
Hamsters are most active in the evening and at night time, and will therefore should be sleeping through the hottest parts of the day. It is important that you chose a bedding that helps him or her keep cool, and provide a suitable hamster home throughout the summer.
What materials for hamster bedding should I AVOID in the summer?
- Pine and cedar wood shavings
These bedding options should NEVER be used for hamsters. They are small and sharp, and can cause injury and splinters to your hamster. They can also react to the urine of hamsters, giving off toxic fumes. Wood shavings are often very dusty, and you hamster can inhale these small particles and develop respiratory problems. Avoid these bedding materials this summer for your hamster!
- Pet Shop “Fluffy” Bedding
It is important to make your hamsters home a safe environment, and the fluffy, synthetic nesting material sold at most pet shops does just not fit the bill. It is not digestible and can cause serious problems for your hamster if eaten, and the fibers can easily get wrapped around tiny feet causing injury.
- Cat Litter
Although Cat Litter is a great way to absorb the smell, it can be very dangerous to your hamster. Cat litter contains chemicals and cannot be digested by your hamster if they accidentally eat some. It can even get stuck into your hamster’s fur, which can be painful and difficult to remove. Cat Litter is not a viable option for your hamster, so if you have already purchased some, give it to a friend with a cat!
What are my options for hamster bedding in the summer?
No matter what bedding you chose, you should clean out any dirty bedding every week, and do a total change of bedding every month. Some bedding is more absorbent than others, and some hamsters will chose one type over the other. It really is down to your budget and personal choice as to which bedding you choose as summer bedding for your hamster home!
- Aspen Bedding
Aspen is essentially hard wood chips. They do not retain any heat, and therefore is perfect for those days when the temperature feels like it won’t stop rising.
Aspen bedding is widely considered the best bedding, no matter what the weather. It is important that you purchase from the pet store, as the hamster bedding is dust free and will not cause respiratory problems, and nor should it contain any invasive mites which may harm your hamster.
- Paper Bedding
Paper bedding can be both home made or shop bought. If you decide to make your hamsters summer bedding at home, then chose paper which does not contain any ink or coating. These option can both be toxic to your hamster. You can feel the paper to see if it has any coating, as it will feel shiny, and don’t use paper containing inks! It is best to buy from a pet shop, or use plain tissue paper torn into small pieces if you are making it at home.
You can shred the paper into strips by hand, or use an electronic shredder. The main disadvantage to using paper is that it does not disguise any unwanted smells, so must be changed more regularly than other bedding choices.
Sand is a great bedding for your hamster this summer. It will stay cooler than the surrounding environment, and your hamster can dig to reach cooler spots in the sand. Make sure the sand is several inches deep in places and is a child safe sand which does not contain any added chemicals or cleaners.
If you have a Syrian hamster, then sand is your pets natural environment! He will love burying around in it and it looks great too! Sand is also very easy to spot clean, and absorbs smells well. Have sand all over the cage, or kept in dishes!
Hay is a natural and aesthetically pleasing bedding that your hamster will love. It should always be purchased from a pet store, and not be collected from the garden. This may contain mites which can harm your hamster.
Do not confuse hay with straw! Straw is much sharper and can harm your pet if he tries to put the straw into his cheek pouch.
Hay is soft and comfortable, but will allow adequate ventilation for your hamster this summer.
How Else Can I Help My Hamster Cool Down This Summer?
You can also help your hamster cool down with very little effort. Consider the following options this summer, your hamster will feel much more comfortable in the heat!
Ceramic does not heat up as easily as other materials and equipment in your hamsters cage. They can offer respite from the heat for your small pet.
- Take a ceramic tile, and put in the freezer for an hour, put it in your hamster cage.
- Or purchase ceramic rodent housing from your local pet shop
- Your hamster will love those this summer!
- Frozen Food
Giving your hamster frozen fruits and vegetables this summer will not only help him cool down, but will make his food much more interesting too!
Using an ice-cube tray, cut small portions of your hamsters favorite treats and half fill the tray. Top up with clean water and then put into the freezer over night. Do not feed too many with other treats, or your hamster may get fat!
- Desktop fan
Small USB fans are ideal for your hamster! However, your hamster should have the opportunity to escape the air flow if possible. An over-windy house can make them sick.
Point the fan on one corner of the enclosure. Your hamster will decide when he needs a little bit of a breeze to cool down!
What ever you do, keep in mind that your hamster relies on you totally for a happy and healthy life. If the temperature is too cold, your hamster may fall into a hibernation like state, and too hot and they can fall sick with heat stress which can be fatal.
Keep a keen eye on your hamster this summer and you should both be able to enjoy the sunshine! If you do have other tips for keeping your hamster cool, or have discovered a great hamster bedding for the summer, let us know in the comment below or join our Facebook group today!