Hamsters use their pouches to store food items and bedding material; they will often store items for days at a time. Because their pouches produce no saliva, food items do not begin to digest but stay relatively fresh until the hamster decides to consume them. Sometimes an item gets stuck in a hamster's pouch or pierces the lining of the cheek, causing damage and inflammation. In these cases, you should take your hamster to a veterinarian. Never attempt to remove items from the cheek of a hamster at home unless it is an absolute emergency, such as in the case of the hamster having just hoovered a pellet of rat poison.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Needle-less syringe
- lukewarm water
Heat cold water to room temperature or take lukewarm water from the tap.
Fill the syringe with lukewarm water.
Hold the hamster in one hand with its body resting in your palm and your fingers around its head.
Open its mouth with your fingers and insert the needle-less syringe into the cheek cavity. If the hamster will not open its teeth, put the syringe into the cheek by gently pushing it to the side of the mouth.
Squeeze the lukewarm water into the hamster's cheek cavity. The warm water will wash away any item that is stored there and may help to loosen any stuck objects. Clear the object from the hamster's mouth with you finger so it is not swallowed.
Tips and warnings
- If there is any inflammation or swelling of the cheek pouch area, take the hamster to the veterinarian directly. Do not attempt to remove an item that is puncturing the cheek by yourself at home.
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