Rodents have a few distinctive traits, including possessing teeth that never stop growing. Hamsters, as rodents, share this characteristic. Hamsters are among the small amount of animals born with a full set of teeth. Because of this, hamsters and their teeth require some special care that other pets may not need. They need to be able to chew on the appropriate surfaces to file down their growing teeth. Care of hamster teeth is easy and fairly low maintenance, and is an essential part of guaranteeing this animal's happiness and health.
Provide your hamster with plenty of things to chew and gnaw. This allows the hamster to naturally keep its teeth clean and filed, and it helps prevent the teeth from being overgrown. Give blocks of hardwood or pieces of twig that have not been treated with any sort of chemical. Hard treats made for hamsters or even dog biscuits work well, too. Vitamin-enriched mineral blocks provide the added benefit of necessary supplements.
Feed a hard pellet diet specially formulated for hamsters. This food is available at quality pet supply stores. Supplement the hamster feed with fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Not only does your pet need to chew, it needs certain nutrients to maintain strong and healthy teeth.
Check your hamster's teeth on a regular basis. Pick up the animal with one hand. With the other, gently pull back on the skin around the neck. This will reveal the teeth for a quick inspection. The teeth should be straight, pale yellow or light brown and aligned with the other teeth.
Observe your pet for any behavioural signs of distress or discomfort. A hamster that chews on the bars of the cage or other metal parts of the environment may need more chew toys. Going off food or refusing to eat, excessive salivating and puffy cheeks are all signs of problems with the mouth or teeth. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if the hamster displays any of these signs of bad health.
Consult with a veterinarian about trimming a hamster's teeth. Depending on the individual animal, this may be a part of routine care or it may be necessary only occasionally. A veterinarian can perform any necessary dental work the hamster requires, from trimming fast-growing incisors to pulling bad teeth.
Avoid giving your hamster treats that are high in sugar or fat. This will cause dental decay and could lead to other health problems. Always use caution when handling your pet, as hamsters are small, fragile animals. Children younger than 5 should not handle hamsters, and older children should be supervised.