Like other rodents, hamsters like chewing on objects, and cage bars are no different. Although hamsters naturally chew, some objects, such as cage bars, can be dangerous. Major problems may be avoided by locating safer alternatives for your hamster to gnaw on and by comprehending why your hamster has been chewing on bars.
Why Do Hamsters Bar Chew?
There are a few main reasons why hamsters may chew on their cage bars.
- Wearing down their teeth - Unlike people, hamsters have that grow continuously throughout their little lives. Because of this, they need to chew on things to keep them from getting too long and causing problems. Sometimes the food that is offered to a hamster doesn't provide enough chewing action so they look for other items in their cage that they can gnaw on.
- Boredom - If there aren't enough toys to play with or chew on, a hamster may begin bar chewing due to boredom. Hamsters need mental and physical stimulation just like other pets and if they are isolated to a small, rectangular cage with nothing to do they could resort to this activity.
- Stress - Hamsters may start bar chewing to alleviate stress caused by a variety of factors in their environment. Common examples of stressors include cats that are overly interested, children that don't understand how to be gentle when handling, cages that are too small, and that can be irritating to a hamster's lungs and skin.
Why is Bar Chewing a Problem?
Although it is natural, and even essential, for hamsters to gnaw on things, chewing the bars of their cage should be discouraged for a variety of reasons.
- Tooth trauma - Hamster teeth can be broken, cracked, or otherwise damaged if they chew on hard cage bars and this can result in pain, inappetence, and infection. Even if a tooth doesn't obviously appear broken, damage may have been done under the gumline and veterinary treatment may be required.
- Toxicity - While it is always recommended to look for the for your hamster, some are painted and made of metal that can be toxic if ingested.
- Indication of stress or boredom - Bar chewing can occur as a symptom of boredom or anxiety. Allowing your hamster to be chronically stressed or bored is not healthy or fair and can lead to bigger behavioral or health problems. You should be looking to better manage their environment to avoid this issue.
- Escape - If a hamster is successful in its attempt to chew through the cage bars or damage them enough so it can fit through them, . A hamster outside its cage can be in great danger of starvation or injury from other pets, people, furniture, and more.
Treatment and Prevention
There are a few simple ways to keep a hamster from chewing on its cage bars.
First, make sure your hamster's cage is stocked with lots of secure objects for it to gnaw on. Ladders, buildings, and chew or food blocks made of wood are all excellent choices that may be quickly changed out as needed.
Next, make sure your hamster has an and other items to climb, explore, and have physical fun with.
Lastly, ensure that your hamster is not under any stress. You might need to switch out small cages with bigger ones, and you might need to relocate the cage. It may be necessary to move the cage if it is close to the ground or if a cat may get it so that your other pets don't scare your hamster if it is by a window where birds may seem dangerous.
Children who are loud or overly animated can also cause stress, so you might need to place the cage in a calm area. Handling should be done gradually, constructively, softly, and under adult supervision.