Hamsters are playful creatures.
They’re curious and adventurous, and they can be a handful. They’re also prone to fleas.
If you’ve noticed your hamster’s scratching behavior has become more frequent, you may be concerned about what’s causing it. So, do hamsters get fleas?
Yes, hamsters can get fleas. Fleas are tiny insects that live on animals.
If a hamster has fleas, its fur will be red and irritated, and its skin will be itchy. Thankfully, hamsters can get fleas only from humans or the fleas that live naturally on other animals.
Therefore, a hamster can’t get fleas from other animals such as cats and dogs.
Do Hamsters Get Fleas?
Unfortunately, hamsters are a favorite species of flea and are common hosts of the parasite.
The tiny bugs prefer warm and humid conditions and are often set free during flea litter cleanup measures.
Fleas prefer to hop from host to host with minimal effort and even less work.
A hamster serves an excellent jumping board and is a good place for the flea to store up for the next hop.
Stop feeding the hamster inside his tank to avoid spreading the infestation to other pets in the house.
Even if you take good care of your hamster and clean his habitat regularly, you may still end up with a flea problem on your furry little friend, especially if the infestation started outside your home.
What Should You Do If Your Hamsters Have Fleas?
While you empty the hamster’s tank and replace it with new bedding and fresh food and water, make a point of examining the pet closely for signs of an infestation.
Remove any bedding, toys, and other removable items from the enclosure and place them in a sealed plastic bag to prevent reinfestation by any of the critters that may find their way into the enclosure.
Place the bedding in a clothes dryer set on high heat for several minutes to thoroughly kill any eggs and larvae. Then, run the machine for several cycles to ensure there are no surviving eggs or larvae.
If your hamster has any porous toys, such as cardboard tubes or similar materials, remove them.
Use the same hot dryer setting on the remaining items and allow them to dry completely before replacing them in the cage.
When the cage is entirely clean, place fresh bedding and food in the enclosure and replace all the removable items.
Give your ham a good brushing to remove any loose hairs that may harbor any lingering egg cases or pupae.
If you have additional pets in your care, repeat the cleaning process on their cages as well. Cats need special care because of their sensitive skin and coat. Use a pet-safe product designed to kill adult fleas on the cat but avoid the area around the eyes.
Fleas migrate fast from host to rodent and back again so getting rid of them requires repeated thorough cleaning and careful inspection for signs of a re-invasion.
Make sure the pet has a fresh supply of water and feed it twice a day to avoid dehydration.
You will also most likely need to consult with your veterinarian about effective treatments for either prevention or the speedy elimination of the existing flea population.
How Do You Check For Fleas In Your Hamster?
Fleas are quite tiny and usually go unnoticed unless they congregate in large numbers on the skin of the host animal.
Small black specks will usually indicate the presence of flea dirt (feces), which are the dead remains of digested blood meals.
If there are more specks than you would normally see on the fur of your pet, take a good look at the skin. If there are some red spots or other signs of irritation, this may indicate an allergic reaction to the bites.
If there is just one, small flea on your hamster’s skin, you may be able to remove it with your fingers.
Your hamster will be in discomfort if he scratches at the bite site repeatedly.
If you spot one on your ham’s skin, remove him from his cage immediately and treat him with an appropriate medication if indicated.
Because he’s not accustomed to the agonizing irritation caused by flea bites, he may exhibit unusual behavior including excessive grooming and even self-mutilation.
These behaviors should not be tolerated and must be stopped as quickly as possible to avoid more serious medical problems.
Sometimes the hamster may attempt to bite or lick itself until it bleeds. This behavior should be discouraged to prevent further damage.
Gently comb through the hamster’s hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove as much debris as possible. Repeat this process several times daily until the problem is resolved.
Finally, you should wash your hamster’s bedding frequently in a washing machine set to the hottest setting available with detergent added to kill the eggs and larvae. Rinse the bedding well and then dry it in the sun to prevent reinfect.
How Hamsters Get Infested with Fleas?
Fleas eat, flourish, and reproduce on the blood of mammals including hamsters, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils and ferrets.
They are usually brought in by other animals into the home and then multiply rapidly when they become trapped in the rooms or cages of infested animals.
If your hamster has free reign of the home, he is most likely to come into contact with fleas wherever he goes. Even its bedding may be infested with them.
Fleas may also breed in your hamster’s food and water dishes if the environment is humid and warm. Clean your dishes and any containers thoroughly to prevent this.
How to Prevent Fleas From Getting to Your Hamster
The first step in keeping your hamster flea-free is to limit the places where they can hide and breed; this includes removing all carpets, rugs and stuffed toys from the home.
Fleas are uncommon in homes that are kept very clean. A thorough cleaning of all floors and other surfaces may reduce the number of fleas present.
If this does occur, make sure the afflicted area is completely cleaned before moving on to other areas. This will prevent further infestation.
If you have the flea, try not to touch the hamsters directly without gloves on.
However, bear in mind that even if you attempt to keep your home spotlessly clean, you may still find fleas on your pet at some point in time.
The best way to keep this problem to a minimum is to regularly treat your pet with a safe and effective flea treatment product.
Fleas may leap a long distance onto you and your pet from grass, bushes or other areas where they have become trapped outdoors.
It is advisable to wear shoes outdoors to reduce the possibility of this happening.
Also Read: Is It Cat Dandruff Or Flea Eggs?
Keeping your Hamster flea-free is critical for its health and your peace of mind. Treat your hamster with an effective flea prevention product and regularly comb its hair to prevent infestations.
Hamsters are known to be quite sociable animals and will do well in the company of their own kind. However, your hamster should not be introduced to a new hamster unless it is from the same species.
Any type of hamster can be introduced to another of the same species.
Fleas may enter your Hamster’s body through open wounds or through his eyes. Also look for signs of anemia and contact your veterinarian if this happens.
As a result, it is more prudent to keep your rodent in a cage than a free roaming one. This will allow you to observe any unusual behavior more quickly and prevent unnecessary suffering.
The virus may not have a significant impact on the health of your hamsters but it can lead to premature deaths in rare cases.