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Old 11-24-2018, 05:45 PM  
Hamsters University
Serendipity7000's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,079
Default Re: What do you do with your Dwarf Hamster when Cleaning the cage?

I spot clean around our Robo while he hides under his ladder and watches! It's difficult getting him out and I tend to just spot clean mainly anyway and don't do big cage cleans or complete substrate changes very often as with a larger cage it's not really necessary very often. Same with our Syrian. Sometimes they like to see what's happening and may follow your hand around. It can be less stressful for them to "monitor" the changes than to have some playtime and then come back and find things have changed. I've found that puts them off coming out for a while afterwards in case it happens again!

Sometimes you do need to take them out to do some cage organising. It depends on the hamster what suits them/where you put them. Our last Syrian would happily just go to sleep in his pet carrier. I used to take the pet carrier up to the bedroom and put a blanket over it so it was dark. If he was in the same room when I did things to his cage he knew! And got quite anxious at the noises and presumably could smell things changing as well - so he was better somewhere else where he couldn't hear or sense the changes going on to his home.

Our current Syrian doesn't like being left in the pet carrier so I put him in a smaller playcage which I got as a travel/holiday cage.

I wouldn't leave any hamster in a ball while cleaning out as you can't keep an eye on them properly and they'd be in it for too long (they shouldn't be left in a ball for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time and need constant observation - and as mentioned above, balls aren't really safe for dwarf hamsters anyway).

If you have a pet carrier you could try that. I'd also be a bit worried about leaving them in the bathtub or a playpen.

You could use a deep plastic bin with some substrate and a couple of toys in maybe - but you'd need to keep it near the cage to keep an eye on them - and personally I think they're better in another room while you're messing with their cage!

If you have something like a 70 x 40 cage or 80 x 50 and at least 5" of substrate, you could just spot clean mainly - you can go about 2 months doing that. It's also best not to do a full cage clean where you clean everything at once, so even if you did need to do a substrate change, it helps to replace some of the dry/old substrate and mix it in or sprinkle it on top so it still smells familiar - and to clean the wheel a different week and any toys a different week again. That way something always smells familiar and it's less stressful for them.

I also leave the nest and hoard alone - unless they're pee'd on. Their nest and hoard are the things they are most anxious about. If they are pee'd on and you have to remove them it's good to try and leave some of the old nest behind that is dry (even if slightly whiffy) and just add a big pile of new paper nesting material in the cage so they can rebuild the nest. Same with the hoard - try and leave some behind and also add new food to replace some of what you've removed, in exactly the same place.

Sorry if you know all that already! If you don't have a pet carrier it's worth investing in one - somewhere to put them when you sort out the cage and there if needed in emergency for the vets. The guinea pig Ferplast Aladino one is a good size - it's big enough to put a small house and plenty of substrate in. Zooplus do a similar one.
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