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Old 09-08-2019, 07:30 AM   #1
Griel
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Join Date: Aug 2019
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Default Did my hamster become too fat?

I have two hamsters. One was bigger and the other was smaller.

Within three weeks, the smaller one has gotten really fat, much fatter than the other one.

They eat the same and their cage set up is the same. The normal one on the other hand, seems to have lost a little weight but is otherwise healthy and runs a lot on her wheel.

The fat one doesn't uses her wheel as much, and when she does, she kind of bobs left and right for a bit instead of running straight (I don't think she mastered how to use her wheel that much).

I'm wondering if the weight gain is normal? Photos attached to show the difference.

P/s: My partner says I messed up and put the hamsters in the wrong cages, hence why one of them seems to have gotten fatter and the other seems to have gotten skinnier. But I am convinced they are the right hamsters because I know their personalities! They have totally different quirks and I know them, so this is very confusing.

Anyway please give feedback on the weight gain, if it's normal, etc. I am concerned if this is bad for her health.

Photo 1: Taken 18 August 2019: https://ibb.co/D70Fnbs

Photo 2: Taken 18 August 2019 (so she did have some fat potential?): https://ibb.co/Pcgq1h7

Photo 3: Taken 6 September - How did she get so fat?! : https://ibb.co/bF4Zb7L


Edit: Wheel is 6 inches, fully covered, their backs don't arch on it. There are no vets familiar with exotic pets around, the last time my dog had diarrhea, they suggested surgery in a couple of days (which seems very unusual for diarrhea, when the vet hadn't even seen my dog yet?), but my dog recovered without that surgery.

Last edited by Griel; 09-08-2019 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:03 AM   #2
GhostsInSnow
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

I work in a vets so that dog advice seems very extreme if they hadn't even seen your dog to examine them yet!

Anyway, about your hammy, it could just be a genetic thing. I've had Chinese weigh as little as 18g and as much as 40g+ and it's the same with other hamster species too. How often are you feeding her? It could be that's she's getting lots of food so is just picking out the fatty, more favoured pieces and leaving the healthier stuff.
If she's got no fur loss and is getting about fine and seems healthy then I wouldn't worry too much, with the wheel thing, some hammies (just like humans) are more active than others.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:46 AM   #3
Griel
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostsInSnow View Post
I work in a vets so that dog advice seems very extreme if they hadn't even seen your dog to examine them yet!

Anyway, about your hammy, it could just be a genetic thing. I've had Chinese weigh as little as 18g and as much as 40g+ and it's the same with other hamster species too. How often are you feeding her? It could be that's she's getting lots of food so is just picking out the fatty, more favoured pieces and leaving the healthier stuff.

If she's got no fur loss and is getting about fine and seems healthy then I wouldn't worry too much, with the wheel thing, some hammies (just like humans) are more active than others.
Yes, that's why I'm kinda skeptical about the vet, as they haven't even seen my dog. And it did seem like a small thing (not enough to warrant surgery) because the dog recovered after two days of diarrhea.

I feed a spoonful, same as the other dwarf. The other one looks more like she's of a normal size and has even lost a little weight lately (probably because of all the exercise on the wheel), but not drastically.

I don't see fur loss, she seems to be getting about fine. She does burrow and climb around normally, only she doesn't use the wheel as much as the other dwarf. I don't mind if she's got plump genes or if she is a less active hamster by nature, just that I do get concerned if she's gotten overweight within such a short timeframe - wondering if it's unhealthy.

Thanks for your reply, good to know that their genes can cause them to vary so much even within the same species. I'll continue to monitor her closely to see if any other unusual symptoms occur.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

As someone who has dealt with dog diarrhea, I really think you need to find a new vet that actually knows what they're talking about instead of throwing out ridiculous and unnecessary "treatment" advice which cannot in any way be medically sound.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:03 PM   #5
Griel
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
As someone who has dealt with dog diarrhea, I really think you need to find a new vet that actually knows what they're talking about instead of throwing out ridiculous and unnecessary "treatment" advice which cannot in any way be medically sound.
Yeah, and a dog is a pretty "common" pet, not an "exotic" pet like a hamster. I kinda doubt they have the capacity to handle a tiny little creature that gets stressed easily.

My hamster seems healthy and happy at the moment (thankfully), just that I'm concerned about the weight she's been packing on. Anyone has any tips to encourage her to exercise more (for her health), or is that just not possible?

She's got two 6 inch covered wheels in her cage now, and platforms (she doesn't like climbing up the "harder" platform and only does the one that's easier for her to scale).

I don't want to have to put her in a ball because I heard that's bad for them, but I'd also appreciate it if anyone would like to convince me otherwise. I've never put a hamster in a ball and I don't want to do it unless it's necessary for their health.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

I would highly recommend hiding bits of her food throughout her cage if you're just feeding it all in a bowl, even if it's just starting with taking a small portion out of the bowl and scattering it on platforms or throughout her bedding.

I would steer clear of the hamster ball though, they're best avoided as they can be very stressful to hamsters among many other issues and there are much better options for exercise that will offer more benefit and they just happen to often cost far less than a hamster ball anyways!

One great idea that we commonly see recommended on the forum is a clean dry bathtub with or without yourself inside, as long as the drain hole is covered, with some different toys added inside the tub. For those without good access to a bathtub like myself, homemade playpens using cut up cardboard boxes is a cheap or even free alternative.

For the more skittish hamsters who don't want to be handled, play bins are an excellent choice. You could add a small layer of bedding to make moving easier inside the bin, and some different toys just as you would with a bathtub or playpen setup.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:49 PM   #7
Griel
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
I would highly recommend hiding bits of her food throughout her cage if you're just feeding it all in a bowl, even if it's just starting with taking a small portion out of the bowl and scattering it on platforms or throughout her bedding.

I would steer clear of the hamster ball though, they're best avoided as they can be very stressful to hamsters among many other issues and there are much better options for exercise that will offer more benefit and they just happen to often cost far less than a hamster ball anyways!

One great idea that we commonly see recommended on the forum is a clean dry bathtub with or without yourself inside, as long as the drain hole is covered, with some different toys added inside the tub. For those without good access to a bathtub like myself, homemade playpens using cut up cardboard boxes is a cheap or even free alternative.

For the more skittish hamsters who don't want to be handled, play bins are an excellent choice. You could add a small layer of bedding to make moving easier inside the bin, and some different toys just as you would with a bathtub or playpen setup.
OK, I didn't really do the scatter feeding and prefer a bowl (blame my human nature), but I'll definitely do scatter feeding now onwards! Silly me, I've heard of it but never crossed my mind that this is part of exercising for them.

Yeah, she's still skittish (Robo that's been with me for only a month) and I didn't want to stress her up but I think putting her in a playpen/bin for short time periods would cause her to be more active (as she'd be actively figuring out how she can escape instead of just sitting around). Perhaps I could fill it up with bedding and hide some food so she can burrow around the playpen/bin too.

Don't have a bathtub, but I was wondering, would a sink (with a towel across it to cover the drain hole) work in the same way as bathtub for non-Syrians? Never heard of anyone using a sink.

These are absolutely brilliant tips, thanks so much!

Last edited by Griel; 09-09-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

I can't really say for sure how suitable a sink is as I've never used one myself, but I don't think it would hurt to try. I've even considered something as unusual as a brand new cat litter box myself, although I think the issue with most of those is that they'd probably be too short unless you managed to get one that was very tall and at that point you'd probably spend just as much as you would've buying a bin.

Filling a bin with bedding and hiding food in it could work very well, and while it also isn't something I've tried in theory it sounds great. Bedding in a playpen could get tricky though as there'd be no bottom besides your own floor, so that could quickly become a very big mess!
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:47 PM   #9
Griel
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
I can't really say for sure how suitable a sink is as I've never used one myself, but I don't think it would hurt to try. I've even considered something as unusual as a brand new cat litter box myself, although I think the issue with most of those is that they'd probably be too short unless you managed to get one that was very tall and at that point you'd probably spend just as much as you would've buying a bin.

Filling a bin with bedding and hiding food in it could work very well, and while it also isn't something I've tried in theory it sounds great. Bedding in a playpen could get tricky though as there'd be no bottom besides your own floor, so that could quickly become a very big mess!
Might try the sink one day if I'm feeling adventurous. I've got a big thick cardboard box about the size of a bin, so I'm planning to use that now (she can't chew through it to escape as I'll sit there and supervise her entire playtime). Will definitely switch to scatter feeding instead of bowls, and try to give her playtime tonight, thanks so much for all the amazing input!
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:37 PM   #10
Cotton
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Default Re: Did my hamster become too fat?

Amityville has many great suggestions. A baby's bathtub works well as a playpen, too, if it has high sides. A plastic utensil tray on the bottom of the tub is a fun maze for small hamsters.
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