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Old 04-27-2022, 09:29 AM   #1
Fluffy_Unicorn
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Default First spot cleaning attempt fail

Just attempted spot cleaning Fluffy's cage for the first time and it ended really badly. Fluffy is about 8 weeks russian dwarf hamster. When I removed the level in his cage I noticed he has made lots of little tunnels in the bedding. It did not look dirty and I could not tell where fluffy is going for the bathroom. Fluffy got really upset I moved the level. I have only had fluffy one week. I tried putting a tunnel in front of Fluffy so I could put him in his carrier and he started squeaking. I got really upset and decided not to clean and just put the level back which was really difficult as fluffy was running around under the tunnels where the platform goes. I have a 100cm by 50cm cage, how much longer can I go without cleaning? And how can I make cleaning less traumatic for a timid hamster?
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:03 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Hello. How long have you had him? I'm guessing not very long if he is only 8 weeks old. It takes a good 2 weeks for them to settle in and adjust and if your cage is that big I wouldn't bother to spot clean just yet. I can understand that removing a level might upset him in the early days. Is it necessary to remove it to spot clean him?

If he has tunnels you probably won't know where he is peeing yet so basically if you can't smell anything - leave it! Spot cleaning is mainly removing a handful or so from the top of the substrate, if it's stained or smelly.

I think basically it needs more time by the sound of it. He was probably a bit scared and felt his new world was collapsing around him. But I'm sure he'll settle again in a few days.

Dwarf hamsters pee so little that if you can't smell anything I really wouldn't worry about it just yet.

Just read you've had him one week. Maybe a bit too soon for disturbing things in his cage. I would give it another two weeks now.
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Old 04-27-2022, 11:35 AM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

I left everything alone for my scaredy cat syiran Twinkle when i first got him as I didn't want to disturb him. He was in a 100x50cm cage at the time. They normally kick any dirty bedding out of their nests anyway. So, yes you can definitely leave longer.
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Old 04-27-2022, 01:22 PM   #4
Lilafernim
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Also, to spot clean I wouldn’t say you have to put him in carrier while you do it. I tend to do the main cage in the day time just taking dirty bits out and wait for nighttime when they’re out of the home to spot clean that area. Also shelves, wheel or anything else that needs/can to be cleaned I tend to wait a couple days after doing a spot clean to do these just so the smell isn’t all changed in one day.
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Old 04-27-2022, 02:08 PM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Do you need to take the shelf out to spot clean? I'd just do visible bits. At least for a while. If no visible bits then leave it

I know with our robo I don't spot clean because there's nothing to find to spot clean - I change his sand in his sand bath maybe every two weeks (it gets lots of poops in). And wait to do a partial cage clean. One thing I really found helps which also might work well for a dwarf hamster as well as a robo. Is when you come to do a partial cage clean of the substrate - just do one half - the left half or the right half. So they can still feel safe and familiar in the other half. Then maybe in 2 or 3 weeks do the other half. Still just spot cleaning really but it's an opportunity to take out a house eg and check under it.

Our Robo actually had two nests - one at each side of the cage - so if I did one side of the cage he'd move to his other nest and then vice versa. Less upheaval for them.

You shouldn't really need to take a shelf out to spot clean - it is very minimal.

And yes best not to disturb any cage contents for at least two weeks - they are still easily freaked during that first two weeks.
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Old 04-28-2022, 06:44 AM   #6
Fluffy_Unicorn
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Okay thank you. I feel really bad for upsetting him and not knowing it was not necessary to clean yet. I just did not want to be neglecting him. I was planning on doing a monthly clean of the cage changing maybe 2 3rds of the bedding?
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:29 AM   #7
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Changing 2/3rds of the bedding every month would be way too much, and it's completely unnecessary especially in larger cages like 100 cm x 50 cm cages and larger. A spot cleaning is all that you need once your hamster is fully settled in, whether it's weekly or every other week. You can spot clean the actual substrate one week and things like wheels the next week though.

I honestly wouldn't even be removing half of the substrate within a 6 month period in a cage of that size. Do keep in mind that by spot cleaning as needed you'd basically be removing the substrate that had been urinated on anyways which is the goal of cleaning anyways, rendering deeper cleanings essentially redundant for healthy hamsters.

Deeper cleaning is only really a good idea when hamsters have been properly diagnosed with mites(through an actual skin scrape - not just because someone or even a vet is guessing they have them which is unfortunately incredibly common) or a similar health issue where cleaning is necessary for safety.

A lot of pet shops and other sources push the very outdated practice of frequent cleaning with hamsters and it's unnecessary for them as well as extremely stressful for them. Frequent cleaning may be appropriate for some species, for example parrots, but for hamsters it causes far more harm than it does any good. Very minimal cleaning as we now advise in the hamster community is the complete opposite of neglect - it's better for the hamsters and is ultimately proper care!
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Old 04-28-2022, 08:08 AM   #8
Ria P
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

I walk around the hamster's room sniffing.

When my nose detects a bad smell i sort it. The source could be a patch of smelly substrate which i then renew with fresh substrate, a peed on wheel which gets a wipe over with a damp jcloths, a smelly corner toilet i remove lumps of sand from and so on.

I have no cleaning schedule or timetable. The hamsters have houses with removable roofs so i can check their nests without disturbing them. I do that when they're not in their cages.

Petshops advise to clean often so they can sell more substrate and their advice is generally many many years out of date.
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Old 04-28-2022, 08:25 AM   #9
Fluffy_Unicorn
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Default Re: First spot cleaning attempt fail

Thanks everyone for the advice, this really helped me.
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