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Old 04-04-2021, 10:12 PM   #1
kelly1171
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Exclamation Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

So I noticed on Wednesday that my daughters hamster could not eat her treat as she normally does. It looked like she was trying to bite into it, but eventually just threw it down. I was concerned that maybe her teeth were overgrown so I took her to my vet the next morning. He said they were quite long and he clipped them. The problem is, it looks like she still having the same trouble. I gave her a treat tonight it look like she was biting into it as normal, but eventually she threw it down. These are the exact same treats we’ve been giving her for six months, every day. she normally gobbles them up. Now food from her food bowl is gone- so I’m perplexed. Does anybody know maybe what is going on? I’ve been adding one water to her pellets and making it mush, and she’s been eating that.
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:05 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

Hi and welcome to HC!

I'd try a different treat and see what happens. Hamsters like new things.

Does she have a whimzee to chew on to wear her teeth down?
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

If her teeth are overgrown and now clipped it's important she has plenty had food mix to chew on to keep them trim. Does she bar chew at all? They can make the teeth uneven so they don't meet correctly which means they don't wear down against each other so they do need watched.
I agree though that sometimes they are just not interested in some treats they used to love so maybe try a bit of carrot or brocolli and see if she can chew that well enough?
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:21 AM   #4
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Hello. How old is she? I'm assuming she is an older hamster as that is often when their bottom teeth get too long. Well done for getting it sorted by the vet as if left the teeth can actually puncture the top palate. Or they can starve. So you have acted quickly and that is good. When the vet trimmed them did he give an anaesthetic and burr them down? Or clip them? Either way they may be uncomfortable for a while and take some getting used to.

But the other thing with an older hamster is they can get toothache and tooth decay, just like us, which is often how their teeth get too long in the first place if they find it too painful to bite on hard food.

I usually start introducing soft food about this age (assuming she is older). So they can eat and get the nutrition. But always put the hard hamster mix out as well, because even if they're not eating it, they still like to continue with normal behaviours - eg pouching it and hoarding it.

So keep putting that out as usual but supplement with soft food. Baby food is one thing (age 4 months without onion, tomato or spices). I then use one of the baby food lids as an extra dish and put a bit of the normal hamster mix in that and soften it with boiled water for 10 mins before putting it in the cage. They tend to have a go at everything put out.

Instead of normal softened hamster mix I also tend to get science selective for soaking - it contains all the nutrients needed even if not much is eaten. So regular hamster mix put out as usual, plus a bit of baby food and a bit of soaked science selective is a good start.

It is probably frustrating for her if she can't manage the treats so softer treats go down well - apart from the supplementary soft foods. A bit of porridge on a teaspoon or a bit of scrambled egg on a teaspoon usually goes down well .

They still like their bit of fresh veg each day but I tend to give boiled veg when they're older so it's not too hard to chew. So I save a bit of boiled carrot, broccoli or potato after our meal - or peas. They only need a tiny amount about 1cm cubed size.

They do have back teeth that can give toothache as well or even get arthritis of the jaw which makes chewing painful.

It's a bit of extra work and attention when they're older - like having a baby

It can make a huge difference in their old age though, having these supplements, so they don't get rapid weight loss. The other thing I put out as a supplement is a pinch of hemp seeds and a pinch of linseeds. Hamsters like them and lick them up. The linseeds are brilliant for their coat and the hempseeds are supposed to contain all vitamins and minerals needed. I get the linwoods shelled hemp seeds and any brown linseeds (both available at health food shops). I use another baby food lid to put those on.
T

This also makes life more interesting as they get older - they have 3 or 4 little dishes to have a go at! And they usually really look forward to the baby food each day.

I tend to stick to two or three which have safe ingredients. There's a Hipp one - pumpkin and chicken (or butternut squash and chicken - can't remember). Cow and Gate Chicken Sunday lunch and Ellas kitchen peas peas peas.

With our last elderly syrian I also got the Ella's kitchen strawberry porridge. Because it was much easier to make a small amount - it's dried - you just put a teaspoonful in a mug with a bit of boiling water. I make it fairly soft and runny so its easily licked up. That went down a storm! The strawberry porridge.

Science selective

Supreme Science Selective Hamster Food 350g: Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies

Ella's kitchen porridge

Ella's Kitchen Strawberry & Raspberry Porridge 175g - Pack of 2: Amazon.co.uk: Grocery
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:44 PM   #5
kelly1171
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
Hi and welcome to HC!

I'd try a different treat and see what happens. Hamsters like new things.

Does she have a whimzee to chew on to wear her teeth down?

I am not sure what a whimzee is, but we’ve given her wood chips, but I don’t think she chews them because I don’t see bite marks. Last week we got something different - hoping she’d start chewing on it- apple orchard sticks
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

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Originally Posted by souffle View Post
If her teeth are overgrown and now clipped it's important she has plenty had food mix to chew on to keep them trim. Does she bar chew at all? They can make the teeth uneven so they don't meet correctly which means they don't wear down against each other so they do need watched.
I agree though that sometimes they are just not interested in some treats they used to love so maybe try a bit of carrot or brocolli and see if she can chew that well enough?

She would typically go nuts over her treats! But I’ll try something new- probably some veggies! I know for sure we have carrots and potatoes.. we have fruits too.
Not sure what bar chew is, but we’ve put wood chips out and it doesn’t look like she’s chewed them. We’ve recently added apple orchard sticks to her tank in hopes that she’ll begin chewing on these.
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

Wow! That’s a lot of info! ��. She is mot very old- maybe 8-9 months. The vet did not administer anesthesia- so he just clipped them and did nothing else. I’m hoping that she just needs time to adjust to her new, trim teeth before being able to eat properly. I do put out hard food daily. One day the bowl was empty- so I’m not sure if that means she can eat? Can hamsters put food in their cheek whole? I’m so clueless!! Tonight, I gave her 2 small slices of carrot from a baby carrot. I’m trying the suggestion of trying a different treat! She was still burrowed when I went to sleep so I’ll see in the morning if they’re gone.

We feed her oxbow hamster food. She loves it every night I put some in hot water and it turns to mush in about 3 min. I put this in her tank and she gobbled it up. I’m just so nervous to stop doing this. I can’t bear the thought of her going hungry because she can’t eat properly.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:35 AM   #8
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Ok. So if she is not very old then soft food isn’t good - just for older hamsters. In fact she really needs hard food and hard chews to keep her teeth from getting too long. In terms of hamster mix, Oxbow, unfortunately is not good at all. It has far too much roughage - more suitable for guides pigs. If you’re in the US? Then a muesli mix like Harry or Hazel hamster would be good as a basic hamster diet - it contains all the vitamins and minerals etc needed, the correct level of protein and is sugar free. The pieces are a good size for Syrians. There are other mixes in the US but I am not familiar with all of them and you can’t really go wrong with Harry or Hazel Hamster. They are both identical in terms of contents (despite the contents being labelled differently) but Hazel is the US labelled version and Harry the Uk labelled version.

Most hamsters will pouch the food from their bowl and hoard it and then snack from their hoards. So you never actually see how much they eat but put fresh food out each day even if they don’t take it all from the bowl. If they leave some in the bowl I tip it up next day then the second day throw anything left and replace with new. For some bizarre reason they will ignore old food left on the bowl and go for the newer fresher food added. Depends on the hamster a bit.

They get very upset if their hoards are messed with. Or if they are cleaned out too much. It causes then stress and then they can have abnormal behaviours. Most people recommend “spot cleaning” mostly and not to do a full cage clean of everything all at once. That causes most stress as it removes all their familiar scent. They scent mark to claim territory but also to help find their way around as they really don’t see well at all!

Spot cleaning is just basically taking out the odd handful of soiled ubstrate and replacing it with a new handful. They are very clean little things and it is only their pee that is smelly or unhygienic. So a litter tray is your friend. You can get plastic corner litter trays that work well and a Syrian will use a litter tray reliably and neatly! IF you put it in the right place. The right place being their chosen place for peeing - that is often a corner of the cage. They have usually grown out of peeing in the nest by the age yours is.

So Chinchilla bathing sand in the litter tray (sand not dust). Then you just empty the litter tray once or twice a week and replace the sand. The rest of the cage stays clean and dry. I go about 3 months or more before needing to change the substrate with a litter tray and spot cleaning (the key is to have enough depth of substrate to start with - the bottom of the cage is then always clean usually). At least 4 to 6” deep.

Then just clean any other items as and when needed but not all at the same time. So wheel one week if needed, any toys etc another week. Their nest and hoard can be left alone for a very long time. Those are the two things they are most precious about and get most upset about. They build really quite large nests sometimes especially in winter. Plain white toilet paper torn into strips is best for that as it’s safe. A big pile of them somewhere in the cage (but not inside the house). They forage for it, pouch it and take it back to the house to build or refurbish their nests. They tend to keep hoards either near or buried under their nests (and snack in bed ).

If nest and hoard are peed on then they will need removing but always try and leave a little bit of clean dry nest or hoard behind. Then add new food in the same place to replace the hoard (or you could get major tantrums). And put new nesting material out.

The reason her teeth got too long is because she was having softened hamster mix! We all make mistakes initially! They need really hard things to chew on to keep their teeth trim as the teeth just keep growing.

Whimzee mini toothbrush chews are usually popular. Also those wood chew sticks with food stuck to them.

If the nest or

And a bit of fresh veg each day - tiny bit. They tend to eat fresh food straight away and only eat tiny amounts. Ours have never hoarded fresh food so it doesn’t go rotten in the hoard usually. They eat a bit and leave what they don’t want. Raw veg better for a younger hamster as it’s harder to chew . Carrot, broccoli, cucumber are all good. Not lettuce or cabbage.
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Last edited by souffle; 04-07-2021 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:17 AM   #9
Ria P
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly1171 View Post
I am not sure what a whimzee is, but we’ve given her wood chips, but I don’t think she chews them because I don’t see bite marks. Last week we got something different - hoping she’d start chewing on it- apple orchard sticks
Don't know how to link hence photo. They are available on Amazon. I get the xs toothbrushes but other shapes and sizes are available.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hamster having trouble eating! Help!

In my experience hamsters won't chew anything unless it's got food stuck to it The whimzees taste and smell nice though. I stick sunflower seeds in the bristles and they have fun getting those out. Wood chew sticks on their own usually get ignored. Although they will happily chew things you don't want them to chew - like wood houses etc!
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