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Hamster Teeth Care

Authored by Angela Tague in Pets
Published on 11-23-2009

Hamsters, like all pets, require dental care to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Overgrown, brittle, cracked and curved teeth are all signs of poor dental care or trauma in the hamster’s mouth. Routine inspections of the hamster’s mouth is necessary to maintain proper care of the teeth. With a nutritious diet, ample chew treats and ongoing inspections, your pet hamster will have a healthy smile.

Hamster Teeth Inspection

While holding your pet hamster, gently rub the fur behind his head. As he calms down and relaxes, gently pull the loose skin back in a scuffing motion, causing the skin around his mouth to pull back, revealing his teeth. The smiling-type expression will reveal his teeth for an inspection.

Care for hamster teeth begins by routinely checking for signs of healthy teeth and gums. Healthy hamster teeth should be yellow in color. White or brown teeth indicate a nutrition problem and should be investigated by a veterinarian.

Look for two short teeth on the top, and two longer teeth on the bottom of the hamster’s mouth If any of the four teeth are broken off, growing at an angle or chipped, they need immediate attention. Damaged teeth may cause the hamster to stop eating.

Overgrown lower teeth may protrude into the roof of the mouth. Upper teeth may curve inward, also touching the roof of the mouth. Hamster teeth can be trimmed by an experienced veterinarian. If the teeth has started to burrow into the gums, infection may be present, and an antibiotic may be prescribed for the hamster.

Diet and Treats

Maintaining hamster teeth length is controlled by diet and chewing habits. Hamsters should be offered a hard pellet food diet as their main source of nutrition. The gnawing motion helps trim their teeth. The teeth of rodents, including hamsters, grow continually. Similar to human finger nails, if hamster teeth aren’t worn down or trimmed, they can become overgrown.

In addition to a hard pellet food diet, hamsters need to be offered a variety of hard chew treats to wear down their teeth. Mineral blocks, calcium wheels and wood-based treats are healthy options. Choose small fruit tree branches that have not been sprayed with any chemicals. Wash the branches in hot water to rid them of parasites, and allow the hamster to chew away.

Hamsters found chewing the bars of their cage, plastic accessories in their home or on the nozzle of a water bottle are showing signs of boredom and the need to wear down their teeth. Offer a variety of chew toys in the home. Hide wooden blocks in the base of the cage. Hang calcium or rawhide treats from the bars of the cage. Dangling large bird toys made of calcium and rawhide are safe options. Offer the hamster hard dog biscuits as a treat.

Signs of Trouble

Hamster’s that refuse to eat, act lethargic or have swelling around the mouth may have dental problems. Older hamsters are prone to tooth decay and breakage from years of sweetened hamster treats. Try feeding the hamster soft foods such as plain scrambled eggs, hamster pellet food softened with warm water or bread. Any time a pet refuses to eat, he should be seen by a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

Sources:

  • PetFinder.com: ASPCA Hamster Care Guide, General Care Section
  • Pet Website

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