Like all pets, hamsters require dental care to maintain their health. By providing a proper diet, plenty of toys and hard chew treats a hamster can naturally maintain its teeth.
Symptoms of Poor Dental Health
If a pet hamster begins to refuse his favorite treats, wanders away from the food bowl without eating and acts lethargic, check its mouth. Chipped, broken or overgrown teeth may have curved and started growing into the roof of its mouth, cheeks or gums. Overgrown teeth can cause abscesses or visible lumps on the hamster’s face.
Hamster Teeth Maintenance
If the hamster’s teeth appear damaged, take it to a veterinarian. Like human fingernails, a hamster’s front incisor teeth grow continually and may require trimming by a veterinarian. Once a hamster experiences overgrown teeth, the condition often returns if the pet’s diet lacks hard foods.
Some hamsters require a tooth trim every 6 to 8 weeks. Ask the veterinarian to show you how to trim the hamster’s teeth without damaging the pet’s tongue or cheeks–and reduce frequent visits to the vet’s office.
Broken or chipped teeth may require a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
What do healthy hamster teeth look like?
Unlike human teeth, healthy hamster teeth have a yellow-orange appearance. Some hamster teeth even look brown due to the presence of iron in the teeth, according to PetDoc.com. A hamster’s top teeth appear short in comparison to the lower teeth which grow twice to three times as long as the top teeth.
Good Food Choices
To prevent dental emergencies and help the pet hamster maintain healthy teeth, provide a daily diet of solid, hard foods. Commercial hamster blends containing hard alfalfa pellets and whole nuts and seeds require the hamster to chew, keeping its teeth worn down naturally. Select a hamster food mix high in calcium for optimal dental health.
Treat and Toy Ideas
Between meals, hamsters require access to hard chew toys and treats. Choose wooden, cardboard or natural rawhide toys for hamsters to chew on. Small dog biscuits, branches from fruit trees (not sprayed with chemicals) and raw carrots provide entertainment while wearing down the hamster’s incisors.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
AniMed.org, “Dental care for hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice and gerbils”, PetDoc.com
Kaytee, “Health”, Kaytee
Nadia Vella, “Hamster’s Overgrown Teeth”, Hamster Club