A fat hamster with its chubby cheeks and fluffy body is a delight to play with. It looks beautiful in photos and videos, and you can’t help but hug it for its adorable features. However, obesity in animals may look cute, but it is pretty unhealthy.
It can take a toll on both the hamster’s physical and mental health. And definitely, you wouldn’t want to see your hamster live a painful and short life.
So, if you think that your hamster is overweight, don’t delay and take adequate measures to reduce its weight. In this article, we have mentioned some interesting facts that will help you analyze your pet’s weight and then guide you to reduce it.
Do I Have a Fat Hamster?
The definition of “fat” varies for different species of hamsters. Some hamsters are fat because of the high-fat ratio in their bodies. But there are many that are fluffy with a lot of fur.
So, how can you differentiate a fat hamster from a fluffy one? The answer is simple.
There are some weight standards for hamsters and their different species. A particular hamster that crosses the weight limits of its type is often overweight.
Average Weight of a Hamster
To better understand the proper weight of your hamster, let’s take a look at the standard or average weight of individual hamster species.
There are two different types of dwarf hamsters:
Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamster
A Dwarf Campbell Russian hamster looks quite chubby because of its fur but weighs only 1 ounce.
Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster
On the other hand, a Dwarf Winter White Russian dwarf has a similar weight but can increase to 2 ounces with time. It is because this hamster eats a lot during winter to keep its body warm against cold temperatures.
Dwarf Roborovski Hamster
If you have a Dwarf Roborovski hamster, make sure its weight doesn’t exceed 0.88 ounces. It is one of the smallest breeds of hamsters and hence doesn’t have much body weight.
A Syrian hamster can grow up to 6 to 7 inches. It is one of the longest breeds of hamsters, and so it weighs at least 4.5 ounces. Sometimes, a Syrian hamster weighs 1 ounce for every inch which can easily give it a weight of a maximum of 7 ounces.
Teddy Bear Hamster
Also famously known as a Syrian hamster with long hair, a Teddy Bear hamster has an average weight of 5.3 ounces. However, this hamster can grow a maximum length of 6 inches which helps balance its high average weight.
Since this hamster is the smallest among its peers, its average weight is 0.75 ounces for babies and 1.5 ounces for adults. However, the weight of 1.5 ounces is often considered overweight for this hamster.
A Robo hamster is both the smallest and fastest breed. This implies that this animal has a high metabolism which helps balance out the extra weight.
Unlike most chubby hamsters, a Chinese one has a long and slim profile. It can have a maximum length of 5 inches and can have an average weight of between 1.5 and 1.75 ounces.
Moreover, a Chinese hamster has a longer tail than its peers. This feature adds a lot to its overall weight.
Signs and Symptoms
If your hamster weighs more than the average weight mentioned above, the poor animal is more likely obese.
But there are also some other common signs and symptoms that can easily indicate the overweight problem.
Your Hamster Feels Lethargic
Do you feel that your pet hardly moves from one place? Has it slowed down or lost interest in staying active? Does it prefer sleeping most of the day and night?
While these signs can also indicate your pet’s increasing age, lethargy is a crucial symptom of obesity as well.
It Doesn’t Show Interest in Exercise
An active and healthy hamster would love to exercise and show interest in its wheels and balls. However, an overweight hamster would hardly make an effort to move. This loss of interest in physical activities is a significant sign of increased weight.
Your Hamster Might Start Showing Symptoms Related to Diabetes and Heart Problems
If your hamster frequently gets unwell, you should get its weight checked. Obese hamsters often suffer from health issues such as diabetes and heart problems. Moreover, rampant obesity can also reduce their life expectancy.
So, if you are making more than two to three trips to a vet every month, you might have to take your hamster’s weight issues quite seriously.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity in both animals and humans can get lethal with time. Many factors cause it, but the reasons below particularly cause obesity in hamsters:
Unhealthy Eating Habits
If a hamster eats a lot or consumes unhealthy food, it is deemed to get fat quickly. For instance, a Syrian hamster that consumes more than two teaspoons of dry food might be overeating. This amount is too much for this animal.
Hamsters also tend to hide food a lot. So, for example, if you have served your pet some food but it is all gone, avoid putting in more. The chances are that the hamster might have stalked the previous food items to consume later.
Wrong Food Choices
Feeding your hamster lots of sugary treats and nuts will make it obese. Hamsters should only have a maximum of 20 per cent fats in their diet. Different carbohydrates with large amounts of lipids are unhealthy and can cause many heart problems in these animals.
You should feed your hamster sunflower seeds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. However, add fruits and vegetables to the diet as well to create a proper balance of nutrients.
Lack of Exercise
If your hamster doesn’t exercise or stays lazy all day, it may increase its weight. Exercise or any other activity, for that matter, helps burn calories, increases metabolism, and also improves the mental health of your pet.
Moreover, exercise is imperative to keep boredom at bay. Most hamsters eat a lot because of frustration, and that’s not a good thing for their well-being.
This reason might not be prevalent, but hamsters sometimes gain weight in winters and lose in summers. To keep themselves warm in cold temperatures, these animals prefer eating more than usual.
Treat an Obese / Fat Hamster
If your hamster has gained weight and is becoming super lazy, you shouldn’t wait any further and take measures to make it fit again. Here are a few things you can do:
Feed Your Hamster Healthy Diet Food
As much as your pet will hate you for this, feeding the hamster the right food will work positively for its body. There are some fantastic options for hamster diet foods available in the market.
A few products come with low-calorie content, while others have low fat. Both food categories are adequate, but a low-fat diet works much faster.
It is because a low-fat diet helps to keep the hamster full and energetic. But on the other hand, a low-calorie diet may not work that way.
A diet with low fat contains less fat content, which helps to balance the hamster’s weight. However, avoid decreasing your pet’s fat consumption too much as this might lead to a dietary deficiency. Instead, simply focus on feeding a balanced diet with no extremes.
Make it Workout
If your hamster is getting fat, make efforts so your pet stays active and fit. For example, the money you spend on its food, don’t waste it and use those dollars to get your pet an exercise wheel and some training balls. Moreover, you should also invest in activities like cardboard boxes, ladder climbing, or tubes to keep your pet happy and healthy.
A hamster that works out daily is less prone to heart problems and diabetes. Moreover, an active and happy animal always lives longer than its average expectancy. Besides, if your pet is healthy, you won’t have to spend money on regular vet visits.
Feed Adequate Quantities of Food
You shouldn’t feed your pet more than two times a day. If you plan to give it food only once, add one tablespoon of healthy items in a bowl every morning.
However, if you wish to serve food two times a day, give a half tablespoon of food in the morning and night. The amount of food can vary according to the species.
Regardless of your immense love for your pet, don’t overfeed the animal.
A fat hamster can get obese if not given proper attention. So, if you love your little pet, make efforts to change its lifestyle and food choices. Moreover, invest money in toys and exercise tools to keep your hamster busy.
If the hamster doesn’t lose weight regardless of diet plans and a healthy exercise regimen, visit a vet as soon as possible. The professional will help you curate a proper diet plan and detect any other health issues that might be harming the hamster’s metabolism.