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Can Hamsters Drink Tap Water?

by Lucy

Many hamster owners might believe that since hamsters are tiny creatures, they don’t need much water. But, in actuality, hamsters need as much hydration as any domestic pet. Water is as essential for the wellbeing of your little fur ball as it is for all living beings.

And the question of what kind of water to offer your pet can be more complicated than you think as well. Hamsters can drink tap water. They’ll drink pretty much anything you put before them. But, the main point of the query is whether or not your hamster should drink tap water. 

So, can hamsters drink tap water? No, hamsters should not be offered tap water. In most places, especially cities, the chlorine content in water is too high for continual drinking purposes. The chlorine present in the water might be there to kill bacteria, but just as humans aren’t supposed to drink water with chlorine in it, hamsters aren’t supposed to drink tap water either.

Keep reading as we discuss the best ways to provide water to your hamster and more, so you can have a happy, healthy hammie on your hands.

How Much Water Does A Hamster Need?

Well, being a pet parent of a hamster, you might be aware of the different species of hamsters out there. If you go out looking to adopt a hamster, you will come across a few very popular species – Dwarf Roborovski hamsters, Syrian hamsters, and Chinese hamsters.

The average hamster needs to drink 10-30 ml of water everyday. That might not seem like a lot to you. But, you need to know that for your hamster, water isn’t a treat. Water is the lifeblood of animals. Hamsters can’t go for more than 2-3 days without water. 

The Dwarf hamster is smaller than the Syrian or Chinese hamster, so they need a little less water than the other species of hamsters. But, you should know that even the Dwarf hamster needs a small drink of water every day.

The average Syrian hamster weighs around 140-200 grams and the Dwarf hamster weighs roughly 50 grams. So, the Syrian hamster might have an intake of water which is around 20 ml but your Dwarf hamster will not take more than 5 ml of water.

In most cases, hamsters love a refreshing drink of water. It’s the easiest way for them to hydrate themselves, give themselves a surge of energy and vitality, and cool down their furry little bodies on a balmy summer’s day.

Why Can’t Hamsters Have Tap Water?

As mentioned earlier, most cities get fairly clean tap water. But, the water is treated with chlorine to kill the germs and bacteria that might be present in the water. This makes it safe for bathing, cleaning, and other purposes. However, tap water with chlorine should not be consumed, at least not regularly.

Chlorine in water is not toxic for humans, and the amounts of chlorine allowed in tap water by the FDA are limited to levels that are safe for human consumption and unlikely to cause long term negative effects. However, this amount is specific to human consumption, and may prove to be too much for your hamster.

In the long-run, too much chlorine can have various negative effects on the human body, such as asthma symptoms, food allergies, congenital abnormalities, and even bladder and rectal cancer. Some pregnant women who consumed chlorinated water had babies with birth defects such as cleft palates, ventricular septal defects, and even holes in the heart.

If too much chlorine can have such huge and adverse effects on humans, can you imagine what the consumption of chlorine can do to your pet? If you want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life, keep them away from tap water.

Additionally, there are many places that don’t have chlorine in their tap water, but even in such places, you need to be sure that the water doesn’t have a high mineral content. Hamsters can’t process excess minerals too well and the consumption of water with more minerals can result in health concerns in your pet.

What Water Is Safe For Hamsters To Drink?

You should always ensure that you offer your pet a drink of soft water. Soft water is water that has a low concentration of minerals. Rain water is the best example of soft water. But, soft water can sometimes be salty. So, many vets recommend offering hamster filtered water or bottled water that doesn’t have minerals added to it. 

You should always make sure that you provide your hamsters with a fresh bowl of water everyday. Moreover, you should also take care not to give your pets cold or hot water; the water should always be room temperature. 

Cleaning of the water bowl everyday is also vital. After all, no one wants their pet to contract any illnesses or viruses through their intake of water from a contaminated water bowl or bottle.

Why Might Your Hamster Stop Drinking Water?

It’s rare for any animal to stop drinking water, especially for a tiny creature like a hamster that can’t survive long without water. But, if your beloved pet has stopped consuming water, then it’s best that you investigate the root of the cause immediately. Hamsters might be low-maintenance pets but they don’t have sturdy constitutions. 

If your pet is acting out of the ordinary, it’s best to look into the matter promptly before things go south. With an animal the size of a hamster, things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly. Let’s look at the reasons why your pet might drink less water.

  • Illnesses – in most cases, when hamsters are sick, the first thing that they give up is water and food. So, make sure that your pet isn’t down with wet tail or some other ailment.
  • Age – As hamsters get older, they tend to consume less water. It is a natural phenomenon but it helps to keep a close eye on your aging hamster and encourage them drink more water than they are wanting to drink.

Why Might Your Hamster Have Excessive Water?

There are times when hamster owners face the exact opposite problem with their hamster. It’s pretty bad when your hamster doesn’t have any water. But, the situation is just as bad when your hamster starts drinking excessive amounts of water. 

There is such a thing as water toxicity that even humans can face. Yes, your hamster might face the same issue. But, hamsters tend to drink more water only when they are already suffering from an illness.

A urinary tract infection, wet tail, or a kidney infection might all be the reason why your beloved fur ball is suddenly downing more water than is healthy for your poor pet.

What Is A Better Option For Your Hamster – Water Bowl Or Water Bottle?

Most hamster owners recommend first-time pet parents of hamsters to invest in a water bottle rather than placing a water bowl in their pet’s cage.

It’s likely that if you place a water bowl in your hamster’s cage, it might spill the bowl over, manage to get some of their bedding in the water, or even get a lot of water all around their cage. There have even been cases where hamsters have fallen into their water bowls and been unable to get out as well.

So, it’s smarter to purchase a water bottle. A water dispenser for hamster cages doesn’t drip water. These bottles only release water when your pet goes up to one and licks at the water dispenser tube. You can keep your pet’s cage clean and dry and ensure that there is always clean water available for your pet if you use a bottle instead of a bowl.

Final Thoughts

Adopting a pet as adorable as a hamster can bring a ton of smiles and joy into your life. Seeing as how hamsters are low-maintenance pets, you won’t have to invest too much of your time every day caring for them. Nonetheless, caring for pets is the responsibility of every pet parent. It isn’t a task one should take lightly.

So, you should be aware of your pet’s needs and wants. You should ensure that your pet is drinking enough water to stay hydrated and healthy. But, if you feel that your pet isn’t drinking enough or drinking too much, it’s best to head straight for the vet.

A water dispenser makes your task easier as your pet will always have a clean and fresh supply of water. Keeping a water dispenser in your pet’s cage also means a cleaner and dry cage for your pet.

Up Next: Can Hamsters Get Wet? – What You Should Know

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