So, how long can you leave a hamster alone? Technically speaking, you can leave your hamster alone at your home for up to a week, provided that you leave enough food and water for him to go around comfortably. If you leave your hamster without any water or food, it can survive up to 48 hours. Although this can extend up to 72-hours, it all depends on your hamster, its nature, and you.
Let’s have a look at everything you must consider before leaving your furry friend to fend for itself.
Factors To Consider Before Leaving A Hamster Alone
Down below are some factors that you must consider if you planning to leave your hamster alone:
Your Hamster’s Personality
Generally speaking, hamsters are solitary animals; they enjoy their own company first and foremost.
However, when tamed, they can grow attached to human companionship. The degree of attachment can vary from hamster to hamster or on a specie-to-specie basis.
For example, a Syrian hamster can stay tamed for indefinite periods. Such hamsters will be fine if left alone for long periods, whereas other species such as the Dwarf hamsters have a much higher need to be interacted with when tamed.
Therefore, you should try not to leave your hamster for more than a week at a time. Furthermore, you should also consider your hamster itself, aside from the species.
For example, elder hamsters (generally hamsters older than two years) need a lot more care. Although you can leave them for a couple of days, it generally isn’t recommended. The same goes for baby hamsters who are still growing and strengthening their immunity.
Moreover, if your hamster has grown accustomed to a routine, for instance, you take it out every night to play or to snack, it’ll obviously stress itself out because the routine will change when you’re gone, a single day or two, however, will still be fine.
Ensuring Food And Water For Your Hamster
While hamsters are famous for being tough creatures that can survive a couple of days without any sign of food and water, you don’t want to test that out with your own furry friend.
When leaving any pet alone, the greatest issue is managing the food and water supplies for the said pet.
You’ll want to avoid leaving out fresh food like pieces of meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables as they can rot quite quickly. Instead, you should opt for alternatives that last longer, preferably foods that are packed with high levels of protein (avoid sugary foods).
The foods that are recommended to provide for your hamster when leaving it alone:
Try to leave the food out in two bowls, or just opt for a larger bowl when you’re leaving. Also, you should remember that hamsters are reputed hoarders. Meaning that your hamster has probably stashed some food around for emergencies.
You should encourage this behavior by giving it extra food for a few days before you set out on your venture.
Keeping your precious hamster well-hydrated is equally important. Generally, a healthy hamster should consume around 0.33 fluid ounces of the liquid for every 3.5 ounces of their weight per day.
A good idea to stay stress-free when it comes to your hamster’s hydration level is to opt for an automatic water bottle. Also, you should try to keep an extra water bottle available for your hamsters, just in case the first bottle runs out of water or its valve malfunctions.
Taking Care Of Your Hamster’s Housing And Environment
Your first instinct before leaving your hamster alone might be to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of its housing. This isn’t really recommended. After all, you’ll eliminate all the emergency food that your hamster has stashed away. Hence, in doing so, you’ll only increase your hamster’s anxiety.
The good alternative is to give your hamster’s housing a quick regular clean by removing any obvious mess.
Also, if your hamster happens to be something of an escape artist, you should check your cage for any obvious means of escape.
A good idea is to keep the cage in a bathtub (with a stopper in the drainage) so that even if your furry friend escapes the cage, it’ll have no way of getting tangled in some other mess while roaming around the house.
However, before you employ such a method, you’ll have to make sure that your bathroom or even your room itself has a suitable temperature for your hamster.
To prevent any sickness from ailing your hamster when you return to just stop it from going into hibernation, you should make sure that whatever environment it’s in is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeping Your Hamster Busy
If you’re leaving your hamster alone, you should make sure that they have no room to get bored even without your presence.
You can do this by giving your hamster the classic hamster wheel, or you can even miniature ladders or rope toys. You might not know it, but hamsters love to climb things such as climbing blacks and ladders.
Furthermore, you can also arrange for things that your little guy can chew on (side note: they love chewing too). You can hide dry treats all around their house, or you can provide them with wooden chew toys (you can get these at a pet store).
If you resort to wood from your own house, you should make sure that it’s not a part of evergreen trees or anything that has been treated with pesticides prior.
The following questions will help you take better decisions while leaving your hamster alone:
The answer is a stern NO! You should never, in any circumstances, leave your hamster alone for more than a week, unless you have someone to check up on it regularly.
Hamsters don’t really get lonely at night, even though they’ve transitioned to house pets, they were originally independent and solitary animals. In fact, throughout the years, most hamsters have retained such traits.
While it may not be termed as missing, hamsters do remember their owners. However, you have to remember to respect your hamster’s boundaries, forcing your hamster to do things against it will scare it off from you in the future.
Leaving Hamsters Alone Takeaway
Even though everything that has been discussed above will keep your hamster safe for the period of your absence, you should still try to arrange for a better alternative, namely, hiring a pet sitter.
You can also leave it at a hamster boarding home. However, a change in environment can stress them out. A pet-sitter is generally the superior choice; however, if you do not have any access to one, asking a friend or neighbor to check in routinely with your hamster will do the trick too.