In the wild, hamsters are prey animals, and they live all of their lives hiding from the predators. So, actually, cheek pouches are a gift of evolution for the hamsters. They don’t have to go back and forth multiple times to eat the food. By storing food in their cheek pouches, they can save a couple of trips.
Undoubtedly cheek pouches are a life-saving feature, but sometimes, they can pose some serious risks as well.
How To Empty Hamster Cheek Pouch – There are multiple ways to empty your hamster cheeks:
- cheeks massage – Gently massage the lower ends of hamsters’ cheek pouches
- using a tool to remove stuck materials (advise a vet)
- saline solution procedure
Methods Of Removing Food From Hamsters Cheeks
If the situation is not worse, which usually isn’t, you can remove the food from the hamster’s cheek by yourself. There are several home remedies that you can choose from depending upon the severity of the condition.
Following are the three most effective ways to remove food from hamsters’ pouches:
Hamsters can store food in their cheek pouches for hours before emptying them in their nest.
It would be best if you determined whether your pet actually needs your assistance or not.
First of all, check signs of swelling around its mouth or shoulders and also keep an eye on the watch. If your hamster has stored food in its little pouches for an abnormally long duration, then it’s time for action.
Naturally, hamsters use their front two paws to remove any stuck food. They simply apply pressure on the backside of their cheeks, and the job is done. However, if you observe that your hamster cannot do this himself, offer them some aid.
Gently massage the lower ends of hamsters’ cheek pouches. By doing this, the food will move into the mouth, and the hamster will be able to get rid of it quickly.
Using a Tool
You should move to this procedure only if the first one has failed. Just like the first method, you will have to do confirmation before anything else. For this, you can look for the signs of swelling around the hamster’s neck, mouth, or shoulder.
Once you are sure that your little friend needs help, start looking for a harmless tool like a miniature spoon. By harmless, we mean something that is not sharp or edgy. It will save the hamster from any kind of internal cuts during the procedure.
In this method, you will have to take the matter into your hands literally. Pick up your hamster, open up his mouth and remove the stuck food from the impacted cheek. You can contact your vet in this regard, and they can recommend anesthesia for simplification.
If you have a small heart, then we don’t recommend you to do this. You can either go to the vet or call a friend. No matter who is conducting the procedure, be very careful while using the tool.
Any mistake can worsen the overall situation.
Using Saline Solution
Those who consider the method mentioned earlier as rude can go for the saline solution procedure. The risk factor in this method is comparatively less than the one mentioned before. After confirmation that the cheeks of your hamster are impacted, start preparing a saline solution.
Preparing a saline solution is pretty simple. Follow the steps mentioned below to prepare a saline solution:
- Take Iodine-free table salt.
- Take 8-12 ounces of water.
- Heat the water in the microwave until it’s warm.
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in the water.
Just like this, anyone without any technical background can easily prepare saline solutions at home. Now fill an eyedropper with this solution. Before adding the saline solution to the mouth of your hamster, consult your vet. They might recommend the use of local anesthesia during the procedure.
Hopefully, at least one of these procedures will do the magic and bring ease to your and your hamster’s life. If none of these procedures work or you think that you are not the right person to do this job, then don’t wait for a miracle to happen and visit your vet as soon as possible.
Medical Complications Due to Affected Cheek Pouches
Your hamster might suffer various health problems due to affected cheeks. Some of the most common medical complications due to affected cheek pouches include:
Abscesses are the most common conditions that affect pet hamsters. In this condition, pus accumulates in your hamster’s cheek pouch due to a localized infection. The pus can spread in the whole body quickly, making your hamster severely sick.
Tumors are another common health problem in pet hamsters. These tumors are usually cancerous and can affect any of the cheek pouches of hamsters. When your hamster has tumors, the cheek pouches look different than those filled with food.
It’s not a very common health condition, but it can occur. In eversion, the cheek pouch comes out of the mouth, and a pink bulge is formed in the corner of the mouth. Eversion can make eating difficult for your hamster.
For your convenience, down below, we have answered some common questions in this regard that will cross your mind as a hamster owner:
Yes, hamsters can overfill their pouches as they love storing food more than anything. It is because they are naturally prey animals. To minimize the risk of interaction with any predators, they try to store loads of food in their nests.
Yes, hamsters do hold food in their cheeks, and it is because their cheeks are designed to store food. This feature of their cheeks has helped them in surviving a significant amount of time in the wild.
Moist and sticky foods provided to the hamsters can get stuck in the cheek pouches of hamsters. It is recommended that you should give only dry non-edgy foods to the hamsters. It significantly lowers the risk of impacted cheeks.
Hamsters are wild prey animals, and they have adopted several ways to survive in the wild. Cheek pouches are one of the most prominent evolutionary advancements in hamsters. They have helped them survive in the harshest environments and avoid the deadliest predators.
Hamsters can sometimes overfill these cheek pouches, which leads to impacted cheeks. Fortunately, this condition is rarely fatal and can be easily treated at home.