Do you plan to be away for a while, leaving your hamster behind? Are you wondering how long this little pet can survive without food and water? In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know.
Hamsters can live three to four days without eating and drinking, counting from the day they had their last meal. This means if it had a meal and water on Friday morning, you’re safe to go on your long weekend vacation and return to feed the animal on Sunday evening.
How Long Can a Hamster Live Without Food?
Hamsters can live without food for up to four days. Therefore, after feeding it well on Monday, you can go wherever you want and return to feed it on Thursday. However, this shouldn’t be a routine.
If it becomes necessary to leave your beautiful little pet for some time without food, then it shouldn’t exceed four days. The fact that the animal can do up to four days without eating doesn’t mean it enjoys doing it.
Like humans, we can go a few days without eating, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get hungry or weak.
Therefore, you should only leave your beautiful hammy that long without eating if it becomes imperative to do so.
Your hamster can survive four days without being fed by you because they are hoarders. If you clean up their cage, you’ll find the food they hoard in different corners to ensure they have enough to eat when food isn’t forthcoming. Hence, once you refuse to show up, they fall back to the hoarded foods for sustenance.
However, that stash doesn’t last long; usually, it’ll take them for up to two days.
Also, some hamsters might not withstand up to four days of not being fed; they may develop health problems. How long a hamster can live without food, therefore, depends on some significant factors:
- Its health status
- The room temperature
- Type of meal you feed it.
Its Health Status
Healthy hamsters can live without food for a longer period than their unhealthy counterparts. This is a normal phenomenon for every living thing and not only restricted to the little rodent. Therefore, if your hammy is sick, you shouldn’t leave it for four days without feeding.
Old hamsters have lesser strength and energy than their young counterparts. Hence, the four days living without food doesn’t apply to them. Not feeding an old hammy might quickly deteriorate its health, and cause complicated health issues, which may eventually lead to death.
The Room Temperature
Hamsters prefer to be in a room with a temperature between 20-22 degrees Celsius or 68-72 Fahrenheit. If the temperature increases above this, they might feel uncomfortable and perhaps dehydrated. Hamsters in such an environment cannot withstand four days of no food.
Type of Meal You Feed it
How long your hamster can go without food also depends on the type of meal you feed it. For instance, chicken is a protein-rich food and requires more time to digest. Protein-rich foods will sustain your hamster longer than vegetables. However, grains and pellets will keep the animal longer than vegetables and protein. Therefore, if the last thing you feed your hamster is pellets, seeds, or grains, he can comfortably go four days without needing any food.
How Long Can a Hamster Live Without Water?
Hamsters can live 2-3 days without water. This applies to situations where they aren’t given any food since they can extract water from the food they eat, especially wet foods.
Like humans, rodents also need water more than food. Therefore, your little hamster might go four days without food, but that is too long to go without water. They can manage to live for two or three days without taking water if they aren’t fed any food at all.
If you feed your hamster fresh vegetables and fruits, they can draw a fair quantity of water from it. Therefore, they can go a week without their water tube if fed with fruits and vegetables. However, if all you feed the pet is grains and pellets, they can only go two to three days without water because grains and pellets are dry and provide them with little or no water.
If your hamster roams about the compound and is not kept in a cage, perhaps it escaped, it may obtain water from pipe condensation, so you may not have to worry much. Although such water is not safe for him, it can sustain him in a worst-case scenario.
If you keep your hamster in a cage without water for more than three days, it may suffer from dehydration resulting in complicated health conditions.
How to Prepare Food and Water When You Are Going Away?
If you’re going to be away, you should provide your hamster with wet and dry food and a full water tube. In other words, you should provide pellets and grains, plus cucumber, lettuce, and a full water tube.
The quantity of food and water to prepare for your hammy when you’re going away depends on how long the pet will be left alone. For instance, assuming your hamster is healthy and fully grown, you plan to leave home on Friday evening and return on Sunday evening; that’s about 48 hours.
You can prepare one serving of pellets and fill the water tube as well. That should sustain him for the 48 hours you’ll be away. However, if you plan to stay away for a more extended period, you may have to prepare more food and water for your pet.
For sufficient water, you should fill up a water tube with a capacity of about 150 ml/5 fl oz. Such water should last your hammy for about nine days. For the food supply to sustain your hamster for five days, you should prepare:
- A dry biscuit of about 6 grams/ 0.2 oz each. This should sustain your hamster for three days
- Dry food, including pellets, seeds, and grains. You can measure about 2-3 teaspoons of each food per day. Measure for three days since there are other foods as well to make up the five days. Therefore, for three days, three teaspoons of each food x 3 = 9 teaspoons of each dry food.
- A few slices of vegetables and fruits, including apple, cucumber, carrot, seedless grapes, and lettuce.
Note that this preparation is only suitable for an average hamster that eats moderately. If your pet eats more, you may want to provide more food to sustain him for the period you’ll be away.
Can I Leave My Hamster For a Week?
You can leave your hamster for a week, provided you’ve made necessary arrangements for their sustenance and ensure their environment is safe. When hamsters are supplied with enough food, drinks, and fruits, they can be fine on their own.
However, it is safer not to leave your beautiful pet alone for more than 48 hours. The longer you stay away from them, the higher their chances of getting into trouble. Therefore, you shouldn’t make it a routine to leave your hamster alone for a week because you’ve supplied enough food and water. They need more than that; they need care and affection always.
Also, if your hamster is used to you being around, he would be used to perceiving your scent often, and sudden disappearance of that might get him scared. His stress level might spike up, resulting in a loss of appetite. As a result of this, the little pet might lose so much weight before you return even though it has enough food and water to eat and drink.
To avoid this, you need to give him the impression that you’re still around even when you’re away. Therefore, you can carry tissue around for a while before you leave. The tissue will pick up your scent, and when you’re about to leave, you should stick it in the pet’s cage. Perceiving your smell from the tissue will make your pet think you’re still around, and it can go on with its regular daily routine.
Besides providing enough food and water and giving the impression that you’re still around, you should also clean up their cage to ensure their environment is hygienic. You should also help to keep their room temperature moderate, so they don’t suffer from cold or extreme heat when you’re away.
How Often Do Hamsters Need To Eat?
Hamsters eat about two to three teaspoons of food per day. Therefore, you can feed your hammy with up to three tablespoon foods and a few slices of fruits every 24 hours.
Different hamster species require varying quantities of food per day. For instance, Syrian Hamsters, also known as Golden Hamsters, are larger hamster species, and they eat more often. Dwarf Hamsters, on the other hand, need lesser food.
You only need to fill your Hamster bowl once a day. You may also check the bowl from time to time to see when it’s empty. Hamsters often stock the corners of their cage with the remaining foods they couldn’t finish. You can check those corners to see how much food has been stored so far.
If it’s much, you may want to allow them to finish that stocked food before you serve another round. This is because if the stored food stays for too long, it may go stale and unfit for consumption.
How Often Do Hamsters Need to Drink?
A hamster can drink up to 10 ml/100 gr of water per day. That’s approximately 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. This applies to both Syrian and dwarf hamsters.
Hamsters need to drink enough water for digestion and to keep them hydrated at all times. Therefore, you must supply them with enough quantity to serve such a purpose. Some factors also contribute to how often a hamster need to drink, and some of these factors include:
- Physical activity
- Type of meal
Old Hamsters tend to drink lesser than their young counterparts. This is because they have a weaker body system and their water requirement for energy and hydration has dropped.
Hamsters that run around or exercise often will require more water for hydration. Therefore, if your hamster is physically active and runs around perhaps for fun or exercise, it’ll need more water than sedentary hamsters.
Type of meal
If you feed your pet with vegetables and fresh fruits, it’ll draw most of its water requirements from it and may not drink from the water bottle much. On the other hand, if you feed it with dry foods like pellets, grain, and seeds, it’ll drink more water often.
Will a Hamster Starve Itself?
A Hamster can starve itself if it feels unsafe in a place, doesn’t like a food, or it has an underlying medical problem. However, there’s a limit to how long the little pet can starve itself as it’ll not starve itself to death.
When you’re away from your little hammy, it might sense your absence and begin to feel insecure. This may affect its mood, raise its stress level and mental state such that it begins to lose interest in eating. More so, if it has an underlying medical condition such as a dental problem that makes eating difficult, it might prefer to starve rather than withstanding the pain of chewing.
Besides these factors, hamsters will naturally not starve themselves for no reason. Therefore if you notice your hammy isn’t eating and starving, there must be a reason for it, perhaps one of the reasons we’ve discussed. Check if it’s not sick and whether it eats when you’re around.