wikiHow of the Week: Warning: Dead Rodent Post

24 Jan

How to Deal With Your Hamster Dying

Sadly, it happens to every hamster, just as it does to all living beings. The end comes from old age or illness. However, knowing about the inevitability doesn’t ease the pain for you and the desire to do what you can to help your hamster.   Its the Ciiir-cle of Life.  And it moves us all. 

Here’s how to deal with it.


  1. Let go. If your hamster is slowly dying because of old age, don’t try to prolong its life by doing things that make it miserable. Leave it alone, but be sure to feed and water it. Your presence may comfort it at some deeper subliminal level.  Just be there.
  2. Aid an ailing, aged hamster. Some old hamsters may not be able to move to eat or drink. Put their food and water in a dish in front of them.   Do not shake the cage repeatedly, insisting the hamster is still breathing and just sleeping, as my mother did when my beloved Beetlejuice died.
  3. Make sure the hamster is comfortable. Provide clean and soft bedding. Perhaps Fluffy would enjoy sleeping in your bed for a few days?

  4. Don’t try to take your old hamster out of the cage. It hates it, but it has no energy to fight.  Don’t put him in his little ball and push him down the stairs either.  Not that I would know from experience or anything…
  5. If your hamster is dying of a sickness, take it to a vet! If you cannot afford this, it may go away after awhile. If it has a wet tail, (symptoms: diarrhea, wet anus), this is often fatal. As little as 24 hours after symptoms occur your hamster may be gone. Be prepared.  This doesn’t apply to humans, right?
  6. Remember these things when your hamster has gone:
    • You don’t have to get a new one if you don’t want to. You’d be surprised, many times it will help ease the pain seeing a new little bundle of joy in there. After all, it is the circle of life being completed again and again by renewal after loss.  See?  I told you this earlier!  That Elton John is smaht!
    • If it helps, make a pet funeral. Put your hamster in a small box and bury it somewhere beloved in your garden.  Pencil cases work well.  Just make sure you bury him deeply enough so that your puppy doesn’t dig him up.  That’s not a nice memory.
    • If you are going to mope around because of your sadness, you may want to get another hamster or perhaps a different pet. If not, try some activities that get you out of the house doing different things for a while. Staying at home will make you unhappier during the grieving time.  Maybe a support group?


  • If it’s all just too painful to watch, go to your vet and ask them to euthanize your pet. They will be caring and do the right thing by your pet. Ask for the hamster’s body if you wish to bury it.   I honestly didn’t realize that vets would euthanize a hampster. 


  • Do not flush the hamster down the toilet. This is not only going to clog up your system and make parents very annoyed, it is most disrespectful to the hamster.   Call me sick, but this made me laugh and laugh. 

3 Responses to “wikiHow of the Week: Warning: Dead Rodent Post”

  1. Mare January 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    This was very enlightening even though I only ever had hermit crabs. I’m 99% sure vets don’t off them in hard times for you.

  2. thela August 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    I would like to add that in addition to your vet euthanizing your hamster for the teeny tiny little fee of $100, they send you a lovely card and a plaster medallion with your hamster’s footprints! And it all arrives just when your child has gotten over the grief period, only to thrust him back into deep depression. Yay!

    Thanks for a great article, Julie!

  3. Julie August 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    $100 to euthanize a hamster?!? You’re a good mom, Thela!

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