Like humans, hamsters have finger/toe nails which continuously grow. If their nails grow too long they can become ingrown, literally curling around into your hamster’s foot. This is obviously very painful, and if your hamster’s nails become ingrown they must see a vet for treatment. This week we’re going to talk about how to prevent overgrown and ingrown nails and how to keep your hamster safe while doing so.
Preventing Overgrown/Ingrown Nails
To avoid overgrown and/or ingrown nails you must keep your hamster’s nails trim and pristine, and the best way to do this is to provide your hamster with hard surfaces to walk on, such as rock, slate, granite, or tile.
There are many benefits to having a few rocks or slate in your hamster’s cage such as different textures, a cold surface to cool off on, and of course, healthy nails.
Guidelines to Having Rocks in Your Hamster’s Cage
When selecting rocks for your hamster’s cage make sure they don’t have sharp edges or pieces that can easily break off. They should also be big enough that your hamster cannot pouch them (about the same size as the hamster).
You can get rocks from outside, just make sure you wash and sanitize them before you give them to your hamster.
What I find works best for cleaning rocks from outside is washing them with hot water and soap to remove dirt and using a vinegar/water mix to kill any harmful bugs and germs from other animals.
If you have a rock or some larger decorative pebbles from in your house, just wash them with mild soap and water to remove any dust or weird smells.
Rub the rock in your hamster’s substrate to make it smell familiar to them, then put it into the cage. Monitor them for a few minutes to ensure they don’t try to bite/eat the rock.
Any rocks in your hamster’s cage should be cleaned occasionally like with any other accessories and toys. Using soapy water for those little cleans is perfectly fine.
Slate, Granite, and Tile
Slate, granite, and tile are also safe for hamsters! You can usually purchase pieces of granite or tile from hardware or renovation stores, and there are tons of options.
Slate can be found in grocery stores or online, and is usually sold for putting food on. Slate is very fragile!
When you purchase slate, granite, or tile always clean it before offering it to your hamster. Soapy water or vinegar are both good cleaning options, however both probably aren’t necessary.
Keeping your hamster’s nails healthy is very important. By providing sanitized rock, slate, granite, or tile in your hamster’s cage their nails are kept short, which prevents overgrown or ingrown nails. Rock, slate, granite, and tile can all add a little extra texture to your hamster’s cage, help keep them cool, and keep their nails healthy.
I hope this post was helpful, and if you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!