Before leaving on vacation for several days you must ensure that your hamster will have easy access to his food and water and above all, you must get your hamster ready and set up its cage so that it will be safe and able to live by itself while you are away.
- It would be better to take your hamster with you than to leave it home alone:
- How long can I leave my hamster on its own?
- 1- Cleaning your hamster’s enclosure before leaving
- 2- Change your hamster’s bedding
- 3- Check your hamster’s health
- 4- Make sure your hamster will be safe while you are away
- 5- Your hamster must have food and water while you’re on vacation
- 6- Your hamster must have something to occupy itself in your absence
- 7- Set up a surveillance camera
- 8- No more than one hamster in the cage.
- Final Thoughts
It would be better to take your hamster with you than to leave it home alone:
Before I tell you how to prepare your hamster to stay home alone for an extended period of time, I want to encourage you to get somebody to care for your hamster if you think you will be away for more than a week, if not, to reconsider your decision if you can and take your hamster with you, since hamsters can handle traveling pretty well.
if you can’t find someone to take care of your hamster while you are gone, a friend or a pet sitter!
If on the other hand, you absolutely have to travel without your hamster and you find no one to take care of your hamster during your absence, such as a friend or a pet sitter; there is no reason to worry, your hamster can very well be on its own in your absence, for several days, you just have to make sure that it is well prepared and that its cage is properly prepared in order to make your absence as little noticeable as possible.
How long can I leave my hamster on its own?
Hamsters are animals that can live on their own forever if they have food, water, and a safe place where they can live and hide from predators and the elements.
You can leave your hamster alone for a day or two without much preparation, just increase his food portion and fill his water bottle well and he should be fine.
But it would be a different matter if you plan to be away for several days.
You can leave your pet hamster alone for more than a week, or even two weeks if you do the preparations I will recommend in this article.
Here are the preparations to do so you can leave your hamster safely home alone for several days and go on your trip without worrying:
1- Cleaning your hamster’s enclosure before leaving
First of all, I strongly recommend that you transfer your hamster to a large enclosure if it is currently in a small cage.
You will then do a complete cleaning of the cage and all the accessories, the hideaways, the wheel, the tunnels the sandbox, and all the toys.
2- Change your hamster’s bedding
One of the problems, when you leave your hamster alone for a long time, is that there is no one to do his daily spot cleaning.
While you are away, your hamster’s urine and feces will, unfortunately, accumulate in the cage and the bedding will get dirtier and dirtier.
Hamsters often choose specific places to relieve themselves, so I suggest you change the bedding completely before you leave (never use pine or cedar bedding) and use paper-based bedding covered with a layer of Aspen Shavings in the areas where your hamster usually urinates.
If you already trained your hamster to use a litterbox, it’s even better but you should double the layer of bedding you use or add a second litterbox in another corner of the pen.
3- Check your hamster’s health
You should only leave your hamster alone for several days when you are sure that it is in perfect health.
Since hamsters hide their illnesses well, I recommend that you take your hamster to the veterinarian for a regular check-up, otherwise, you should at least inspect it yourself and make sure that it does not show any symptoms of illness, injury, or fracture, wound, skin lesion…
If your hamster is sick or on medication, you should not leave it alone, wait until it finishes its treatment and recovers.
4- Make sure your hamster will be safe while you are away
Your hamster’s enclosure should be secure so that it cannot escape and no other animal can get in and attack your hamster or its food or water.
It is not uncommon for bats or mice to enter homes and attack hamsters and their food and this type of wildlife can even transmit diseases and parasites to your hamster.
You should also put your hamster’s cage on the floor, put some cardboard sheets on the floor, put a carpet on it, and then put your hamster’s cage on the floor to isolate it from the floor.
Doors and windows of your house should also be closed so that your hamster is protected from noise, drafts, humidity, and direct sunlight, the ambient temperature of your house should remain stable in the house.
5- Your hamster must have food and water while you’re on vacation
In the days before you leave, you should increase the amount of dry food you usually give your hamster to encourage him to create new food stashes .
You should also increase the amount of Oatmeal you give your hamster, Oatmeal is rich in fiber which is a good temporary alternative to fresh veggies during your absence.
The best way to ensure your hamster will have something healthy to eat while you are away is to ensure it has created food stashes. A hamster eats between one and two tablespoons of food each day.
A hamster eats ( 10 Gr to 20 Gr)between one and two tablespoons of food each day, so do your math before you leave you have to figure out how much food your hamster has stored and you have to remove any food that could rot and compromise the food stash like fresh food, cheese, a piece of fruit, etc.
An automatic feeder for your hamster
You can also improvise and install an automatic feeder on top of your hamster’s bowl and he will automatically get his daily ration of pellets or seeds (dry food).
I have found a model for you, DXOPHIEX Automatic Feeder; it can contain up to 200 ml of dry food, is adjustable, and will do the job well.
PS/ You should never use an automatic Gravity feeder during your absence to feed your hamster. On one hand, your hamster will have access to more food than he needs and on the other hand, he will start to choose his food and eat only certain seeds at the expense of others which will cause digestive problems. When you return, you’ll get a sick and picky hamster.
Your hamster will need fresh water
Hamsters usually need 10 ml (0.33 ounces) of water per 100 Gr (3.5 ounces) of body weight every day. Hamsters drink the equivalent of 10% of their body weight each day or a little more in the warmer seasons.
Most hamster water bottles can only hold 80 ml of water and will last about a week.
I recommend either using two water bottles in case one of them ceases to function or buying a larger water bottle for your hamster, like Kaytee Clearwater Bottle 32 Ounces.
Personally, I prefer that you install two water bottles, the one I just suggested that can hold up to a liter of water and his regular bottle, your hamster will not have fresh veggies while you are away and he will need to drink more water to stay hydrated.
If your hamster is only used to drinking from a bowl, you should either teach him to use these water bottles or use a larger bowl and install some sort of drip system on top of the bowl.
6- Your hamster must have something to occupy itself in your absence
Your hamster should not get bored during your absence!
To prevent your hamster from getting bored while you’re away, which can cause stress and illness, you should make sure before you leave that your hamster’s wheel is working properly and that you leave things like wooden tunnels, tubes, ladders, and some chew toys and lots of enrichments.
7- Set up a surveillance camera
Install a surveillance camera with night vision like Blink Mini Camera (because hamsters are more active at night) that you can access from your smartphone to keep an eye on your hamster and intervene if by chance his life is in danger if by chance his water bottle is not working, he shows signs of illness such as severe diarrhea (wet tail) … so you have to call someone to help your hamster.
You can also talk to your hamster in real time to assure him and keep him company from time to time.
8- No more than one hamster in the cage.
If you are going to be away and you have an enclosure that contains more than one hamster, you should definitely put them in different cages while you are away.
When they start to notice that food or water is becoming scarce, your usually calm hamsters will start fighting each other for territory and believe me, one of them will end up killing the other and the survivor will most likely suffer injuries or stress which will eventually lead to his early death.
So you have to put them in different pens before you leave.
You must get your hamster used to your absence before you leave.
Hamsters are self-sufficient and love to be alone, so if you leave your hamster alone for more than a week, especially if it is a dwarf hamster, they have a shorter memory than Syrian hamsters, so they may not remember you when you return home and you will have to go through the taming process again to regain their trust.
Getting a pet sitter is the best solution if you have to go away and leave your hamster alone for many days.