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Can Hamsters Drink Out of a Bowl? Vet Approved Pros & FAQs

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

Hamster near water bowl or drinking water

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sometimes, you just can’t seem to get your hamster to drink out of a bottle, and if that’s the case, can you give them a bowl instead? The truth is that most hamsters will happily drink out of a bowl, but there are some drawbacks to using one.

We’ve gone over the benefits and drawbacks for you below, and we’ve even come up with a few other tips you should know about regarding your hamster and water.


Benefits of Using a Bowl

Not only can hamsters drink out of a bowl, but there are some benefits of a bowl compared to a traditional bottle. We’ve highlighted three advantages of a bowl here:

hamster drinking from the water bowl in the cage
Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

1. Durability

One clear advantage of using a bowl over a bottle is the durability of the bowl. A bottle can stop working effectively, the spout can get blocked or drip into the cage. Hamsters may chew the spout which can damage their teeth or even chew holes in the bottle itself. These aren’t problems you have to worry about with bowls. Usually, one bowl can last the entire lifetime of a hamster, depending on the material.

2. Easier to Clean

While you need to clean bowls more often, they tend to be much easier to clean. Unlike bottles that are tough to get inside of, a bowl leaves everything out in the open, making it easier to clean.

3. Hamsters Might Like Them More

One of the reasons many people go to bowls over bottles is because they can’t get their hamster to drink from the bottle. A bowl is more natural to a hamster, and because of this, many hamsters simply prefer a bowl to a bottle.

close up of hamster
Image Credit: emin kuliyev, Shutterstock


Benefits of Using a Bottle

There’s a reason the bottle is the traditional way to give your hamster water. Below, we’ve highlighted two extremely important reasons a bottle might be a better choice than a bowl for your hamster.

1. More Hygienic

By far, the most important reason you should try to use a bottle instead of a bowl is for hygienic purposes. Bowls allow your hamster to climb in the water, kick debris in it, and even relieve themselves in it.

If your hamster comes back and drinks from the dirty water, it can make them sick. With a bottle, your hamster can’t get the water dirty as easily, making it a far more hygienic choice.

2. It Can’t Tip Over

If you put a bowl in your hamster’s cage, they may knock it over and dump it out from time to time. They’re not likely to do it on purpose, but it’s still going to happen. When it does, you’ll need to clean it up, but when you have a bottle, you don’t need to worry about this.

Campbell's dwarf hamster
Image Credit: Vinicius R. Souza, Shutterstock


Frequent Asked Questions

Should You Use a Bowl or Bottle?

If your hamster can drink from a bottle, it’s usually the better choice. The main reason is that the water is less likely to get contaminated ,making it a more hygienic choice. Some pet owners choose to offer both, or offer a bowl as an interim fix while trying to transition their hamster onto a bottle.

When Should You Use a Bowl?

If your hamster is unwilling or unable to use a bottle, then you should use a bowl; otherwise, stick to the bottle!

How Much Water Should Your Hamster Drink?

According to PetMD, a hamster should drink about 10 milliliters of water per 100 grams of body weight. This means different-sized hamsters need to drink different amounts of water. The good news is that you don’t need to overly monitor how much water you give your hamster, just ensure they have constant access to it.

Campbell's dwarf hamster
Image Credit: Vinicius R. Souza, Shutterstock

How Often Should You Clean Your Hamster’s Bowl/Bottle?

How often you should clean out your hamster’s bowl or bottle depends on which one you’re using. If you’re using a bowl, you should clean it out at least once a day when you change the water.

Bottles are more hygienic than bowls, so you don’t need to clean them out quite as often as you would a bowl, often every other day is enough. Fresh water is still needed daily.

How Often Should You Change Your Hamster’s Water?

Whether you’re using a bowl or a bottle, you should change out your hamster’s water every day. Changing the water daily ensures bacteria doesn’t build up and helps ensure your hamster stays happy and healthy.


Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little bit about the benefits and drawbacks of using a bowl to give your hamster water, it’s up to you to decide which option is best for you and your hamster. You could also offer both a bottle and a bowl to see which one your hamster prefers. Overall, unless your hamster won’t use it, a bottle is usually a better choice. Remember to clean and check it regularly to make sure it is working properly.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

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