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Can Hamsters Drink Tap Water? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

tap water flowing from the faucet

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Hamsters are really small pets that don’t require as much food, water, or space as a cat or dog, which makes them appealing to first-time pet owners. New pet owners or even just folks new to hamsters might not be aware of whether hamsters can drink tap water on a day-to-day basis. So, can they?

Yes, in most cases, hamsters can drink tap water As long as your water is potable, meaning safe for consumption, it’s most likely safe for your hamster, too. However, fresh, filtered water may be best.  But if you already drink from the tap and use tap water to cook without noticing signs that the water is too soft or hard, you’re probably good to go.

However, if you have any questions about your particular water quality or your hamster’s health concerns, talk to your veterinarian.

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How Can I Tell if My Tap Water Is Unsafe for My Hamster?

The main contaminants to worry about in your water are minerals and chemicals, but a myriad of things can get into your water pipes and make you (or your hamster) ill. Let’s go over some ways you can identify water that’s potentially unsafe for your hamster to drink.

Signs Your Water Isn’t Hamster-Safe:
  • Altered taste: If your water has a noticeable or different taste, we wouldn’t recommend giving it to your hamster.
  • Physical residue: White chalky residue on glasses is the most obvious sign of hard water, and you might not want to give it to your hamster unfiltered.
  • Foul odors: Sulfur, chlorine, and other strong odors emanating from your tap mean the water isn’t suitable for your hamster to drink.
  • Water advisories: If your city has an advisory about consuming your tap water, definitely don’t give it to your hamster either.

If you have any concerns about the chlorine or mineral content of your water, consider giving your hamster filtered water instead. Again, speak to your vet if you have any questions.

tap-water-pixabay
Photo Credit: com77380, Pixabay

What Can Hamsters Drink Besides Tap Water?

Hamsters do best on a balanced diet with clean water, but you might wonder if they’d enjoy some other drinks, such as fruit juice. Your hamster shouldn’t have any fruit or vegetable juices because they tend to be high in sugar or may have a high acid content, both of which can cause digestive issues. Also, high amounts of sugar, from fruit or fruit juice, provide extra calories that can lead to weight gain if given for long periods. So for hamsters, water is just fine. Unlike us, they don’t get bored with beverages and don’t mind drinking water 100% of the time.

How to Keep Your Hamster Hydrated — How Much Is Enough?

It may be difficult to tell if your hamster is drinking enough water since they won’t be draining a water bowl like your cat or dog would. This might leave you scratching your head on the best ways to keep your hamster hydrated. What are the best ways to supply this essential liquid? Let’s look over some tips that’ll help you along the way.

Tips for Keeping Your Hamster Hydrated:
  • Always have clean water available for your hamster. Their tiny bodies need to replenish liquids frequently and long stints of dehydration can be fatal.
  • The two best serving methods are to either put in a tip-proof bowl or a water bottle-style dispenser. The latter is easier to maintain, in our opinion.
  • Never give your hamster tea, milk, soda, or any other sweetened drink formulated for humans. The sugar is bad for them and all the additives are potentially harmful.

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What Do Hamsters Eat?

You might think they’re herbivores, but hamsters are really omnivores! It’s true that they derive a lot of their nutrition from plant matter, such as foliage, seeds, nuts, grass, fruit, and veggies. However, they don’t turn their nose up at especially prime insects either. In our homes, we give them pellets with the optimal blend of nutrients they need. Just to give you a better idea of the types of things hamsters love to eat, we’ve cooked up a quick list just below.

Hamster Staple Foods:
  • Hay: Hay provides fiber and even a nesting material for hamsters.
  • Nuts: Some nuts are a great source of protein for hamsters, especially those without insect protein in their diet. However, nuts are an occasional food, not an everyday meal.
  • Grains: Whole grains in the form of sugarless cereal can be healthy, tasty and occasional additions to any hamster diet.
  • Pellets: A high-quality hamster pellet will have all the nutrients your hamster needs and should make up the bulk of their diet.

Always talk to your veterinarian before adding any foods to your hamster’s diet to ensure the food is safe and in the right quantity.

female hand giving treat to a standing hamster
Photo Credit: tanya_morozz, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Hamsters can drink clean tap water, but you may choose to use filtered or bottled water if your tap water contains contaminants, large concentrations of chemicals, or a lot of minerals. In order to keep your hamster properly hydrated, make sure they always have fresh, clean water available.


Featured Image Credit: zefart, Shutterstock

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