Grooming your hamster is not really necessary in most cases. If you have a short-haired hamster, your grooming requirements are quite low. Long-haired hamsters may need some assistance.
Bathing Your Hamster
Never give your hamster a bath with water and shampoo. Bathing your hamster (or even simply getting him wet) can cause illness and should be avoided. It doesn’t matter if you use warm water and immediately dry him with a towel.
Using a hair dryer is an even worse option – you could burn your pet! Even if you do not burn him, you could cause him a great deal of stress simply from the noise a hair dryers produce – hamsters do not like noise.
If your pet has gotten something sticky on his coat, he can usually handle this by grooming himself. However, it may take some time. If he gets too much bedding or other material in his fur, he may require assistance.
With a small pair of scissors (no larger than those used for trimming a person’s fingernails), carefully remove the sticky or matted fur. You may want to have one person hold your pet while you use the scissors. Take great care not to cut or injure your pet.
You can also spot-clean the area with a warm, damp (not soaking wet) washcloth and only clean the affected area. Dry the area quickly with a paper towel or dry cloth. If your hamster gets extremely agitated, wait for a bit before proceeding further. Even if you only remove some of the material, it might be enough and your pet can do the rest.
You do not want to put undue stress on your hamster!
Hamsters spend a lot of time grooming themselves – up to 20 percent of their day is spent on grooming. They will go over every inch – washing the face, then ears, hands, feet and toes – until they are completely clean. Dwarf hamsters will even groom each other – especially in places that are hard to reach for the one being groomed.
A hamster that cannot or does not keep himself clean is probably sick and should be seen by a veterinarian
The nails of a hamster grow constantly, just like your own. Trimming your hamster’s nails is not usually necessary, unlike some pets (such as rabbits and guinea pigs) that do require regular trimming for optimum health. Most hamsters will chew their own nails in order to keep them short.
Hamster nails can be sharp, but you should rarely notice them, even if you handle you pet often.
If you do feel your pet needs to have his nails trimmed (for example, if they are getting caught in carpeting or the wire mesh on a cage floor), then it is best to take the hamster to a vet and let the veterinarian do so. Hamsters are very wiggly and squirmy, making nail trimming difficult. Hamsters must be restrained during the nail trimming process, and you do not want your hamster to associate you with this unpleasant process.
Dust baths are also something you can provide for your hamster as a part of his grooming. You can use chinchilla dust and provide a shallow container for this purpose.