Can Hamsters Get Hiccups?

By Dawn | Filed under:  Hamster Facts

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It might seem a little strange to think that a hamster might hiccup, but our pets aren’t all that different from us when you think about it. So surely, hiccups must be a naturally occurring thing for them too? Can hamsters get hiccups?

Yes, hamsters can get hiccups, which is caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. Most of the time, this is something that should cause no concern, but there could be times that it points to something more serious. 

If hamsters can hiccup, how do we, as pet owners, know when it is just a regular bout of the hiccups or something that could be more worrying? Let’s find out.

Do Hamsters Hiccup?

Hiccups is a condition that is caused when the diaphragm (a large, dome-shaped muscle under the lungs that aids breathing) involuntarily contracts. For the most part, this is completely harmless and will clear up on its own. 

You’ve probably had hiccups thousands of times in your life, so you can see that this isn’t a serious condition. 

Hamsters have a diaphragm, and just the same as humans, this can contract without the hamster having control over it. This is usually regular hiccups and won’t last more than a few minutes.

Hiccups in hamsters are usually caused if they are eating or drinking too quickly or when they get excited. 

But this is not common, and you probably won’t notice a typical case of the hiccups very frequently.

However, there may be times when you notice that your pet is making hiccups or sneezing sounds, and this could be linked to something else, such as a health condition

If you see that these hiccupping sounds do not clear up on their own or other symptoms accompany them, it is a good idea to get your hamster checked by your vet to make sure that they are not suffering from an underlying condition. 

In most cases, if these sounds are linked to a health problem, they will be accompanied by such signs as a loss of appetite, gasping for breath, or difficulty breathing. You should see your vet as soon as possible. 

A common mistake that pet owners make is that they assume that their hamster has a case of the hiccups when they are actually sneezing. 

Sneezing happens far more frequently in hamsters than you might imagine, and sometimes this can be nothing more than a minor irritation. Whereas other times, it could be a sign of a more severe illness. 

However, knowing the difference may not be apparent from the off. If you notice any unusual behavior in your hamster, then the best thing you can do is monitor them. 

In some cases, you will notice that the hamster stops sneezing, whereas other times, you will find that this continues. If it is the latter, then once again, the most effective course of action will be to have your hamster seen by a vet. 

What Causes Hamster Sneezing – Irritation And Allergies

If you have determined that your hamster is sneezing rather than hiccuping, then as we have discussed, you will need to monitor them to see whether the episode passes.

A lot of pet owners have noticed that their hamster will sneeze a lot when they are nestling in their bedding and even in their sleep. 

The most common cause for this is minor irritation of the nasal passages, which can be caused by dust. 

It is worth looking at the type of bedding that you are using to see if this might be the problem. This is particularly important if this behavior is happening more often than not. 

In some cases, if you have used bedding from the bottom of the bag, this could be more dusty than usual and cause your hamster to sneeze. 

It is also entirely possible for hamsters to develop an allergy to something in their food or another irritant, so if sneezing seems to come out of nowhere, it might be worth looking at anything that has recently changed. 

Have you offered your hammy a different type of treat, or have you been using a new cleaning product when you disinfect the cage?

Minor Illnesses

A respiratory tract infection might also cause sneezing. Hamsters don’t tend to get things like the common cold the way that humans would, but it is possible for them to have an infection. If this is the case, you will notice other symptoms such as runny eyes, decreased energy, and a lack of appetite. 

It is crucial to get health conditions like this treated because if they are not, then they may develop into something more serious such as pneumonia. 

More Serious Issues That Cause Sneezing

If your hamster has been making these hiccup/sneezing sounds and you are confident that they do not have an allergy or any kind of infection, then there are some more serious conditions that could be the culprit. 

It is important to remember that these things are rare, but as a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of them. 

If a blood-stained discharge from the nose accompanies the sneezing, there is a possibility that your pet has a tumor in the head or nasal passage. 

While this is not as common as some of the other causes for these noises, it is worth having your hamster checked out. 

Your vet can perform a scan on your hamster to determine if this is an issue and will advise you on how to move forward. 

Related Questions

Why does a hamster squeak?

When you hear your hamster squeaking, there could be a number of reasons for this. Hamsters make all kinds of noises, from a small squeak to a very loud scream. When it is the former, it could be a sign that your pet is excited or happy. However, it could also be your hamster’s way of telling you that they are in pain or distress. It is essential to look at other things as well as the squeaking to determine the reason for it. 

Can hamsters cry?

Hamsters cannot cry in the same way that humans would; tears coming from the eyes and sobbing. However, they do use various sounds and behaviors to let other hamsters and their owners know if there is a problem. Your pet might ‘cry’ in their own way when they are scared, sick, or in pain. 

Can dwarf hamsters get hiccups?

Regardless of the type of hamster, it is possible for them to experience hiccups, or produce hiccuping sounds.  There are many reasons why hamsters get hiccups and these include eating or drinking too quickly and even getting excited.  The best thing that you can do is to watch your hamster, and this will help you understand why they are behaving in this way.