How Often Should You Change Your Hamster’s Water?

hamster sipping from water bottle as owner wonders "How Often Should You Change Your hamster's Water"

Clean drinking water is an essential element of a hamster’s life in a cage. Staying hydrated not only allows their bodies to function well but also promotes comfort and total well-being. Making sure that their water bottle is always filled can be a matter of life and death for these little guys.

This article answers the question “how often should you change your hamster’s water?” by revealing the best water refill schedule for them. We also discuss the effects of keeping water in the bottle for far too long and potential infections your pet rodents could be exposed to. Let’s get started.

How Often Should You Change Your Hamster’s Water?

Change your hamster’s water every 24 hours after thoroughly washing the insides and outsides of the water bowl or water bottle to prevent biofilm formation. Refill with clean water at room temperature so the hamster can stay consistently hydrated.

Failure to adhere to daily water changing schedule may lead to serious consequences for the little guy’s health and comfort. If you’ve been waiting too long to change their water, that could be the underlying reason behind the frequent diseases and infections.

Why You Should Change Your Hamster’s Water Every 24 Hours

There are several reasons why you can not afford to let your pet rodents drink the same water for far too long. A few of these include:


Have you noticed that a disgusting layer of coating builds up in the little guy’s water bowl or water bottle when it is left uncleaned for a few days? Known as Biofilm, it forms from accumulated bacterial secretions that thrive and multiply on the water bowl or water bottle surface.

Biofilm also comes with a nauseous stench that even humans find unbearable so can you imagine the effects on hamsters with their extremely sensitive sense of smell? The presence of this disgusting coating translates to a high quantity of bacteria which may result in health problems.

The only way to keep biofilm out of the water bowl or water bottle is to thoroughly wash with soapy water and rinse with clean water daily. This guarantees bacteria are inhibited from multiplying to produce enough secretions for biofilm formation.

Bad Taste

It is no secret that freshwater tastes staler the longer it stays in a water bowl or water bottle. Failure to change the water consistently can result in a terrible taste that may be difficult to drink as the days roll by.

This occurs when the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mixes with the water and changes its PH, resulting in an abnormal taste. While hamsters may be forced to drink when the thirst gets overwhelming, minimal quantities should be expected increasing the risk of dehydration.

Harmful Microorganisms


The longer water stays in a water bowl or water bottle, the higher the chances of contamination from potentially harmful organisms such as bacteria. Water bowls, in particular, can be a huge source of contaminants because their exposed design increases the probability of pollution from fecal matter, urine, or cage litter.

Contaminants may also enter water bottles via the pocket rodent’s own mouth during licking from the dripper, leading to the introduction of foreign materials that can be a source of diseases and infections in the long run.


Water bottles can be prone to clogging when not cleaned daily resulting in unintentional dehydration down the line. Tubes can get so clogged that minimal to no water flows even when the hamster is thirsty.

Few things can be sadder than coming home to a severely dehydrated hamster due to clogged water bottles.

Maximum Hydration

Hamsters need to drink as much water as required for effective blood circulation and organ functionality. Washing the water bowl or water bottle every 24 hours guarantees a constant supply of freshwater enabling them to enjoy as much as desired.

The probability of bacterial buildups that contaminate and change the water taste is almost zero leading to minimal exposure to diseases and infections. It also eliminates issues of clogging while the act of routine cleaning and putting the water bottle’s parts together helps identify malfunctioning parts.

The result is happy and healthy hamsters that stay hydrated all day long with minimal risks of accidental deprivation of the necessary amounts of drinking water.

Which Hamster Water Bottle Material Gets Easily Contaminated?

Several types of water bowls and bottle materials are available on the market including glass, stainless steel, porcelain, and plastic. Plastic may be the cheapest and most popular but may also be the worst option for bacterial buildup.

Algae and bacteria are easily attracted to plastic surfaces, growing and multiplying their populations within a short period. This can expose your little buddies to a wide range of diseases and infections while also deteriorating the taste of the drinking water.

Many hamster parents opt for the fanciest water bottle and bowl designs for their furry friends and while they may look flashy, they often feature several nooks and crannies that can be easy targets for bacterial buildups.

How To Change The Water in a Water Dish

hamsters drinking from a water bowl as their owners wonder How To Change The Water in a Water Dish

The water in open bowls or dishes should be changed daily without fail. Simply empty the water and wash the container with a mild soap while scrubbing thoroughly with a sponge or foam. We recommend dish soaps because they offer the right properties to rid the surface of prevailing bacteria and dirt.

Rinse the washed water dish or bowl 3-4 times to remove lingering soap residue before refilling with clean water and putting it back in the hamster’s cage.

How To Change the Water in a Water Bottle

Water bottles are often more secured than open dishes or bowls and should be able to hold water for longer periods before biofilm or other signs of contamination begin to set in. But, we still recommend changing the water every day.

Empty the water bottle and scrub the internal parts with soapy water and a sponge. Make sure the external parts are also cleaned, especially the water dripper to eliminate clogged foreign materials such as cage litter.

Rinse all parts of the water bottle in clean water repeatedly and refill with fresh water before putting it back in the little guy’s cage.

Why Hamsters Need Regular Clean Water

Regular clean water is one of the main keys to a well-functioning hamster as it stimulates proper blood circulation. Staying hydrated aids digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as the promotion of free bowel movements.

It also keeps key internal organs like kidneys, livers, and heart functioning optimally while promoting good health for other key body parts such as the eyes, fur, and skin coat.

Can You Give Your Hamster Tap Water?

Clean, tap water is the best source of hydration for hamsters. If you live in a city where everyone drinks tap water without problems, feel free to offer the same to your furball. Make sure the tap water offered is not above or below room temperature to prevent negative side effects.

Signs of Dehydration in Hamsters

The effects of dehydration can be terrible for hamsters in various ways which explains why constant access to clean drinking water is critical. Here are clues that your hamster is not getting enough drinking water:

  • Dull, skin coat
  • Lethargy
  • Little to no pee
  • Sunken eyes
  • Constipation

Book an immediate appointment with your vet after noticing a couple of the signs above because dehydration can quickly turn fatal. In the meantime, investigate the underlying reasons behind the condition and correct it immediately so the little guy can get a quick fix even before you make your way to the vet.

Potential Diseases From Contaminated Water

Drinking contaminated water can be devastating for hamsters in various ways. It may expose them to not only bacteria but other potentially harmful micro-organisms carrying diseases and infections.

Here are common health problems that may arise from exposure to contaminated water.

  • Candida
  • E. coli
  • Gastritis
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus

How Many Times a Day Do Hamsters Drink Water?

Hamsters do not have a specific number of times they need to drink water because of varying conditions such as diet, temperature, and even mood. For instance, they typically drink more water in the summer or during hotter periods of the year compared to winter.

Hamsters may also drink more water after ingesting dry diets such as pellets and seeds mixes compared to naturally hydrating fruits and vegetables like spinach and crunchy apples.

Conclusion: How Often Should You Change Your Hamster’s Water?

The hamster’s water should be changed every 24 hours to prevent bacterial buildups in the form of biofilm and related negative effects. The water bottle or water dish should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and rinsed in clean water before refilling.

Failure to change the drinking water regularly can lead to bacterial exposure that may cause numerous diseases and infections including gastritis and staphylococcus. Hamsters are fine with drinking clean tap water at room temperatures so do not hesitate to provide just that.

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