All animals have a heartbeat. It is the muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. When they think of a heartbeat, most people think of a slow, steady pulse. However, for some people, their hamster’s heart is beating so fast that it is alarming.
In this blog post, we will explore some potential reasons why your hamster’s heart is beating so fast and what you can do about it. So, if you are concerned about your hamster’s heartbeat, keep reading!
Read: Can Fear or Emotional Stress Lead to a Hamster’s Death? [11 Reasons]
Table of Contents
Can Your Hamster Have Fast Heartbeat?
If you’ve ever owned a hamster, you know they’re incredibly active little creatures. They love to play and run around and are always on the go. So it’s not surprising that their hearts must work hard to keep up with their activity level. Your hamster’s heart rate can be as high as 400 beats per minute!
While a high heart rate may seem like cause for concern, it’s perfectly normal for a healthy hamster. Their little hearts are just built to work a bit harder than ours. However, some medical conditions can cause your hamster’s heart to beat too fast.
If you notice that your hamster’s heart is beating faster than usual, or if they seem to be having trouble breathing, it’s important to take quick action.
Hamster’s Heart Brief Anatomy
As you know, hamsters are small animals with big hearts. Their hearts beat faster than ours – on average, between 300 and 400 and even reach 600 beats per minute. That’s about four to eight times as fast as the human heart!
So what does a healthy hamster heart look like? And how can you tell if your hamster’s heart rate is too high or too low? First, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the hamster’s heart.
The heart comprises four chambers – two upper chambers (the atria) and two lower chambers (the ventricles). Blood enters the heart through the right atrium, which is pumped into the right ventricle. From there, it is pumped into the lungs, picking up oxygen.
The oxygen-rich blood returns to the heart through the left atrium and is pumped into the left ventricle. The left ventricle is pumped out to the rest of the body. The heart is made up of muscle tissue, which contracts to pump blood through the heart.
The autonomic nervous system controls the heart muscle contract rate, which regulates automatic functions like heart rate and blood pressure.
In a healthy hamster, the heart muscle contracts regularly and evenly, and the blood flows smoothly through the chambers and valves of the heart.
Now let’s look at what can happen when the heart doesn’t work properly.
If the heart muscle contracts too slowly, it is called bradycardia. This can be caused by various things, including heart disease, electrolyte imbalances, and certain medications. Bradycardia can lead to low blood pressure and insufficient blood flow to the organs.
If the heart muscle contracts too quickly, it could be tachycardia. Tachycardia can be caused by stress, anxiety, heart disease, electrolyte imbalances, and certain medications. This medical condition can result in high blood pressure and inefficient blood flow.
If the heart muscle contracts irregularly, it can be an arrhythmia. Arrhythmias can result from heart disease, electrolyte imbalances, and certain medications. Effects of this disease include blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.
Is High Heartbeat Fatal in Hamsters?
As a hamster owner, you might wonder if your hamsters can die because of a high heartbeat. After all, their hearts are pretty small, and they seem to beat very fast. The answer is yes; hamsters can die from a high heartbeat. It is one of the most common causes of death in hamsters.
A high heartbeat can be dangerous for hamsters because it can lead to cardiac arrest. When the heart beats too fast, it doesn’t have time to pump blood properly around the body. This can cause the blood pressure to drop and lead to cardiac arrest.
In most cases, a high heartbeat in hamsters is caused by stress. So, if you can identify what is causing your hamster’s stress and remove it, its heart rate should return to normal.
Symptoms that Your Hamster’s Heart is Beating Fast
When it comes to our furry little friends, we want nothing more than for them to be healthy and happy. However, sometimes health problems can crop up unexpectedly – and one of the most worrying things you might notice is that your hamster’s heart appears to be beating faster than normal.
Here are some symptoms you should look out for, which could indicate that your hamster’s heart is beating too fast.
One of the hamsters’ most common symptoms of a fast heartbeat is increased activity. If your hamster is normally lazy and laid-back but suddenly starts running around its cage a lot more, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Another symptom to look out for is panting. This is when your hamster breathes rapidly and with its mouth open, which it would normally only do if they were very hot or stressed. If your hamster is panting for no apparent reason, it’s a good idea to be serious about it.
If you notice that your hamster’s heartbeat appears to be racing or that they are having difficulty breathing, these are both serious symptoms, and you should seek veterinary attention immediately.
Read: How To Make a Hamster Wheel Silent – My 6 Helpful Tips
Reasons Why Your Hamster’s Heartbeat is Fast
If you’re noticing that your hamster’s heart is beating faster than normal, it could cause concern. However, excitement is one of the hamsters’ most common reasons for a fast heart rate.
If your hamster runs around their cage or plays with toys, its heart rate will increase. This is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. Besides, there are several potential reasons why this may be happening, so it’s important to take your hammy to the vet to rule out any serious health problems.
One potential reason for a fast heartbeat is that your hamster suffers from heart disease. This is relatively common in older hamsters and can be caused by several things, including blockages in the arteries or valves or an enlarged heart. If your vet suspects your hamster has heart disease, they may recommend treatment with medication.
Another reason your hamster’s heart may be beating fast is that they are suffering from stress. This can be caused by several things, including changes in their environment, such as a new pet or baby in the home or a move to a new home.
If you think stress may cause your hamster’s fast heartbeat, try to make their environment as stable and stress-free as possible. This may involve ensuring they have a hiding place to retreat when they feel overwhelmed and providing them with plenty of toys and playtime.
A final reason your hamster’s heart may be beating fast is that they are suffering from a respiratory infection. This can be caused by several things, including bacteria, viruses, or even allergies.
Suppose your hamster has a fast heartbeat and is also wheezing or having difficulty breathing. In that case, it’s important to take medical help immediately, as they may need antibiotics or other medication.
Read: Why Is My Hamster Rolling On His Back? [8 Causes & How to Help]
Things to Remember
Your hamster’s heart is beating too fast. You’re not sure what to do. You don’t want to take them to the vet just yet, but you’re not sure how to treat your hamster’s high heartbeat before going.
Here are some things you can do:
- Check their diet. A high-sugar diet can cause a hamster’s heart to race. Cut back on sweets and sugary foods.
- Give them plenty of exercise. A hamster that isn’t active enough can also have a high heart rate. Make sure they have a wheel or other way to burn off energy.
- Check for other health problems. If your hamster is overweight, it can put a strain on its heart. Make sure they’re at a healthy weight by feeding them a balanced diet and giving them plenty of exercise.
- Monitor their heart rate. If you notice that their heart rate is still high after changing their diet and exercise, take them to the vet. They may need medication to help regulate their heart rate.
- Know when to take them to the vet. If your hamster’s heart rate is consistently over 400 beats per minute, it’s time to take them to the vet. They may need medication or surgery to correct the problem.
If you think your hamster’s heart rate is high, don’t wait to take them to the vet. The sooner you get them treated, the better their chances are for a full recovery.
Our Final Thoughts
If you’re concerned about your hamster’s heart rate, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet for a check-up. This way, the vet can rule out any serious health problems and help you to find the cause of the fast heartbeat. Once the cause has been identified, you can then take steps to address it and help your hamster to feel better.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more
In the early stages of congestive heart failure the hamsters have respiratory distress and move about erratically. The heart rate and pulse rate escalate to dangerous levels. Eventually, the skin may begin to take on a blue tint, a sign of cyanosis.How many heart beats does a hamster have? ›
Signs include rapid breathing, an irregular heartbeat, and a blue tint to the skin or gums. There is no effective treatment, but your veterinarian may be able to suggest ways of managing this condition for a time. Syrian hamsters with untreated congestive heart failure typically die within a week after signs begin.What if my hamster is breathing fast? ›
If you notice that your hamster has breathing problems (they're breathing fast or breathing heavy), and their condition doesn't improve, see a veterinarian that is knowledgeable about small animals so that you can either rule out or diagnose the illness. You don't want to sit and wait to hope that it will just go away.What are signs of stress in hamsters? ›
They don't show outward signs of pain, so may suffer before you realise. Stressed hamsters are likely to become ill, so keep a close eye on them and look out for them behaving differently - such as developing repetitive behaviour - as this can show that something's wrong.Why did my hamster run so fast? ›
Hamsters eat a variety of foods such as sunflower seeds that are high in energy content. These foods make them hyperactive and they take to running on the wheel to burn off excess energy. If the exercise wheel is the only “equipment” in the cage, it is likely that your hamster will suffer from wheel addiction.Do hamsters have heart attacks easy? ›
Heart disease As hamsters age, they are prone to developing heart disease. Signs include fast breathing, weakness, decreased appetite, clicking sounds when breathing, and collapse. Treatment can be given for heart disease and for congestive heart failure, but heart disease is not curable.How do you check a hamster's heart rate? ›
Check your hamster's heartbeat
This can be difficult to find, but to do this, simply place your forefinger and thumb on either side of the hamster's chest just above the elbows. Apply the same amount of pressure as you would if you were trying to stop your hamster running away without hurting it.
Hamsters require around 6-8 hours of sleep, and can often be achieved with multiple sleep cycles. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, which means they will sleep during the day and be awake at night.
Hamsters usually live for up to two years, although some may live for longer. Here are some top hamster facts: There are 24 species of hamster and they belong to the family Cricetidae.Can hamsters hear you? ›
But hamsters have incredible hearing, which can detect ultrasonic sounds and can be quite irritating for them.What sound does a stressed hamster make? ›
Squeaking: Hamsters tend to make a squeaking sound if they're feeling distressed or scared. You may notice this noise when you move your hamster into your home for the first time, although they might also vocalise in this way at any time that they're feeling agitated.How do I know my hamsters emotions? ›
A stressed hamster will move constantly, run on his wheels quickly, try and climb his cage and appears more nervous and alert than usual. All hamsters will have their own personalities. Spend time watching your hamster and get to know his personality and mannerisms.Why does my hamster looks dead but still breathing? ›
A hibernating hamster will appear to be asleep or even dead. They will be cool to the touch and may feel limp or stiff. They will not eat, drink, or eliminate. There may be no visible heartbeat or respiration, but you may see sporadic, shallow breathing if you look close enough.Why is my hamster shaking and breathing fast? ›
Your hamster may be shaking due to physical duress coming from weather and hibernation effects. It may also be due to psychological factors such as dominance, fear, stress, and anxiety. In some cases, hamsters shake due to health issues, especially in the nervous and respiratory systems.How do I check my hamsters health? ›
A healthy hamster will have a normal, smooth gait, bright, clear eyes, healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat that's free of dry patches, parasites, cuts and swellings. Their teeth will be of a relatively even length and not overgrown. Their mouths will not have any cuts, or scabs.Can hamsters get COVID? ›
People can spread SARS-CoV-2 to animals, especially during close contact. Companion animals, including pet cats, dogs, hamsters, and ferrets.Is My hamster sick or tired? ›
You may also notice your pet seems a bit lethargic: he may just curl up to sleep, and not want to do much. His little body may feel warm to the touch, and he may be thirstier than usual. Watery eyes, matted fur, and discharge from the eyes or nose are also indicative of colds in hamsters.Why is my hamster breathing fast and squeaking? ›
If your hamster is coughing, wheezing, sneezing, has a runny nose or eyes, or is having difficulty breathing, then it may be suffering from a respiratory infection. These problems need veterinary treatment as soon as possible, because they can hinder your pet's ability to breathe.
- Keep them in a quiet room. ...
- Give them a large cage! ...
- Leave them alone to settle in. ...
- Fill the cage with more to do! ...
- They get cabin fever! ...
- Set a routine! ...
- Stop full cleaning! ...
- Get a calming kit.
Patience, regular feeding, lots of out-of-habitat playtime, and soft talk will go a long way in helping you bond with your hamster. Make sure to always approach your pet slowly and talk to them in a conversational manner.Do hamsters like to be held? ›
They do not like to be held. They are more prone to bite if they are startled or woken from a deep sleep, or if your hands smell like another animal or food. Handle your hamster gently.What toys do hamsters need? ›
Hamsters love to chew on things, so it's always a good idea to provide a non-toxic chew toy. Wood toys are a good option, as long as the wood is pesticide/chemical free (not pressure-treated or painted). Avoid wood from cedar or evergreen trees due to their aromatic oils, which can cause respiratory irritation.Why does my hamster bite me? ›
Biting is a defense mechanism. Hamsters bite because they're scared or feel threatened. It's actually a natural reaction, and stems from them being prey animals; they need a way to protect themselves.Can hamsters make you ill? ›
Hamsters can carry salmonella, an intestinal bacteria that causes short but intense bouts of sickness in healthy adults. However, it can produce more severe problems if a pregnant woman passes it to their unborn child.What to do when hamster dies? ›
Burying your Hamster at Home
Animal remains immediately biodegrade and start to smell. Place the hamster in a sealed plastic bag and keep it cool. You can keep it in the freezer. Be sure you dispose of the body within 24 hours.
Hamsters are easily injured. They are frequently dropped while being handled (especially by children), or after they bite. Pet hamsters allowed “freedom of the house” (even for very short periods) are often stepped on or kicked and seriously injured or killed.How active should my hamster be? ›
Wild hamsters are usually only active at dusk and night-time and can run up to 5 miles a day. A running wheel - this will help them exercise, but it shouldn't be the only form of enrichment you give them.Why is my hamster awake but not moving? ›
Sometimes hamsters freeze, staying very still
If your hamster stops moving, then this could be in order to enhance their senses so that they can figure out what's going on around them.
If you know your hamster can only have been asleep for less than one day, you may be able to get them to wake up using gentle warming. Safe ways to warm hamsters in torpor include: Holding them gently in your cupped hand, so that your own body heat warms them. Stroking them gently can help to revive their circulation.How often should I hold my hamster? ›
Interact with your hamster(s) every day, and handle them as often as you can, but respect their sleeping pattern. Hamsters should not be handled when they are resting or sleeping, unless absolutely necessary as they can find this stressful.Can hamsters stay in a cage all day? ›
You should allow your hamster(s) to spend time out of their cage once you can handle them with confidence (see page 10) but never leave your hamster(s) out of the cage unattended or over- night.How old is the oldest hamster? ›
Oldest Hamster to Ever Live: 4.5 Years Old
Conflicting information exists about the age of hamsters. Reputable sources record some wild species as living up to 8 years of age. However, the Guinness Book of World Records states that Smeaton's hamster of 4.5 years was the oldest.
|Hamster age||Human age|
|10 months||50 years|
|12 months||58 years|
|2 years||70 years|
|3 years||100 years|
Avoid putting your hamster in noisy rooms where people come and go at all hours. Hamsters love quiet places, far from draughts and direct sunlight, and far from the TV and kitchen, where the strong smell of food bothers its finely honed sense of smell.Do hamsters need a bed? ›
Pet hamsters require two different types of bedding; the substrate which lines the base of their cage, and nesting material with which they can create a soft and fluffy bed.Do hamster bites hurt? ›
It's rare for a hamster to actually be aggressive, though, and they typically only bite when they get scared. Those tiny teeth may not do as much damage as those of other animals, but a bite will hurt and should be discouraged. Fortunately, you can gradually train your hamster to accept being handled and stop biting.Can hamsters eat grapes? ›
Foods for Hamsters FAQs. Can Hamsters Eat Grapes? Yes, but in moderation or just as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar.Is My hamster unhappy? ›
An unhappy hamster will be slow moving or not move a lot at all. Hamsters especially like being awake at night, so if you find your hamster running around and exercising a lot at night rather than during the day, this is also a good sign.
Relaxed grooming, stretching, burrowing in the bedding, collecting food, and lively acrobatics in the cage are all signs that life is good for your hamster pal. Leaping into the air signals high spirits and reveals he or she is in a very good mood indeed.Why does my hamster freeze when I pet him? ›
A hamster will 'freeze' temporarily due to fear or surprise. Their eyesight is poor, so they need to listen and sniff to work out what's going on. You can alter your hamster's environment to make it less stressful.What does it mean when your hamster curled up into a ball? ›
A hamster in a deep state of torpor will be limp and unresponsive to both touch and sound. You may find them curled up into a ball as they will be trying to keep as warm as possible.What is the normal respiratory rate for a hamster? ›
|Respiratory rate (breaths/min)||60–230||100–250|
|Tidal volume (mL)||0.09–0.38||0.91–1.4|
|Minute volume (mL/min)||11–36||64|
|Oxygen use per hour (mL O2/g body weight/h)||1.63–3.5||0.6–1.4|
The heart of the Etruscan shrew, one of the world's smallest mammals, beats incredibly fast — up to 1,500 times per minute, or 25 times per second. The human heart, in comparison, is sluggish, beating only 60 to 100 times a minute. Then there's the heart of the blue whale, the largest animal ever to have lived.How many minutes do hamsters mate? ›
Mating lasts several seconds. After mating, the male may groom himself or the female. Then he will mount the female again. The mating pair should be left to repeat this for 20-30 minutes or until one of the hamsters loses interest.How do hamsters show pain? ›
They don't show outward signs of pain, so may suffer before you realise. Stressed hamsters are likely to become ill, so keep a close eye on them and look out for them behaving differently - such as developing repetitive behaviour - as this can show that something's wrong.How do I know if my hamster feels safe? ›
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY HAMSTER IS HAPPY? Watch your hamster closely and check out their body language. A yawning hamster is pleasantly sleepy and comfortable. Relaxed grooming, stretching, burrowing in the bedding, collecting food, and lively acrobatics in the cage are all signs that life is good for your hamster pal.Why is my hamster hyperventilating? ›
If your hamster lies down when he would normally be active, and if he keeps very still, and/or hyperventilates, he could be suffering from dehydration. Get your hamster out of the heat asap, and gently rub a little cool (not icy) water onto them to cool them down.How many hours should a hamster sleep? ›
Hamsters require around 6-8 hours of sleep, and can often be achieved with multiple sleep cycles. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, which means they will sleep during the day and be awake at night.
Soon, we learned of the many myths surrounding the number of stomachs in the average Etruscan Shrew. Some believe the species evolved 800 stomachs, though it's difficult to imagine.Which animal has 100 hearts? ›
The hagfish ranks highly among the animals that have multiple hearts in terms of its sheer bizarreness. An eel-shaped, slimy fish, the hagfish is the only known extant animal to possess a skull but no vertebral column. Its strange, alienlike appearance likely contributed to its less-than-flattering name.Do any animals have 2 hearts? ›
How Many Hearts Do We Have? You surely know that humans and giraffes have just one heart, as most animals do—but not all. Octopuses and squids (animals called cephalopods) have three hearts. Two hearts pump blood to the gills to take up oxygen, and the other pumps blood around the body (Figure 1).Can 2 male hamsters mate? ›
Male + Male = Yes, if they are both the Dwarf breed. Male + Female = Pair with care and only if you're looking to breed. Syrian + Dwarf = No, only Dwarf hamsters should be paired together.
Hamsters usually live for up to two years, although some may live for longer.