How to Make Dwarf Hamsters Stop Biting the Cage

Three Methods:Stopping Attention-Seeking BitingManaging Teeth GrowthStopping Enjoyment Chewing

Hamsters (and many other pets) bite their cages for a variety of reasons. The most common causes of cage biting are attention-seeking behavior, managing teeth growth, and the simple pleasure of chewing.[1] Aside from being mildly disruptive to have a hamster biting his bars in your room, bar chewing can lead to broken teeth and other painful mouth injuries.[2] Understanding why your hamster bites his cage is the first step toward curbing this undesirable behavior.

Method 1
Stopping Attention-Seeking Biting

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    Let your hamster play more. Let him roam around on you, on your bed, or in a hamster-proof area. Exercise may help work out the boredom that your hamster might be feeling.
    • An exercise ball is an excellent way for your hamster to get exercise every day, while also protecting him from potential household hazards. Just be sure to supervise your hamster while he's in his ball. To avoid overheating, never let your hamster roam in his ball in direct sunlight, and limit time in the ball to 15 minute intervals.[3]
    • Make sure you've hamster-proofed the area in which your hamster will be playing. Remove any electrical cords so he does not chew on them. Keep the area enclosed, either by closing the door to a small room or by setting up "walls" around your hamster's play area.[4]
    • If you're worried about your hamster getting into something he shouldn't, consider using a hamster ball. This will allow your pet to roam freely, while still be safely protected from potential hazards in your home.
    • Consider giving your hamster a wheel to run on. Hamster wheels are a great way for hamsters to get exercise and work out extra energy. Avoid wire-frame wheels, as these could potentially injure your hamster.[5]
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    Spend one-on-one time. Hamsters are very social animals and need to spend some time with their human(s) on a regular basis. Giving your hamster one-on-one attention, like holding him outside of his cage or letting him run around in your lap, is important for his emotional wellbeing and may be a factor in preventing attention-seeking behavior in the first place.[6]
    • Use a scoop or a small box, held in front of your hamster, to remove him from his enclosure. Reaching into the cage might make your hamster feel that his space is being invaded.[7]
    • Let your hamster crawl around on top of you while you lie on the floor. Hamsters love to explore, and once your hamster has developed a trust in you as his owner, he'll want to climb on and around you.
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    Let your hamster sleep during the day. Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake and active at night. Waking your hamster up during the day, whether to play with him or to clean his cage, may cause him irritation. Interrupting his natural sleep schedule could lead to further undesirable behavior.[8]
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    Give your hamster a bigger cage. It's possible that your hamster is bored with his surroundings and longs for more room to play in his enclosure. If this is the case, your pet might benefit from having a bigger cage.[9]
    • As a general rule, a dwarf hamster needs at least one cubic foot of space. With each additional hamster in the cage, you'll need at least an additional 0.5 cubic feet of space.[10]

Method 2
Managing Teeth Growth

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    Give your hamster wood to chew on. Hamsters' teeth continue to grow their whole lives. If your hamster does not have a chew toy, his constant chewing may not be attention-seeking behavior.[11]
    • Hamsters need to chew everyday to prevent their teeth from becoming too long, which could cause serious pain and potentially harm your pet.[12]
    • Untreated, paint-free, oil-free wood is the best choice for chew toys. Avoid using wood harvested from outdoors, as this wood has not been properly inspected and could harbor harmful parasites or be treated with pesticides.[13]
    • Wood from an apple or pear tree is ideal, as these woods do not have any harmful oils and are therefore less likely to pose any threat to your hamster's respiratory or digestive health.[14]
    • Never give your hamster pine or cedar wood to chew on. The oils in these woods can be toxic to your hamster.[15]
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    Try giving your hamster dog treats. A hard biscuit can make an excellent alternative chew toy for hamsters.[16]
    • Give hamsters hard treats like dog biscuits about once every week.[17]
    • Be sure the dog treats you give your hamster are free of garlic. Garlic is known to cause digestive problems in hamsters.[18]
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    Give your hamster cardboard. The cardboard tube from a roll of paper towel or toilet paper makes an excellent chew toy for hamsters, and has the additional benefit of providing your hamster with a convenient hiding place.[19]
    • Try cutting a small hole in the tube before you give it to your hamster. That may help him see the potential in the tube, and may inspire him to make his own chew holes.
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    Take your hamster to the vet. A veterinarian can trim your hamster's teeth down to a manageable length, which may be necessary if your hamster has not responded to chew toys.[20]
    • Having a vet trim your hamster's teeth is quick and does not cause any harm to your hamster.[21]
    • Do not attempt to trim your hamster's teeth on your own, unless your vet has approved this procedure and given you proper instruction in how best to do this.

Method 3
Stopping Enjoyment Chewing

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    Try a different cage. If your hamster continues to chew the bars of his cage, and you've ruled out teeth management as the cause, you may want to consider keeping him in a glass aquarium tank instead of a traditional cage.[22]
    • Some hamster owners actually find that a glass enclosure is easier to clean than a metal or plastic cage, and is less likely to need repairs or replacement.[23]
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    Give him alternatives. If your hamster isn't interested in using his wood chew, try rubbing a carrot or apple on the wood.[24] If he still doesn't respond well to his wood chew, try giving him hard-shelled nuts to chew on.[25]
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    Consider using a bite deterrent. If all else fails, and you cannot move your hamster into a glass enclosure, you may want to consider using a bite-deterrent spray on the bars of your hamster's cage. Bite-deterrent sprays use a bitter tasting liquid, like lemon juice or apple vinegar, to make the surface of the bars undesirable to your hamster. These products are often used successfully by other cage-biting pets, like ferrets, and may work for your stubborn hamster as a last resort.[26]
    • Never spray the bars while your hamster is in his cage, as this may cause him to be inadvertently sprayed, which would be unpleasant.
    • Always take your hamster out of his cage before spraying the bars, and be sure that the spray has dried before you return him to his enclosure.


  • The most common reason for hamsters chewing on the bars is boredom. To keep your hamster occupied, make sure he has plenty of toys, a big cage, and play time everyday.
  • If you're unsure whether your hamster is chewing his bars, check the cage's metal bars for areas where paint is missing. If there is not paint on the bars, search for deformed or scratched metal bars.
  • Try not to wake your hamster when he is sleeping. It increases the chance of aggression and biting.
  • Spend quality time with your hamster and be calm and quiet with him. When he is asleep, put a towel or a sheet over his cage so he can settle down.
  • Do not squeeze, throw, swing, or spin your hamster in his ball. This causes dizziness and may cause your hamster to have serious injuries, including brain damage.
  • Be careful of hazardous things around the house while your hamster is roaming around. He may try to eat those objects, which could cause injury, illness, or even death.
  • Do not let little children hold the hamster. An adult should always hold the hamster and let children pet the hamster under strict supervision.


  • Always keep a close on eye on hamsters when you let them out to play.
  • Keep hamsters away from electrical cords.
  • Remove any sharp objects and small pieces of plastic that hamsters may eat.
  • If your hamster is biting the bars, it could be hazardous. Check the bars every day.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Hamster treats
  • Lots of paper to wad and shred.
  • Chew toys / apple tree branch

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Hamsters