Coping with the death of your hamster

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Like any pet, the hamster is endearing. It is quite normal to have affection for this little furball. Unfortunately, the life of a hamster is relatively short. Many owners then have to face the death of their little companion.

For some, bereavement can even be particularly difficult. Let’s find out together how to overcome this trying time …

What is the lifespan of a hamster?

First of all, you should know that the lifespan of a hamster is very different from that of a human being. Indeed, the hamster is an animal that does not live very long. One must be aware of this reality before committing to adopting a hamster.

If the life expectancy of the wild hamster can reach almost 8 years, that of the domestic hamster is, on average, only 2 years. However, it can vary, depending on the circumstances, between 1 1/2 and 3 years. There are a few cases where the hamster exceeds 5 years, but these remain exceptional.

Some hamster breeds live a little longer than others. For example, the golden hamster easily reaches 3 years old, while the Russian hamster usually lives only 18 months at most.

Hamsters can also encounter various health problems during their lifetime. While some are easily treated, others can, unfortunately, be fatal. You must therefore always be prepared for the sad possibility of the death of your little companion …

Signs that a hamster will die soon

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Of course, some deaths happen unexpectedly. But in many cases, the death of the hamster is accompanied by certain signs, in the days or even months before. A hamster at the end of its life tends to stay most of the time in its nest, which it leaves only to go and eat from time to time. Less active, he no longer plays in its cage as before, and even shows much less enthusiasm to come out.

Some hamsters can go blind before they die. However, the hamster has a very developed sense of smell, which allows it to orient itself all the same without too much difficulty.

As long as it’s not in pain, your role will simply be to allow the animal to leave in the best conditions. It is then necessary to offer it a maximum of comfort, calm, and affection. If your little hairball seems to be in pain, then euthanasia may be considered.

Hamster death: how to react?

If you have the unpleasant surprise of discovering your lifeless hamster one morning in its cage, you may feel helpless. At first, emotions take over, which is quite normal. However, before letting go, it is essential to carry out the first technical gestures … In other words, to take care of the animal’s body, which can quickly begin to decompose.

Burial

If you are lucky enough to have a garden or even a country house, you may be able to provide a proper burial for your rodent. Note that hamsters are not affected by the regulation of animal carcasses. It is therefore quite possible to bury it in an outside place that belongs to you.

However, it will be necessary to cover the remains with at least 50 centimeters of soil. The body can be placed directly on the ground, or in a small wooden box as a coffin. Some also decide to put it in a cloth.

Do not hesitate to take advantage of this moving moment to pay the last tribute to your animal. It can take the form of a speech, a poetry, a song, a pretty flower, a small written message … There are a thousand and one ways to prove your love to an extinct animal. and it’s a very personal process.

Incineration

If you do not have green space, it is also possible to have your pet cremated. More and more owners are opting for this funeral technique. There are animal cremation centers that offer these services. Prices generally vary depending on the weight of the animal. For a hamster, it takes between 25 and 60 dollars, depending on the structures.

Once the individual cremation has taken place, you can choose to keep your little companion’s ashes in an urn or release them into the wild. Some people choose for example to throw them in the sea, or in the countryside, facing a beautiful landscape.

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How to mourn my hamster?

Contrary to popular belief, losing a hamster can be painful. Sadness is a normal emotion when faced with the death of a loved animal. There is obviously no miracle solution to grieve. Each person is different and the mourning is more or less long, according to the sensitivity of each one. Here are some tips to help you get through this difficult time …

Accept your emotions

Emotions are not something to be ashamed of. They are an integral part of human functioning. The more you tend to ignore your emotions, the more intrusive they will become. To live your mourning period well, it is important to fully accept your feelings, without trying to repress them.

So if you need to cry, do it. Did you know? Tears even help release the stress hormone cortisol. So sometimes it’s heartwarming to let them flow, no matter what others may say …

Talk to someone you trust

Faced with the death of your hamster, do not stay alone in your corner. Isolation is the best way to get bogged down. On the contrary, enjoy the support of your loved ones and change your mind a little by going out regularly.

Sometimes emptying your bag is good. So don’t hesitate to confide in someone you trust. It can be a loved one, but also sometimes a psychologist. The psychologist is trained to deal with this kind of situation. It can help you not only see the event differently but also harness your own resources to deal with the challenges of the grieving period.

Keep memories of your animal

To alleviate the lack, it may be wise to keep some memories of your pet. It can be photos, but also objects, such as its favorite toy for example. The idea is to go for something symbolic, which will remind you of the good times you spent together.

Look to the future

Finally, the last stage of mourning is that of acceptance. Despite the sadness, life goes on, and it is full of surprises. Once the pain of the first few moments has passed, why not consider adopting a new animal? Of course, it will never replace your missing hamster. But it will be a new experience, certainly just as beautiful, in its own way.

Approaching your kids with the death of a hamster 

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Often, children become particularly attached to their pets. The death of a hamster can therefore become a real tragedy in their eyes. As adults, we don’t always know how to react to their grief.

Out of fear, some people tend to lie to their toddlers, for example by telling them that the animal has gone on vacation. However, this attitude can prove to be very harmful. Indeed, in all circumstances, the child must be able to trust their attachment figures. Like a sponge, they feel the unspoken of a situation, although they are often too young to name all of these feelings.

The adult’s role will then be to clarify things and allow them to express their emotions, without judgment. Tell the children the truth, while explaining in age-appropriate words. Avoid words like ” he fell asleep ” or ” he left ” which can lead to agonizing confusion. Don’t be afraid to use the real terms, without going into sordid details.

Then make it clear that it’s okay to be sad and let the child express that sadness. Don’t try to downplay the situation with phrases like, ” It’s okay, we’ll buy another one “. Rather, respect the legitimacy of the child’s grief. You will find that when an emotion is received with kindness, it naturally subsides over time.

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