Skin Sores on Hamsters

Signs and Symptoms

Skin sore can occur anywhere on an injured hamster but mainly these can be found on the underside of the hamster’s belly, legs, face and scent glands. These sores an be described as open wounds on the surface of the skin. They will appear raw, red and occasionally bleeding.


There are many causes for skin sores to appear on an hamster.

  • If the belly of the hamster has sores and it’s also an elderly hamster, these can be caused by scratchy bedding. Even if your hamster bedding has always been the same, when a hamster gets old, its skin can become sensitive.
  • If the chin of the hamster is covered in sores, it could be causes be a leaky water bottles that runs down its chin or from rubbing it’s face on the bars of its wire cage.
  • If the scent glands of a male hamster has open sores, this could be caused from excessive grooming or licking.
  • A hamster that constantly rubs its face on the bars of its cage can be the result of anxiety or stress caused by a cage that is too small.
  • If the legs of a hamster contains skin sores and you have a metal exercise wheel, the wheel can be the cause.

Treat Hamsters

You can treat a hamster’s skin sores by using Betadine (topical antiseptics), hydrogen peroxide and an antibiotic ointment. a salt water solution can also be used to clean the wounds. To prevent the skin sores from returning: remove the cause of the sores. Remove sharp or abrasive accessories; get a solid exercise wheel without metal rungs; change the bedding to softer material; and give your hamsters plenty of room to run around.


22 comments on “Skin Sores

  1. Our 2 hamsters had sores on their belly’s, I looked it up and it was an infected belly button. The sores were about the size of a dime. We gave the both a little bath in a mixture of warm water with a little dish soap and some vinegar. Then sprayed there belly’s with bactine. It has taken about 2 weeks but they have healed.

  2. My hamster has a red-ish tail and what seems to be a cold sore by his mouth. And i am scared to say this but it seems like there is something harmful on his tounge. Also he is half of the size of his twin brother. What should I do???

  3. My hamster has had sores for a few weeks now. She is barely eating, her eyes are now glued shut with scabby sores. She is walking slow and seems to be slowly dying. She is almost 2 yrs. what can I do. I been cleaning it with perioxide it, but she hates it. It seems to hurt her when it cleans the wombs.

  4. Our Hampstead is 2yrs and 8 months. He has lost fur around his neck and by his ears. The skin is so pink and has red sores where he has been bleeding. He seems ok but I’m so worried that it my get worse. His bedding is so soft so tthat can’t be the corse. He has wood chip where he plays and he has a plastic wheel. Please could you help me to help his condition as my daughter loves her Hampster and we both don’t want him to suffer in anyway.
    Many thanks
    Mrs C Grant

  5. Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by worms. Ringworm occurs when a hamster’s skin becomes infected with a fungus. The most common ringworm-causing fungi are

  6. Is Natural Aspen bedding bad for your hamster i tell my mom that it is probably irritating her skin because she has scars. So tomarrow im geting betatine.

    • Funny you said aspen. I bought the same kind at Walmart and my hamster has terrible sores. It’s actually killing her.

  7. My hamster has scars and there not bleeding there is a centimeter scar on her back in the middle and a few on her belly. I’m wondering if its her bedding but i had it for awhile and it is the thin chip bedding and i use the green hae over it so she can eat the hae and her treats.

  8. I’m not really sure how to diagnose my hamster’s problems exactly I think they’re skin sores but I’m not sure. I noticed today that he has two or three red spots on his belly that have no fur and they have scabs in the middle, and he doesn’t have bugs, he’s had the same type of bedding since I got him, the wheel is plastic, and his nails are long but they’ve never been a problem before (there’s a rock in his cage but he doesn’t scratch it) – besides he normally scratches his belly with his teeth, which are also long… but I’m nervous about him because I don’t know if he’s hurting himself, so how can I treat him? I haven’t noticed any excessive grooming lately since I just noticed today. By the way he’s over a year old for sure but I’m not sure if he’s very close to two years old.

    Sorry this is so long I wanted to be specific and thanks in advance if you read this and come up with an answer 🙂

    • You can try a mild antiseptic to clean the infected areas. It could just be some scratches that need to heal. If more spots start to appear, it might be a hair/skin issue like mange. see this post for more info on that. And of course, you can consult a vet for an expert opinion.

  9. My dwarf hamster has a cut on the underside of her belly and she is unable to move, but she won’t let me flip her over to clean it, and I’m really worried. I don’t know what caused it, she is a year and a half old

    • look for any sharp edges in the cage and remove or cover them. If you have other hamsters in the cage, observe their interactions to make sure they are not fighting. You can use some manuka honey (not toxic to hamsters) to cover the wound if it is bleeding. You can also try sliding a q-tip soaked in some mild antiseptic underneath the belly as the hamster stays upright. It’s not the most thorough way to clean and inspect the wound but at least it is something.

  10. My brand new hamster has a blister looking sore on the inner part of his rear leg. I don’t want him to be in pain or bite it. What can I do to treat it?

    • you can try applying a thyme tea mixture using a washcloth or q-tip directly on to the blister. It might help reduce the swelling. You can also try feeding her some dandelion leafs which also helps with swelling. If there are areas/toys in the cage that she might be rubbing on that is the cause of the blister, either remove those items or cover the areas in question so the issue doesn’t continue.

  11. My 2 year old hamster have several wound near his belly. He keeps licking them. I use toilet paper as bedding. What is a softer option? I am really worried about his sores. Do you think they can heal?

    • you can use some manuka honey to help protect the wounds. It’s safe for hamsters so if it keeps picking at it, it won’t be an issue.

  12. My hamster got sores on each of his sides because of a metal wheel I had. He’s had them for quite a while. He keeps licking them. Is it ok to put triple antibiotic ointment on the sores?

    • some owners have used it but others say it is bad for hamsters. If your hamster is prone to licking its wounds, you might try manuka honey. it’s safe and helps wounds heal. If anything, you an antiseptic and just clean the injured areas….and get a better wheel.

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