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do hamsters need a water bowl or bottle?
Food And Drink

Hamster Water Bowl vs. Bottle — Which Is Better?

Animals need water for various metabolic activities, like digestion, thermoregulation, and excretion. So, giving the hamster clean water each day is crucial.

Hamsters can drink water or vegetable juice from a bottle or a bowl. Some believe these methods are interchangeable options, but each has pros and cons.

Can A Hamster Drink Water Out of A Bowl?

Although water bottles are popular, hamsters can drink out of a bowl.

Most new pet owners offer water to their hamsters using bowls. They’re easier to clean, take up less space than a water bottle, and have less scope for error.

Some hamsters don’t know how to drink from a water bottle, but nearly every hamster can learn how.

According to Laboratory Animal Nutrition, the average hamster drinks 4.5-14ml of water per day per 100mg of body weight.

This is far less than the average water consumption of other pets. However, dehydration can trigger health problems in hamsters, even within 24 hours.

To avoid this, opt for the method that ensures the hamster gets adequate water without straining. Reasons to opt for a water bowl for a hamster include:

  • It’s always functional and never gets plugged in.
  • Hamsters aren’t selective about bowl size, unlike the nozzle of a water bottle.
  • Some hamsters dislike drinking from a bottle but remain neutral about bowls.
  • Hamsters may be loud when drinking from a bottle.

Advantages of Using a Water Bowl

There are three main advantages to using a water bowl as your hamster’s water source:


Water bottles are an acceptable way to provide a hamster with water, but most bottles aren’t durable.

They’re often made of plastic, which hamsters can chew through and damage, causing leaks. Moreover, the nozzles of water bottles can break, causing them to malfunction.

By contrast, water bowls (most of which are made of porcelain, glass, or stone) are more durable.

how to get a hamster to drink from a water bottle?

Easier To Clean

Although water bowls are more likely to get dirty than water bottles, they’re easier to clean.

However, water bottles don’t need regular cleaning. However, they can be difficult to clean and sanitize when they get dirty due to the small size of the nozzle and the narrow design of the body.

Simpler To Use

Water bowls are more attractive to hamsters since they mimic how they drink water in the wild from puddles, lakes, and streams.

For this reason, some hamsters respond better to drinking from bowls than water bottles.

Licking at the nozzle doesn’t come naturally to all hamsters, so some will struggle to adapt, leaving them thirsty and dehydrated.

Setting Up A Drinking Bowl

For best results, here’s how to set up and maintain your hamster’s drinking bowl:

Right Bowl

Ideally, the water bowl should be shallow enough to allow your hamster to drink from without the risk of drowning, so an inch or two of water is all that’s necessary.  

Likewise, your hamster’s water bowl should be sturdy enough to support its weight without tipping over when it climbs on it.

Rock bowls are a better option than glass bowls because they’re strong enough and won’t tilt easily unless force is applied, which the average hamster can’t manage.

Raised Platform

Unlike water bottles with small nozzles, water bowls are wider and more likely to accumulate dirt and debris when left in the open.

You don’t want the hamster to drink contaminated water, which can cause illness.

To mitigate this problem, place the hamster’s water bowl on a raised platform with a ramp, which the hamster can use to access.

This reduces the number of foreign materials that enter the hamster’s water since hamsters can’t kick their bedding or poop into the bowl, keeping it free from contaminants.

Change The Water

Check the water daily and change the bowl. Lightly clean the bowl to eliminate germs and bacteria before filling it with fresh water.

Disadvantages of Using a Water Bowl

Giving the hamster water via a bowl may be easier than a water bottle. However, there are still reasons it’s recommended to acclimate your hamster to using the latter, such as:


Unlike bowls, water bottles are enclosed units that can’t become soiled with bedding material, food particles, droppings, and urine.

You don’t need to change them out daily since the water inside is protected from the external elements. That makes it the better choice if you want to limit the upkeep necessary for the hamster.

can hamsters drink out of bowls?


Water bottles can’t be tipped over, ensuring the hamster’s enclosure isn’t flooded if it accidentally crawls into a bowl. This also preserves the water, ensuring it lasts longer and provides the hamster’s water at a controlled pace.

Larger Capacity

Hamster water bottles can hold far more water than a bowl. There’s no risk of drowning, so you can fill the bottle to its limit and allow it to give water to the hamster for several days.

Nevertheless, when selecting a water bottle, consider the angle of the spout. If the spout is overly vertical, it might strain the neck and spine.

The spout should ideally be as horizontal as possible, enabling the hamster to drink naturally with its head and neck bowed downwards.

Should You Use A Water Bowl or Bottle?

Water bowls and bottles are common choices for hamsters, so each method has pros and cons.

Water bowls are more affordable, durable, and easier to clean than bottles. However, water bottles are more hygienic, efficient, and convenient.

Some hamsters may prefer one over the other. For this reason, you might want to provide various water vessels so the hamster can drink via its preferred method.