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did peppermint oil/clove extract kill my hamster???

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#1 hamster4962


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Posted 08 January 2012 - 05:15 AM

I recently bought "Vets Best" flea shampoo and bathed my dog. It's all natural, made with peppermint oil and clove extract. My dog sleeps in my bedroom and my little dwarf hamster lived in a glass tank ontop of my dresser. On New Yr's eve I put a yogurt treat into the cage, as I do often, and on New Yr.s day I checked on Lucky and he hadn't touched the treat. I thought that strange, and so I lifted his house and he was dead...He's a yr. old and nothing else is different, except bathing my dog with the "safe, all natural" shampoo. (I should have stuck with the toxic flea stuff..) I recently adopted a lg teddybear hamster and put him in a different room, away from the dogs sleeping bed. It's time to bathe the dog again--was it the shampoo vapors that killed my little guy?? I've asked Petco--they didn't know...I asked a local vet, they didn't know... I searched the internet--can't get any answers. I do know that apple seeds, strawberries, cedar and pine are all toxic, although the internet said strawberry leaves are ok..

What exactly is toxic to hamsters--I've had them continuously for 20 yrs and am totally upst over this Vets Best product--were the ingredients fatal?? Please reply asap, I need to bathe my dog!

Thankyou so much,

#2 LoveeofZeus


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Posted 08 January 2012 - 06:38 AM

Well im not acually sure to your question either. :/

What kind of hamster was Lucky? If he's a dwarf, then it could of been that his time was just up and not because of the shampoo. Dwarf hamsters usually only live 1 year.

Im so sorry for the loss of Lucky :( RIP Lucky

#3 Baileybails


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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:36 AM

Dwarf hamsters don't live long but teddy bear do and I really don't know what happens and in sorry for your loss

#4 Christmas_hamster


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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:47 AM

I am sorry for your loss. It could have been something totally unrelated whether it was genetic or some sort of illness. As prey animals they are good at hiding illness. I tried searching myself and I didn't find anything either. Perhaps try messaging the member, missPixy, she has a knack for finding answers. ;) Though I know that clove oil can be used to euthanize fish, but I don't think that merely being near your dog after the treatment would be enough to kill your hamster. It's still good that you moved your hamster away from your dog, just in case the stress of a larger animal being around bothers him. Congratulations on your new hamster by the way. :)

Dwarf hamsters don't have a life span of 1 year, more like 1.5-2 years. Even then it depends on the species of dwarf. Roborovski dwarf hamsters have a lifespan of 2-3 years, many living closer to three years. The theory behind that is that since they are so newly domesticated, they haven't been overbred and inbred enough for such issues to plague the species. As they become more popular their lifespan could decrease.

There is also no such thing as teddy bear hamsters, they are just a nickname used by pet stores and back yard breeders to make them seem fancier and sometimes to even charge more money. They are actually Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus).

#5 LoveeofZeus


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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:53 AM

Whoops! Sorry Christmas hamster! hamster4962: OK, so it depends on what species of the dwarf but mostly only 1.5- 2 years.

#6 Lillias


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Posted 13 January 2012 - 07:32 PM

Hamsters can die for many reasons, and sometimes we don't see symptoms before it happens. One year is a little young, but it could have been a genetic issue or some illness that wasn't visible. I'm with Christmas_hamster. I don't think the shampoo had anything to do with it. I just don't think the fumes would be all that strong by the time they got to the hamster. However, clove oil and peppermint oil are used as mice repellent because supposedly the strong odor will drive them away. Since hamsters also have a strong sense of smell, they might not like it. I wouldn't put the actual shampoo near the hamster because the scent would be too strong, but I don't think the leftover scent on the dog would be fatal. As Christmas_hamster said, being around a dog may stress hamsters. So, I think it's okay to continue using the shampoo on the dog, but have the dog sleep in a different room than the hamster to reduce stress.

As far as toxicity, I found references to one study where mice were fed clove oil to treat pneumonia. I found other information about the increase toxicity of clove cigarettes over regular cigarettes, as well as a study on lethal dosages for rats. Peppermint oil seems to be a similar story: a little won't hurt but a lot is harmful. However, in the toxicity studies on rodents, the mice or rats were being fed a fair amount of clove oil or peppermint oil. Given that the rodents needed to consume X amount of the substance before dying, I think it's safe to say that exposure to a little secondary vapor wouldn't be fatal. Vapors from "the toxic flea stuff" may be worse, I couldn't say.

#7 jenbeckpdx


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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:07 PM

Peppermint oil is a nerotoxin to insects and small animals like rodents. Their lungs cannot handle the vapors. I've mopped the floor with peppermint soap (dr. bronners brand), and killed whole colonies of ants in my kitchen and discovered dead mice under the appliances only a day later.

Please avoid peppermint at all cost. My condolences to you and your family. I know what it's like to lose a pet. :(