How to Take Care of a Hamster as a Pet

Essential hamster supplies

Hamsters are quite typical house pets. These little rodents thrive best when kept alone in their own homes and often survive for around two years. Hamsters come in a variety of sizes and traits from various breeds. Knowing your breed and what its final size will be can help you choose the appropriate cage and accessories. Since hamsters are nocturnal animals by nature, be ready for some sounds at night and place the cage in a location that is convenient for both you and your new pet.

Before You Begin

To lessen the stress of transitioning to a new house, make sure you have a home prepared for any pet before you get it. Hamsters have certain requirements. They require a well-ventilated cage with a hiding spot, exercise, and mental stimulation. Additionally, your hamster will require a diversified diet that includes both fresh and store-bought food. Make sure you know what your new pet can (and can't) eat.

What You Need

You'll need to provide your pet hamster with a few essential supplies, including:

  • Cage
  • Bedding and nesting material
  • Food
  • Food dish
  • Water bottle
  • Wheel
  • House or hideout
  • Toys

Choose the Right Hamster Cage

Get your hamster a cage that is big enough for them, easy to clean, and escape-proof. The modular cages with tubes are entertaining, but they may be challenging to clean and have limited ventilation (and the tubes can be too small for some Syrian hamsters). Never undervalue a hamster's capacity for escape; they can squeeze through relatively small openings and gnaw through plastic barriers astonishingly rapidly.

Keep in mind that many cages sold for hamsters will be on the tiny side if you want to get a Syrian hamster. Be careful that a may frequently fit through the bars of a cage designed for an average-sized hamster. Once a week, you should thoroughly clean the hamster cage. While the cage is being cleaned, remove the hamster safely and put it somewhere safe.

Add Hamster Bedding and Nesting Material

For your hamster's bedding, stay away from cedar and pine wood chips because of their pungent smell, which can irritate the respiratory system. If you want to utilize wood for your bedding, aspen is a safer alternative, although many people like paper or other fiber-based beddings. Hamsters like taking naps in comfy nests. The cotton nesting materials that are sold in pet stores are useless and dangerous if consumed or if they get it caught between their toes. Toilet paper or face tissues that have been shred into small pieces are ideal nesting materials. During the weekly cage cleaning, the bedding items may be emptied and replenished.

Choose Hamster Food and Containers

Choose a hamster food of high grade. For many hamsters, pelleted diets are a preferable alternative than loose food mixtures because they provide a good nutritional balance. Your hamster may select out the foods it like and ignore the ones it doesn't like from a loose mixture (seeds and other products), which might lead to an unbalanced diet or an overweight hamster. Fresh veggies can be used as a supplement to a pelleted mix, among other things. Feeding hamsters should occur once daily. Any fresh food that hasn't been consumed in a few hours should be removed.

Your hamster's ideal feeding dish is a shallow, little, hefty bowl (or anything that won't topple over easily). An excellent choice is a little ceramic or porcelain crock because they are durable and won't break easily. It's not necessary to spend money on a beautiful hamster dish; instead, select something that won't be chewed up the next day.

The most typical water container for hamsters is a little hanging water bottle with a stainless steel spout and ball. It's too probable that a bowl may be spilt, soiled, or overflow with bedding. Consistently provide fresh water for your hamster.

Offer Exercise Options

Buy the biggest, highest-quality you can since hamsters love to run and require the exercise. Running on it should be possible on a stable surface with ideally no cross supports (that might catch a leg or neck). Try to find one that mounts to the cage's side. Given that hamsters run at night, make sure the wheel is silent as well. It could help to keep the wheel silent to drip a tiny bit of vegetable oil onto the wheel axis.

Your hamster should have a range of items to gnaw on and climb on in addition to a wheel. Hamsters require a lot of excitement and activity to prevent boredom. Hamsters who are bored begin to gnaw through everything in an attempt to escape. There are many of hamster-safe objects available at pet stores, or you may construct your own hamster toys out of toilet paper tubes and tissue boxes.

Consider a Hamster House or Hide Box

Your hamster will value having a quiet place to rest. A home or hide box can be as basic as a small cardboard box (which will need to be replaced frequently but is cheap), a plastic hide box (which can be chewed up), a wooden box (which might get chewed or get filthy and stinky), or other things like a half-coconut shell or a little clay plant pot. If you carve a door for your hamster, upside-down plastic food storage containers like a butter tub can be utilized (making sure there are no sharp edges).

Preventing Problems With Your Hamster During Care

Hamsters make for rather robust pets. The problem is that because the hamster is so little, it will be impacted rather fast if something goes wrong. Watch out for a hamster that is not moving around, isn't eating, has diarrhea, hair loss, is sneezing, or has watery eyes. These can include pneumonia or other types of illnesses. Talk to your veterinarian about what to do and try to keep your hamster comfortable and well-hydrated.

Another frequent concern is a hamster escape. Keep an eye on the area around the cage in case your hamster escapes, and then search further areas of the house. Since they are nocturnal animals, keep an eye out at night and look behind and under furniture. If at all possible, leave the cage open and stocked with food so that the hamster may come back by itself.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

CITATION

"Hamster Care. University of California Davis Veterinary Medicine.", "Providing a Home for a Hamster. Merck Veterinary Manual.", "Disorders and Diseases of Hamsters. Merck Veterinary Manual." ;

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