Two hands are holding a hamster.

How to Take Care of a Hamster: Full Guide

7 min read

If you are looking for a funny little pet, a hamster may be an ideal option. But still, you should consider that it’s extremely important to take proper care of this animal if you want it to be safe and sound. 

That’s why it’ll be a wise decision to get acquainted with the tips that will help you to cope with such an important task. Lucky for you, this ultimate guide includes all the information necessary to prepare your home for a new little resident as well as to ensure its wellbeing. 

Your Hamster’s Cage

A hamster is in a cage.
A cage is a home for your hamster where it can play and eat.

You should buy a home for your pet before you purchase an animal. Remember that there are a lot of details you should pay attention to.

1. Cage Size

Hamsters need a lot of floor space to run around. Of course, the cage size will depend on the type of animal you’ve chosen. At the same time, the National Hamster Council informs that the optimal sizes are between 800-1000 square centimeters of floor space. 

Also, a cage height should be nearly 17-19cm. And don’t forget that the covering of the floor should have at least four centimeters of depth because hamsters adore burrowing. 

2. Materials

As a rule, hamster’s cages are made either from metal wire or plastic. Both variants are popular with customers and have different advantages and drawbacks: 

  • Wire cages. When you choose them, you should have a look at the spacing between the wires. In case it’s more than half a centimeter, there is a chance that the hamster may get stuck or even escape. Besides, it’s better not to select the cages with a wire bottom.
  • Plastic cages. They will provide your hamster with total protection in case you have other pets in your home. In addition, they are very easy to clean. On the other hand, usually, they don’t have any special places for your hamster to climb.

3. Interior

Some cages go with the installed modular systems that include different tubes joined together. Although they look attractive, it may be not a good idea to settle your hamster there. Such inner constructions take a good deal of space and it may happen so that your little animal won’t have a possibility to run around the cage. Bear in mind, the usual running up and down the tube won’t satisfy your pet.

Furthermore, the hamster can easily get stuck inside the modular system. Also, it may just hide there and you won’t be able to reach it. In this case, you’ll need to dismantle the tubes. The bad news is that this process will take a very long time and energy.

Additionally, there are essentials that you need to purchase in the first instance. Of course, it refers to food and water containers. Moreover, it’ll be a wise decision to cover the floor of the cage with a soft layer that will prevent a hamster from serious injuries if it falls from a great height.

4. Toys

A hamster is in its toyhouse.
Hamsters love playing with small toys and chewing wooden pieces.

There should be a lot of things that will keep your pet occupied. The movement is extremely important for its health. So, first of all, you should purchase a special wheel for your hamster. Also, check out other interesting ideas:

  • Wooden toys for chewing. This is an ideal option if you want to surprise your hamster and provide it with hours of exciting activity. At the same time, these toys are necessary to prevent the animal’s teeth from overgrowing. Besides, it’s extremely important to focus on the quality of the wood. Make sure it hasn’t been affected by dangerous pesticides.
  • Tiny house. Probably, your hamster will need a place where it’ll be able to hide away. There are special houses that will provide your pet with such an opportunity. Also, they may become a great decoration for the hamster’s cage.
  • Hamster ball. This item is certainly among the most popular toys for the little friends. It goes without saying that colorful plastic orb will make your hamster happy as a clam. Due to it, the pet will be able to run around your home without a fear to get any injuries.

5. Cleaning

The amazing fact is that hamsters can take care of their home even without your help. For example, it’s possible to train them to do the deed in a particular space. Just put a tray with the damp wood shavings left by your pet. The hamster will smell the urine and turn that place into a toilet. Due to it, you’ll be able to clean the cage faster.

Take into consideration that it’s important to check out whether the pet has enough food and water every day. In addition, you should remove all shavings and droppings from the cage on a daily basis.

And it’s necessary to tidy up the hamster’s home from top to bottom every week. Nonetheless, don’t forget to leave the part of the old bedding there, so the animal will be able to recognize the familiar smell when it returns to the cage. And it’ll be a good idea to buy a small animal carrier where you’ll be able to keep the hamster while cleaning its home.

Choosing Food for Your Hamster

A hamster is eating vegetables.
Hamsters love vegetables and fruits such as banana, peach, broccoli, and cauliflower

As well as humans, hamsters are omnivorous. Naturally, they eat various seeds, grass, and insects. If you are going to buy food for a pet, you should select the products that consist only of natural grains. Remember, that some nutriments may include dangerous additives, so be extremely careful when you purchase them.

You may also treat your hamster with different tongue-breakers once a week. Your little friend will be over the moon if you give it some mealworms or boiled eggs. These protein-rich products will become a great complement to your pet’s diet.

Vegetables and fruits are also adored by any hamster. Cut them into small cubes and give them to your friend two or three times per week. The list of your hamster’s most favorite vegetables and fruits includes banana, peach, broccoli, and cauliflower.

By the way, you should be especially careful when you treat a pet with a carrot. It includes a lot of natural sugars, so you shouldn’t add it to the hamster’s regular diet. Just use carrot as an additional treatment for your pet from time to time.

Besides, you should never give sticky food to this tiny animal. It may get stuck in the hamster’s cheek pouches and cause serious injuries.

Nutrition Tips

Once you’ve bought the products for your hamster, you may face with the problems related to its nutrition. In case you’ve never had such a pet before, you may don’t know how much food this little animal eats every day. Fortunately, the simple tips provided below will help you:

  1. Although a hamster will be always begging you to get more food, you shouldn’t indulge its desires. The Viovet recommends giving these tiny animals up to 10g of food twice per day;
  2. It’s important to change the water in your hamster’s bottle every day;
  3. Tap-water is dangerous for your pet’s health because of chlorine and other chemicals. Provide your hamster only with fresh filtered water.

Possible Health Problems

A vet is holding a hamster.
Regular health checkups will help you prevent illnesses.

We are responsible for those whom we tamed and in case your pet lapse into illness, your duty is to take care of it. Further, you should do your best to prevent the hamster’s health problems.

Sometimes it may be difficult to say whether something wrong has happened to your pet. What is more, hamsters try not to show they’re feeling unwell due to their original particulars of deportment. But still, there are some common warning signs you need to pay attention to:

  • Inappetence;
  • Wet tail;
  • Strange discharge near eyes;
  • Unusual aggression;
  • The absence of poop pellets.

If you notice one of these signs, you should visit your vet immediately. Plus, don’t forget that hamsters may go into hibernation if the temperature drops. In this case, just put the cage with your tiny friend in a warm place to wake it up. 

Conclusion

Although hamsters are tiny and funny animals, taking care of them isn’t an easy process. You should be ready to spend a lot of time with your pet to socialize it and discover its habits. Try to find at least an hour to give attention to your new friend every day.

You should carefully get acquainted with the pieces of advice provided in this guide before you decide to buy a hamster. Besides, think twice whether you’ll be able to follow them and invest enough time to take care of a pet.

by GetESA

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Pet Care