Hamsters are adorable rodents—two words that don't often go together. If you are considering purchasing a hamster for the first time or have already invested in a cute hamster, you need to know how to properly care for your new pet. Below is a quick reference guide you can use to make sure your little hamster is happy, healthy and enjoying their new life with you.
Setting Up a Hamster's Home
It may seem like you can throw a hamster in any old cage and call it good. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Hamsters need specific items in their homes to keep them healthy and happy. More importantly, hamsters should not share homes with any other rodents, including other hamsters. So, if you currently own a hamster and you are looking to add another, you will need an additional cage. Hamsters may develop tension between each other over territory. It is also possible that they might become a little too familiar with one another, resulting in a batch of hamster babies you aren't prepared to care for.
Hamster cages should contain shredded paper of some kind for nesting, a wheel or another form of exercise and a 'cave' to sleep in. The cave needs to be made of a solid substance that the hamster can't chew on.
Lastly, their cages need to be kept clean and free from extreme temperatures. For example, avoid putting them in front of a window that sees a lot of sun or right underneath an air conditioning vent.
You can buy ready-made food from most pet stores that contain all the necessary nutrients to keep your hamster healthy. Along with their read-made, nutrient rich hamster food, you can also feed them:
- Fresh fruit (no seeds)
- Fresh vegetables
- Whole grain bread
- Meal worms
- Cooked chicken
The foods listed above cannot be a hamster's sole diet. They need their nutrient rich hamster food from the pet store to survive. The foods listed above should only be used as treats or to supplement their diet.
Your hamster needs a life outside of its cage. It needs exercise and interaction. Buy an exercise ball so your hamster can explore and get in their daily workout at the same time.
Hamsters do not need baths. Like cats, hamsters can bathe themselves. They are sticklers about their hygiene and are not fans of water. If your hamster seems like he stinks, it is probably because his cage needs cleaning.
Hamsters make great pets. They are fairly low maintenance and don't require much in the way of care. If you decide to add a hamster to your family, make sure you are prepared to care for them properly. The right kind of care will keep them happy and healthy. If your hamster ever needs veterinary care, take him to an animal hospital like Beaver Lake Animal Hospital.