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Hamster Care Recommendations

June 17, 2021


Hamsters are adorable, however, they do require a lot of care. Their lifespan is up to 24 months. The most commonly kept species are Syrian (Teddy Bear) and the dwarf types. As Dwarfs, they can only grow up to four inches and seven inches as Syrians. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, and are very active at night. 

Hamster Housing Recommendations

If you intend to keep hamsters as pets in your home, then there are a few things you need to pick up at the pet store for your small and furry friend. Here is a list of housing recommendations for your hamster:

  • A cage: A stainless steel cage that is at least 15 inches long by 12 inches high is recommended.  You may also want to go for something bigger if you intend to offer your pet more room to explore and exercise.  Also ensure that the cage is escape-proof with no gaps!
  • Bedding type: Avoid pine and cedar shavings. Opt for bedding that is made from cellulose or plant-based paper fibers.
  • Cage cleaning: The cage where hamsters are kept should be cleaned at least once a week to maintain hygiene. To clean a hamster’s cage, start by moving your hamster to a safe place or place it in an exercise ball. Throw the old bedding away and wash the cage by using warm water and regular soap to rinse and clean the cage thoroughly. Wait for the cage to dry, add new bedding,  and return your hamster to the cage.
  • Food:  Make sure that you provide your hamsters with fresh water and clean food bowls daily.
  • Housing: Try to house hamsters singly. 
  • Toys: Try to ensure that the cage has an exercise wheel to avoid boredom. You can also get them an exercise ball to run around a room in.

selective focus photography of brown hamster

Hamster Diet Recommendations

What can hamsters eat? The majority of a hamsters diet should be  pellet based. The problem with seed based diets is that hamsters will often only pick the bits they like leading to dietary deficiencies. Occasional fruits and vegetables (2-3 days every week) are recommended. Appropriate fruits and vegetables can include dark leafy greens, carrots, apples, and lettuce.  

Foods that hamsters should not eat

Avoid giving your hamster apple seeds, raw beans, raw potatoes, almonds, citrus fruit, garlic, onions, rhubarb leaves/raw rhubarb, chocolate, and any sugary/salty food.

Medical Needs

There are common signs that may require urgent medical attention from a veterinarian. Some of these signs include blood in urine, runny nose, weight loss, matted fur, shaking, or diarrhea. Hamsters, like other rodent species, also very commonly develop lumps. These signs may indicate certain medical illnesses and you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss.

This article is endorsed by perrovets' vet, Dr James Blanshard

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