Small Pet

How To Care for Your Hamster - Everything You Need to Know!

How To Care for Your Hamster - Everything You Need to Know! - The Pets Club
Hamsters make excellent house pets for most people. They are smart, adorable to look at, and also offer great companionship to adults and kids alike.
However, taking care of a hamster is a big responsibility - one that you should not take too lightly.
In this guide, we cover all the details of taking care of your hamsters.

Step By Step Hamster Care Guide

Step 1- Find the Right Enclosure - The Basic Setup of a Hamster Cage

Cage Size

Select a cage of the right dimensions depending on your hamster species as well as the number of pets you choose to keep.
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 For example, if you have two Dwarf hamsters or a single Syrian hamster, do choose a tank of at least 20-gallon capacity. (Never house male and female hamsters together - unless they are spayed/neutered. Hamsters multiply rapidly!)
Remember: bigger is always better when it comes to choosing a hamster cage. After all, hamsters are active creatures that love to run and walk. Therefore, a large cage is a must-have.
If you choose a wire-bottomed cage, ensure that the gap between the wires is not too wide, otherwise, your pet’s feet could get trapped in it which could result in a serious injury. Aquarium tanks are the best since they have a solid floor and they also make viewing your hamster easy.

Cage Placement

Hamsters need a quiet room with plenty of natural light and ventilation. So, place the cage in an area that has both. At the same time, avoid placing the cage in direct sunlight, near the vent of a heater/AC, or in areas with drafts.
Avoid placing the cage in a bedroom, since hamsters are nocturnal and tend to get pretty noisy at night - unless you do not mind being disturbed!

What Do Hamsters Need in their Cage?

Hamsters need bedding, plenty of hiding areas, toys, chews, nesting boxes, caves, etc. in their cages.
●      Bedding - Hamster bedding in their cage can encourage them to burrow just like they do in their natural habitat. Good bedding also absorbs moisture and keeps the cage floor dry. These days, you have several bedding options for hamsters. The safest hamster bedding includes aspen shavings, nontoxic paper bedding, scented pine or cedar shavings, hay, etc. Layer the bottom of the cage with at least 2-3 inches of bedding.
●      Toys and chews - Hamsters need something to chew on to wear down their sharp teeth which grow continuously. Toys also provide them with mental stimulation to help prevent boredom. The best toys and chews for hamsters include safe and nontoxic ones made from soft, natural, untreated wood. Add plenty of hanging toys, swings, rattan balls, rope carrots, tiny wooden dumbbells, unicycles, bicycles made from natural wood, etc. Swap and rotate the toys from time to time to keep things interesting.
●      Hideouts - Hamsters also need hideouts in their cages. These are areas that help them get some ‘me time’ and are important to prevent stress in your small pet. You can create DIY caves, tunnels, and hideouts using cardboard boxes, PVC pipes, or sturdy chew-proof plastic pipes.
●      Exercise wheel - a running wheel is important for your hamster to run and expend energy. Without running, your pet can get obese and obesity in hamsters can cause various health issues.
●      Litter box - buy a small hamster-sized litterbox for your pet’s toilet. To toilet train your buddy, add some soiled bedding into the box, so your pet can begin using the litter box.

Step 2- Clean the Hamster Cage Regularly

Once a month, deep clean your hamster’s cage using a mild antiseptic soap. Wash all toys and dry them before putting them back. Discard broken ones.
Throw away wet and moldy bedding and replace it with fresh bedding after the cage is dry.
Hamsters love to hoard their food, so make sure to search for moldy food bits and remove them immediately. This is very important to prevent diseases.

Step 3 - Food and Water

Food - What Does a Hamster Eat?

Adult hamsters usually need about 1/8th cup of food daily. According to the PDSA (a UK-based vet charity), the best diet for a hamster includes the following:
●      Commercial Hamster Pellets (75%) - Hamsters need high-quality commercial pellets or hamster food every day. These are specially formulated for these small animals and contain balanced nutrition. This is necessary to keep your hamster healthy and disease free. Your vet or breeder can guide you in selecting the right hamster foods.
●      Fresh Produce (20%) - hamsters also need fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs in small quantities. In the next section, we will cover the foods acceptable and not acceptable for hamsters.
●      Hay - provide an endless supply of fresh hay (Timothy hay, meadow grass, or orchard hay) for your pet. You can create a separate feeding area in one corner of the enclosure. Add some bowls for keeping the hay.
●      Occasional treats (less than 5%) - Limit hamster treats to once a month (no more than 5% of your pet’s total diet). Hamsters tend to gain weight rapidly, so avoid too many treats. Hamster treats include loose seed mix, pieces of fruit, boiled eggs, nuts, etc.
Discard leftover food and fill up the food bowl with fresh food daily.


Provide an endless supply of fresh drinking water o your hamster. You can attach a water bottle to the cage, having a metal spout for your hamster to sip from. Always clean the bottle and refill it with fresh water daily. If you have multiple hamsters, add as many bottles as the number of hamsters you keep. Avoid keeping water bowls in the cage as hamsters are messy creatures and tend to bury or dig creating a soggy mess.
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Make sure the bottles do not leak - else they could spoil the cage bedding resulting in mold. Test the bottles from time to time to ensure the water supply is not stopped.
Foods to Avoid and Foods to Feed a Hamster
Acceptable Food for Hamsters
Foods to Never Feed a Hamster
Hamster pellets
Cat food, dog food, food meant for other rodents or rats
Hay- timothy, alfalfa, orchard grass, Brome hay, Botanical hay, and Oat hay.
Yellow straws, moldy or pink hay
Seed mix with grains, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, 
Apple seeds
Vegetables - carrots, broccoli, cucumber, peas, squash, etc.
Raw potatoes, garlic, onions, rhubarb leaves, citrus fruit, raw beans
Unsalted Nuts - peanuts, and cashews. Feed these in small quantities as they are high in fat and could lead to obesity in your pet.
Salted nuts, almonds
Treats - small pieces of whole grain toast, cooked pasta, cooked rice, scrambled or boiled eggs, commercial hamster treat etc. Feed these in small quantities 
Sugary bread, sugary cereals, chocolate, Peanut butter
Dried worms - crickets, mealworms, etc. Feed these in small quantities 
Junk food
Cooked meat - pieces of chicken or turkey. Feed these in small quantities 
Red meat

Step 4-Grooming

Hamsters are fastidious little self-groomers just like cats. They do not need human help for hamster grooming. However, some varieties of hamsters could need daily coat brushing followed by hair trimming. For long-haired hamsters, trim the hair to 1-inch length to prevent matting.
Handle your pet with care. Cup your hands together and let your pet walk into your palms. Place your pet gently in your lap as you sit down on the floor, a chair, sofa, or bed. Do not squeeze your hamster too tight. Use a soft bristle brush or comb to gently comb your pet’s fur. Talk soothingly to it and treat it afterward.

Step 5- Annual Veterinary Care

If your hamster appears healthy and thriving, you can take it to the vet once a year for an annual checkup. Older hamsters need medical checkups twice a year.
Note that hamsters cannot go without food for over 3 days. Therefore, if your pet is not eating for a long time, please see your vet right away. Similarly, if your hamster has loose or runny stools, then also you must seek medical attention right away.

FAQs - How to Take Care of your Hamster?

What are the Dos and Don’ts for a hamster?

●      Do play with your pet - this is essential to keep hamsters mentally active and happy.
●      Don’t use harsh household cleaners for cleaning the hamster cage.
●      Do provide plenty of toys to your little buddy.
●      Don’t feed too many treats as they could lead to obesity.

Should I bathe my hamster?

Hamsters self-groom by licking themselves. You do not have to bathe your pet with soap and water. In fact, water can remain trapped under its fur causing fungal skin issues. If your pet is very dirty, use a damp cloth to wipe its fur.

Should I hold my hamster daily?

You may hold your hamster every day but do respect its sleep times. Hamsters are nocturnal animals which means they sleep during the day. If not allowed to sleep, they could get cranky and bite.

Conclusion - Hamster Care Guide - How to Care for Your Hamster?

Hamsters are engaging and affectionate pets. However, they do need a lot of care and attention. They are also nocturnal, which means they may be getting up just as you may be getting ready for bed. Be prepared to stay up for a few hours or long enough to give the attention your hammy needs!
We hope the above guide helps you take good care of your hamster.

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