Hamsters as Pets? 6 Basic Cares for Hamsters

Translated by Nick R

Hamsters are small rodents that many people have as pets, in fact, they are perfect for those who don’t have much space or want a pet that doesn’t need too much care and attention.

However, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep your hamster happy and healthy.

Where to get a hamster? 

You can get these pets in different pet stores, but you should consider a place with good hygiene and where they take good care of the animals, because, if not, your hamster might have some problems.

Food for hamsters 

Hamsters’ diet is based on fruits, vegetables, cereals, seeds, and nuts. In their natural and wild state, they also feed on crickets, worms or grasshoppers.

There are several commercial feeds or concentrates that are usually composed of cereals, different seeds, and nuts. You can supplement their diet with vegetables and fruits.

However, it would help if you did not give them too many seeds as they have too much fat and could easily fatten the hamster.

You can also complete their diet with mealworms, crickets, or small grasshoppers sold in specialized pet stores to make their diet as complete as possible and similar to what they would eat in the wild.

The source of protein could also be hard-boiled eggs instead of insects (as this may not please some people).

They should always have available food, i.e., you don’t have to divide it into portions throughout the day. However, if your hamster has become fat and sedentary, you’ll need to cut back on food and encourage him to get more exercise.

Ellie Burgin, CC0 https://www.pexels.com/es-es/creative-commons-images/, via Pexels

If you’d like to make your pet’s food yourself, you may want to consider the following foods:

  • Oatmeal.
  • Wheat.
  • Crickets.
  • Eggs.
  • Grasshoppers.
  • Mealworms.
  • Corn.
  • Apple.
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • Romaine lettuce.  
  • Pear.
  • Barley.
  • Strawberries.
  • Kiwifruit.
  • Carrot.
  • Sunflower seeds.

Important: Fresh, clean water should always be available in their drinking bowl.

Cages for hamsters 

Choose a large cage with enough space for your hamster to move around comfortably. Cages with several floors are ideal so that your pet can have many places to go and won’t get stressed.

Moreover, the cage bars should not be too separated or your hamster could escape.

Likewise, to make your hamster as comfortable as possible, you need to create a bed on the floor of the cage, either with wood shavings or hay that you can find in pet stores.

Note: there is a great variety of cages, so it’s advisable to choose one containing a small shelter or house in which it can rest. Many also include other types of diversions for the hamster, such as exercise wheels or slides. The more structures the better.

On the other hand, the prices vary depending on the size and the equipment included in the cage. They are usually plastic and come in different colors.

Location of the cage 

You should place the cage where no accident can happen ( like something falling on it or someone tripping over the cage). Also, it must not be in direct sunlight, but it must have good ventilation.

Hygiene of the hamster 

Although hamsters are constantly grooming themselves, you have to help them maintain proper hygiene to avoid parasites or other health problems caused by poor hygiene.

It’s not really advisable to bathe them since they are quite delicate animals and could get sick; however, you can brush their fur periodically with special hamster brushes.

Moreover, you must pay attention to their nails and cut them when they are too long because it will bother them. Don’t cut them so close to the flesh because you could hurt them. In fact, I recommend you go to a veterinarian if you are not sure you can do it yourself.

Hygiene of the cage 

Clean your pet’s feces daily, although the general cleaning of the cage can be done once or twice a week, depending on how much your pet soils.

To do so, simply place your hamster in another room while cleaning and remove all cage accessories such as toys, slides, the hamster house, water bowl and food bowl.

In addition, you will need to replace the bedding.

Once the cage is free, use soap and water to clean it (gloves are recommended). You can get a small brush to scrub the cage very well until it is completely clean.

You also have to wash all the accessories and toys in the cage, you can leave them in a cup with boiled water (and if you want soap) for a few minutes. Then rinse them very well so that no trace of chemicals remains.

Dry well and put everything back in its place.

Note: at least once a month you must disinfect the cage with special disinfectants that you can find in pet stores.

Physical activity and playing 

Your pet doesn’t even have to leave the cage to exercise and play. You can get different accessories to add to the cage for this purpose.

For example, many hamsters love wheels as they can entertain themselves by running around for a long time. If the hamster likes the wheel, he might also like the hamster ball, which is a little plastic ball that he can get into and run around the house more freely.

Should you vaccinate your hamster? 

Hamsters don’t need vaccinations, however, they can become infected with a parasite and if this happens you just have to go to the vet to prescribe the right medication.

So, if you want to have a hamster, follow all the recommendations I gave you to have a healthy and happy pet at home that will keep you company without taking up much space.