Hamsters are fun and cute creatures that make great pets. Their main advantage is that when compared to cats or dogs, they are very easy to look after and inexpensive, so there is no wonder they are such a popular choice among small animal lovers.
The health of your pet should be your number one priority, and in the list below we will present you with 10 easy tips to help you care for your new pet.
What your pet hamster eats is just as important as how much it consumes. These little creatures like to pick out the tasty and fattening food first which is why it is important to pick quality hamster food ingredients. It is recommended to buy hamster pellets or mixtures of dried seeds and nuts as these are created specifically for hamsters and include all the necessary nutrients.
If you are looking to offer your pet a treat, the best choice is to get foods that are similar to what it might eat in the wild. Fresh veggies that have been rinsed with water such as carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, squash, romaine lettuce, and spinach are good examples.
Since hamsters come in different shapes and sizes, it is best to ask your veterinarian how much your furry companion should eat each day. Similarly, make sure you replace the food regularly since stale food can cause digestive problems.
Pick the right cage
The environment that your pet lives in is essential, and when picking the proper enclosure, you should make sure that you get the right type for your pet. Hamsters require a lot of space, and the cage should be at the very minimum 12 inches wide by 12 inches high by 18 inches long. With that said, bigger is definitely better.
Since hamsters can catch colds quite easily, the cage should be placed in a warm area of your home, and as far away from windows and doors as possible since they can cause drafts. Similarly, hamsters are known to chew quite a lot.
Even if the bars of the cage are made from wire, you should still keep an eye out on them to make sure they are not damaged since if your pet escapes, it could quickly get into an accident or get attacked by your other pets.
Get the right wheel
The wheel is an essential accessory for the cage and your hamster’s health. With that said, you should take the time to ensure that the wheel you buy is big enough for safe use. Wheels that are too small can cause serious back problems since the pet will be required to bend its back to fit in the wheel.
The size of the wheel depends on what type of hamster you have since Syrian hamsters, for example, tend to grow quite big in which case you should get a wheel that is at least 8 inches. For most hamsters, a wheel of minimum 6.5 inches should be enough.
Keep the cage clean
It is recommended to clean the cage on a weekly basis since an unclean enclosure can harbor bacteria, resulting in illness. While cleaning the cage, you should place some bedding in a pet carrier, cardboard box, or whichever container you reckon as hamster-safe.
To ensure that the pet will not get stressed or bored during the cleaning process, you should add some food and water in the box, together with its favorite toy.
Get the right bedding
When purchasing this essential product, you should make sure that you don’t select cedar bedding as this type can cause skin irritation for certain hamsters. You should buy only bedding that is explicitly designed to be used for hamster cages. Some of the beddings that you should avoid are pine, corn cob, newspaper, and scented bedding, as they can be quite harmful.
Pay attention to the nose and eyes
If you wish to keep your hamster healthy, periodic monitoring and examination are essential to ensure there are no signs of illness. Check the nose and see if it is wet as that means that the hamster may have a cold. Hamsters can catch colds from humans, so if the symptoms don’t improve, you should contact the vet.
The eyes should be clean and clear. Reddish eyes or unusual discharge can be a sign of infection. Don’t wait out on these infections, you should contact your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong with the eyes. Nose and eye irritation may also indicate an allergy to something in the cage.
Keep an eye on water consumption
The amount of water that a hamster drinks tends to be consistent, but if you notice that you need to refill the water supply more often, this might be a sign that diabetes might soon become a problem for your pet.
An increase in water consumption is an early sign of diabetes, and if your hamster is drinking more water suddenly, a visit to the vet to have it tested for diabetes is recommended.
Play with your pet
Keeping your furry companion happy is just as important as keeping it healthy, and you should find the time for play sessions. This will not only prevent the pet from getting bored, but it will also allow it to bond with you. If you don’t have time to play and engage with your hamster frequently, make sure it has enough toys to play with.
Grooming is important too
While hamsters clean themselves quite well, they still require a bit of help to maintain their soft fur. It is recommended to brush the fur of your pet once every two to four weeks using a clean toothbrush or a pet comb.
Hamsters are very active animals, and they need to move about, or otherwise, they can have digestive, weight, and other health problems. Like we mentioned above, your pet should have quick access to a running wheel. To make it even happier and relaxed, you can add hamster chew toys and additional accessories.