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Cute Pet Hamster in Hand

Guide to Owning a Hamster

Hamsters make great first pets and are gentle, friendly companions. There are two main types of hamster you’ll come across - Dwarf and Syrian, and despite their small size, both require plenty of care and attention to ensure their health, happiness and wellbeing. 

Shelter 

Hamsters love climbing, so a tall cage with varying levels is ideal for them. For Syrian hamsters, a wire cage with a plastic base is the best option as this also lets them have fun swinging from the top bars! Dwarf hamsters can squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, so you’ll want a solid wall for these ones. Hamsters are nocturnal and will need a dark and protected place to sleep during the day. Shredded paper makes the best carpet for them, whilst wooden or plastic ‘homes’ that fit in a corner of a cage will keep them feeling safe - fill with soft, dust extracted bedding material. Avoid cotton wool or non-specialist material as this can harm your hamster if eaten.

Food

A specialist dry hamster mix will provide all the nutrients that your hamster needs, although this can get a bit boring for them! Add fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement their diet and provide them with extra vitamins and minerals. Hamsters have a natural tendency to store their food, so make sure you remove uneaten food every day, otherwise this will rot. Ensure they have a supply of fresh drinking water that is replenished every day. It’s worth noting that hamsters front teeth are in a constant state of growth, so it’s important to provide something for them to gnaw on to keep their teeth healthy and prevent overgrowth.

owning a hamster guide pets

Exercise

Hamsters are fun and active rodents, who love climbing and running through tubes and mazes. Provide them with cardboard tubes, plastic runs and different levels in their cage to keep them exercising regularly, not forgetting a hamster wheel! Hamster balls should be avoided as they provide no way of stopping if your hamster becomes tired.  

Extra Considerations 

Hamsters can be very noisy at night, so it’s best to keep them outside of bedrooms, particularly children’s. Dwarf hamsters are sociable, and do well living in pairs. Syrian hamsters on the other hand are solitary, so will need to be kept on their own.

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