10 Things To Get For Your Hamster (Essential Supply List)

So you’re off to get yourself a hamster ! Great, I wish you two all the luck. Let’s see what the essentials are, when you get your hamster all of his supplies. 

When I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) I didn’t know how many things I’d need for him, so I went back the next day and got several other items. Best if you get most of these things at once, at lest the ones that go inside the cage.

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1. Cage for your hamster friend

A hamster’s cage is basically the most important thing you’ll need to buy. There are minimum sizes, but don’t let the pet shops fool you.

The minimum for a Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. I’d recommend that for a pair of Dwarf hamsters as a minimum too.

The cages sold as ‘starter homes’ are much too small. They’re the square, brightly colored cages, barely enough for one Dwarf hamster. They look a lot like budgie cages.

Unfortunately, those aren’t okay. I learned that the hard way with my Teddy. When I got him, I got one of those cages. The moment I saw him try to use the much too small wheel I knew I made a mistake. He was a baby Syrian, he’d grow to be 5-7 inches long and fairly fluffy. He needed a new cage ASAP.

So I did get him a new cage, the next day, and it’s got several levels. Actually I’ll show you the cage I have for him right here.

It’s this one, and Teddy seems to enjoy it. He uses both levels, although the top level isn’t his favorite. The tubes is something I’m very glad the cage has, since Teddy’s in them all night.

It’s fairly easy to clean and take apart, and it’s got a nice combo of wire cage and plastic cage advantages (air flow, and containment and safety)

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

My Teddy loves that cage, although it’s not the only model that would work well for hamsters. There’s also this one, which admittedly you’d need a bit more room for.

The thing about this one is that it provides half a level extra, while still being fairly large on its own.

The level is adjustable, and can be put  why way you want it. The spacing between the bars is small enough to keep a dwarf hamster inside too.

Most toys and wheels would fit inside this cage fairly well.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

If you want to know more about picking out the best cage for your hamster, you’ll need this article. The thing is, hamsters are very small, yes, but they don’t stay babies all their life. They grow incredibly fast.

Actually a hamster is an adult when he reaches 3 months. Most hamsters get adopted before that age though, so that means your hamster will grow.

Best to get him a cage you won’t have to change, and that will fit him as an adult. Hamsters are after all wild animals, and they do a whole lot of running around. They need to explore things and they need a much larger cage that you’d first think.

Yes, budget can be an issue but the cage, the exercise wheel, and the hideout are what the hamster will use literally his entire life, until he passes away. No point in skimping on his essentials, since he only needs one of each.

2. Bedding and nesting material for the hamster

Bedding is something that will need to be repurchased every few months or so. There are many options you can use for your hamster’s bedding, some safe, some not so safe.

Your best bet is aspen shavings, since those are fairly easy to find, and are hamster-safe. Other types of wood like cedar or pine are unsafe, since their scent is not only too strong, but also dangerous for hamsters. The phenols released by those wood types are too much for the hamster.

So that leaves you with aspen, you can find an example right here. I use aspen for my Teddy, I have since I first got him and he is a big strong boy now (currently 1 year and a half as I’m typing this).

A bag like this one can last you for months on end, since you only need to clean the cage and change the bedding once per week. If you’ve got other small animals you can give them aspen bedding as well.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

Another option is paper-based bedding, which controls odor a bit better than aspen.  Just be advised that paper beddings tend to be a bit noisier in comparison to wood shavings.

We have paper bedding for our guinea pigs and I can hear them moving about their cage. Then again, I’m especially sensitive to sound so keep that in mind. Maybe for you paper bedding wouldn’t be a problem.

Once you’ve got your hamster’s bedding, you’ll need nesting material too. You can find a much more in-depth article about this right here. But in short, do not use anything but paper towels or toilet paper, unscented. Stay away from fabric-based nesting material, some petshops have those too.

3. Hideout so the hamster has somewhere to sleep

Another essential is the hamster’s hideout. Hamsters love to hide, it’s what they’re amazing at. In the wild that’s what kept the alive all this time, actually. So in order for him to feel safe, he needs a place (or several) to hide.

This means a hideout in which to build his nest. Now, keep in mind that hamsters chew on everything, including their nest and hideout. So you’ve got to get him a wooden hideout, for a few reasons.

First, the hamster will chew on it. Even when he’s sleeping, he’s going to wake up for a midnight snack, pee, and chew on his hideout a bit. This is because a hamster’s teeth never stop growing. Ever. So he has to always file them down with something.

Second, anything other than wood won’t let the hamster’s nest breathe. This means condensation forming on the walls, which will keep things humid, which will keep the hamster cold. And a cold, wet hamster is never a good idea.

And third, plastic hideouts don’t keep the hamster’s scent all that well. They do keep some of it, but wood is better at that. And a hamster will freak out is he doesn’t immediately recognize his home. Smell is the first thing hamsters use to ”see” their habitat.

This hideout, for example, is very much like the one I have for my Teddy.

It’s going to be stuffed to the brim with paper towels and toiler paper when you hamster’s done building his nest, but you’ll know he’s a happy little guy.

Hamsters will love the wood and will chew on it whenever they need to file down their teeth. All in all the best kind of hideout to keep a hamster happy.

You can find the listing on Amazon here.

Your hamster will hide in everything he can. This means that aside from his hideout, he will use cardboard tubes to crawl into and spend some time thinking about cheese.

Or maybe bury himself in the bedding, to look for hidden treasures, hamsters are hamsters, and they love to hide.

If you don’t immediately spot him, don’t freak out. He’s in there somewhere. A sparse cage is no fun for a hamster, he’ll feel like he’s exposed. So he will look for places to hide or crawl under.

4. Food bowl and water bottle for the hamster

Usually food bowls and water bottles come with the cage you buy. Not always, but sometimes they do. If your cage came with a food bowl, it’s most likely alright.

You see, hamsters are foragers, and you can even scatter their food all over the cage to encourage them to look for it. They will appreciate the comfort of finding all their food in one place.

Still, the main thing to look for in a food bowl is for the hamster to not easily tip it over. This means that the sides should not be up, like a regular human bowl, but rather pointing down (much like a doggy bowl). If your cage came with a food bowl like that, great.

If not, you can look at options like this one for example. It’s got a fairly cute design with a watermelon motif too.

It’s ceramic, to your hamster’s gonna have a hard time tipping this one over or moving it around. It’s pretty much going to stay where you put it.

Just be advised that ceramic, like glass, can be fragile during shipping.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

As for the water bottle, the ones that come with the cage are usually alright too. They’re big enough and are fairly well made. But if you’re unhappy with the one you got, you can look a other options too.

For example this one on Amazon can hold 12 ounces of water for your hamster. That’s 325 ml of water !

As for how much water your hamster needs, usually 10 ml/100 gr of hamster is enough, daily. That’s 0.33 fl oz/3.52 oz of hamster, daily. Most water bottles go way bigger than that, so your hamster should be safe for 7-10 days.

5. Food mix and treats the hamster will love

Food is something the hamster will need, and you will have to repurchase every few months. For example my Teddy eats 2 teaspoons of dry commercial food mix per day. A dwarf hamster on the other hand will need just one teaspoon per day.

Keep in mind that hamsters will hide their food. So if you’ve just fed your hamster, and half an hour later there is no more food in his bowl, don’t worry. That’s okay. Hamsters put all the food in their cheeks, and then hide it all away in their nest.

This isn’t something you can stop, and giving him more food will only result in him hiding more food. That’s just the way hamsters are.

That being said, hamsters eat mostly grains, with a few veg and fruit here and there. They love nuts, and if you give them plain cooked chicken they will go crazy over it. However they need those hard dry grains to keep their teeth in check.

This means that their main source of food needs to be their food mix. A good one like this one will bring all the nutrients your hamster needs, in a controlled, safe diet.

It’s got a fair amount of seeds mixed in with the pellets, and will last your hamster for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you give him.

You can find the listing on Amazon here.

Aside from the hamster’s food mix, you’ll want to look into a few treats for him as well. Those can be sunflower seeds, a peanut, a slice or carrot for example.

You can also find pre-made hamster treats, for example yogurt based drops.

These are Teddy’s favorite drops, and he loves cheese as well. They’re fairly colored, but that’s okay since the coloring is safe for humans and hamsters as well.

You can find the listing on Amazon here.

Remember that hamsters will eat anything you give them, not matter how much you give them. So be responsible and do not overfeed your hamster, else it can lead to obesity and possible joint and diabetes problems.

You can always supplement your hamster’s food with some safe foods you have around the house. But only keep those as occasional treats.

6. Toys and tubes, so the hamster has plenty of fun

Hamsters love to play and explore things, so they need toys. And tubes. Some toys you can make at home, with cardboard. For example something like an empty egg carton with a few holes cut in it can be a great hide-and-seek toy, and safe for hamsters.

Or the cardboard rolls that are left from toilet paper rolls or paper towels, those are great toys too. Fold them shut at both ends, with a bit of food inside the roll, and you’ve got yourself a hamster puzzle toy.

For more DYI toy ideas, you can check out this article right here.

As for the store-bought toys, the best ones are, yes, made of wood. The hamster will chew on them all day, every day.

For example this set of chew toys will not only help your hamster file down his teeth, but also keep him interested in what’s inside them. They’re all wood based, so safe to chew, and fairly durable.

You can hide something like a peanut in one of them, or just leave the bell inside to keep your hamster guessing what’s inside.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

Another little thing hamsters love is tubes. Getting your hamster a set of tubes for exploring outside his cage is going to mimic his normal nest.

Think of tubes/tunnels like the world’s most amazing view-sites… for hamsters. You can find lots of versions online and in pet shops, and most of them will be like this one.

You can build any kind of tube maze for your hamster with these items, and your hamster will love spending time outside his cage in these things. You should check if your cage allows for tube entrances though, not all cages to.

In the photo there’s just one shape of tube, but you’ll find the rest of the shapes (like tees, corners, towers, etc) in the link.

You can find the listing on Amazon here.

7. Exercise/running wheel for the restless hamster

One of the most important things hamsters ever do is run. Hamsters run and run and run as much as their little feet will allow them. This means that they can run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night !

Imagine all that energy spent on not running in his cage. He’d be all over the cage, climbing it, chewing on the bars moving his toys around.

An exercise wheel is as much for the hamster as it is for your own good. A bored and irritated hamster is not only grumpy but also hard to tame, and will try to escape.

So a good exercise wheel like this one will help your hamster burn off all his energy and run as far as his little feet will take him. Wheel are notorious for being loud, so this one is made especially to be silent.

It’s got a guard for your hamster’s feet and tail, and will stay in place (heavy bottom).

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

Your hamster will end up on his wheel most of the night. So this is one of those things that your hamster definitely needs, all his life. You can find out more about hamsters and running wheels here.

8. Exercise ball for time outside the cage

An exercise ball is not mandatory, but it’s a welcome toy. It will allow you to take the hamster out of his cage, and let him roam the house as he pleases – as long as he’s safe.

Now, even if you don’t let him stray too far, he still needs a secondary place to be when you clean out his cage. He can’t be inside the cage, otherwise he would have a panic attack and try to bite everything. Best to keep him out of your hair while you clean the cage.

A good exercise ball should be big enough so that the hamster’s back should not be arched. He will arch it a bit when he pushes into the ball to move forward, but that’s about it. He should fit comfortably.

Most balls are clear plastic, and have air holes for your hamster to get some fresh air. Even so, they don’t provide as much air as a wire cage, for example. This means that the amount of time you let the hamster inside the ball should not be more than 30 minutes at a time.

You can find a good example of an exercise ball here, since it’s big enough to fit a Syrian hamster inside easily. A dwarf hammy will be able to enjoy himself too in such a ball.

It’s got enough air holes so the hamster can breathe easily, and you can pick whichever color you like.

You can find the listing on Amazon here.

9. Travel/transport cage for vet visits

Another cage for the hamster ? Well, yes, because carrying the hamster’s big cage with you to the vet isn’t very easy or comfortable. So a travel cage will be needed.

Luckily the hamster isn’t a very sickly animal, so vet visits aren’t on the agenda often. They do have their own health problems, but for the most part they’re healthy.

The travel cage can also be used to keep the hamster safe while you clean his cage (in place of the exercise ball). Some travel cages can be attached to the permanent cage, as a sort of extended home.

The travel cage doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it does need to keep the hamster inside. Since these cages are so small, this means the hamster will become restless after a few hours. So limit his time in the travel cage to under 2 hours to avoid any stress on your hamster.

A good example of a travel cage could be this one, and it would fit a Syrian hamster well enough. It’s got a lid that closes shut and a handle for easy carrying.

As all travel cages, this one is large enough to keep the hamster comfortable for a couple of hours but do not keep him inside for more than that.

You can check the listing on Amazon here.

10. The hamster himself

Finally, you’ll need the hamster himself. He is the last on this list because everything else needs to be in place before you get your furry friend.

This is because hamsters are bad at handling stress, and as such when you first bring a hamster home you’ll need to leave him alone for the next 2-3 days. Feed him and talk to him, but do not open the cage or poke at him.

Hamsters brought home for the first time are in danger of developing wet-tail, so be careful to keep him in a safe and calm room.

As for how to pick out your hamster, I recommend you check this article. It’s got every nook and cranny covered, and the story of how i got my Teddy too.

He’s a Syrian male hamster, and he’s the funniest, grumpiest little cheese ball I’ve ever met.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

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Keeping a hamster as a pet – know what you’re getting yourself into

Alright, we’ve got one last thing to cover. Well, maybe it should’ve been the first thing we covered. But you need to know what life with a hamster is like.

Hamsters aren’t expensive to keep, actually they’re fairly cheap. But keeping a hamster as a pet changes you. You learn that not everything is about you, and sometimes there are some things that won’t go your way.

Maybe your hammy won’t like being petted, maybe he’s crazy about peanuts. Still, you need to learn his personality and adjust yourself to it. Your hamster will learn yours too and be accommodating … kinda.

Hamsters need a calm, quiet home with not many unforeseen things going on. They react poorly to stress and loud noises, being picked up wrong, being handled too much, and they get scared easily.

If you’ve got a rowdy home with a few pets and small children, a hamster is definitely a bad idea. The children will need constant supervision with the hamster and the hamster won’t be very happy. In that respect, a puppy would be better since he can match the energy of a small child.

But, if staying up late is your thing, and you like quiet nights with only your hamster’s feet padding on the wheel, while you read a book and sip some tea, hamsters could be okay for you. They’re more observational pets, and they’re funny to watch when they make every face ever.

If you need a few more thoughts on whether you should get a hamster or not, you can read this article to settle it once and for all.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found everything you were looking for in this article. Us hammies have a fairly long supply list, but we’re grateful for anything you can manage to get.

If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.

Related blog post
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents ToggleCan hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it?  They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. 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Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs.  Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger:  -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid. [...] Read more...
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to Know
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to KnowWho doesn’t love their furry pet and enjoy spending time with them? Hamsters have become wildly popular, as they’re sociable and don’t require too much maintenance. The latter is one of the primary reasons that they’re so popular, and that makes them a favorite for kids, as they can slowly start to learn the basic responsibilities of caring for a pet. However, pets need to be trained. Hamsters, just like any other animal, aren’t going to make good pets if they aren’t trained. Every animal is naturally defensive when interacting with a human until it’s taught to become social. The same principle applies to hamsters – they need to be taught how to interact with humans if we want them to make good pets. This is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we’ll be taking a look into hamster training techniques, and seeing how to make them better for human interaction. 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If your hamster is advancing rapidly, then you can shorten the period between the steps we’re about to describe. If you’re still witnessing some hesitation from their side, it’s best to return to the previous step and repeat it until the animal is completely comfortable with you (on that level). This will take a while, but it’s definitely worth it. This process will take weeks, so we’ll be describing it week by week. Week 1: let your hamster get used to you – your hamster needs to get to know you without much physical contact. Since they’re most active in the evening and at night, it’s a good idea to sit next to your hamster in the evening and talk to them. You don’t even have to talk to them, you can talk to someone else, but let them get used to your voice and your presence. It’s also important for the hamster to get used to your scent. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to read a book, or if you’re working or studying – you can read out loud to them. Since moving to a new cage and a new home is very stressful, this will give your hamster enough time to adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t try to touch your hamster just yet. This may be a problem when you have to take the hamster out of the cage for cleaning – or returning the hamster to the cage if it’s escaped. To do this, corner them with a towel or a large glass, and then let them enter the towel or the glass. Week 2: let your hamster get used to your hand – it’s very important for any animal to get used to the scent of their owner in order for them to form a good relationship. You can gently place your hand in your hamster’s cage, and you’ll see how it will react. Not all hamsters are the same, and they’re not all equally easy to train – just like humans, all animals have distinct characteristics to their behavior, and that should be respected just like we respect it with humans. Do this very slowly, on the first day, put your hand on the cage or just inside the door of the cage. Following the same practice each day, try placing your hand a little further and a little further. Don’t yet try to touch your hamster, but if it wants to sniff your hand or explore it, let it. Week 3: offer your hamster treats – it’s common knowledge that treats are one of the best ways to train animals, as their instinct conditions them not to reject food. By now, you could have easily figured out which treats are your hamster’s favorites. These treats can be great training tools, and you should offer your hamster these goodies from the hand that’s in the cage. With time, your hamster will eat out of your hand, which will develop trust between you. Why is this so important? All animals, including humans, are vulnerable when they’re feeding. The fact that an animal is ready to eat out of your hand means that it trusts you to the point it’s ready to stick its head into your hand which could easily harm it if you wanted to. So, an animal eating from your hand means that it trusts you. If you’re still undecided on the treats for your hamsters, try with apples, raising, and sunflower seeds. Week 4: pet your hamster – once your hamster has gotten used to your scent and your presence, you can try to pet it. Do this gently, and if your hamster is okay with this, you can try to pick up your hamster (which is our next step). Week 5: pick up your hamster – so, your hamster is accepting treats and it’s letting you pet it, this means that it’s time to try to pick it up. To do this, firstly buy your way in with some treats, and gently reach for your hamster – let your hamster determine how far you can get in each session. Entice the hamster onto your hands with the treats. Then, you can try scooping it up with both hands. The best way to do this is to place each hand on either side of your hamster, and then connect them under your belly. Cup your hamster gently in your hands, that’s much better than tightly gripping over its back. Don’t hold your hamster too high above ground – in case it wants to jump out. You don’t want it facing a fall from six feet. Firstly, just hold it in its cage, and then with time, you can take it out. If you turn the hamster towards your body, it’s less likely to try and jump away. A few things you should keep on your mind when doing this: – make sure to wash your hands before you start working with your hamster, you don’t want it to smell food on you. That can be distracting. – some people will suggest wearing thick gloves to help with the biting. This can be useful, but your hamster needs to get used to your scent, and in that regard – this isn’t a good solution. – sometimes, when you pick your hamster up, they will clamp themselves onto your hand with their tiny paws. Don’t shake your hand to dislodge them – just gently put them down and let them come off. – don’t scold, yell, or hit the hamster. Smaller animals are afraid of loud and sudden noises, so much so that they can actually die from shock. – different hamsters act differently – Dwarf hamsters are very territorial, this means that they’re not going to appreciate you pushing your fingers into their cage. If this is the cage, let the hamster exit the cage (into a wider area, but still an area they can’t escape or hurt themselves in) and try to train them there. Training a Hamster to be Held. Now, when you’re buying a hamster and you want to teach it to be tame and train it, the first thing you should do is let the hamster rest. Smaller animals are very easy to frighten, so it’s best to let your hamster get used to its new surroundings before trying to teach it anything. However, if your hamster has become adjusted, you can now try to teach it to be held Before doing that, you need to teach your hamster not to bite. This is actually the first thing to teach it, as it’s synonymous with teaching your hamster that you’re its friend. When you teach your hamster not to bite (following the steps in the previous section), you can move on to teaching it to be held. Stress can make a lot of hamsters sick, so make sure that you’re not stressing your hamster out and that you’re taking it slow. Firstly, don’t try to handle your hamster when it’s sleeping. Just like humans – hamsters don’t like to be woken up, so don’t disturb your hamster when it’s sleeping. This can cause health issues and it’s more likely that your hamster will bite if you’ve just woken it up. Similar to the steps for teaching the hamster not to bite in our previous section, you’re going to need to take it slow. Use treats to gain trust with your hamster and slowly start putting your hand in the cage – let it climb into your hand. In the beginning, don’t take your hand out of the cage. Raise it, and the hamster will realize that you’re holding it. Feed it a treat and let the hamster back on the ground, repeat this process for a day. After that, you can let the hamster climb into your hand and you can take your hand out. It’s likely that this will scare the hamster, so it may want to jump out of your hand. Don’t hold your hamster too high, just in case your hamster jumps out. Also, tame them with treats, even when they’re stressed and scared. Turning your hamster towards your body makes it less likely for them to jump out. One thing owners don’t realize is that the hamster isn’t that afraid of the feeling of being carried, as much as they’re scared of all the sights and the sounds they see around them. These animals are very easily scared and it’s important to take your time with them. Reward your animals for good behavior with treats. If you feel that your hamster is becoming stressed or that they’re uncomfortable, gently place them back in their cage and try again later. Here are some tips on teaching your hamster to enjoy being handled: – keep every interaction short – hamsters have bad and short eyesight, so make sure that you’re staying low when you’re interacting with your hamster. Don’t sit on a couch or a chair (in the beginning), as your hamster will try to run away if it gets scared, and it will fall to the floor because it can’t see where the floor is. Some experts recommend starting out in the bathtub. – each pet is individual, so don’t force things upon your hamster that they don’t enjoy doing. Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box. Many people have their doubts, but it’s actually possible to potty train a hamster. To potty train a hamster, you’re going to need a litter box and litter. Make sure to always have a litter at hand – if you can’t find hamster litter, you can buy dust-free, scent-free, clumping cat litter. Avoid litter with silica dust, and in case you can’t find any hamster litter, you can get pellet litter made of wood, paper, grain, or grass. To train your hamster to use a litter box, firstly you’ll need to figure out what corner of the cage your hamster most often uses to do their business. Put the litter box in that corner. This is very important, as hamsters don’t instinctively run to the litter box – if you don’t place it properly, it will just ignore it and proceed to take care of their business elsewhere. If the enclosure you’ve set up is still new and you haven’t a clue where to put the litter box, wait a week or two and let your hamster establish a spot. Once you’ve settled on a spot, pour in enough litter to cover the bottom of the box. Add a little soiled bedding and some droppings from your hamster. This will make the hamster follow those droppings to that spot instinctively. Once your hamster has woken up, you can pick them up and put them in the litter box for them to figure out what’s going on. After that, just let your hamster do its job on its own. Don’t force them into the potty, you don’t want to get bit or turn him away from the idea of using the litter box. Most hamsters will eventually figure out the point of the box on their own. There are, however, instances where hamsters won’t use the litter box for its intents and purposes. Hamsters will sometimes eat or sleep there, and do anything but the one thing they’re supposed to do. If this is the case, make sure to check on the areas your hamster is supposed to be using for this. For example, if your hamster is sleeping in the litter box, check their sleeping area – it’s likely that there’s something wrong with it if they’re so persistent in sleeping in the litter box. It can happen that the hamster will hide its food in the litter box – this usually means that they find the cage to be too small and they have no other place to hide their food at. There’s no other solution to this than buying a larger cage. It can also happen that the cage is too large and the hamster is using the litter box, but it’s also defecating all around the cage. In that case, place multiple litter boxes around the cage. Training a Hamster Tricks. Just like with handling and biting, you should use treats as rewards for your hamster to teach it something. Let’s cover a few tricks. Stand – a lot of animals, including hamsters, can stand on their hind feet. To teach your hamster to stand, you’re going to want to hold the treat in front of the hamster, just over its head so that the hamster can see it but not reach it. While doing this, say “Stand.” – this means nothing to the hamster right now, as they can’t understand articulated speech, but with time – they will recognize the specific sound of the word ‘stand’ as the command to stand on their hind feet. When you’re doing this, your hamster will instinctively stand up in order to get closer to the treat. When the hamster stands, give it the treat and verbal praise. Only reward the hamster if it actually stands up, don’t reward it if it doesn’t. This way, you’re teaching the hamster that it’s good for it to stand up once it hears the word ‘stand’. If your hamster doesn’t stand it might be because he or she is not hungry at that moment, or distracted by something else going on in the room. Feel free to repeat for a few times a day, and don’t stop the process until your hamster is ready to stand up after hearing your command, even when you’re not dangling a treat in front of its face. This can take a week or two. The most important thing to remember is to reward the hamster every single time it stands up. Jump – you can teach your hamster to jump, as well. You first need to teach your hamster the standing trick. To teach it this trick, get your hamster to stand, and then move your hand up and forward (while holding a treat) and say “Jump.” – it will instinctively try to jump. If the hamster tries to jump, praise him or her and give the treat. Once you’ve practiced this enough, you can add a hoop in the mix if you want to – hold a hoop between the hamster and the treat, and the hamster will jump through the hoop to get the treat. Say “Hoop.” as they’re doing it, to teach them the command of jumping through the hoop. Start by holding it low and slowly raising it up. Roll over – this is a trick that you can teach to any pet. To do this, place a seed on your hamster’s back and ask them to “Roll over.” – if they do it, reward them with a seed. After a while, they’ll be rolling over even without you placing seed on their back. Spinning in circles – after you’ve gotten your hamster used to eat treats out of your hand, you can teach them to spin in circles. Hold your hand out with the treat out and once they approach you, tell them to “Spin.” – and move your hand in a circle. The hamster will naturally follow your hand, and with time it will spin in circles just on command. Building an obstacle course – you can even build an obstacle course for your hamster to go through. Use Lego building blocks and jars, or funnels for your hamster to jump over, crawl through, etc. Make sure that nothing’s too tall, as your hamster is more likely to run around it than jump over it. Hold the treat and let it lead the hamster’s way by moving in front of it. The hamster will follow the treat anywhere. You can also make a seesaw with a simple plank and a wooden triangle, making your hamster have to balance on it. Make sure to place a wall around the obstacle course to bind it. Teaching your hamster to wear a hat or clothing – yes, this is also possible. If your hamster is used to being handled and has a good temperament, it won’t be a problem to teach it to do this. Firstly, make sure that the items fit your hamster. Keep them snug, but not tight. You can’t just cram the outfit on your hamster, so make sure that you put it on gently. Talk to them happily while you’re doing this. Give your hamster a treat as soon as you put something on. Take your hamster’s focus off the clothing and let them focus on something fun, like an apple or whatever is your hamster’s favorite treat. At first, only leave the items on for a minute, not for too long. Your hamster will learn to wear them with time and won’t have an issue with them. Let the hamster sit in your hand for the first time, as they’re probably going to be afraid. Later on, they’ll be able to wear the clothing on their own. It won’t take long before your hamster’s ready to wear clothes without you holding them.  There are many things you can teach your hamster, and it’s important to constantly keep working with them in order to build and cultivate a healthy relationship. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, some hamsters are less trusting and are slower than others. Always reward your hamster with treats for a job well done, and never forget to respect its private area. Hamsters are just as vulnerable as humans, and you should keep that in mind when working with them. [...] Read more...
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and Treatments
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and TreatmentsWe all love our pets and enjoy spending time with them, but it’s our duty to take care of them and keep them healthy. Many animals develop dermatological problems with age, shedding fur to the point where they’ve completely lost it, and hamsters are no different. It’s terrible to see your hamster lose its fur, as that’s the animal’s equivalent of humans being left without clothes on. Whenever we can, we should try to help our pet. That’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article: hamster fur loss. We’ll be taking a look at the reasons for your hamster’s fur loss and how to treat it. As these causes can vary from stress to old age, and the fur loss can appear at different places, keep in mind that there’s a lot to this topic, and you should visit a vet if this article can’t help you. Today, we’ll be covering hamster fur loss on their backs and behind their ears, and we’ll also be taking a look at flaky skin and fur loss due to old age, as well. Let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back.2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin.4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. 1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back. There are many reasons why your hamster may be losing its fur. Friction is one of the most common reasons for this. If you’ve noticed your hamster losing fur after they’ve spent a lot of time burrowing or rubbing against the cage or toys, then friction is likely the reason for them losing fur. This is actually natural for hamsters, and you shouldn’t be worried. When they’re in the wild, they spend a lot of time digging and burrowing, so this is a normal process for them. Hamsters can also develop face sores from rubbing their face against the bars of the wire cage, or by water dripping down their face when they’re drinking. If it’s the latter, then you have to buy a better water bottle. If it’s the former, it may be a sign that the cage is too small, so you should get a larger cage for your hamster (preferably not a wire one). Even though many people find hamsters running on wheels amusing, overuse can lead to the hamster losing fur on its legs. Remove the wheel until the hamster’s fur grows back. Secondly, your hamster may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies. This is, clearly, a lot more serious than simple friction, and it’s just as common. If your hamster’s diet is low in vitamin B, then that could be the reason for its fur loss. Another thing that can also have an effect on fur loss is the lack of protein. If you think that this is the problem, you’re going to have to start supplementing your hamster’s meals with certain foods. Add unsweetened cereal, cheese, cooked eggs, whole-wheat pasta, and fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure to talk to your vet, as well, and if they recommend it, you can add water-soluble vitamins to their diet. Another unfortunate cause for fur loss can be found in parasites – ticks, fleas, ringworm, and mites are all capable of affecting your pet’s hair. If you notice that your hamster’s constantly itchy and it’s scratching itself – that may be because of ectoparasites. This excessive scratching is what’s causing the fur loss, and you should definitely contact your vet for assistance. Hamsters rarely get ticks, because ticks are mostly found outdoors, and hamsters rarely venture outdoors. Most ticks lay dormant during the winter, aside from a few species, and the only way for your hamster to contract a tick is for you or someone else to bring it in the house. If your hamster has contracted a tick, they’ll be scratching that area a lot – this is because they feel the bite from the tick and it causes an itch. When we’re talking about fleas, they’re also very rare for hamsters. However, when a hamster does contract fleas, they can shed all of their furs away. It’s easy to determine whether your hamster actually has fleas since they’re visible to the naked eye. You can also see their droppings, which look like small black dots on your hamster’s skin, easily. If your hamster does have fleas, all you have to do is buy one of the products made for clearing fleas off. There are many products for all furry animals, but try to find a product specifically for hamsters. It’s much more likely that you’ll find mites on your hamster than fleas or ticks. These are invisible to the naked eye, so it’s almost impossible for you to identify them on your own. They won’t cause any problems if they’re small in numbers, but if your hamster has a weakened immune system, irregular grooming patterns, or is stressed, the mites will increase their numbers. Signs that mites are present in this situation: reddened skin, rough dry patches, and fur loss. The best way to deal with this is by taking your hamster to the vet and let them take skin samples and take a look at it under the microscope. Mites are treated with topical sprays for hamsters, so make sure to buy that and use it the way it’s instructed on the packaging. Also clean your hamster’s cage, taking everything out and disinfecting it. A ringworm infection is also possible. All animals can get ringworm, and that includes hamsters. These fungal infections will appear as a distinctive ring of hair loss with flaky, yellowed skin. You have to be careful if you’re handling a hamster with ringworm, because you’re vulnerable to it, as well. Make sure that you’re always wearing gloves, that’s the best way to deal with that. Ringworm develops in environments that are too humid, so you’re going to want to keep your hamster’s cage properly ventilated. The way to treat ringworm is to wash your hamster with a topical shampoo for ringworm. Most of these contain miconazole, povidone-iodine, or keratolytic, and either of them should do the trick. If your hamster’s hair is already long, you may want to shorten it to ensure that the shampoo gets to all areas and washes everything. Shedding is another reason for fur loss, but this isn’t a reason you should worry about. Most furry animals shed, most often during spring and fall – it is normal to see periods of thin fur at this time, and keep in mind that Syrian and Russian hamsters tend to shed more than the Chinese and Roborovski types do. Hot spots are another cause for hamsters losing fur. Hot spots are, however, pretty rare when it comes to hamsters. These spots are actually open wounds, caused by a fungal infection that causes the hamster to scratch and chew their own fur and skin. To deal with this, take your hamster to the vet. Another thing that may cause your hamster’s fur loss is allergies. Hamsters can often become allergic to substances in their cages, usually their bedding – this can cause them to develop a rash and lose some fur. Don’t use cedarwood shavings for your hamster’s bedding, this is because oils within the wood are too strong for the hamster’s sensitive skin. Another thing that may cause this is dyed paper bedding, as well as dyed food. This is easy to fix – just find better bedding and provide a better diet to your pet. There are other possible causes for your hamster’s recent fur loss, but they’re less common and it’s unlikely that either of those things is happening. However, we’ll list them just in case: your hamster may be suffering from kidney inflammations, or T-cell lymphoma – cancer that attacks the skin, hormonal imbalances may be an issue, as well. However, these causes are all very rare and you should exhaust your options with the list of the most common reasons before you even think about any of these serious things. When discussing the loss of hair specifically on a hamster’s back, you have to understand that the most likely cause for that is one of the causes we’ve already discussed. There are perhaps a few things that cause hamsters to suffer from fur loss in specific areas, but their backs can be affected by any of the things we’ve mentioned. If you’ve noticed that your hamster’s losing hair on its back – it’s most likely because of one of the things we’ve already talked about. However, another reason why your hamster may be losing fur is because of its age, as older hamsters tend to lose fur, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next section. 2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.   One of the clearest signs of your hamster starting to age is their fur looking sparse and matted. A hamster’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together – this is one of the reasons that makes them so appealing to the eye. However, once they start aging, they start losing their fur, and here’s why. The fur is mostly defined by genetics – most hamsters are born blind, and they’re also mostly born bald. Unfortunately, some hamsters end up like that in their older days, as well. Once your hamster ages (hamsters live from 2 to 4 years, depending on the species), you will probably start noticing patches of skin where fur simply doesn’t grow – this is because your hamster’s old. Even if your hamster is not balding, you may notice that their hair isn’t as soft and shiny as it was before, but it’s rather sparse. It can become matte and coarse, which is something that’s deemed odd for hamsters, who are usually shiny. The fur may also start to change color, just like with humans. Your hamster may actually start having their first grey hairs. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for aging, so you can’t exactly fix this. However, as they age, hamsters are more prone to diseases (just like humans are, as well). So, the reason for your hamster’s hair loss may not be hidden in numbers, but rather in a disease. Hamsters are also very well-groomed creatures, similar to cats (although those species aren’t exactly the best of friends in real life). They’re usually grooming themselves whenever they’re not eating, sleeping, or playing on the wheel. Their cleanliness is very important to them, as it keeps their scent to a minimum, which is a great defense against predators. So, if you’ve noticed that your hamster’s hair is less shiny and well-groomed, and is now becoming dustier and more reminiscent of a certain German scientist’s hair – it’s because your hamster’s getting old. Older hamsters can’t clean themselves as well as younger hamsters because of their many physical restrictions, they are also careless. The most effort usually goes towards cleaning the tops of their little heads and cleaning their flanks, they need to bend around like crazy to reach these spots. These spots are the first you’ll notice are becoming less groomed, because they’re usually the most well-maintained spots. The result of this is your hamster getting a bit more smelly, which is especially applicable to your hamster’s rear end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection or wet tail. This actually also refers to the cage, as the hamster will clean their cageless when they’re in their older days. Older hamsters can also lose their hair due to a lack of protein (less than 16%) or iron in their diet. As we’ve already said, there isn’t really a way for you to affect this. We all get old and you can’t stop your hamster from getting old. Help your pet during this time and ensure that their final days are happy and enjoyable. 3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin. We’ve already mentioned a few reasons for flaky skin or skin cabs when we were discussing fur loss, but let’s go into detail with them. One of the most common skin diseases that causes both fur loss and flaky skin are mites. Mites are one of the most common skin diseases in hamsters. If you’re suspecting mites, you won’t be able to identify them on your own in any way, as they’re invisible to the naked eye. You need to take your hamster to the vet. The vet will take a sample of the hamster’s skin and take a look at it under the microscope. Your vet may also brush your hamster while holding a white piece of paper to catch the mites, and then take a look at them using a magnifying glass. If your vet has diagnosed your hamster with mites, the first thing you need to do is isolate it from all other hamsters, as you don’t want them to get infected, as well. You should also wash your hamsters, and return them to their cages after washing and disinfecting the cages, as well. Mites are contagious, so your healthy hamsters are very likely to catch them if you don’t isolate the ill hamster. If multiple hamsters have already caught mites, then treat them all as prescribed. After that, you need to treat your hamster as your vet has prescribed. The most common and the most popular treatment with vets is medicated shampoo. However, hamsters don’t really like showers and baths, so they may resist and not let you apply the shampoo and wash them. The alternative to this is medicated ointment that you’ll apply to the affected area. There are different options when it comes to this: oral ivermectin, which kills parasites, is a treatment option. To apply this, place the prescribed number of drops of this solution in your hamster’s mouth. There are also anti-mite sprays available. However, they’re mostly an over-the-counter treatment, and you need to discuss this with your vet before you decide to apply it to your pet. Severe mite infestations are most often treated with a full-body dip. This dip is basically just a medicated bath containing ivermectin. Your vet will explain how to perform this, but know that your hamster could resist because they don’t really like baths. You may need to repeat this process numerous times, as many hamsters (especially older hamsters or hamsters with lower immunity) need to be treated for mites more than once. Make sure that you discuss this with your vet before you repeat the process. We’ve already mentioned that it’s important to clean your hamster’s cage before you put them back in. When doing this, wash all of the accessories in the cage; all the toys, water bottles, food bowls, etc. – do this with hot, soapy water. Use a hamster-safe cage disinfectant, as some other disinfectants may harm the pet. Make sure that everything has dried before you put it all back. Another disease that may cause skin scabs is ringworm infection. We’ve already discussed this and said that humans can catch ringworm, as well, so make sure that you’re always wearing gloves when dealing with this. To treat this, you’ll first need to visit the vet, as they need to diagnose the ringworm for you to treat it. You should suspect a ringworm infection is at play if you notice patches of hair loss where the skin looks crusty, flaky, and red. Your vet will take a look at this and take a look at the fur with a microscope – the affected area looks like rings. It’s especially possible if your hamster is older, as older animals have a weaker immunity. To treat this, follow your vet’s treatment instructions. Firstly, always wear gloves and make sure you’re not making any contact with your hamster or its cage without wearing gloves – humans can also catch ringworms. One option of treatment is medicated shampoo, containing either povidone-iodine (antibacterial) or antifungal medication. You should cut your hamster’s hair before you go through with the treatment, as it’s very important that they’re completely cleaned. This way, the shampooing will be very effective. Once again, just like with mites, isolate this hamster from other hamsters and place it in a separated cage (and make sure that all cages are properly cleaned). Another treatment option is topical treatment with griseofulvin, an antifungal medication. This is an ointment, so if your vet prescribes this, they’ll shave the affected area and you’ll have to apply the ointment. Know that treatment for ringworm usually lasts between 18 and 21 days, so this isn’t going to be finished very soon. Make sure that you’re keeping your hamster’s cage ventilated, as it can become damp inside if you don’t. Damp areas are ideal for fungal growth and they’re an increased risk for all kinds of infections, including ringworm. Wire cages usually have great ventilation, so you should consider buying one if you don’t already own one. Lastly, the most common reason for your hamster’s skin scabs are actually wounds. We’re not talking about wounds caused by diseases or infections, but by your hamster fighting (female hamsters are more likely to bite than male hamsters because they’re more territorial) with its cage mate or getting scratched by sharp bedding. This wound can become infected and it can cause a pocket of infection to form and leak abscess. Your vet will take a sample of the abscess and will have to surgically remove it and close the wound. After that, you’ll have to apply an ointment on the wounded area for some time. During this time, until your hamster’s wound has completely healed, you’ll need to remove the cause of the wound. This means that you have to isolate that hamster from all the other hamsters, as a fight or biting could reopen the wound and cause even more damage. If the wound was caused by sharp bedding, replace the bedding with something soft. Here are some other, more simple reasons for your hamster’s flaky skin: – if you have an older hamster, their skin is naturally weaker and their scabs may be caused by them scratching their belly on their bedding or any other hard surface. Your hamster’s skin will become sensitive when it gets old, so it doesn’t matter if this bedding didn’t cause any problems before. – you could notice your hamster’s scent gland having sores, this is usually caused by excessive grooming and licking. 4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. If your hamster’s getting older, then it’s completely normal for them to lose fur anywhere, including right behind the ears. If this is the case (you should primarily gauge that by its age), you won’t really be able to do anything about that. However, this doesn’t have to be the only reason. If you’ve also noticed redness or swelling around that same area, it may be because your hamster’s scratching itself too much. This can be caused by a number of reasons – firstly, just like humans, animals sometimes have to scratch themselves for no good reason. Secondly, it may be mites or fleas – this will cause the hamster to scratch themselves to the point of losing fur. You can cancel this out if you’ve recently cleaned their cage and they’ve only started scratching themselves recently – this means that the cause is most likely not mites or fleas. Thirdly, your hamster may be having an allergic reaction to something. Take a look at their diet and see if anything has changed. Maybe you’ve got a new pet? A dog or a cat and they’re having a reaction to them. Also, although it’s rare amongst animals, it may be psychosomatic. Maybe your hamster is under a lot of stress for some reason and that’s causing them to scratch their fur out. If you can’t find a reason for this article, we’d suggest visiting your local vet and let them find out what’s going on. Hamsters are without a doubt some of the most popular pets in the world. If you have a hamster and you’ve recently noticed that it’s started to lose fur, it’s most likely because of old age. However, if your hamster is not that old and that shouldn’t be happening, then it can be a number of reasons, ranging from dietary restrictions to infections. Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage regularly, even if they’re not having problems with their fur at the moment, as that’s the best way for you to ensure that they don’t start suffering from any issues in the future. If you’re having any further trouble, make sure to call your vet. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Fruits ? Safe And Unsafe Fruits For Your Hammy
Can Hamsters Eat Fruits ? Safe And Unsafe Fruits For Your HammyIf you’re wondering about whether your hammy can eat fruit or not, you’re not the only one. My Teddy is always curious about what I have in my hands, and we eat a lot of fruit in this house. At first I had no idea which fruit was okay for him, or if any fruit was okay to begin with. But let e tell you what I found out, so you’ll know as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters eat fruits ?Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamstersFruits your hammy can eat safelyFruits your hamster should be kept away fromYou can use fruits as a treat for your hamsterDo not give your hamster too much fruitA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat fruits ? Yes, hamsters can eat some types of fruits. However hamsters should eat fruits in very small amounts, and not often. The majority of fruits are okay for hamsters to eat, however citrus type fruits are not. They’re too acidic for the hamster’s gut. We’ll cover in the rest of the article which fruits are safe for your hamster, and which should definitely be avoided. And also how much fruit you should give your hamster, and how often. Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters There’s a big difference between Dwarf hammies (Roborovski, Campbell, Siberian, and Chinese)  and the large Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types are prone to diabetes, and need to stay away from very sugary foods and drinks. So that means that they can, in fact eat some fruits, but in a very small amount. And much less often than a Syrian hamster. This is largely due to the size difference between the two hamster types. A piece of apple, for example, as big as a peanut might be acceptable for your Syrian hamster. But for a Dwarf, the exact same piece holds much more sugars and carbs, which will lead to unwanted weight gain and the early stages of  diabetes. Not only with fruits, but with some vegetables as well – like carrots, corn, and sweet potato as well. You can check the article “Can Hamsters Eat Vegetables” to read more about this. Fruits your hammy can eat safely Alright, with the difference between Dwarf ans Syrian hamsters in mind, let’s see which fruits your hamster can eat safely. The most common fruits like apples, plums, cherries and grapes are alright. However all hamsters, everywhere, do not react well to the seeds of a fruit. In most cases the seeds are poisonous. So it’s best if you never give your hamster a piece of fruit with seeds in it, of any kind. Then, the very sweet fruits like banana, apricot, peach, mango, pineapple, papaya – most of the yellow fruits – should be given in tiny, tiny amounts. For us these fruits are amazing and have the best taste and smell. However for hamsters these are just too sweet and savory. So it’s best if your hammy only gets an incredibly small amount of them. None of these are poisonous so far, they’re just way too sweet for a hamster so you need to be careful. Now, the berry types – like strawberry and raspberry, these are all alright for your hamster. But, again, without any seeds. So for example a strawberry should be lightly scraped to get all the seeds out, and the green top cut off. A Raspberry is okay by itself, since the white core will come off by itself when the fruit is done. Blueberries and cranberries are alright, but in very small amounts as well. As in, one or two berries every week. Figs are alright for your hamster, but n a very small amount. And Dates are alright too, as long as they have no pit. Coconut is safe for hamsters, but it should be given in very small amounts and sparsely. Coconut has a higher fat-count than peanuts and can make your hamster gain weight faster than bananas or mangos. And finally, watermelon is safe for hamsters, if given in a small amount, just the red part, and without seeds. This is partly because of how sweet it can be, and the fact that it has a very high water content. Too much of it can upset your hammy’s stomach. Fruits your hamster should be kept away from Kiwi – although it’s great as a fruit by itself, the kiwi is not very safe for the hamster. It can be very sour sometimes, and the seeds are not alright for hamsters to eat. This applies to Dragon fruit as well, since it has just as many seeds, everywhere in its flesh. Blackberry – while they’re okay for hamsters by their nutritional value, I put them on the unsafe list because of how many seeds it has, and how hard it is to get rid of them. There’s no way you can remove the seeds from a blackberry and have it whole. So for this reason, I advise against them. Citrus – no citrus fruits are alright for the hamster. Actually, hamsters shy away from the smell of oranges and tangerines. You can check for yourself with a citrus fruit. That includes oranges, tangerines, mandarines, kumquat, clementines, grapefruit (all kinds), lemon, and lime. Star fruit – not safe for hamsters, since they contain a neurotoxin that can be fatal to hamsters, or other small animals. It can cause kidney problems in some sensitive humans too. Best to avoid it for your hamster. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) You can use fruits as a treat for your hamster Since your hamster can’t have fruits very often, you can use it as a sort of treat. Particularly, you can use it as a very special treat when you’re taming your hamster. That means that your hamster should not get this treat very often. But he cans till get a small piece of apple, or maybe a cube of mango, depending on whatever you’ve got lying around. Simple treats like fruit chips – slices of fruit that have been carefully dried and made sure they’re not moldy – can be great for hammies. I’ve used banana chips for my Teddy, and he loves them. It’s something he gets a kick out of. Probably the crispy, crunchy texture gives him a lot of incentive to nibble and nibble. However these are banana chips, so they’re still sweet. Not as sweet as regular banana slices, the taste is a bit different. But do not go overboard when feeding your hammy these chips, since they are in fact real banana slices. In this respect, the whole bag will last your hamster probably a year. If you get into the bag, that’s another story and completely up to you. You can check the Amazon listing here, and see the reviews as well. Do not give your hamster too much fruit Whether you have a Dwarf or Syrian hamster, they can both develop health issues if given too much sugary foods. While a slice of apple does not compare to a cube of chocolate when it comes to sugar and fats, they are both still sweet. Especially for your sensitive hamster’s taste buds. So it’s best to keep an eye on how much fruit and sweets you give your hammy. A hamster that’s had too much sugar will become overweight, and develop diabetes. Both conditions can be life-threatening. Especially for a creature as small as a hamster. If your hamster’s already overweight, you can read this article to see how to get him to a healthy, safe weight. A word from Teddy I hope you know now which fruits are okay for us hammies. I love banana chips, and I sometimes get bits of apple. But maybe your friend is into mangos more, you could try it out. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on things like how big a cage we need, and how much food we need in a day. [...] Read more...
Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster Cages
Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster CagesThe hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever. My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?The best cage size for your hamsterCage size for Syrian hamstersCage size for Dwarf hamstersThe best cage type for your hamsterWire cages for hamstersA good wire cage for your hamsterPlastic cages for hamstersA good plastic hamster cage recommendationGlass tanks for hamstersA recommendation on glass tanks for hamstersSafety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cageHamster’s safety in his cageIs the hamster’s cage escape proof ?How to clean a hamster’s cageHow to place a hamster in a temporary holdingHow to clean wire or plastic cages for hamstersCleaning a glass tank for hamstersMultiple levels or one ground level ?The airflow of the cage is important for your hamsterPlacing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cageWhere to keep the hamster’s cage in your homeHow to safely move and handle a hamster’s cageA word from Teddy So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ? This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of: The cage size – different needs for different hamster species The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank Escape-proof rating of the cage Multiple levels or a simple ground level Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it. Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in ! The best cage size for your hamster It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around. Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore. Cage size for Syrian hamsters The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor. This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel. Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate. Cage size for Dwarf hamsters The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster. You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above. They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters. If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon. The best cage type for your hamster There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often. Wire cages for hamsters The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here. This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself. Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo. The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest. Good points for a wire cage: breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth easy to take apart and reassemble generally sturdy, will last a long time Bad points for a wire cage: can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there is the hamster’s favorite chew toy bedding can easily fly out of it wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything. If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm. The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind. A good wire cage for your hamster A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside. It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well. It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Plastic cages for hamsters These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster. These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized. Good points for plastic hamster cages: less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard Bad points for plastic hamster cages: less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller more condensation or trapped air need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in. Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily. As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster. When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind. A good plastic hamster cage recommendation This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well. The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily. This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well. I removed the highest level so I can fit  9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Glass tanks for hamsters A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere. There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained. Good points for a glass tank: you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed Bad points for a glass tank: cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time more sensitive to temperature shifts you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature. Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever. The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out. A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank. The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though. The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly. When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here. Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained. Hamster’s safety in his cage Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take: check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from  any odd edges make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine. Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ? Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it. If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage. If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape. if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere How to clean a hamster’s cage This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage. How to place a hamster in a temporary holding If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves. He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well. Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding. The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts. If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar. If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well. How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice. You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy. Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm. Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage. Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it. Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out. The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth. When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting. After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well. Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place. Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water. Multiple levels or one ground level ? This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places. If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well. If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from. For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too. A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level. He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well. So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down. This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand. Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The airflow of the cage is important for your hamster As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases. To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem. However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ? Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following: If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee. Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air. Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar. Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding. To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout. As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out. The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere. You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one. The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout. So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand. Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well ! Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often. Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice. That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him. But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage. Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day. Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps. If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place. The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all. Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight. Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall. If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you. When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him. When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well. A word from Teddy I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different. Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster. For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything. If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well ! [...] Read more...
Cleaning A Hamster Cage – How Often, And How To Do It Right
Cleaning A Hamster Cage – How Often, And How To Do It RightEvery hamster owner’s got this question, and I know I had it too when I first got my Teddy. How often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? How do I clean it right ? Do I need to spot-clean every few days ?  In time, and with a bit of help from other hamster owners, I figured out how often to clean Teddy’s cage. And I learned how to do it without disturbing him too much, so he’s not shocked to find a completely different cage when I let him back in. Table of Contents ToggleSo how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ?Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first placeCleaning the hamster’s cage, the right wayPut the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ballTake out everything already inside the hamster’s cageDeep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stainsRinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cagePut the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cagePlace the hamster back into his homeShould you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ?A word from Teddy So how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? Ideally the hamster’s cage should be cleaned once a week. In some cases it can be once ever two weeks. This is for a single hamster, if you’ve got two or more living in the same cage, you won’t be able to leave it for 2 weeks. This is because several hamsters pee, poop, and leave bits of food in more numbers than just one hamster. And these are the activities that make a cage messy. So more hamsters in a cage equal more frequent cleaning. Still, there are some shortcuts you can take without hurting the hamster, and I’ll tell you in this article. But first, let’s see in detail what makes a hamster’s cage messy. Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first place Usually a hamster will spend the majority of his time in his cage. Unless you’re putting him in an exercise ball, or transport cage to go somewhere. That means there will be lots of poop, food, and pee in the bedding. For the most part, it’s the pee that smells. This is easy to clean, since hamsters always choose one corner of the cage to pee in. Pooping can be done anywhere though. The hamster’s pee corner is always the same, unless he decides to change/move his nests’ location. The pee corner will be the one farthest away from the nest. So simply removing the bedding from that corner will be enough to remove the smell. There will be a white, dry spot under the bedding, which will not come off easy. We’ll deal with that later. If you’ve got more than one hamster, then there will possibly be more than one pee corner. It depends on whether your hamsters share a nest, or just the cage. It varies from hamster to hamster. Finding the pee corner is easy enough, though. Aside from that, droppings will be absolutely everywhere. In the nest, in the food bowl, under the water bottle, sometimes sticking to their fur (rarely, but I saw that on Teddy a could of times and he took it off real quick). Droppings do not smell, and they’re very dry. But they do look bad, and some people spot-clean them just to make the cage look better. As for the food, there will always be a food stash hidden in the hamster’s nest. He never eats all of the food at once, but he makes this huge stash of food, just to be sure h always has enough. Giving him more food won’t stop this from happening, it’s simply the hamster’s instinct. Depending on what you’ve give the hamsters to eat, you might find bits of fruit or veg in his food stash. They might start to smell, so taking them out fast would be a good idea. So those are the main culprits for why a hamster’s can develop a smell. Unless the hamster is seriously ill and needs a vet immediately, it won’t be him that’s smelling bad. He’s actually a very clean and non-smelly creature, and keeps his scent down to a minimum.   Cleaning the hamster’s cage, the right way Now that we know what can get the hamster’s cage dirty, let’s see how we can clean it – the right way. I say this because there are some people who do it wrong, even if they have the best intentions. Those are all honest mistakes, and can be easily corrected. I’ve made a few of them myself. Let’s see what we should be careful with: Scent – no strong chemicals used to clean the hamster’s cage, or scented soap. There are hamster-safe disinfectants available at your vet’s office, ask him for a recommendation. Leave the hamster a piece of his old bedding and nest. It will be easier for him to recognize his home, even if it is the same cage he’s known his whole life. Do not rearrange the cage unless absolutely necessary. Hamsters rely on smell and memory to navigate their cage, and are not keen on changes. They become nervous/stressed when they don’t recognize or find their nest. Provide enough bedding, but keep it reasonable. The hamster needs to be able to move about his cage. This varies from hamster to hamster. Digging hamsters need more bedding than runners, for example. Hamsters are very sensitive creatures. Removing him from his cage and putting him in a new habitat is stressful for him, especially if he does not have his scent there to know it’s a familiar place. This means that cleaning his cage isn’t something he likes, but it must be done to keep your home clean. So we need to be very careful with some things when we clean the hamster’s cage. Chief among them being scent and cage layout. Hamsters do not really use their eyes, they can’t see well. But they have a great sense of smell, and they rely on it heavily. Leaving them a handful of their old bedding, even with a few droppings, will make the place seem familiar. The nest should have as much of his old nest as possible, without being too dirty. Giving him a completely new set of paper towel strips to use as a nest, without some of his old nest, is going to be hard on him. Also, changing the location of his hideout(where he builds his nest) is not okay. I did this with Teddy and he spent the entire night with his cheeks full because he didn’t recognize his hideout all the way on the other side of his cage. Moving the general location of the food bowl or water bottle, and other objects he uses often isn’t recommended either. This is especially true if you own a blind hamster. He will rely on his memory alone to figure out his cage, and will be very grumpy after you’ve moved his furniture around. Now let’s start with the cleaning process. Put the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ball You’ll want the hamster out of his cage for this. This is a stressful operation for him, and it’s best of he’s not there. You can use  his exercise ball (this is what I do with Teddy) and let him roam the house for a while, until you’re done cleaning. This is only recommended if you finish cleaning his cage in under half an hour. Leaving the hamster in a closed space like the exercise ball is not safe, as he’ll need water and fresh air. If you’re taking longer than 30 minutes, or don’t have an exercise ball, you can also use the hammy’s travel cage. It should have a bit of bedding in it as well, a hideout and a few objects to keep him distracted. Whichever method you use, you’ll need to pick you hamster up and place him in the cage or ball. Baiting him with a bit of food in your hand works best. Take out everything already inside the hamster’s cage Once the hamster is safe and out of the way, you can start with his cage. Take out everything that’s in his cage, his wheel, hideout, food bowl, water bottle, toys, everything. Set them aside and check which need to be scrubbed, if any of them do. Most of the time they’re okay and do not need a rinse. You’ll notice your hamster’s nest, and that he’s got a food stash to survive the Apocalypse. Take everything out, but save some of the food and nest to put back into the cage when you’re done. About the bedding, changing the whole thing once per week seems to be the best bet. There will be bits of poo, but not too many, and the cage will start to smell a little, but not bad enough to be noticed from across the room. We use a litter scoop to dig out the bedding and keep things sanitary. For example this one. It’s fairly large, yes but changing the bedding by tipping the whole cage over isn’t the best idea. For a while we did it like that, and got bedding all over the floor, even when we tried to be careful. A scoop will just make life easier. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Once you’re done with removing all of the bedding, you’re left with an empty, dusty cage. Sometimes it will need a complete rinse, sometimes it will be decent. However I recommend rinsing the cage in the shower with hot water if the size isn’t too large. Or, you can use a moist, clean towel to wipe down the cage and remove most of the dust. When you’re done with the cleaning process, pat the cage dry and make sure there are no wet spots. Deep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stains Sometimes you need to deep-clean the cage. For example if the hamster is very ill, lives in a temporary quarantine in a different cage, and this one needs cleaning. Or if there’s too many pee stains on the cage bottom. You will need a hamster-safe disinfectant from your local vet. Make sure it does not smell strong, or doesn’t leave an odor behind. Use it as the bottle says, and make sure you scrub the affected ares very well. If you’ve got no disinfectant on hand, a mixture of 1:1 water and vinegar will work well. Whichever you use, make sure to rinse everything very very well. If you can still smell it, it will be way too much for the hamster. If it needs a scrub with unscented soap, do that too. The pee stains (the white, crusty stains) will need extra scrubbing and won’t come off easy. The disinfectant might remove a good part of it, however most of it will only be removed after you’ve left it to soak overnight. After you’re done with everything, pat the cage dry and make sure it has no wet spots. The bedding will stick to those parts and mold will have an easier time forming. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Rinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cage Sometimes the objects inside the cage will need some extra cleaning. For example if you’ve got a plastic hideout for your hamster, it will form condensation and will need to be rinsed in hot water and patted dry every time you clean the cage. Wooden objects can be cleaned too, if they’ve been stained (with blood for example, in case the hamster nicked himself on something, or two hammies had a fight) with hot water and a bit of non-scented soap. Food stains will come out too. However they need to be very well dried before you put the back into the hamster’s cage. Which means that if you’ve got a spare (like a spare food bowl or hideout) you will need to use that one for the next week. There are some objects that become much too dirty and need to be completely replaced. For example a textile-based hamster toy can be washed, yes, but some stains or smells possibly won’t some out. In such cases you’ll need to throw out the object and get a new one. Put the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cage Once everything is cleaned, dried, and ready to be assembled, we can start putting it all back together. Starting with the bedding, place about an inch/2-3 cm of bedding evenly across the surface of the cage. Place a bit more in the corner the hamster uses as a hideout/nest. Make sure to sprinkle bits of his old bedding all over the cage. If you hamster is a runner like my Teddy, this is enough bedding. If he’s a digger however, he will need at least double this amount of bedding so he can burrow into it. Place every object the way it was before you cleaned the cage. The hideout, the food bowl, the water, toys, everything. The new nesting material should be left right outside the hamster’s hideout, along with bits of his old nest. Putting them directly into his hideout won’t help, as you’ll never be able to arrange them the way he likes it. Best to let him redecorate his home the way he always does. Make sure his food bowl is full, and his water bottle full as well. Once you’re sure you’ve put everything back into place, you can place the hamster back inside. Place the hamster back into his home Putting the hamster back into his cage will be fairly easy. If he’s in an exercise ball, you can open it inside the cage, near the food bowl. He’ll definitely come out then, and start pouching everything. If he’s in his travel cage, baiting him with a bit of food in your hands will work well too. Baiting hamsters with food always works, since they’re hoarders and will jump at every opportunity to eat. Once the hamster is safely in his cleaned cage, everything is done. Should you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ? Yes, if you think the cage gets a bit too smelly from time to time you can do this. It’s usually the pee corners that smell, so that’s what you’ll need to change. I said I have a trick I can tell you about, and I will right not. See, hamsters will always pee in the same corner. So placing a bowl or half of a plastic hideout in that corner, filled with chinchilla sand is going to act like a litter box. The sand will clump up and you can remove the clumps when necessary. Or, you can throw out the sand altogether and replace it every few days. There’s something very important here though. Sand is great for hamsters, and they’ll even take a bath in it. But it needs to be sand, not dust. Many chinchilla bath sands (even if they say hamster sand or small rodent sand) are great for hamsters, but there is a problem. As far as I could find online, none of the formulations are sandy, they are dusty, more like flour. If you were to press the sand with the back of a spoon, it would keep its shape. This is not alright, since hamsters are very sensitive and inhaling that much dust can be lethal for them. So whichever brand of sand you use, make sure it is sand, and not dust. It can be more on the granulated side, it will work well. Most of them are made of dried up sea shells and minerals, which is alright. They’re usually whitish grey, but don’t be surprised if you find brown sand too. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters are fairly easy to take care of, but we do need regular cleaning and we need your help with that. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...