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8 Things You Need Before Getting a Hamster

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Owning a pet can be fun and rewarding. The most common household pets are, of course, dogs and cats, but they are not for everyone. If you are looking for another option, you might consider a hamster. My family welcomed Oreo and Buster into our home a few months ago.

If your family is thinking of getting a hamster, there are serval things you will want to know before. Check out these 8 things you need before getting a hamster. 

1. Cage

The cage you choose will need to be escape-proof and quick and easy to clean. Most hamsters are capable of fitting through small spaces. They can chew through plastic walls as well. Never underestimate your hamster’s ability to escape when you pick out the cage for your new pet.

This means it’s better to get a basic cage than a modular cage with tubes. While it is fun, it is normally harder to clean these types of cages. It also doesn’t provide great ventilation for the hamsters. Plus, not all hamsters will be able to fit through the tubes.

You will also want another safe and secure place to hold your hamster while you clean the cage once a week.

2. Bedding and nesting material

The right bedding can really change your hamster’s experience. Avoid bedding that is made out of wood, such as cedar or pine. Wood bedding can irritate your hamster respiratory system.

The best bedding you can get is a paper or fiber-based bedding. Toilet paper or facial tissues will also work.

Bedding can be replaced every week when you clean out the cage.

3. Food

There are normally two different types of food you can get for your hamster.

Pelleted mix has a good nutritional balance and is often a better option. It can also be supplemented with a other items such as fresh vegetables.

Loose mix, such as seeds and other items can be used. The negative side is that it might cause a dietary imbalance for your hamster, because they could choose to pick out and eat only the parts they like.

Normally, feed your hamster once a day and remove any fresh foods that haven’t been eaten in a few  hours.

4. Food dish

You won’t need anything fancy for your hamster’s food dish. Anything that is small, and shallow, but heavy. For example, a small ceramic or porcelain crock. Whatever you get, make sure it can’t be chewed up.

5. Water bottle


pictured: Animal Water Bottle | Ideal for Hamsters, Mice, Guinea Pigs & Rabbits

It’s not a good idea to get a water bowl for your hamster because it can get spilled easily. A small hanging water bottle is a perfect option!

6. Wheel

You should invest in a good quality exercise wheel. Hamsters love to run and exercise, so make sure your wheel has a solid running surface that mounts on the side of the cage. Ideally it wouldn’t need any cross supports, because the hamsters could get their legs or neck caught in it.

Protip: make sure the wheel is also quiet because hamsters like to run at night. If your hamster wheel is squeaky or noisy. Drop a small amount of vegetable oil on the wheel axis.

7. House or hideout

Create a private space for your hamster to sleep with a house or hideout. You could invest in one, or use a small and simple cardboard box.

8. Toys

Hamsters love to chew and climb. Get hamster-safe toys that will keep them entertained. If they get bored, they will start chewing through everything! You can also make toys out of toilet paper tubes or tissue boxes.

Important Note

The Spruce Pets advises that if your hamster escapes to “keep watch near the cage and and then spread your search out to other rooms.” Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, so “keep watch at night and check under and behind furniture. If possible, leave the cage open with plenty of food so the hamster can return on its own.

Additionally, hamsters are small creatures. So if something goes wrong with your hamster, it will affect them quickly. As such, keep an eye on them for any abnormal signs, such as: inactivity, not eating, diarrhea, hair loss, sneezing, or runny eyes.

A hamster can be a fun addition to your home and help your kids learn about taking care of animals! 

Source: The Spruce Pets

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