Hamsters for many people, make excellent pets. They do not require a lot of attention, they get enough exercise by running on their wheel, are absolutely cute and cuddly.
Here are some tips to ensure you have a healthy and a happy pet hamster:
- Always feed hamsters from a dish:
Ensure to serve your hamster’s food, be it kibble or a block is served in a dish. Hamsters may ingest their bedding otherwise, leading to severe health issues.
- Feed them fresh food daily:
Hamsters don’t like to eat leftovers, keep their dish three-quarters of the way full, and change their food on a daily basis. Adding small pieces of fresh fruit & veggies is a great way to help your pet enjoy their food as well as getting balanced nutrition. Make sure the fresh offerings do not exceed around 20% of their diet.
- Change their bedding and clean their cage:
Keeping your pet’s cage clean is a very important aspect, hence ensure to clean the cage every week. Bedding depth should be between 8 to 12 inches. Hamsters naturally urinate in the same spot which should be cleaned weekly. All bedding should be replaced every six months.
- Daily Exercise:
Hamsters need their daily exercise. Get them a wheel inside their cage for running, if not that you can get them a hamster ball to run inside of. But no matter what, never leave your pet hamster inside of the ball unattended.
- Special bedding & nesting materials:
There are several options available for affordable & safe bedding to give to your hamster the home they deserve. However, it is really important to understand what is safe for your pet. Cat litter, newspaper & fluff bedding can also cause life threatening ailments for your hamster and should be avoided. Aspen shavings, paper bedding & hemp are all acceptable choices. Your pet will also appreciate a small container of sand to bathe in.
- Hamsters are not “starter” pets:
Though they are small, getting a hamster is a big commitment. Hamsters require daily exercise, care & attention, just like any other animal companions.
- Hamsters have a sleeping schedule:
Yes, you read that right, our little pets have a sleeping schedule. Hamsters are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn & dusk, spending daylight hours & night-time in their nest. Waking a sleeping hamster can be stressful for them and can prompt them into acting aggressively or nervously.
Hamsters need to chew on something and hence when they don’t have a toy, they will start going around and chewing their cage or enclosure. There are specially made chew toys and block made just for hamsters with wide range of varieties available at pet stores.
While caring for your pet hamster isn’t difficult, but it is important to get a basic understanding of what you are getting into when you get one as a pet.