Hamsters are adorable and popular little pets. Often, they are purchased on a whim; someone sees a hamster in a pet supply store and falls in love. While hamsters are small and require little maintenance, they still do require some preparation if you are to keep them happy and healthy in your home. We want all hamsters and hamster-owners to be happy together, so we’ve created a New Hamster Checklist that is chock-full of the things you should do to prepare to bring a hammie into your home. Be sure to download that; in the meantime, here are some tips on getting ready to bring your tiny little pet into your household.
Making Your Home Hamster-Friendly
While you might think that all you really need to do is bring home your hamster and a cage, the truth is that there are more considerations that should go into making sure that your home is ready for a small pet like a hamster. The first thing you should think about is whether all household members are able to treat the pet safely. If you have very young children, you will need to take special care to keep the hamster out of their reach unless you are supervising very closely. The reason is that small hands might grip a hammie too hard or drop a tiny pet, causing internal damage.
Another important factor to consider is whether you already have pets. A cat will often be extremely interested in your hamster, but even though she won’t be able to get into the hammie’s cage, all of that attention will be stressful to your hamster. It’s best to keep the cage or tank in a room that your cat can’t access to minimize stalking behaviors. Dogs, too, can be very curious and might nudge a cage right off of a table. If you have a dog, you can usually place the cage high enough for it to be out of reach.
Purchasing Everything You Need for Your Hammie
You already know that you need a cage or tank for your hamster. He will need some type of soft bedding for burrowing and to absorb waste. Food bowls are a must, too, to keep the food out of his bedding. Usually hamsters do best with water bottles that attach to the side of the cage. Purchase a high-quality hamster food as well as treats.
In addition, you’ll need toys and a place for your hamster to hide. For a more comprehensive list of items to purchase before your hamster comes home, be sure to download our New Hamster Checklist.
Keeping Your Hamster Healthy Now and in the Future
You will need to examine your hamster regularly to be sure that he is healthy. Make sure his droppings are firm and that he’s eating well. Hamsters can succumb quickly to a disease that is commonly called “wet-tail.” This is characterized by diarrhea and is considered a veterinary emergency because small pets dehydrate very quickly. A book about taking care of hamsters can be a good resource and can help you keep your hamster healthy.
Find a veterinarian that you trust who will be able to provide care for your hamster. If you already have a cat or a dog, see if your regular vet will see small pets. If not, he or she should be able to refer you to someone in the area who can help you make sure your hammie stays healthy and safe and who can be a dependable professional to call on when you have questions.
More Information About Preparing for a Hamster
If you are considering getting a hamster, our New Hamster Checklist, mentioned above, is a good place to start. You can also check out this article about what hamsters need, which can help you decide which products to purchase. As always, a veterinarian will be your best source of information, so be sure to find one you trust who can give you good information on taking care of your new pet.