With a sea of funky looking hamster cages and products on the market, it can be bewildering to know which are a waste of cash and which are really good value. There are some fairly basic needs when it comes to kitting out hamster cages. This article aims to give tips on inexpensive products – sand, toothbrushes and toys. This can help you avoid getting hoodwinked at the pet store into buying products you could easily replace with better value alternatives.
Sand – A Little Known Grooming Trick
Opinion is divided on how often hamsters should be groomed – some animal care charities state daily, others that it’s only really needed for long-haired hamsters. One little known tip is to allow your hamster a dish or box of sand to roll in to remove grease from their coats. Hamsters were originally desert-living animals, and a dish or untreated wood container of clean sand (ONLY from a pet store) can give them a chance to express natural behavior (1). As well as the joys of sand, another cheap tip is a soft toothbrush for grooming.
Soft Toothbrushes – Instead Of Expensive Brushes
Hamster brushes form pet stores can add to the cost of keeping one along with the cage, nesting box, water-bottle, exercise wheel, ongoing bedding, and food bill not to mention vets’ bills. You may like to try a soft toothbrush to groom your hamster very gently with (2). The softest available in your local stores may be a child’s toothbrush – test the bristles against sensitive skin, such as the tip of your nose or facial skin before you use it. As well as saving on grooming products, you can also save cold hard cash when it comes to hamster toys.
Toys – Cheaper and Good Value Items
Many toys on the market are aimed at gnawing behavior which hamsters must do as their teeth constantly grow. Gnawing wears the teeth to more comfortable levels, but you can give them untreated wood twigs to gnaw on from the garden – check first the wood isn’t poisonous to them (2, 3). Many people buy an exercise ball but these evoke strong opinions among hamster fans. Either they swear by them or feel they’re stressful and unnatural for hamsters. Another way is to skip balls and simply buy one of the cheapest larger playpens. This gives you a two-in-one value purchase – a home for them when you’re cleaning the cage and a daily, natural environment to fully exercise in.
Owning a hamster can be tremendous fun but you absolutely don’t need to spend a fortune if you’re looking to economize right now. You’ll see a plethora of plastic multi-level cages adorned with crazy colored plastic tunnels and ladders – but many are too small anyway and hard to clean properly! With these tips, you can avoid needless expense as some products are simply made with unwary owner’s emotional needs in mind rather than the quality of the hamsters lives anyway.
1. BCSPCA. Kids Hamster Care [online].
2. ASPCA. Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants [online].
3. The Hamster Society. Husbandry – List of Poisonous Plants [online].
Source by Jonathon Boyd