Hamster Care – The 6 Essential Elements

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Before you purchase a hamster, there are six things that are extremely important to know about the care of your new pet. You need to understand hamster diet, housing, health and safety, how to clean the cage, how they relate to people and other hamsters, and their activity level.

Diet

Hamsters require a very specific diet, and the most important thing is that you make sure there is fresh water in the cage every day. You should feed your hamster a special food designed for hamsters, generally a mix of various seeds, pellets, corn and grains. Make sure that the food is placed in a bowl that your hamster can not ruin by chewing.

Hamsters also love, and need, fresh food. Nuts, seeds and grains are great, and they really love fresh vegetables, including carrots, lettuce, apples and spinach. Hamsters can not eat chocolate, candy, junk food, potatoes, rhubarb, raw kidney beans or onions. These foods can be fatal if ingested by hamsters!

Housing

Since your hamster will live out most of its life in the habitat that you provide for it, make sure it is one that the hamster will be healthy and happy in. There are a number of options when it comes to housing: wire cages, aquariums, cage-aquarium combos and modular habitats. These are all great choices, but whatever you choose, make sure that you also have the proper accessories.

Health and Safety

Since hamsters are known chewers, make sure that they do not have any access to anything that they could hurt themselves on, including wires and anything with sharp edges. Everything they are able to access should be safe for them. Also, teach young children to be gentle with their pets, and avoid having other pets come in contact with hamsters.

As a pet owner, you have the responsibility to ensure the health of your hamster. Signs to look for that your hamster is not well are: dull eyes, matted coat, lack of night time activity, and diarrhea. If your hamster looks ill to you, have it checked by a vet.

Cleaning the Cage

This is so important. Hamsters can not clean their cages themselves, so it is a chore that you must face on a very regular basis. The cage itself should be cleaned at least once a week, and many accessories should be cleaned daily. Also, if you see any droppings or soiled bedding, do not wait until it is time to clean it, do it right away. This is not only for the health and comfort of your hamster, but also for the health and comfort of you and your family (dirty hamster cages do not smell pretty).

How Hamsters Get Along With People

Just about any hamster can be trained to get along with people, and even be a great pet, as long as you start training them while they are still young. Start by encouraging them with trips, and once they are comfortable with you, you will be able to handle them regularly.

Activity Level

Hamsters are chewers! Their teeth are constantly growing, so you need to ensure that they always have something to chew on (wooden items without pesticides work great, or even dog biscuits will do in a pinch).

Hamsters are very active, especially at night, so make sure that there is plenty in their habitat to do, including tubes, wheels, houses, etc. Also, once you have trained your hamster, you should let it out daily to run around in a room (make sure room is free of dangers, and not easily escaped from).

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Source by Kent Tan

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