Pet Hamster Care – Are You Up to the Challenge?


While a hamster as a pet may seem like a good choice, hamster care while easier than caring for a larger animal still involves time and money to ensure a healthy and happy life for the hamster.

Too many of these cute and cuddly creatures end up dead or in shelters because some people fail to realize that these animals, no matter how small, still requires at minimum, basic care and someone has to do it. Many times, a child will beg for a pet hamster and promise to take care of it and later it becomes the task of the adult to carry it through.

No animal, no matter how big or small, taken in as a pet deserves to be well taken care of and its most basic needs met. All too often, people take in a pet and discover later that it’s more work than they bargained for.

It is not the intent of this article to dissuade you from keeping a hamster as a pet, but only to inform and educate you of the requirements for proper hamster care.

Time is by far the first consideration when considering a hamster as a pet. This entails cleaning the cage once a week and removing waste matter daily, water changes, feeding and play-time/exercising your hamster.

Hamsters by nature are very clean animals, as you will witness them constantly cleaning themselves and their health depends on a clean environment. Each day any waste matter should be removed from their cage and once a week, emptying, sanitizing and changing the floor substrate is necessary.

Water is life sustaining and fresh water is necessary for a healthy hamster. As with water, food should be replenished frequently, along with an occasional treat.

Exercise and play-time is also required for your pet hamster. A hamster must be handled regularly to maintain its tameness and regular exercise is important for good health. Many are of the school that a wheel in the cage or a plastic ball is all the exercise a hamster needs.

Unfortunately that wheel or ball may unknowingly be the demise of your hamster; “Simply stated, exercise wheels and hamster balls as they are commonly called are deadly. They can and will cause severe injuries that leave a pet owner with two choices: amputation or euthanasia,” explained Dr. Michael Levine, DVM. 1

An alternative is to create a safe place to take your hamster out for play. Build a maze or obstacle course with treats along the way. You and your hamster will enjoy it much more.

Expense, although minimal is also a consideration of hamster care. The initial expenses consist of the cage, bedding and substrate, toys, food and water bottle, not to mention the cost of the hamster(s). Ongoing expenses will be food, bedding materials, treats and chew toys.

Another consideration is safety of the animal. Do you have other animals in the house? Can you keep the cage out of drafts? Are you prepared to go hunting for an escaped hamster? Can small children be supervised when handling the hamster? These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself.

Lastly, if the hamster gets sick, are you willing to take it to and pay for the vet visit? As with any animal, they can get sick or injured. Considering the cost of just a vet visit, a $15.00 pet can end up costing much more. It would be inhumane to make a sick or injured pet suffer.

I hope that I have shed some light on hamster care and considerations for taking on the responsibility of having a hamster as a pet.


Source by RJ Hart

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