Hamster 101: What You Need To Know On Caring For A Pet Hamster

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featured hamster collage how to take care of hamsters
(Credit: Amanda Ang)

From their adorable cheeks to twitchy whiskers, what’s not to love about hamsters? If you’ve recently made the responsible decision to welcome a hamster into your home, you’ll first need to learn how to take care of hamsters properly! While caring for any pet is never easy, we’ve devised a guide that’ll cover the basics of caring for your pet hamsters. From learning what do hamsters eat to setting up the perfect hamster living space, read on for tips on how to take care of hamsters!

The basics of how to take care of hamsters 

1.Hamster’s home

hamster cage how to take care of hamsters
(Credit: Chick Chook)

It’s a common mistake that hamsters are lazy little furballs that curl up and snooze in their cages. This can’t be further from the truth — hamsters actually have plenty of energy they need to burn off and not allowing them enough space can lead to increased cases of bar biting and low energy levels for your pet hamster. Therefore, your hamster cage should occupy at least 2800 square centimetres of floor space (size of a huge storage box) so your pet hamster won’t feel all cooped up! Looking for other non-traditional hamster home options? From storage boxes (available on Toyogo Official Store) to rabbit cages (available on Petronize Official Store) with narrow bar spacing, find the best living quarters to meet your hamster care needs!

2. Furnishing the home

furnishing hamster bin how to take care of hamsters
(Credit: Amanda Ang)

Here comes the fun part — it’s time to start furnishing your hamster’s home! From mentally stimulating your furry friend to giving them space to burrow, here’s a brief summary of how to take care of hamsters once they’ve settled in and what you need to stock your hamster cage with.

    • Hamster Wheels: As mentioned, hamsters are naturally active runners. To help release that energy, you’ll need a running wheel. Your hamster’s size will determine the size of the wheel to buy. This can vary, with larger breed Syrian hamsters needing wheels that are at least 25 centimetres in diameter.
    • Hamster Bedding: Just as we love snuggling into bed after a long day, pet hamsters love to burrow into their bedding to stay warm and comfortable. You’ll want to layer the floor of your hamster’s cage with bedding that’s at least 15-centimetres deep so they have ample room to dig and burrow to their heart’s content. Make sure to avoid bedding options that are scented or made from wood shavings as these can cause breathing issues for your hamster. The bedding needs to be changed once a month, so remember to stock up — buying bedding in larger quantities will be more cost-efficient in the long run!
    • Hamster Hideouts: Being prey animals with terrible eyesight, hamsters are skittish and often hide underground to feel safe. Fortunately, you can play to their natural instincts with hamster hideouts! These are made from safe materials and come in various designs and so you’ll certainly find one to capture your hamster’s fancy.
    • Hamster Toys: Play time is the best way to keep your hamsters mentally stimulated! Toys like tubes, bridges and ladders will engage your hamster’s sense of exploration. You’ll also want to invest in hamster chew toys (available on mxfashionestore.sg). Since their teeth never stop growing, hamsters will need something hard to chew on to avoid dental problems over time.
    • Hamster Bottles: Ensure your hamster stays cool and hydrated after all that running by installing a water bottle in their cage! While you could opt for a hamster water dish, bottles require less maintenance as the water supply remains clean and bacteria-free. Make sure to change the water regularly!

    3. What do hamsters eat?

    hamster eating how to take care of hamsters
    (Credit: Amanda Ang)

    Many sources on how to take care of hamsters recommend seed mixes as the primary food for your pet hamster. Contrary to popular belief, not all seed mixes are sufficient for a balanced hamster diet. To ensure your hamster gets the right nutrition, it’ll need the right levels of protein, fat and fibre! If you’re still not familiar with what hamsters eat, we have you covered with these seed mixes and protein mixes (both available on Eco-Eden Aquatic N Pet). This can be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables like grapes and broccoli so your hamster has both fresh and dried food options!

    On occasion, you can reward good behaviour by feeding your hamster with treats! Ideally, you should buy mineral-rich treats as they can provide your hamsters with added nutrition. We recommend checking out fibrous treats like Timothy Hay (available on eCottage) as they promote a healthy digestive tract. If the tough hay isn’t to your hamster’s fancy, don’t fret — you can simply convert it to bedding!

    4. Hygiene and cleaning

    maze while cleaning how to take care of hamsters
    (Credit: Amanda Ang)

    Unlike cats and dogs, hamsters don’t require bubble baths and salon-grade grooming services. In fact, drenching your hamster in water will stress it out and may cause it to catch a cold. Hamsters often groom themselves by spreading brushing and licking their own fur so it stays covered in its own familiar scent. You can help with setting up a hamster bath sand (available on petsstreet) so it can roll about and get rid of fur dirt and grease!

    As for cleaning the cage, we recommend conducting regular spot cleaning only if parts of the bedding is soiled. Limit full-scale bedding replacements to once a month. Hamsters can get anxious if you make too many changes to their living environment. One tip is to mix previous cage bedding with the new bedding. The familiar scent will help ease your hamster in! Place your hamster in a hamster ball or hamster maze while you’re cleaning out its cage. 

    5. Other handy tips

    idle hamster how to take care of hamsters
    (Credit: Amanda Ang)

    Now that you know basics such as what do hamsters eat and how they behave, here are some other useful facts on how to take care for hamsters :

    • Hamsters are crepuscular by nature, meaning they’re active after sunset and before sunrise. This means your hamster will probably be asleep during the day and sprinting on the wheel at night. Our advice is to buy a silent hamster wheel (available on Homyl1.sg) if their nighttime running activities keep you awake.
    • Some hamsters are fiercely territorial. Avoid placing them with other hamsters so there won’t be any fighting.
    • If you’re allergic to fur or not looking forward to cleaning up pet hair in your home, you’ll be glad to know hamsters rarely shed clumps of fur. This makes the occasional grooming session a breeze.
    • Be careful not to overfeed your hamster. Hamsters have the habit of hoarding food by packing it into their cheeks. The food can rot while hoarded in their damp cheeks leading to tooth decay.

    How to take care of hamsters: start with these simple steps

    From buying the right accessories to knowing what hamsters eat, we hope this guide on how to take care of hamsters has been useful for first time owners! As intelligent and adorable household pets, you’ll grow to love and take care of your pet hamster in no time. Forgot to stock up on pet food and supplies? Shopee has you covered with Shop From Home Pets promo that conveniently delivers your order straight to your doorstep. As an extra precaution for hamster home care, read these pet friendly home decor ideas to safeguard your hamster from harm at home.

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When he's not telling others why Tom Holland is the best Spider-man, Bryant can be found indulging in football banter and exploring the vast world of gym fitness. He'll also buy you a cup of coffee if you can name a video game he's never heard of!