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How to Care for your Brand New Pet Hamster

Updated on August 3, 2013
Black Bear Hamsters like the one in the photo are a color phase of Syrian Hamsters.
Black Bear Hamsters like the one in the photo are a color phase of Syrian Hamsters. | Source

How to Care for your Brand New Pet Hamster

So you've decided to bring a new hamster home. Let me give you some very important information to keep in mind.

Tips For Keeping And Taking Care Of Your Hamster

1. Any hamster you purchase should be between 4 - 6 weeks of age so that the hamster won't have any learned bad behaviors. Older hamsters that have been setting in the pet shop for months or a year or more may be so set in their daily routine and afraid of humans that they will bite to try to protect themselves from you. Those particular hamsters aren't mean they are just afraid and set in their daily routine. You will always have better luck with making a friend with a young hamster.

2. You need to choose a hamster cage and wheel that is the right size for your hamster. Syrian hamsters need large roomy cages and large wheels while dwarf hamsters need similar cages but smaller wheels. Don't buy or use the old wire type wheels that have metal spokes with openings between the wheels. With these type of hamster wheels the hamster can fall and get hurt. You need the solid wheels that have no holes and are silent when the hamster is running.

3. You need to choose good quality hamster food and you need to give your hamster only chlorine free bottled water. Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that may be harmful to your hamster. You need a good quality hamster food with out additives or preservatives. Take the time to read the labels.

4. Treats should only be 10 percent of your hamsters daily diet. Anymore than this and your hamster can develop weight problems. Hamsters for your information can develop diabetes and heart disease. The last thing you need and want is an overweight hamster. Be sure that you know what to feed your hamster and what not to feed your hamster.

5. Any vegetables or fruits that you give your hamster should be peeled and washed. Things like cucumbers and apples need to be peeled and you give the hamster very small pieces. Never allow a hamster to get apple seeds. They are toxic to your hamster. Also never give a hamster citrus fruit. You should also never give a hamster beans of any type. This includes dry or cooked beans.

6. Be sure that your hamster cage matches up with that particular hamster. If your hamster cage has wire with openings between the wires that are to large dwarf hamsters can just walk out through the wire. As can baby hamsters if your breeding and raising hamsters. So be sure to keep this in mind. Syrian Hamsters must be kept in cages by themselves or they will fight and kill each other.

7. Hamsters can be wonderful friends but you need to be able to spend thirty minutes a day with them or around them. If you don't have any time to spend with your hamster please don't get a hamster. You also should keep in mind that hamsters are nocturnal and you should not put your hamster cage in your bedroom or the noise the hamster makes will keep you up at night.

8. For the first week or so after you bring your new hamster home don't try to touch or handle it much. Instead spend time at the cage talking to it. At the same time it will be getting used to you. Your hamster must get to know you or you may have problems. Getting to know your hamster and letting your hamster get to know you is very important for the future of your and your hamsters future relationship. So you need to spend time getting to know your hamster. And it must get to know you.

9. Hamsters can and do make wonderful pets but you need to make sure if a smaller child under the age of 10 is in the house that the child is made part of the hamsters life. You need to make sure that the child and everyone who is going to hold the hamster knows that hamsters can be easily injured badly from falls of only a few feet. If a child is going to hold a hamster let them hold it on a bed or setting in the floor. You can prevent your hamster from receiving a serious life ending injury this way.

10. If your going to be keeping a hamster as a pet keep in mind that you should get your hamster at 4 - 6 weeks of age and that your hamster is going to live for 2 - 3 years so the hamster is going to be around for a while. The hamster is going to be a friend to you and your going to be a friend to it. Try to learn everything possible about hamsters. If you check just below you'll find a lot of great information about hamsters. All of these Hub Pages are by Thomas Byers aka Crazyhorsesghost who has been keeping hamsters for over forty years and is an authority on keeping, breeding, and raising hamsters.

11. You can train your hamster to do simple tricks but keep in mind a hamster is not a dog. You'll have to spend a lot more time with your hamster to get it to do tricks and you'll need to make use of treats while your training it to do tricks. In time you should be able to get your hamster to stand, set, and jump when you ask it to. Just give your hamster a lot of understanding and be persistent in your training. If the hamster gets tired stop the training until another day.

12. I think hamster balls are another great way for a hamster to exercise and enhance its life. You do need to have room for your hamster to move around in your house in its hamster ball. Leave the hamster in the hamster ball for 30 minutes to an hour. In time you will see your hamster eager to get in its ball and move around the house. Be sure to restrict your hamster from being able to roll its hamster ball down the stairs. You hamster could get seriously injured or killed this way.

13. Wash your hands to the elbows anytime you touch your hamster. If you have a cold or flu avoid contact with your hamster. Yes they can catch a cold or flu from you. So be sure to keep that in mind.

14. I suggest people with a pet of any type keep a journal. Make carefully detailed notes so you can refer back to the notes in the future.

Don't you think the hamsters in this photo are so cute.
Don't you think the hamsters in this photo are so cute. | Source

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How To Care For Your Brand New Pet Hamster

First of all you need to decide what hamster is right for your family and your house. If you want a large fluffy hamster like a Teddy Bear or Black Bear Hamster know that they are Syrian Hamsters and they will need to be kept in a cage by themselves. If your going to have dwarf hamsters you can keep several together but if you keep hamsters together your going to have baby hamsters so you need to be prepared for that. Click that link and you can learn all about baby hamsters and what to do with them.

When You Bring Your Hamster Home Have Everything Ready For Your Hamster

Make sure that when you bring your hamster home that everything is ready for your hamster. this means you should have its cage bought and set up and you need to have its cage ready. You should use shredded newspaper for your hamster cage. Shredded newspaper is the best bedding for your hamster. You can buy a simple paper shredder and shred newspapers for your hamsters bedding. It can be easily changed and you'll need to change it often as your hamsters cage needs to be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. This is very important for the health of your hamster.

Bottled Water Is Best For Your Hamster

You'll find that bottled water or large containers of bottled water is the best water to give to your hamster. Don't give your hamster tap water because it contains chlorine and other chemicals that can be harmful to your hamster. Its okay to use tap water to wash off fruits and vegetables your going to be giving to your hamster. Always peel cucumbers and apples and never give apple seeds to a hamster because apple seeds can be toxic to a hamster. I always go easy on peanut butter to because it can get stuck in their cheek pouches and it can produce a overweight hamster if your not real careful.

Syrian Hamsters Need Lots Of Fresh Air

Wire cages are best for Syrian Hamsters because they need a lot of fresh air. However don't put your hamster in a drafty place because hamster can and do catch colds easily. They can catch a cold from you quite easily so always wash your hands before and after you handle your hamster.

Do Not Use Wood Shavings For Your Hamsters

You should not use wood shavings for your hamster and you should never use pine or cedar shavings for your hamster. Both contain oils that are harmful to your hamster. I have used shredded newspaper for hamsters for the last forty plus years and it has always been a perfect bedding for my hamsters.

Never Stop Learning About Hamsters

If your going to be keeping a hamster in your home you should try to learn everything you can about hamsters. You want to learn about your particular species of hamster and you need to learn everything you possibly can about hamsters. The best way to do this is through continued research and keeping a journal where you write down careful notes that you can refer back to later.

Make A Hiding Box For Your Hamster

You can take a very small cardboard box and cut a door into it for the hamster to go in. You want the hole just big enough for the hamster to get in. Don't worry because the hamster is most likely going to be chewing all the time on its nest box and fixing it the way it wants it. You'll see your new hamster busily working on its new house and trying to arrange it exactly how it the hamster wants it. And once a week you'll need to clean the hamsters cage thoroughly both to keep the cage clean and to keep your hamster healthy. Be sure that you have a secure escape proof place to keep your hamster while you clean its cage.

Cleaning The Hamsters Cage

Put the hamster into a box with lid or in the family bathtub while you clean its cage, You can also put it into a hamster ball if you need to use the bathtub to clean its cage. Make sure the hamster can't roll its cage down stairs or it might get seriously injured. You want to wash your hamsters cage with soapy water so it will be as clean as possible. Bleach the gravity water bottle and then wash it under cold running water to get rid of the bleach smell.

You want to take everything out of the hamsters cage and wash the inside of the cage with warm soap and water. You can add a cup of bleach to the water but be sure to keep rinsing the cage until you get all the smell of bleach gone. Let the cage and every thing that goes in it dry completely before you put the cage back together with new shredded newspaper for the bedding and put everything else including the hamster back into the cage. Be sure to bleach its food dish and water bottle at least once a week to help keep them clean and the hamster healthy and happy.

As soon as you put the hamster back into the cage you'll see it go to work trying to put its cage back together the way it wants it.

Don't Bother A Sleeping Hamster

You should never bother a sleeping hamster because you may startle the hamster and a hamster that is startled may indeed bite you. Wait until the hamster is up and moving around before you clean its cage or do other things that the hamster needs done for it.

Get A Veterinarian For Your Hamster As Soon As You Get It

Be sure to locate a vet for your hamster as soon as you get it. Don't wait until you need a vet or you may not be able to locate one. Some vets won't or don't know how to treat small animals like hamsters. So always be prepared. If you think your hamster is sick or you see it with a wet or dirty tail take it to the vet. Keep a record of what you feed it so you can tell the vet exactly what your hamster has been eating and drinking. Some vets will not work with small animals so be sure to check ahead of time.

Thanks For Reading My Hub Page On How To Care For Your Brand New Hamster

I appreciate you being here and reading my Hub Page on Hamsters and I hope you found the information helpful and interesting. If you have questions, comments, tips, or suggestions please post them below and I'll try to be quick to give you an answer to any question. Thanks again for reading. It and your comments are welcome. I hope if you want a hamster that one is in your future real soon.

Please post your comments, tips, questions, or suggestions about hamsters below now. And thanks for reading my Hub Page. I hope the information was helpful.

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