Hamsters are one of the most popular pets for a first-time pet owner. They’re small, cute, and don’t take up too much space. But before you run out and buy a hamster from your local pet store or breeder, it’s important to have all of the basic essentials prepared so that your new buddy has everything they need!
In this article I will discuss all of the must-have things for a happy, healthy hamster. I will discuss what type of cage is best for them, how to choose bedding material that won’t cause allergies or respiratory problems, as well as some toys to keep them entertained!
Every hamster owner needs to know what they will need to take care of their pet. I shall be providing you a list of the basics that every hamster owner should have in order to keep their furry friend happy and healthy. This list is applicable to all species of hamsters. Let’s Get Rollin!
No.1 Must-Have : Hamster Cage
The most important thing that you need to provide for your new hamster is a secure cage.
Remember, the bigger the better! You will want to make sure your little guy has enough room to run around in his new home without feeling cramped or claustrophobic.
I would definitely recommend a minimum of 450 square inches of floor space for your hamster cage. If taken with relevance to an aquarium cage, it would be roughly around 40 gallons. Anything lesser than this is highly unsuitable for your new pet hamster.
Also, remember there are two main types of cages: one that includes tubes connecting all of the different levels together (these are great because they allow more space), or just separate shelves.
Whichever style you choose, it’s important that none of them include too many plastic parts since this could cause respiratory problems for your pet.
Remember to place the cage in a quiet area away from loud noises and bright lights. Also, ensure that the cage is placed away from drafts and direct sunlight.
No.2 Must-Have :Hideouts And Toys
Along with a secure cage, you will want to make sure your little guy has plenty of places to hide and sleep. Every hamster needs a little fun and relaxation as well!
That’s why it is important to provide your new buddy with the essentials, such as cosy place for him or her to hide. You should also make sure that there are enough hiding spots within the hamsters’ home.
This is important because hamsters are solitary creatures; they like their own space! They do not enjoy the company of other hamster buddies, so it’s best if they have somewhere where they can retreat for some “me” time .
In his/her habitat, you should provide at least three different types of hideouts: one on the ground level (easy to climb into), one inside an overturned box or jar (large enough that he cannot tip over when climbing onto it), and another inside a plastic house-type container.
Remember, whatever type you choose must be non-toxic, since hamsters will often try to eat or chew whatever they find.
Toys are important because hamsters love to play. They enjoy running and climbing inside tubes and wheels, as well as chewing up anything that is chewable (and some things that aren’t).
Chew toys are an excellent addition to any hamster cage. Hamsters’ teeth are continuously growing, and they need to wear them down by chewing on hard stuff. If their teeth are not worn down, it can result in a lot of health issues.
Check out this article for more details on Hamster Teeth Health And Care!
Also, make sure these toys don’t contain plastic parts, since this could cause respiratory problems for your furry friend!
No. 3 Must-Have : Hamster Bedding Material
The next thing that you need to know about is bedding material. You want to make sure that your hamster has the best and safest option for them!
There are different types of bedding materials available on the market, but I would recommend staying away from Cedar Wood Chips, Scented or Pine Shavings because they contain phenols which can cause respiratory problems and liver damage when inhaled .
It’s important to understand what type of bedding you’re using before placing it into your pet’s habitat since some materials may be toxic if ingested by a hamster.
The bedding material that you choose for your hamster is very important to their health and well-being! The best choice would be something non-toxic, dust-free, absorbent, soft on skin (if possible), and also relatively inexpensive. Some examples of safe materials which are often used are Aspen or paper-based bedding.
Hamsters are natural burrowers and bedding forms a very important part of making them feel comfortable and at ease in their new surroundings. Ensure that you use at least 6 inches of bedding substrate. Anything lesser than this will only be superficial and your hamster will not be able to burrow itself inside the wedding.
No.4 Must-Have : Hamster Wheel
An exercise wheel is a must-have item in the basic essentials for hamster care. Hamsters in the wild are known to travel up to 5 miles in one single night. By nature, they have a lot of energy, and you have to provide them with a means to use up their energy.
Exercise wheels are a great way to allow your little guy some fun and excitement in his home, without taking up too much room. The most important part about picking out an exercise wheel is the bar spacing! Make sure there’s the right space between each of the bars so that they aren’t able to get their heads stuck or caught when running on them.
A good-sized exercise wheel would be around 11 to 12 inches in diameter for an adult Syrian Hamster. If you have dwarf hamsters, they can use smaller wheels, around 6 to 8 inches, since they are usually more compact than Syrians.
Also, make sure you purchase one with solid surfaces (no wire mesh). Hamsters will chew anything, which means if they have access to wire mesh, they’ll gnaw through it within minutes, creating a potentially dangerous situation for them! Lastly, but definitely not least, make sure the wheel is silent and sturdy. You don’t want a rickety, noisy one that will scare your little furball!
No .5 Must-Have: Hamster Diet
The basic essentials for a first-time owner also include knowing what to feed their hamsters, where to buy them and how much of it should be given on a daily basis.
Any type of commercial pelleted food that lists seeds or seed products before meat meal ingredients is a good option. You do not want any foods with corn because it’s high glycemic index sugar carbs cause an increase in adrenal hormones producing insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes over time .
The same goes for all grains , especially wheat, barley, and rye. Also, avoid apples, bananas, and carrots in excessive quantities,since they are high in sugar .
Fresh foods such as leafy greens, fruits, and root vegetables can be given to them. Just make sure you cut the food into pieces that your hamster is able to chew on easily. You do not want him to choke or swallow a large piece of fruit that could cause intestinal blockages!
The best way is to give them small amounts of food throughout the day instead of one large meal, since this will help prevent bloating, which can be problematic for your furry friend! You can feed 2 to 3 tablespoons of commercially prepared hamster food once a day .
No.6 Must-Have : Hamster Water Bottle
Technically, basic essentials for a first-time hamster owner would also include the need to provide them with constant access to fresh, clean water provided through an appropriate vessel such as a water bottle. There are many different types of bottles you can use, ranging from glass and plastic to ceramic and even metal!
The most important part is that your pet must be able to drink easily from the device without having any trouble or stress .
Water Bottles Vs Water Bowls For hamsters? Which Is Better?
This is a question that many pet owners have for sure!Simply put, there are actually some pretty big differences between water bottles and water bowls. What do hamsters need out of their drinking equipment to stay healthy and hydrated? Let’s take a look at what you should consider before making your purchase.
Water Bottles – Pros : A good quality bottle can be used safely by most small pets, including rodents such as mice or hamsters. Just make sure it has an adequate capacity (most brands will state this on their packaging).
It is also very easy-to-use and provides clean fresh water all day long. What’s more, they’re always ready even if you don’t have time to visit your pet or if you’re on vacation. What’s more, water bottles can be used in any cage setup, including wire cages, without any problems because they are very easy to clean and maintain!
Water Bottle Cons : The biggest downside is that some animals just don’t take well to these sorts of items, which means they may need replacing often. Another potential problem with them is accidental leakage through the spout, so make sure this doesn’t happen by checking the quality before making a purchase.
Water Bowls – Pros : This sort of bowl works really well for small pets who have trouble reaching their heads inside things like bottles but still require fresh drinking water throughout the day (water bowls tend to get dirty much more quickly than bottles do).
What’s more, this option is much cheaper than most water bottles, and it doesn’t require any special cleaning or maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about buying replacement parts.
Water Bowl Cons :The main issue with open water bowls in hamster cages is that they can get contaminated very easily and this in turn can cause infections in your pet hamster. This is the main reason most pet owners prefer water bottles instead of open water bowls in hamster cages.
There is also the risk of accidental spilling of water inside the cage, which can create an unhygienic moist living condition for your pet.
Recommended:It is best to use a drinking bottle for your pet. What’s more, you should always make sure they are working properly and clean them every few days or whenever necessary.
No.7 Must-Have : Hamster Cage Cleaning Materials
When you have a hamster, it is important to make sure that their cage or habitat is kept clean and tidy since they are very sensitive creatures. This means having a proper set of cleaning supplies on hand which include:
- A container for your hamster (such as a critter carrier or box)
- Toilet Paper or paper towels
- Scissors or clippers to cut the paper towel into strips
- Cleaning Gloves (plastic, rubber)
- Wash Cloth/ Sponge
- Cage Wash (or Habitat Wash)
- Vinegar (optional but helpful to kill bacteria )
- Hand held vacuum cleaner (optional)
- Feces scooper
- Hamster Cage Bedding & Litter
- Small broom and Dust pan
You need to completely clean your hamster cage only once in 15 days. Frequent complete cleaning of your hamster cage results in a lot of stress for you for a little bit. Hence, I would recommend only daily spot cleaning. Find out where the “Pee corner” of your hamster is and remove the soiled bedding only in those places daily.
No.8 Must-Have :Hamster Sand Bath
Hamsters should never be given a regular water bath. There are a lot of harmful side-effects for your hamster if you try to bathe them using water. The best way to keep your pet hamster clean is to give them a sand bath.
A sand bath is a small container filled with fine-grain material such as sand in which hamsters may roll around to keep their fur clean and dry. It can also be used for exercise during the day when you are away from home or at night while sleeping. This item comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
What You’ll Need for a Hamster Sand Bath:
- Hamster sand (can be bought in pet stores)
- Plastic bin or other container that your hamster can roll around inside to keep it covered while not in use
How Do I Use It?
Fill the bottom of the container with a thin layer of sand. If you have two hamsters, make sure to leave enough room for both in the bin so that they can roll around without fighting or touching one another too much. Then place your plastic lid over it and voila! You now have an awesome little hamster toy/sand bath at a very low cost.
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The basic essentials that are needed for a hamster can be overwhelming to new owners. That’s why I made this list of what you should have before your first pet arrives home.
These basics will help make sure your furry friend feels at home and happy in their new environment. When it comes to the other necessities, like food, bedding, and exercise materials, there’s no need to worry! Your local store carries all these items, so just pick up whatever is on hand when you go shopping.
Follow my list and you’ll be well on your way to providing everything that they need in order to feel comfortable!