Hamster care guide: How to take care of a hamster for beginners

Keep your new furry friend healthy and happy with these hamster care tips.

Updated

toy mouse next to pet litter tray

Key steps

  • Invest in a good quality cage
  • Give them plenty of bedding.
  • Add a hamster wheel and tunnels for exercise.
  • Choose the right food taking care to not overfeed.
  • Make sure they have access to fresh water.
  • Clean everything every couple of weeks.
  • Take them to the vet if they’re unwell.

Hamsters may be cute and cuddly, but they also require quite a bit of care. If you’re looking for tips on how to take care of a hamster, but aren't sure where to start, then our hamster care guide is here to help. We'll provide you with everything you need to know on how to take care of a hamster for beginners.

One of the most important hamster care tips is to ensure your furry friend always has fresh, clean water. After all, a hydrated hamster is a happy hamster!

What do you need to provide the best hamster care?

When it comes to understanding how to look after a hamster, there are a few essentials you will want to pick up:

1. Start with a good quality cage. Taking care of a hamster means ensuring they are safe and secure, especially if you have other pets around the house. Ensure you choose a cage that’s well-ventilated and big enough to allow them plenty of room to run around.

2. Choose an appropriate spot in your home for the cage. First off, place the cage in a safe spot and out of direct sunlight. If you have other pets or children, try to make sure that the cage is high enough to be out of reach or in a room they can’t enter unsupervised.

3. Make the cage feel homely. Start with at least six inches of bedding, as hamsters like to dig and tunnel. Aspen bedding works well. Finally, add a food tray and water bottle to the side of the cage, ensuring they will be able to reach it.

4. Make sure they have an area to explore and get exercise. You could invest in tunnels for them to run and explore, as well as a wheel to get extra exercise. Simply pop it in the corner of the cage. Why not get them an exercise ball to run around your house in safety, too?

How to keep your hamster’s new home clean

Hamster care tips don’t just include what they need. Another key part of taking care of a hamster is to regularly ensure their cage is clean.

1. Use washing up liquid and water to wash the cage down a minimum of every few weeks.

2. Empty the cage first, throwing away the old bedding and keeping any toys to one side to clean.

3. Fill a medium-sized spray bottle with water and two tablespoons of dish soap (or vinegar if you prefer).

4. Use this spray and a washcloth to scrub the cage clean. Make sure you do the same to any toys, food dishes and water bottles, too.

5. Rinse thorougly with clean water.

6. Dry the cage.

7. Add new bedding to finish.

What to feed hamsters

Once you know how to keep your hamster safe and clean, you will also need to know what to feed them!

  • Pelleted food is best.
  • Only fill their bowl three-quarters full as hamsters are prone to overfeeding.
  • Every other day you could add dark, leafy greens to their bowl.
  • Fruit such as bananas, apples and melons can be given once a week as a special treat.

Keeping your hamster healthy

Feeding and caring for your pet will help them stay healthy. However, inevitably every pet will sometimes need a trip to the vet. Keep an eye out for these symptoms which are some of the signs they need a check-up:

  • Runny nose
  • Loose stools
  • Blood in urine
  • Bald patches
  • Not eating or drinking regularly
  • Wheezing
  • Sores
  • Not cleaning/grooming themselves

Now you have the ultimate guide to hamster care, you can be sure to have everything you need for a hamster as well as know what to feed them to keep them happy and healthy.

Originally published