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Celebrating World Hamster Day!

April 1, 2024

World Hamster Day is April 12th. Hamsters are popular pets among children, and for good reason. They are friendly, easy to take care of, cute, and do not require much space—all of which make them ideal animal companions for children. A Springville, UT veterinarian spotlights Hammy below.

Basics Facts About Hamsters

Hammie is a charming little creature from Europe and Asia. Hamsters are rodents that live in fields, prairies, and grasslands. They typically live for approximately two to four years.

There are about twenty distinct kinds of hamsters. The European hamster, commonly identified as the black-bellied hamster or the common hamster, is the largest. They can grow to be 8 to 11 inches long and weigh as much as one pound. That is a lot for a small rodent! The Desert hamster, or Roborovski hamster, is the smallest. These beautiful furballs will only get to be between one and two inches long!

The most popular pet breeds are Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell, and Roborovski.

What Kind Of Cage Should I Get For My Hamster?

Choosing a suitable cage is very important. Pick one with a mesh or screen top, to ensure your furry friend has adequate airflow. However, it should have a solid floor; wire floors are hazardous and cannot hold substrate. You’ll need to include a little hiding spot, as well as toys and accessories.

Do I Have To Groom My Hamster?

Hammie is exceptionally clean. You won’t have to bathe him. He will clean himself, much like cats do. (This is, of course, adorable to watch.)

Is A Hamster An Appropriate Pet For Children?

Hamsters are frequently selected as children’s pets. As previously indicated, they can be fantastic choices for many families. Still, there are a few points to consider.

  • Hamsters, like all other animals, may carry viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet or his possessions. (If you’re getting a hamster for a child, you may need to oversee this step.)
  • When working with Hammie, young children should always be closely supervised. It’s important that you teach your kids to never pull Hammie’s tail or fur and to hold him gently and appropriately.
  • Hamsters can get very sick if they get too cold. You’ll need to keep your tiny pet in a room that doesn’t get chilly, even in winter. 
  • Hamsters actually are nocturnal, which means they are particularly playful at nighttime.  If you keep Hammie in a child’s bedroom, he may keep the youngster awake at night.
  • If your child is still very young, have them sit or kneel while holding their small companion. If the hamster falls or jumps while using this strategy, he will not fall very far.

Can I Adopt Many Hamsters?

You can, but they’ll most likely require different cages. Syrian hamsters, the most popular pet hamster, should always be kept alone. They are friendly with people, but tend to really, really dislike housemates. However, several other varieties of hamsters can have companions. Before adopting one, do lots of research and consult your Springville, UT veterinarian.

What Are Some Signs Of  Sickness In Hamsters?

Just like with other animals, you’ll need to look for signs of illness. Little Hammie is prone to a variety of health problems, including respiratory troubles, diarrhea, abscesses, proliferative ileitis (wet tail), and skin conditions.

Keep a watchful eye on your small companion. The more familiar you are with little Hammie, the easier it will be to recognize signs that something is amiss. Warning signs include diarrhea, dirty/wet bottom, sneezing, coughing, dull, red, or watery eyes, lethargy, wheezing, lack of appetite,  lumps, bumps, lesions, fur loss, weight loss, not drinking water, limping, red feet, fur color changes, changes in stool, overgrown teeth, and uncharacteristic behavior.

If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your Springville, UT veterinarian immediately.

What Should Hammie Eat?

Hammie’s menu should mostly include commercial food, with safe vegetables and modest amounts of fruit as supplements.  You should consult with your veterinarian for exact suggestions, but a good rule of thumb is to aim for 80% pellets, 15% vegetables, and 5% fruits and treats. You will also need to provide a water bottle, which should be cleaned and replenished every day.

Hammie would also love an occasional snack. You can serve small slices of egg or cheese, cooked chicken or turkey, or dog biscuits.

It’s also critical to understand what’s not safe for your little buddy. This list contains the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit
  • Rhubarb
  • Surgery foods
  • Salty foods
  • Junk food
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Garlic
  • Raw beans or potatoes 

It is worth noting that hamsters are very talented beggars who are very, very capable of convincing their owners to offer them tasty treats. They then save the tidbits for later and resume their antics. (Fun fact: Hammie’s name derives from the German word “hamstern,” which translates to “hoard”.) Pay attention to portion amounts, and don’t be fooled by that cute face!

Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including safe and unsafe foods, portion sizes, and snacks.

How Do You Make A Hamster Happy?

We believe that all animals, big and small, should feel safe, comfortable, loved, and happy. Making Hammie happy does not need a large investment of time or money. Even minor details can have a tremendous impact!

Here are some options.

  • Exercise wheels These are especially popular among little animals. It’s also endearing to see Hammie happily running on his wheel. Get a substantial one, as wire ones may hurt the small paws and tails.
  • Create a Labyrinth for Your Pet Hamsters adore mazes and labyrinths. These are commonly seen in stores, but they can also be made from cardboard or PVC pipe.
  • Provide A Runabout The hamster is a curious little critter who enjoys exploring nooks and crannies. Obviously, you do not want such a small pet to go around. You can let your pet go about with a runabout. Just make sure that safety is first! Make sure you obtain the correct size of runabout. Do not allow your pet to play near stairs, pools, fireplaces, or other dogs or cats. Also, don’t keep your hamster in there too long. Ten to fifteen minutes is sufficient.
  • Offer Lots Of Fun Toys Hamsters use their toys for a variety of functions. Chew toys are extremely important for your pet’s oral health. If Hammie does not wear his teeth down, he may face major dental issues. Many of your pet’s chew toys can be made with inexpensive home objects like plain paper and cardboard. There are plenty of wonderful ideas available online.  Avoid items with sharp or small bits. Consult your vet for guidance.
  • Plant a Hamster Garden Hamsters may consume various herbs and grasses, such as flax, chia, millet, basil, and alfalfa. Make a small garden for your little friend. Ask your veterinarian for particular plant recommendations.

Can You Bond With A Hamster?

Yes! You will need to give your tiny companion some time to feel secure. Allow him to adjust before attempting to manage him immediately. After a few days, you can gently pet and communicate with him. Before picking him up, make sure he appears to be at ease around you. Never pick little Hammie up from behind or while he is sleeping. That could scare the little guy! Also, never grab his tail. This may (understandably) scare the small fellow.

Make An Appointment At  Your Springville, UT Pet Hospital

Do you have any questions regarding hamster care? You can contact your local Springville, UT veterinarian facility at any time. We are always eager to help!

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