!Let's Talk! Button

502-244-2068 Appointment
Let’s Talk! 502-244-2068

Hamster Time

April 1, 2024

The 12th of April is World Hamster Day! Hamsters are a popular pet among children, and with good reason. They are gentle, easy to take care of, adorable, and require little space—all of which make them ideal animal companions for children. A Middletown, KY veterinarian puts Hammy in the spotlight below.

Basics Facts About Hammie

Hammie is an adorable little critter that lives in fields and grasslands in the wild. Native to Europe and Asia, these guys usually live for between two and four years on average.

There are around 20 different types of hamsters. The European hamster, sometimes known as the black-bellied or common hamster, is the largest. They can grow to be 8 to 11 inches long and weigh up to 1 pound. That’s a lot for such a small rodent! The smallest is the Roborovski hamster, often known as the Desert hamster. These cute little guys will grow to be only one or two inches long!

Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell, and Roborovski are some of the most popular pet breeds.

Could I Adopt More Than One Hamster?

You can, but you most likely need to get separate cages. Syrian hamsters, the most popular pet hamsters, must always be housed individually. They are friendly with humans, but tend to hate their housemates. However, certain other varieties of hamsters can have companions. Before adopting one, do lots of research and consult your Middletown, KY veterinarian.

What Are Hamsters’ Signs Of Illness? 

As with any other pet, you’ll need to be on alert for any signs of illness. Little Hammie is susceptible to a variety of health problems, including diarrhea, abscesses, respiratory troubles, proliferative ileitis (wet tail), and skin disorders.

Pay special attention to your little pal. The more familiar you are with your pint-sized pal, the easier it will be to spot signs that something is amiss.

Some of the things to look for include coughing, dull, red, or watery eyes, lethargy, wheezing, diarrhea, dirty/wet bottom, sneezing, lack of appetite,  lumps, bumps, lesions, fur loss, weight loss, not drinking water, uncharacteristic behavior, limping, red feet, fur color changes, changes in stool, and overgrown teeth.

If you observe any of these indicators, contact your veterinarian right away.

What Foods Should I Feed My Hamster?

Hammie’s cuisine should be mostly composed of commercial food, with safe vegetables and tiny amounts of fruit as supplements.  Ask your vet for specific proportions. You’ll also need to bring a water bottle, which should be cleaned and changed daily.

Spinach, broccoli spears, Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens and artichokes, carrot tops, cauliflower (in limited amounts), sweet potato, squash, and yellow peas are all safe vegetables. You can give your young companion apples, bananas, strawberries, and pears.

Hammie will welcome the odd snack. Here’s where the fruit comes in. You can also serve little pieces of egg or cheese, cooked chicken or turkey, and dog biscuits.

It’s also critical to understand what’s not safe for your tiny pal. 

This list includes the following:

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

Ask your Middletown, KY vet for specific information on Hammie’s diet, including portion control and safe and unsafe traits. 

Do I Have To Groom My Hamster?

Hammie is quite clean, so you will not have to give him baths. He will clean himself, exactly as cats do. (This is, of course, really cute to watch.)

Is a Hamster A Suitable Pet For Children?

Hamsters are commonly chosen as children’s pets. As previously said, they can be fantastic choices for many families. However, there are several factors to consider.

  • All animals, including hamsters, can carry viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Thoroughly wash your hands both before and after handling your pet or their things. (If you’re getting a hamster for a youngster, you may need to monitor this procedure.)
  • Young children should always be supervised when interacting with Hammie. You’ll need to teach your little ones to hold Hammie carefully and appropriately, without tugging his tail or fur.
  • You’ll need to make sure your pet doesn’t get too cold. If he does, he may try to hibernate. This can be very dangerous for pet hamsters!
  • Hamsters are nocturnal, so they are most playful at night. If you put your hamster’s cage in a child’s room, he may keep the child awake at night.
  • If your child is still very little, have them sit or kneel while clutching a miniature companion. In this way, if the hamster falls or jumps, he will not fall far.

What Kind Of Cage Will My Hamster Need?

Obtaining a suitable cage is crucial when it comes to hamster care. Choose a product with a mesh or screen top to ensure that your pet receives adequate airflow. However, it must have a solid floor; wire floors are unsafe and cannot keep the substrate in. You’ll need to include a small hiding space, as well as toys and accessories.

How Do You Pamper a Hamster?

We believe that all animals, great and little, deserve to feel safe, comfortable, loved, and happy. Making Hammie happy does not require a great amount of effort or money. Even simple touches can have a big impact!

Here are some suggestions:

First and foremost, be sure to provide lots of toys. Toys serve several functions for hamsters. Chew toys are essential for your pet’s dental health. If Hammie does not wear his teeth down, he may experience major dental problems. Many of your pet’s chew toys can be made from inexpensive home materials like plain paper and cardboard. There are many fantastic ideas available online.  Always avoid goods with sharp or small bits. Ask your veterinarian for advice.

You can also offer a runabout. Just make sure that safety comes first! Don’t let your pet play near stairs, pools, fireplaces, or other dogs or cats. Also, avoid leaving your hamster in there for too long. Ten to fifteen minutes is adequate.

You can also plant a hamster garden. Hamsters can eat various plants and grasses, including flax, chia, millet, basil, and alfalfa. Create a miniature garden for your little buddy. Consult your veterinarian for advice on what to plant.

Exercise wheels are very popular among little animals. It’s also adorable to see Hammie happily running on his wheel. Purchase a solid one, as wire ones may hurt those small paws and tails.

Hamsters enjoy mazes and labyrinths. These are widely sold in stores, but they can also be made from cardboard or PVC pipe.

How Do You Bond With A Hamster?

You will need to give your little pal some time to feel secure. Do not try to handle him right away; instead, give him time to adjust. After a few days, you can gently pet and speak with him. Wait until he appears to be at ease with you before picking him up. Do not pick Hammie up from behind or while he is sleeping, and do not hold his tail. This may, understandably, worry the small fellow.

Contact Your Middletown, KY Animal Clinic

Have you got any questions concerning hamster care? Contact us at your Middletown, KY veterinarian hospital at any time. We’re always willing to help!