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Celebrating The Hamster

April 1, 2024

The 12th of April marks World Hamster Day! Hamsters are a favorite pet for children, and for good reason. They are gentle, easy to care for, cute, and don’t need a lot of room—all qualities that make a great animal buddy for a kid. A Southwest Las Vegas, NV veterinarian places this cute little guy in the spotlight below.

Basics Facts About The Hamster

Originally from Europe and Asia, hamsters are rodents that dwell in fields and grasslands in the wild. They usually live somewhere between two and four years on average.

Here are some tidbits on these little guys:

  • There are around 20 different types of hamsters. 
  • The European hamster is the largest. They can get as long as 8 to 11 inches and as heavy as one pound. That’s a lot for a rodent! 
  • The smallest is the Roborovski hamster, often known as the Desert hamster. These adorable furballs will only get to be one or two inches long. 
  • The Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell, and Roborovski types are among the most popular pet breeds.

What Kind Of Cage Will I Need For My Hamster?

Getting a good cage is pretty much half the battle when it comes to hamster care. Choose a habitat with a mesh or screen top to ensure your pet gets proper airflow. However, it must have a solid floor; wire floors are dangerous and will not hold in substrate. 

You’ll need to incorporate a little hiding area, as well as toys and accessories, such as labyrinths and exercise wheels.

Can I Adopt More Than Just One Hamster?

You can, but you’ll likely need separate cages. Syrian hamsters, the most popular pet hamster, must always be housed alone. They are gentle with people but loathe their housemates. However, certain other types of hamsters can have companions. Before adopting one, do plenty of research and visit your Southwest Las Vegas, NV veterinarian.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Illness In Hamsters?

Just as with any other pet, you’ll need to be on the lookout for any symptoms of illness. Little Hammie is prone to a number of health issues, including respiratory problems, diarrhea, abscesses, proliferative ileitis (wet tail), and skin disorders.

Be sure to pay close attention to your tiny friend. The more familiar you are with little Hammie, the easier it will be to detect symptoms that something is wrong.

Here are some of the main ones:

  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Not Drinking Water
  • Diarrhea
  • Dirty/Wet Bottom
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Dull, Red, Or Watery Eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Wheezing
  • Lumps, Bumps, Lesions
  • Fur Loss
  • Limping
  • Red Feet
  • Fur Color Changes
  • Changes In Stool
  • Overgrown Teeth
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior 

If you notice any of these signs, contact your Southwest Las Vegas, NV veterinarian immediately.

Which Foods Should I Feed My Hamster?

Hammie’s menu should consist primarily of commercial food, with safe vegetables and small amounts of fruit as supplements.  You should check your veterinarian for specific recommendations, but a reasonable rule of thumb is to aim for 80% pellets, 15% veggies, and 5% fruits and treats. You’ll also need to carry a water bottle, which should be cleaned and replaced every day.

Spinach, broccoli spears, Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens and artichokes, carrot tops, cauliflower (in restricted quantities), sweet potato, squash, and yellow peas are all considered safe veggies. You can feed your little friend apples, bananas, strawberries, and pears.

Hammie will appreciate an occasional snack. This is where the fruit comes in. You can also serve little pieces of egg or cheese, cooked chicken or turkey, or dog biscuits.

It’s also important to know what isn’t safe for your tiny friend. This list consists of the following:

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

Some foods are safe on occasion, but should not be fed on a regular basis. You should also be cautious with seeds. For example, hamsters love pumpkin seeds. Several other types of seeds, such as apple and pear seeds, however, are harmful.

It’s worth pointing out that hamsters tend to be very skilled beggars. They are exceptionally skilled at convincing their owners to give them yummy tidbits. They then stash them for later and continue their pranks. (Fun fact: Hammie’s name is derived from the German word “hamstern,” which means “hoard”.) Pay attention to portion sizes, and don’t be misled by that cute face!

Be sure to get specific advice from your veterinarian.

Do I Need to Groom My Hamster?

Hammie is very clean. You won’t need to give him baths. He will clean himself, just like cats do. (This is, of course, really cute to watch.)

How Do I Form A Bond With My Hamster?

You will need to give your tiny friend some time to feel safe. Do not try to handle him straight away; instead, give him time to acclimate. After a few days, you can gently pet and talk to him. Wait until he looks to be comfortable with you before picking him up. Never grab your hamster from behind or while he is sleeping, and don’t hold him by his tail. This may (understandably) frighten the little fellow.

How Do You Pamper a Hamster?

We believe that all animals, no matter how large or small, should feel safe, comfortable, loved, and happy. Making Hammie happy doesn’t need a significant expenditure of time or money. Even small touches can have a significant impact!

Here are some suggestions:

Make a Labyrinth for Your Pet Hamsters love mazes and labyrinths. These are readily available in stores, but they can also be constructed from cardboard or PVC pipe.

Provide Plenty Of Toys Toys serve many purposes for hamsters. Chew toys are vital for your pet’s oral health. If Hammie doesn’t wear his teeth down, he could have serious dental problems. Many of your pet’s chew toys can be fashioned from inexpensive household items such as plain paper and cardboard. There are many amazing ideas available online.  Always avoid products with sharp or tiny parts. Ask your veterinarian for advice.

Offer A Runabout The hamster is a curious little creature who likes to explore nooks and crannies. Obviously, you do not want such a small pet running around. You can let your pet explore with a runabout. Just make sure that safety comes first! Make sure you get a runabout that is the correct size. Do not allow your pet to play near stairs, pools, fireplaces, or dogs or cats. Also, don’t leave your hamster in there for too long. Ten to fifteen minutes is adequate.

Plant A Hamster Garden Hamsters can have certain types of herbs and grasses, such as flax, chia, millet, basil, and alfalfa. Make your little buddy a tiny garden. Ask your vet for specific advice on what to plant.

Exercise Wheels These are particularly popular with little animals. (It’s also cute to see Hammie joyfully running on his wheel.) Get a solid one, as wire ones could hurt those tiny paws and tails.

Is Hamster A Suitable Pet For Kids?

Hamsters are often chosen as children’s pets. As mentioned above, they can be excellent options for this. However, there are a few things to consider.

  • Because hamsters are nocturnal, they are most playful at night.  If you put Hammie in a child’s room, he may keep your little one awake.
  • If your child is still very young, have them sit or kneel while holding their tiny pal. In this method, if the hamster falls or jumps, he will not fall very far.
  • Hamsters, like all animals, can carry viruses, fungus, bacteria, and parasites. Always wash your hands before and after touching your pet or his belongings. (If you’re getting a hamster for a child, you might need to supervise this process.)
  • Young children should always be supervised when dealing with Hammie. You’ll need to teach your youngsters to hold Hammie gently and appropriately, and never tug his tail or fur.

Contact Your Southwest Las Vegas, NV Pet Hospital

Do you have any queries about hamster care? Contact your local Southwest Las Vegas, NV veterinary hospital at any time. We are always willing to help.

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Celebrating The Hamster

The 12th of April marks World Hamster Day! Hamsters are a favorite pet for children,
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