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Everything About Having a Pet Hamster

If you are like many families, then you have a few pets running around in your home. Hamsters are adorable additions to any household. They offer companionship, joy, and the chance to teach young ones some responsibility. At Long Island Birds & Exotics Veterinary Clinic, we want you to have all the information you need to keep your pet safe and secure for a long, healthy life.

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Natural history of the pet hamster

  • Common hamsters - Dwarf and Syrian (Mesocricetus auretus) coming from the Middle East and arid zones

  • Nocturnal like all rodents

  • Hands designed for eating

  • Herbivores that eat mostly plants

  • Large pockets in the mouth allow for transporting lots of food

  • Excellent pets for children - perfect size for handling and slow enough for little ones

  • Can startle when waking causing the pet hamster to bite

  • No sweat glands - difficult to regulate body temperature

Bedding requirements

  • Recycled newspaper or other paper products

  • Do not use - corn cob bedding, cedar, pine shavings, gravel, other hard bedding

Dietary needs

  • Water

  • Sipper water bottle or shallow bowl should be use

  • Remember to check for leaks, hair, holes, or mineral deposits as you replace the water each day

  • Wash bottles and bowls with dish soap daily

  • Use a bottle brush to clean

  • Food

  • Pelleted-diet or laboratory block (refrain from offering seeds and dried fruits)

  • Provide plenty of washed, fresh vegetables like carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, and other greens

  • Hamsters have sensitive digestive tracts - pet owner should control diet and maintain strict balance to minimize health risks and digestive issues

Setting up a pet hamster cage

  • A hiding place or nesting area should be available

  • Hamsters environment should be between 75° to 85° Fahrenheit and 40 to 60 percent humidity

  • Provide cool zones in summer months

  • Exercise wheel for running

Pet hamster health concerns to look out for

  • Wet tail - diarrhea may cause death in 24-hours or less after appearance of symptoms, seek immediate care

  • Get a new pet health check

For more information, call LIBEVC at 516-482-1101. We can answer any questions about pet hamster health concerns. We are happy to offer 24-hour emergency care too.


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