Care and Cleaning
|1) Cleaning Your Hamster's Cage
Cleaning your hamster's cage is usually a quick and
easy task. First of all, a hamster's cage needs to be taken apart
and cleaned at least once a week. This is generally a good time
to let your hamster run in it's ball (see "Toys" under the "What You'll
Need" Section). Clean the cages only with special pet safe
cleaners or unscented soap and rinse thoroughly afterwards. Never use any household cleaners to clean your hamster's cage!
Even after rinsing off cleaners, residues off them still remain which
can kill your hamsters. It is also important to clean your cage
when you first get it to remove any chemicals that are placed on them
for shipping purposes.
|2) Changing Your Hamster's Bedding.
You should change your hamster's bedding every time
you clean their cage (so at least once a week). It is also
important that you check for and remove any wet bedding that is in your
hamsters cage every morning. The dampness can cause sicknesses
such as wettail (see "Regular Check Ups"). For information on what type of
bedding to use refer to "Bedding" under the "What You'll Need" section.
|3) Assist Your Hamster in Cleaning Itself.
Hamster's are generally very clean animals.
Every once in awhile they enjoy cleaning themselves by rolling around
in the sand. You can buy this sand at your local pet store.
It is known as Chinchilla Sand. Warning: Chinchilla DUST is very harmful to your hamster's respiratory system!
Be sure to check carefully that you are purchasing the sand and not the
dust. Place about a ¼" (one quarter inch) of Chinchilla Sand into
a bowl that is just large enough for your hamster to roll around
in. When you place the bowl in the cage they will examine it and
naturally know to roll around in it. This is the only cleaning a
hamster needs. It is very important that you DO NOT use water to
give your hamsters a "bath". Dwarf hamsters do not like to be wet, and the dampness can give your hamster a
disease known as wettail (see "Regular Check Ups").
|4) Feed and Water Your Hamsters
diet consists mostly of seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Most
stores will sell a blend of specially picked seeds for your
hamster. Occasionally you will want to give your hamsters an
assortment of fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy and
happy. I recommend giving your hamster some fruits and vegetables
at least once a week, but no more than three times a week. Fruits
contain large amounts of water which, combined with the water your
dwarf drinks from the water bottle, can aid an giving your hamster
diarrhea. Make sure to cut the fruits and vegetables into small
pieces before placing them in your hamster's food dish. Remove
any uneaten fruits and vegetables after one hour. Your hamster
should be fed once daily. Each morning any remaining food should
be discarded and new food should be put in its place.
It is also important that your hamster gets fresh
water every day. Water gets stagnant after sitting for extended
periods of time and is then no longer good to drink. Also, make
sure your hamster has enough water during the day. Never let your
hamster go without any water for longer than half an hour.
Dehydration occurs quickly in dwarf hamsters especially because of
|5) Handling Your Dwarf Hamster
Handling your hamster is quite possibly the best
part about owning one, but there are a few things you're going to need
to know before you do. First of all, dwarf hamsters are naturally
pretty docile animals, but are still wild animals. This, however,
does not mean that they
won't bite you if they are frightened. There are steps you should
take in order to insure that your hamster trusts you and will feel
comfortable with you holding it. First, give any new hamster you
buy a few days to adjust to his new cage and home before trying to
handle it. Odds are, they have moved at least twice now; once
from their mother to the store, and now from the store to your house,
and you know how stressful moving can be. After a few days you
can begin to handle your hamster. The first thing to remember is
always be very gentle when holding your hamster, it is a very small
animal and you can easily injure it. Also, make sure you clean
your hands before handling a hamster to rid yourself of germs and other
foreign smells that might upset it. Washing your hands everytime
before handling your hamster will also give it a smell to associate
with you, so they'll get to know you faster and better. Now, the
best way to pick up your hamster is to lay your hand flat on the bottom
of it's cage and let it come to you. Putting some food in the
palm of your hand can help insure their curiosity, and will also help
them to associate you with food. When the
hamster climbs on your hand, slowly raise it out of the cage.
Dwarf hamsters will occasionally bite, especially if you sneak up
behind them or scare them somehow, but once you are holding it in your
palm, they usually don't bite. Most bites occur while trying to
pick up a hamster. If you don't want your hamster to bite you
when you pick it up there are two solutions. 1) Use a glove, or 2) use
a tube or cup. By picking up your hamsters with a glove, they can
no longer bite you. Once in your hand, they most likely will not bite,
but be careful not to drop them. In order to pick up your hamster
with a tube or cup, place it near your hamster and wait for it to crawl
in to investigate. Then lift it up and dump the hamster carefully
into your hand. Again, most hamsters will not bite once in your
Now that you have the hamster in your palm, you will
probably find out that they are not scared to jump from high
places. Dwarf hamsters love to jump off of just about anything,
so it is important that you watch them carefully.
In order to get your hamster used to you so you can
pick it up and play with it whenever you want it is important that you
handle it for at least 20 minutes every day for two weeks. If you
neglect to handle your dwarf hamster regularly, they will become wild
again and you will have to start all over.
|6) Regular Check Ups
I recommend taking your hamster for a check up once a year to ensure
that it lives as long and happily as possible. If you ever notice
anything unusual with your hamster, take it to the vet as soon as