What do You Need for a Hamster? -
Essential Hamster Supplies

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Maybe you're the new owner of a cute little hamster, or perhaps you're just trying to figure out if a hamster is a perfect pet for your family.

Either way, you need to figure out what your hamster needs and what you need to add to your shopping list to make sure your adorable little friend is kept healthy, happy, and safe.

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your hamster has all those things it needs to live a good life. They don't need much, but there are a few essential accessories that are a must. 

Essential hamster supplies

Essential Hamster Supplies

[1.] Cage

First and foremost, you need to get your hamster a cage. They can't be running around freely, right?

There are basically three main types of cages: wire top cages, plastic cages, and aquarium cages. You can read more about each type here, but essentially, these are the pros and cons:

Wire top cages are affordable, easy to clean, and they offer great ventilation. However, cheap and poorly designed cages may risk the hamster escaping. Always check the bar spacing is safe for your pet!

Plastic cages with intricate design will keep your pet - and kids - stimulated. Just make sure ventilation has been taken into consideration in the design, and the material can be washed with mild soap and hot water to enable easy cleaning.

Aquarium cages are pretty escape-proof and offer excellent visibility. They also allow you to add a thick layer of bedding if your hamster enjoys burrowing. However, the cage may be difficult to clean because of its weight.

All three types are good choices, and in the end, it comes down to your preferences. Whichever cage you choose, make sure it is:

  • Large enough
  • Escape-proof
  • Easy to clean

[2.] Bedding

To keep your hamster happy, you will need to provide them with an environment that is close to their natural habitat. In the wild, hamsters are prey to many predators, which is why they feel safe when they have somewhere where they can hide.

Burrowing, nesting, hiding food, and digging are things most hamsters enjoy doing. And to enable this behavior, you need to fill the bottom of the cage with bedding. The most common types of bedding with their pros and cons are:

Wood shavings are an inexpensive bedding material that is also absorbent, safe, and soft. It is an excellent material for burrowing. Just make sure you buy commercially packaged wood shavings that are safe for your pet.

Manufacturers of pet bedding ensure the material is dust-free and that it doesn't come with any insects. Aspen is safe; however, never use cedar or pine as they are harmful to hamsters.

avoid wood shavings for hamster bedding

Paper bedding is also inexpensive, safe, and highly absorbent. Some low-grade products may not be safe for your pet, which is why it is important to choose a paper bedding from a reputable brand. This type of bedding will keep odors away and let your hamster safely dig away.

When choosing bedding for your hamster, you need to make sure it is

  • Highly absorbent
  • Allergen-, dust-, and chemical-free
  • Soft and fluffy for burrowing
  • Gentle on the feet

You can read more about hamster bedding in this article.

[3.] Water Bottle

Your hamster will always need access to fresh and clean water, which is why they need a water dispenser.

A bowl is not recommended because the water might get dirty quickly. Instead, an automatic water dispenser will help you keep the water clean and make sure it is not tipped over by accident.

The perfect bottle is

  • non-leaking to keep the bedding dry to prevent mold
  • Made of plastic or glass for easy cleaning
  • Easily secured to the cage
  • Printed with a grid to track water consumption
water bottle for hamsters

[4.] Food dispenser

In addition to water, your pet needs to have food available throughout the day. A bowl is an ok choice, but we recommend food dispensers  as they keep the food dry and clean before eating.

These automatic feeders allow you to fill the dispenser with a lot of food, but it will only dispense a little at a time and keep the rest clean and fresh.

Make sure to choose a transparent feeder that allows you to track how much food is left. Also, check that the feeder can easily and securely be fastened to the side of the cage, or that it has a stand that prevents it from tipping.

[5.] Food

We recommend you offer pelleted hamster food to your pet because it has the best nutritional balance, and you can rest assured your hamster gets all the nutrients it needs.

A loose mix of seeds and such is a great supplement, but because your hamster may be picky and choose only their favorite bits, it doesn't guarantee a healthy diet. If your hamster is allowed to pick what it likes, it might lead to a dietary imbalance or weight gain.

Hamster eating sunflower seeds

When choosing pelleted hamster food, the best balance for nutrients is

  • 16-22% protein
  • 8-10% fiber
  • 4-6% fat

In addition to pellets and some seeds, you should also offer your hamster veggies and fruits such as 

  • apples
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • grapes
  • peas
  • lettuce

You can also offer your hamster hay, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, and cooked brown rice. For protein hamsters love mealworms, crickets, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and lentils. You can even offer them popcorn (without salt or butter)!

[6.] Hamster wheel

Hamsters are active creatures, and they are known to run more than five miles every night in the wild. To keep them stimulated, you need to offer them a way to use all that energy. And running being the most natural activity for your pet, we recommend a hamster wheel.

The wheel will allow your hamster to use all that extra energy and prevent them from getting bored. Hamsters that aren't offered the possibility to be active may become anxious and start engaging in harmful behavior like gnawing on the cage.

And not only is it good for the mental health or your hamster, but it also keeps them healthy and fit physically. Running keeps them from gaining weight and also prevents "cage paralysis", which is caused by the lack of exercise.

A hamster wheel will keep your pet happy and stress-free, but a good one will keep you contented as well. A cheap and badly designed hamster wheel may be noisy, and since your hamster may run for 5 miles a night, you might want to prevent it from keeping the whole family awake.

The wheel needs to run smoothly, but it also needs to be safe. Consider these things when buying a hamster wheel:

  • If the wheel is too small, your hamster will need to arch its back when running. This may cause serious health issues. Syrian hamsters are bigger than dwarf hamsters, and they at least an 8-inch wheel to be safe.
  • The surface your hamster runs on should not have gaps where your hamster could get stuck. Low-quality hamster wheels may use a ladder-like structure which risks your hamster hurting themselves if their foot falls through and gets caught.
  • Supporting sidebars across the front and back are not recommended because they can also cause injury if your hamster tries to get out of a moving wheel.
  • Many hamster wheels have a mechanism that allows them to be fixed onto the side of the cage. This makes them more stable - and safe.
  • If you have more than one hamster in the cage, it is recommended you have more than one wheel. With all your hamsters trying to use one wheel at the same time, crowding may lead to injuries.

[7.] Hideout

In the wild, hamsters are prey animals, and they need a hideout or hut to feel safe in their cage.

Most hamsters will use their hamster house for sleeping, hiding, and storing food. They will also love to shred paper towels to make a soft nest inside.

A good hideout for your hamster is small enough to make them feel safe but big enough to allow them to nest comfortably. It is also something you can clean easily to prevent smells.

[8.] Toys

You should also consider buying your hamster toys to keep them active and stimulated. Tubes and tunnels are great for these active creatures, and they will definitely love chew toys, as well. You can also find ladders, seesaws, hammocks, and many other toys to keep them busy.

If you want to offer your hamster the experience of roaming the house freely, you might even get a hamster ball. Just remember never to leave the hamster unattended when inside the ball, and you should never use it for long periods, just short outings from the cage.

 

 

These are the basic accessories that are guaranteed to keep your pet happy and healthy. With the proper nutrition, stimulating activities, and a safe place they can retreat to your hammy will be living a happy life that fulfills all its needs.

As a responsible pet parent, you are in charge of providing your pet with an environment they can thrive in. It is an easy task, as most products are readily available – just remember to choose those safe, high-quality products and your good to go.

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