A Guide to Hamster Health

Hamsters are cute, have great personalities and make terrific pets. Just like most other pets they do have some special requirements to keep them happy and healthy. Their name means to hoard, which fits them well as they will hoard their food.

Hamsters are nocturnal and will seem like they sleep all the time if they are not waking you at night. Running on wheels, digging and moving around can be noisy. Hamsters make good pets for children old enough to understand how to handle them without injuring the delicate animals. Smaller children usually under seven years old should not handle hamsters.
Hamsters have an average lifespan of about two years.

You can usually get healthy hamsters from a breeders or animal rescue association.
Hamsters need a suitable cage, food, toys and treats, litter and bedding, an exercise wheel,
an attachable water bottle with a drinking tube, and hamster safe chew toys.

The most common pet hamster is the Syrian or golden hamster sometimes called the teddy bear hamster. Syrian hamsters are solitary so the rule is one Syrian hamster per cage.
Dwarf hamsters are social and can be kept in pairs. Unless you want litters of babies do not keep male and female dwarf hamsters together.

The Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster are from Northern Kazakhstan and Siberia and can only be kept groups if together from a young age.

The Roborovski Hamster is a short-tail Dwarf Hamster. However the color is yellow-brown and looks different than other Dwarf Hamsters.

The Chinese Hamster is a long-tail Dwarf Hamster. The coat is not as thick as other species and it has a dark-brown dorsal stripe on the back that is sometimes hard to see.

Hamster Club http://www.hamster-club.com/article.asp?ID=78
Learn about the Syrian, Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster, Dwarf Campbell's Russian Hamster, Roborovski Hamster, and the Chinese Hamster and see pictures of each one.

The Hamster Site http://www.thehamstersite.com/hamster_types.htm
Also has pictures and information on the different types of hamsters.

You will need to get your hamster accustom to being handled. Get your hamster to eat treats out of your hand at first. After a week or two you can gently pick up your pet. Do not let your hamster run free but only in enclosed areas where you can supervise. Keep electrical wires, cleaning compounds and poisons, and other pets away from your hamster.

Hamster House
A ten-gallon aquarium with a wire top, or wire cage is great for housing your hamster. There are also plastic cages with tubes and tunnels. Keep in mind when shopping that the cage will need weekly cleaning. Droppings, leftover food and soiled bedding should be removed daily. This will help prevent odors and promote hamster health. The cage needs to be emptied and cleaned with warm water and soap once a week. Then put down a clean layer of bedding.

Hamsters are susceptible to temperature so keep the cage out of direct sunlight and away from
heat vents and drafts. Hamsters are best kept at temperatures between 65 ° F / 18° C and 80°F / 26°C and should always be indoors. Line the cage with a layer of absorbent bedding such as hay, aspen shavings, shredded paper or the pellet bedding. Stay away from pine or cedar chips.

Hamsters love to play and need plenty of ways to exercise. One of the best tools for this is the running wheel. They like to hide and crawl through things. Give them your empty cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper. You can also give them a few sheets of paper towel to shred and build a nest with from time to time.

US Humane Society Hamster Housing
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/hamsters/tips/hamster_housing.html
See wire cages, aquariums, cage-aquarium hybrids, and plastic modular cages.

Hamster Hideout http://www.hamsterhideout.com/housing.html
Hamster housing tips and general hamster information.

Talk to the Vet http://www.talktothevet.com/ARTICLES/POCKETPETS/hamsterhousing.HTM
Hamster housing tips.

Hamster Diet
Get a water bottle or two that attach to the cage and have a metal drinking tube, Hamsters teeth are always growing and they will gnaw a plastic tube to pieces. Make sure your hamster has clean fresh water every day.

Hamster food from the pet store usually has seeds, grains, crushed corn and pellets and is good for your pet. In addition, you can also give your hamster fresh fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, carrots and apples. Remove any leftovers before they spoil.

Do NOT feed hamsters: kidney beans, onions, raw potato, rhubarb, chocolate, candy or any junk food.

A hamster’s teeth grow continuously. You can give your pet piece of wood or twig and make sure it has not been treated with pesticides, or painted. Dog biscuits also work.

US Humane Society Hamster Diet http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/hamsters/tips/hamster_feeding.html
Find out how much you should feed your hamster, feeding times, how to serve food, and more about treats here.

Hammy’s World http://www.hammysworld.com/index.php?p=food
How and what to feed your hamster.

Hamster Health
If your hamster has any symptoms of sickness seek attention from a veterinarian immediately. These symptoms include hazy or running eyes, matted fur, weight loss, shaking, runny nose, diarrhea or lethargy. Do not handle your pet when you have a cold because you can give a hamster your cold.

Hamsterific http://www.hamsterific.com/hamstercare.cfm
All about hamster care.

My Hammie http://www.myhammie.com/
Everything hamster!

Master’s Blog http://www.hamstersblog.com/
General information on hamsters.

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