Basic Hamster Care

Are you looking for a small pet that is easy to care for, but super cute? A hamster may be a great match for you! These little furballs are quite adorable, and make wonderful pets. Below, a Simi Valley, CA vet offers tips on hamster care.


We recommend getting a cage that is at least 360 square inches. You’ll need to add a safe substrate, such as aspen. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, as these can be toxic to small animals. Your hamster will also need a water bottle; nesting material, such as shredded tissue paper; and a hidey-hole. It’s important to know that most hamsters don’t do well with roommates. The Syrian hamster, which is the most popular breed of pet hamster, should always be kept alone.


Your tiny furball can have commercial food for his main meals. You’ll want to supplement this with fresh produce, as well as the occasional treat. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, including portion sizes, suitable snacks, and safe and unsafe foods. Keep in mind that hamsters are notorious beggars. Hammie likes to hide his favorite bits of food for later, and then pretend he’s hungry. Don’t fall for it: you could end up with an obese hamster!


Hammie will need lots of toys to play with. Since hamsters have open-rooted teeth, your tiny buddy will also need plenty of chew toys to nibble on, so he doesn’t develop dental issues. Wood, wicker, cardboard, and paper items are fine. Just pick ones that are free of stains and dyes, and don’t have any small pieces or sharp edges that could hurt your pint-sized pet. Your furry friend may enjoy an exercise wheel. Get a solid one, as wire wheels are dangerous. Many hamsters also like runabouts, or exercise wheels. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.


Handle your hamster gently and regularly, so he stays tame and friendly. Never scoop little Hammie up when he is sleeping, or from behind: you could frighten him!


Hamsters have very specific temperature requirements. Hammie should be in a room that stays between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. If the temperature drops below 65, your adorable pet may try to hibernate, and could get very sick.

Please contact us, your Simi Valley, CA animal hospital, with any questions or concerns about your hamster. We’re here to help!

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