Dwarf Hamster Care Guide

Dwarf Hamsters are sociable animals and make great family pets. They become very tame when handled regularly. Dwarf Hamsters originally come from nort asia where it is hot in the day and cool at night. As a result Dwarf Hamsters are nocturnal creatures, they sleep for most of the day and become active at dusk. In the wild hamsters eat cereals, seeds, nuts and bits of veg as they find it. They also eat grubs and worms.

If you are keeping 2 hamsters together you should buy them both at the same time so that they get to know each other from an early age. Older hamsters are less able to adjust to new housemates!


Handling

Dwarf Hamsters can come to enjoy being handled if they are socialised from a young age. When you first get your new hamster give it some time to get used to its new home. After a day or two you can start approaching it. Approach your hamster when it is alert and relaxed. Approach at its eye level rather than from up above so that it does not get a surprise.

Start by talking gently to your hamster so it becomes used to your voice. Introduce your hand into the cage with a treat and allow your hamster to approach you. Once it is used to takeing treats from your hand you can start to scoop it up gently. You should handle your hamster regularly to develop its confidence and trust. Hamster are generally very docile and will come to you with very little taming. Never pick your hamster up by the scruff of the neck but him up gently in two hands. Keep your hands over a table or close to the floor in case your hamster drops out!


Feeding

Feed your hamster a good quality hamster food. Hamsters should be fed in the evening as this is their natural habit. A hamster will tend to store food in its mouth and move it to a secure hiding place to be eaten fully later. A hamster can carry up to half its body weight in food to a new hiding place! In fact this is how hamsters got their name; ‘hamstern’ is the german for ‘to hoard’!

You can feed small amounts of fresh fruit and veg as a supplement but should not feed too much as this can cause upset stomachs. Vitamin supplements and mineral stones will help to keep your pet in optimal condition. When introducing your hamster to a new food you should do so slowly over the course of about 10 days to avoid any digestive problems.

Always have an adequate supply of fresh water at hand, preferably in a bottle. A ceramic dish is generally best for use as a food bowl. The ceramic is easily cleaned and cannot be gnawed away!


Housing

Dwarf hamsters like plenty of place to scurry around in and plastic topped cages are best suited to them. Never keep a dwarf master in a Syrian hamster cage as they are much smaller than Syrian hamsters and will escape from these cages.

Use wood shavings for the floor of the cage and hamster wool for nesting. Do not use hay or straw as it is too coarse. Make sure they have a small house to hide away in peace. If you are keeping 2 hamsters together give them plenty of hideaways that they can use as private space when they need some hamster ‘me time’!

Your hamster’s cage should be placed out of direct sunlight and away from all sources of heat or draughts.


Healthcare

The key to keeping your hamster healthy is a good diet and clean living conditions. Clean and disinfect his cage at least once a week.

Hamster’s teeth grow continuously so provide him with chews and gnaw sticks to wear down those dentures! Ensure in winter time your hamster is warm enough. If they are not warm enough they will be very lazy and tired and will not move around much. If this is the case take your hamster into hands to warm him up and move the cage into a warmer room in the house. Hamster should be kept in a room that is 18-22 degrees centigrade. Hamsters will start to go into hibernation at 10 degrees centigrade.

Hamsters suffer from a form of diarrhoea known as wet tail. This can be caused by diet or stress such as moving house, rough handling etc.. If your pet starts to show symptoms of this disease take him to the vet as soon as possible.


Hamster Health Check

Grooming is a great way to bond with your pet and check its health, a healthy hamster has:

  • Clean fur
  • Moves quickly
  • A straight back
  • A thick coat
  • No open cuts, wounds or abrasions
  • Breathes without an audible noise

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