Owning a pet hamster is a big responsibility, and part of the job is providing him all the supplies he'll need to live a comfortable life. From the habitat he'll live in to the food and other accessories required, there are many items to consider. A handy list can help you get organized before you shop.
Supplies Your Hamster Really Needs
There are certain essential supplies every hamster must have. Be sure to include these items or similar products on your shopping list.
Hamsters are expert escape artists. It doesn't matter whether you choose a dwarf hamster or a Syrian hamster, they all seem to find a way to wiggle out of their enclosures. For that reason, the most escape-proof enclosure is an aquarium with a screened lid to provide sufficient air flow.
A 20-gallon aquarium and mesh top combo can keep your pet safely contained. Some units come with a mesh top that folds in the middle while others come with a one-piece top. Either style is suitable for hamsters. The aquarium measures 24-inches long x 12-inches deep x 16-inches tall, and the set sells for just under $85.
Bedding material absorbs moisture from your pet's waste, and it also provides a comfortable ground cover your pet can burrow into and feel secure. Some bedding products like pine and cedar produce fumes that can harm a hamster's health, so always select non-toxic bedding to line your pet's habitat.
- Doctors Foster and Smith Aspen Bedding offers great absorbency and doesn't release any harmful fumes. Add about two inches of aspen to your hamster's freshly-cleaned cage, and plan to scoop out soiled bedding as needed. The bedding should be replaced completely each week when you clean your pet's entire habitat. A five-pound bag of shavings covers about 2,200 cubic inches of floor space and costs approximately $6.
- Sunseed's Fresh World Bedding is made from recycled newspapers and magazines, so it's an eco-friendly bedding that's safe for your pet. This bedding also contains baking soda to reduce odors. Line your pet's habitat with about three inches of bedding, and plan on replacing it completely each week. A bag containing about 970 cubic inches of bedding runs about $8.
Food and Water Accessories
Heavy crocks and water bottles are the best choices for supplying food and water to your hamster. Heavy crocks won't easily tip over, and water bottles keep your pet from soiling his water supply.
- All Living Things® Small Animal Feeding Dishes come in various sizes. The two-ounce size crock offers easy access for small breed hamsters, and the five-ounce crocks are perfect for Syrian hamsters. These crocks are easy to wash, come in a variety of colors, and prices run under $3 for this size range.
- Lixit's Aquarium/Cage Water Bottle can be hung from cage bars or a screened aquarium lid. The design also discourages climbing and if you hang it just low enough for your hamster to drink from the tube, he'll have difficulty reaching the bottle to chew it. Plan to refill the bottle with fresh water every day. It holds five ounces of water and retails just over $7.
Feeding your hamster the right diet will help him stay heathy. It's usually best to feed a variety of foods to ensure you're meeting his nutritional needs. Make a balanced, pelleted diet your pet's main food, and offer a small amount of standard hamster mix two to three times a week as a delicious supplement that helps keep him from becoming bored with his food. You can also offer a few fresh foods each week, but feed very small amounts so you don't upset your hamster's digestive system.
- Sunseed Vita Hamster and Gerbil Formula includes a mix of veggies, seeds, peanuts, calcium, probiotics and other ingredients. Include a teaspoon of this mix in your hamster's bowl every few days as a nutritious treat. A two-and-a-half pound bag runs about $4.
More Hamster Supplies
Once you have your pet's essential supplies, it's time to consider a few extra items that will enhance his health and environment.
- The Bend-A-Bridge serves as a combination sleeping hut, climbing toy, and chew toy. The wood is natural fir which will help keep your pet's teeth from over growing. The unit measures 11-inches x 6-1/2 inches and sells for under $4.
- The Super Pet Run-About Hamster Ball will help you keep track of your pet when he's out of his habitat. The plastic ball has ventilation slots, and you can clean it easily with soap and water. Make sure to rinse it well and dry it before you let your pet use it. The 7-inch ball sells for about $8.
- The Super Pet Hamtrac Exercise Loop is a great accessory to pair with your hamster's ball, and it offers a safe way for him to get extra exercise outside of his cage. Simply put him in his ball, set it on the track, and let him run around for about 10 minutes at a time. You can also use this exercise toy as a place to keep your pet while you're cleaning out his habitat. The track measures 25-inches across x 1-1/4 inches high, and the set sells for under $12.
- Use the Kritter Keeper to transport your pet to his veterinary checkups. The small unit measures 9-1/8 inches x 6 inches x 6-5/8 inches high and has a ventilated lid. Just add an inch or two of fresh bedding and the Keeper is ready for traveling. The small unit sells for about $4.
Don't Spend Your Money All At Once
Supplying a hamster with everything he needs can be expensive, so don't feel like you have to purchase all everything right away. Begin by purchasing the essentials as you're able to and have them ready for your pet before you bring him home. After that, you can begin adding other accessories to make his new habitat a fun and cozy place to live.