What to Buy for your Hamster: The Essential Hamster Supplies List
Small, furry and fun to watch—a hamster is the total package. Although the hamster is diminutive in size, they still have plenty of needs that should be met to keep them happy, healthy and living their best and longest life. Hamsters are naturally clean (how cute are they when they give themselves a “bath”?) and are generally easy to care for, but here are some of the most important things to remember before bringing one home.
How to take care of a hamster
Research appropriate hamster care before jumping into pet parenting one. It’s important to keep some of their quirky habits in mind—like the fact that they play during the night and rest during the day—and be prepared with all the supplies to make a great hamster home. For example:
- Habitat: Always provide your hamster the largest home possible because they love to tunnel and explore. Make sure any habitat you get has a solid bottom (to avoid pain to their feet) with minimal bar/wire spacing (to avoid escapes). You’ll want to also make sure the habitat has plenty of room for them to eat, play (they love to play) and exercise, as well as space to relieve themselves that’s far enough away from those other activities. Hamsters tend to pick one area in particular to go, so offering a critter potty may help keep their habitat clean. You’ll also want to fill the habitat with high-quality bedding, generally of the crumpled paper or hardwood shavings variety. It’s best to avoid cedar-based products for hamsters. You should plan to clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents at least once a week with a habitat cleaning solution or 3% bleach solution, as well as cleaning out any particularly dirty areas or leftover food parts daily.
- Habitat extras: If you’ve had hamsters before or have done your research, you already know they can be super fun to watch and tend to have quirky tendencies. For example, your hamster might love some nesting fluff to build a cozy spot to relax in, as well as a spot to hide away in, like a tube or hut. They also love scurrying through tunnels, so habitats with a tunnel system might be a fun option for them, and running on specially designed hamster wheels or in exercise balls. Providing some extra chew toys or treats is a great way to help them maintain the health and strength of their incisor teeth.
- Food needs: You’ll want to make sure you’re feeding your hamster the best diet possible (more on that later), but you’ll definitely need to pick up a small animal food bowl that they can easily reach and eat from, as well as an attachable water bottle.
What do hamsters eat?
Proper care of your hamster requires maintaining a healthy diet for them. Here are the main things to keep in mind:
- General diet: A well-balanced hamster diet includes plenty of high-quality hamster pellets, as well as limited amounts of grain, vegetables, fruits and Timothy hay. Any food outside of the pellets should be fed in moderation and should not make up more than 10% of your hamster’s overall diet. Keep fresh, filtered water available every day.
- Treats: It’s okay to provide treats for your hamster every now and then, but, these should be kept in moderation and should not exceed 10% of their overall diet.
- What to avoid: Although hamsters can enjoy small quantities of many types of fruits and vegetables, there are some foods that should be off limits to your little critter, for health reasons. For example, grapes (without seeds), raisins, carrots, strawberries, red tomatoes, small amounts of nuts (avoid bitter almonds which are toxic), multigrain bread and cheese all make tasty treats for your hamster, but chocolate, caffeine and items with sugar or high in fat should be avoided. Consult with your veterinarian if you’re not sure about feeding your hamster something in particular, and check out this article for more about what you can and can’t feed your hamster.
Hamster supplies list
For a quick look at the basics to set up a happy home for your hamster, you’ll need the following:
- Small animal habitat
- Small animal bedding and nesting fluff
- Small animal bed or sleeper
- Hamster hideaway
- Exercise wheel and/or ball
- Water bottle
- Food bowl
- High-quality hamster food
- Hamster treats
- Timothy Hay
- Critter potty and litter
- Habitat cleaning solution
- Small animal chew toys
For an all-inclusive, one-stop option to cover most of your bases, the small animal habitat kits include most of the starter items you’ll need to get your hamster’s home set up and ready for fun, although you may need to provide larger habitats as your pet grows. With a little research and preparation, you can be ready to bring your hamster home to an amazing habitat in no time.