Hamster Care Guide – Information & Costs

golden hamster

There are lots of important things that you’ll need to know when it comes to caring for a hamster.

The more you know about caring for these animals, the more likely it is that your pet will have a long and happy life.

The Hamster Habitat

You will need to make a point of getting your hamster a good size cage or habitat. The size of their environment actually plays a pretty big role in their mental and physical health. Your hamster’s habitat should include an exercise wheel, food bowl and water bottle.

Make sure that you get a habitat that has a flat, hard bottom. You will also need to line the bottom with bedding. Recycled paper serves as the perfect bedding for these animals. It should be one to two inches thick. This will provide your hamster with a comfortable surface to walk along and sleep on.

It is a good idea to get a hamster cage/habitat that is at least 24 inches by 12 by 12 inches large. If you are going to keep more than two hamsters together, you’ll need an even larger habitat. It’s imperative that your rodents have enough space to move around freely.

The Hamster Diet

The food that you give your hamster is something else that you’ll want to consider. This too will have a big effect on how long your pet lives.

A hamster can be given either a loose seed mix or specially formulated pellets. There are pros and cons to each of these options, so you’ll want to weigh them carefully. 

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A pelleted diet will meet the nutritional needs of your pet, but it can get boring for them. A loose seed mix is also nutritious, but these animals tend to pick and choose what they want to eat.

Treats should make up not more than 10% of your hamster’s diet. You can give these animals a little bit of banana, raisins or melon once or twice a week. It is important not to overdo it with the treats, as your hamster could become obese rather quickly.

You also need to make a point of keeping your hamster’s water bottle filled up on a daily basis. Keep it clean as well to avoid bacterial infections.

syrian hamster

Signs of Illness

You’ll also want to know some of the common signs of a sick hamster. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to get your rodent friend to the vet as soon as possible.

Some of the signs your hamster might be sick include:

  • Loose stool
  • Wheezing
  • Bald patches without fur
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Sores on their feet
  • Blood in urine
  • Drinking or eating more or less than usual

Hamsters are prone to illness just like any other animal, so you need to stay on top of their health by monitoring them closely each day. This can go a long way towards keeping your pet around as long as possible.

Common Health Issues

Now that we have learned about some of the common signs of illness in hamsters, we will discuss common health issues they have.

1. Diabetes

Hamsters can get diabetes just like humans or cats. Some of the most common signs of this condition are lethargic behavior and frequent urination. You’ll also likely notice them drinking more water.

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2. Mites

These rodents are also known for getting mites, which are parasites that burrow into the skin. The most common symptom of mites in these animals is hair loss. It is important that you get them to the vet right away if you notice this.

3. Malocclusion

Overgrown teeth can be a problem with any hamster species. You might need to occasionally take your hamster to the vet to get their teeth trimmed.

4. Diarrhea

A hamster can get a diarrhea for a number of reasons, including stress and parasites. This can actually be lethal if it is not addressed quickly.

european hamster

Signs of a Healthy Hamster

There are also signs of a healthy hamster that you’ll want to keep in mind if you have one of these animals as a pet, including:

  • Energetic and social
  • Normal breathing (no wheezing and doesn’t struggle to breathe)
  • Clear eyes
  • Shiny coat
  • Eats and drinks a good amount on a daily basis


Proper grooming is another important part of keeping your hamster healthy over the long term. You won’t have to worry about bathing your hamster on a regular basis, but it is crucial that they stay clean.

You can avoid giving your hamster a proper bath by simply applying some aloe lotion to their fur. You don’t need to clean their teeth, but their teeth can get too long. If you notice this happening, you’ll want to take them to the vet to get checked out.


The cost of a hamster depends almost entirely on the species. There are some hamsters that are more expensive than others. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $25 for one of these rodents.

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Before you decide to get a hamster, you’ll need to consider the cost of caring for one. This includes food, trips to the vet, a habitat, toys, and other things.


  • It is important that you get a habitat for your hamster that measures at least 24 by 12 by 12 inches.
  • Your hamster’s habitat should ideally have an exercise wheel and lots of toys for them to play with.
  • You can feed your hamster either a loose seed mix or a pelleted diet. There are benefits and drawbacks to each one that you should consider.
  • Some of the common signs of illness in a hamster include bald patches on their body, lethargy, increased urination and labored breathing.
  • Regular bathing or teeth brushing is not necessary for these animals. You can instead just rub some aloe lotion on their coat once in a while.
  • Some of the signs of a healthy hamster include a shiny coat, clear eyes and a normal energy level.
  • You will pay anywhere from $5 to $25 for a hamster, depending on the species and breeder.