From getting the right supplies to feeding your little dwarf hamster, it can be a little challenging knowing what to expect, especially if you’ve never had this type of pet before. For more information on hamster toys, you can read our post about them (check it out here) and to see what hamster tubes we recommend, you should click through this article.
Purchasing the right equipment is an essential first step if you want to make sure that you can take care of your dwarf hamster the right way. The items that you will require range from the correct cage to a water bottle, an exercise wheel, the right bedding, as well as hamster food.
You will also need a hamster house (or, in any case, a place where he or she can hide), chew toys, a food dish, hamster treats, as well as a hamster ball. What’s interesting about dwarf hamsters is that they also like to take a sand bath from time to time, much like chinchillas do. So you will also require a bath house, as well as bathing sand.
The right food
The simplest way of making sure that your hammy receives the right nutrition and that it’s not overly complicated for you is to get a specialized hamster mix from the pet store. This will usually include things like seeds and nuts, as well as other types of dry food (small pellets, too).
However, you should also give your hamster small amounts of fresh food. Some of the vegetables that are deemed safe are asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, celery, corn, cucumber, and okra. You are free to feed your hamster greens such as watergrass, kale, spinach, or watercress and you can do so liberally.
However, when it comes to fresh veggies and especially fruit, you always have to make sure you don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that hamsters are not genetically engineered to consume lots of water and foods with a high water content, so these could cause diarrhea, especially if they aren’t that fresh anymore.
There are also toxic foods that you need to avoid. Onion and garlic are not safe (whether you feed them to hamsters or cats or dogs), but you shouldn’t feed watermelon, fruit seeds, citrus fruit, kidney beans, or avocado to your hammy, either.
Keeping the enclosure clean
No matter the type of hamster cage that you will end up choosing, you have to know that you need to tend to two cleaning routines. One will happen every day or every couple of days and the other is going to occur weekly. The second is a more thorough one where you disassemble the cage and clean every single part so that it’s urine-free and disinfected.
Every day you have to spot clean the cage by picking out the bedding that was soiled. You should remove any food that wasn’t consumed (every day) to make sure that it doesn’t spoil in your hammy’s enclosure. To improve the general smell of the cage, you can hang some charcoal in its proximity – it absorbs some of the urine scent.
Every weekend or whenever you have the time (but make sure that you do it on a weekly basis), clean the cage with hot water and a safe disinfectant or regular soap (making sure that you scrub it). You can use vinegar to remove some or all of the smell, but always make sure that you rinse out the cage as best as possible so that the vinegar scent doesn’t bother your hamster when you put him or her back.
The accessories also have to be cleaned thoroughly.
Making your hamster feel comfortable
What’s really important about hamsters is that they get easily scared if you take them by surprise. A friend of mine came to visit many years ago and at the time, I had a very friendly and gentle hamster that had never bitten anyone before.
When I wasn’t paying attention, she tried picking him up and getting him out of the cage but he was asleep. It was the middle of the day and hamsters are nocturnal, and no animal likes being taken by surprise like that, so my friend got a bite. I wrote this story here because it’s important to make sure that your pet always feels at ease.
Furthermore, dwarf hamsters are a lot more frail and therefore, vulnerable, compared to Syrian hamsters, and you really don’t want to scare one off or make him or her develop all sorts of behaviors induced by fear. Hamsters have a great sense of hearing, so it would also be a good idea if you were to avoid making loud noises. You can set up a so-called play area that your hamster can’t escape from when you want to interact with your pet.
Never hold your hamster at a height because you can’t know when he or she might feel like jumping and could get hurt. Also, if you’re lucky enough to avoid that, the hammy will surely get scared and could run away, anyway. And then what are you going to do? Turn your whole house upside down looking for a tiny hamster? Avoid these situations by making sure you never leave your dwarf hamster out of sight and keep him or her safe at all times.
Find a vet
Finding a veterinarian that is accustomed to dealing with hamsters can be life-saving. Russian dwarf hamsters need a little care if they become sick, and since they are so small, an illness can affect them and even quickly kill them before you realize what’s going on. If your hamster stops eating, grows a weird-looking lump, or starts drinking too much water, you need to call your vet.
Do it right away. Even several hours can make a difference when it comes to saving a pet’s life, especially one as small as a dwarf hamster.