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After cats and dogs, hamsters are one of the most popular pets. They’re often adopted or purchased for children because of their relative low-maintenance lifestyle, but plenty of adults enjoy these nocturnal rodents as companions too. There are a variety of hamster breeds to choose from, including the Syrian and Dwarf! While each breed is distinctive, we’ll cover some general facts about the many breeds as well as basic care information below.

Overall, hamsters are highly appealing as pets and part of this has to do with their solitary nature. You don’t need to worry about your hamster needing a same-species roommate. In fact, it’s usually not recommended. Hamsters are highly territorial among their own but, thanks to their domestication, they often find delight in spending time with their pet parents. Still, hamsters will need to be handled regularly and very gently for them to become and stay comfortable with you. Another characteristic that we mentioned above is the hamster’s nocturnal lifestyle. If you’re mostly active at night or can accommodate their activity, despite having a schedule opposite theirs, hamsters are likely for you! Finally, hamsters tend to be very clean and cage cleaning will likely be a breeze!

Speaking of hamster habitats, caring for hamsters is quite simple. You only need some supplies to make it happen and obtaining said supplies for a hamster is much cheaper than for other, larger or longer-lived pets. Be sure to provide your hamster with as large a cage as you can, bedding, toys, and appropriate food! And, as always, research what foods you can offer as snacks or treats since hamsters can’t safely eat everything we can, but need a few fruits and veggies to get extra vitamins and minerals! If you’re adopting or buying a new hamster, make the transition easier on them by putting together their new home and haven ahead of time!

Oftentimes, a hamster is the first pet for a child, but we would like to offer some words of caution about this. Firstly, because hamsters are so delicate, they should never be handled by children without adult supervision and should never be handled by younger children. Second, hamsters can and will nip or bite if they are handled incorrectly. If kids put their fingers between cage bars and the hamster fails to recognize that this is their pet parent’s digit, or even if they are rudely awakened from their daytime slumber, you may be in for a little chomp. Finally, hamsters have an average lifespan of about two years so this will eventually prompt you to have a conversation about death with your child. If you’re uncomfortable approaching the subject, holding off on a pet, or getting a family pet that will live longer, may be advisable.

Healthcare for hamsters is increasingly common and NOVA Pets is proud to offer it. Should you notice any signs of illness or injury, including abnormal activity or inactivity, hair loss, trouble breathing, or diarrhea, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring. In fact, we invite you to call NOVA Pets at (703) 378-9791 to arrange a wellness exam before any issues arise! Whether you just got your hamster or have a long-time companion, it’s our pleasure to contribute to your petite pal’s well-being and your peace of mind!