Four paws, two bright eyes, and a twitchy set of whiskers. Nothing is cuter than a pet hamster! If you’ve recently adopted a hamster, here are nine quick care tips to remember.

1. Choose a habitat

Your little dude (or dudette) requires a secure environment in which to explore and feel at ease. Colors, tubes, accessories, and add-ons can be combined to create a one-of-a-kind habitat with plenty of places to tunnel, hide, and burrow. Connect two or more habitats with different tubes to create an infinite number of configurations. Choose bedding that they can burrow in and a water bottle that is the right size for them, such as a 6-ounce chew proof water bottle.

2. Put their habitat in the right place

As with many small animals, placement is critical to a happy pet. Place your hamster’s home near the sounds of your family, but not in the middle of it. They’ll be soothed by your everyday sounds, but stressed out by loud noises and a lot of activity right outside their door. Keep your pet’s habitat away from any vents or drafty windows to ensure they are in a temperature-controlled environment.

3. Cover their habitat with a light cloth for the first few days

Everything is new to your new hamster when you bring it home. Allow them to get to know their new environment for a few days without the distractions of your home by covering their space with a light cloth. Feel free to remove this cover for some bonding time!

4. Wait a few days before trying to pick them up

It takes time to get to know someone and feel comfortable with them, just like it does with any new friendship. That being said, wait a few minutes before handling or picking up your hamster. After a few days of giving them food and water, they’ll start to trust you!

5. Once they’re acclimated, think outside the box for feeding time

Don’t you eat the same things every day? Your hammie will benefit from a varied diet just as much as humans do. Try giving them small amounts of carrots, squash, broccoli, cucumbers, apples, pears, or berries in addition to their regular food. Inquire with your veterinarian about the best foods to feed your new companion. Remember that treats should be consumed in moderation.

6. Clean and wash your hamster’s space regularly

There is a happy medium between keeping your hamster’s home clean and comfortable and causing unnecessary stress by cleaning it excessively. Generally speaking:

  • Keep the toilet area clean on a daily basis.
  • Spot change bedding as needed (when soiled/wet)
  • Wipe out their food dish weekly
  • Change water daily 
  • Empty their entire habitat weekly or twice a week
  • Place all new bedding weekly

Take soap and water and wipe down the entire habitat once it’s been cleared of bedding, toys, and other items once a week or every other week. That extra step will keep your hamster’s space smelling good.

7. Give them plenty of out-of-habitat time

A great way to get your hamster some exercise and bonding time is to provide plenty of playtime outside their habitat each week. We recommend creating a small gated area with lots of toys and treats for them to explore and say hello to their human family! Always keep an eye on your hamster when he or she is outside of his or her habitat.

8. Take time to bond with your hamster

Patience, consistent feeding, lots of out-of-habitat playtime, and soft talk will all help you bond with your hamster. Always approach your pet slowly and speak to them in a conversational tone. They’ll recognize your scent and voice and regard you as a source of comfort.

9. Handle your pet with care

Hamsters and gerbils, unlike other small animals, must be picked up with both hands and cradled in cupped hands. The same goes for putting them down, but take extra care so they don’t escape or slip through your hands. Because these animals are naturally nocturnal, be mindful of the time of day you try to handle your hamster. You don’t want anyone snatching you from your sweet dreams!

Are you prepared to start pet parenting your hamster like a pro? Look through our small pet supplies for bedding, habitats, training, scratchers, and other items. Need more information? Explore Coziwow‘s ever-expanding collection of small animal advice.

Congratulations on your new pet!