Because of their small size, dwarf hamster care requires a lighter
touch than when caring for the larger Syrian or 'teddy bear hamster."
Care instructions are the same for all of the popular dwarf hamster
You'll need the following supplies for proper dwarf hamster care:
A pelleted diet combined with fresh vegetable and fruit on occasion
will provide your dwarf hamster with a balanced diet. Try to match the
amount of food left in the cage to the amount consumed each day. Do not
limit the diet to just seeds, as these are high in fat and could lead
Old food should be removed from the cage daily. The food dish should be cleaned daily as well for hygienic dwarf hamster care.
Safe Dwarf Hamster Foods:
Dwarf hamsters require a minimum of a 10-gallon aquarium size dwelling.
A glass aquarium or plastic rodent cage can be used as a hamster
habitat. Aquarium style habitats are popular for dwarf hamsters since
the pet's small size sometimes makes it possible to slip through widely
spaced wire cages. Hamsters prefer to have separate areas for eating,
sleeping and for going to the bathroom. All hamster tubes and
hamster toys should be cleaned weekly with a mild detergent.
Absorbent pelleted bedding, shredded paper, or certain types
of wood shavings can be used as bedding. Remember never to use pine or
cedar shavings, as the fumes emitted from them can cause respiratory
disease in both you and your pet. The soiled bedding should be removed
daily, and the cage completely cleaned out and washed every week. Feed
your dwarf hamster a commercial ‘hamster mix’ from the pet store, and
supplement with occasional fresh vegetables, wooden chew toys, and
paper towels for the hamster to shred up as bedding. Provide 1 to 2
inches of bedding in cage.
Water should be provided via a bottle that is cleaned and filled
daily. Avoid using a water dish since hamsters will wade in and pollute
One dwarf hamster care tip is to purchase a holding or travel cage for when cleaning the
hamsters habitat. Another approach is to purchase a hamster toy such as
hamster ball which provides exercise and services as a quick cage
Unlike the Syrian hamster, which are strictly solitary and should never
be housed together due to their tendency to fight aggressively, dwarf
hamsters can sometimes be housed together. Roommates should be of the
same sex, and should be monitored carefully to be sure that they get
along, especially during the introductory period.
Males and females should never occupy the same dwelling, as they are very quick and efficient breeders. While it may sound like fun or like a ‘learning experience’ to breed your hamsters, hamster owners who try this are more often than not overwhelmed with pups they cannot find homes for. With an average litter of 2-5 pups, and a gestation period of only about 20 days, it’s easy to see how your pet hamster population can explode within a matter of months.
Hamsters are not appropriate pets for small children. This is true for the dwarf species, even more so than for the Syrian hamster. The dwarf hamster species are very tiny making them especially fast and difficult to handle, a dwarf hamster care challenge. They are also much more fragile and easily injured. A child who accidentally squeezes the animal too hard or drops him can easily cause fatal injuries. This is traumatic not only to the poor hamster, but also to the child. Children of any age should always be supervised when handling dwarf hamsters and other ‘pocket pets’.
When you first bring a hamster own, introduce yourself with a calm voice. Once your hamster stays calm when you are present, he or she is ready for gentle handling. At first, don't pick up the hamster, but leave the your hand in the cage to make it seem familiar to the pet. Over time, she will get used to the hand and welcome your presence. Before picking up the hamster, place a treat in your palm. Let the hamster get the treat without picking it up. Go slow and once the hamster shows familiarity then advance to the next step. It can take a few days until the hamster is ready. When lifting the hamster out of the cage in the cup of your hand, use the other hand on top to avoid dropping the hamster or allowing him or her to leap out and potentially get injured.
If you have trouble handling the hamster, try putting a treat in a
bowl or large cup and lure the hamster into it with a treat, Then lift
As mammals, dwarf hamsters are susceptible to many of the same diseases
as other pets such as hamster colds, food allergies, but also have some
that are unique to these pets. Any signs of illness that last for two
days or longer should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. If
you aren't sure, we suggest using this online
veterinary service that has Vets available 24 hours a day that will
answer questions for a very small fee.
Look for signs of illness such as:
Do you have a question about hamster health or care? Ask and our Vet will answer it for free!
Please be sure to include important information such as age, breed, diet, medications, advice from your veterinarian or anything else you believe would be helpful.
It also helps to include a picture, especially when asking about skin or coat problems.
Every week we will select questions to be answered by our Vet. If you need an urgent response, we suggest using this online veterinary service that has Veterinarians standing by 24 hours a day.
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