Buying Guide for Hamster Cages

Selecting the right hamster cages are one of the joys of caring for these pets.  Hamsters do have some minimum requirements that their owners must strive to meet in order to keep them happy and healthy. A hamster’s habitat is an extremely important part of his care. He will spend the vast majority of his time in his cage, and it must be spacious enough, clean, and contain the appropriate types of bedding and enrichments.

What You'll Need in Your Hamster Habitat

New owners should purchase the following to make your pet feel at home:
  • Spacious cage with good ventilation
  • Water bottle with metal sipper
  • Sturdy food dish that can't be easily tipped over (consider weighted ceramic)
  • Small house or enclosure to hamster to hide
  • Bedding (consider wood shavings)
  • Hamster toys
  • Hamster tubes to attach to the cage you buy, or as a separate play area
  • Hamster wheel for exercise
  • Travel cage if you need to visit friends, take your hamster with you when traveling, or visit the Veterinarian
hamster travel cage
This Hamster Cage from Penn-plax Has a Handy Detachable Enclosure for Travel and Has a Quiet Wheel, Ideal for Families
That Keep Hamsters Near the Bedrooms
Shown: Penn-plan Here & There &  Everywhere Hamster Home & traveler Cage from Amazon ($34.99)

Types of Hamster Habitats

Hamsters may be housed in glass aquariums or plastic rodent houses. The minimum size aquarium for an average adult dwarf hamster is 10 gallons. Syrian, or ‘teddy bear’ hamsters, are bigger and thus require slightly more space. Just like humans, hamsters enjoy a spacious dwelling much more than a cramped one. Plastic rodent cages with tubes connecting multiple rooms and levels are more enriching to the animal, but are more difficult to clean properly.

hamster kit
A Hamster Kit is An Easy and Low Cost Way to Get Started with Everything You Need. Note the Side Door
Makes it Easier to Remove the Hamster from the Cage.

Shown: My First Home Hamster Kit from Big Als ($32)

Whichever type of enclosure you choose, be sure that it has a tight-fitting (but not air-tight) lid, to prevent your hamster from escaping, as well as to prevent other household pets from making friends with your hamster. Some aquarium style hamster cages have tops that slide in and out, making it hard if not impossible for the hamster to escape.

The hamster’s enclosure should be kept in a temperate area of the house, away from cold drafts and the heat of direct sunlight. Your hamster will probably also appreciate being kept in a low traffic area, so he can have peace, quiet, and privacy for sleeping purposes.

You may not want to keep his cage in a bedroom, depending on how easily the occupant of the room is awaken at night, as hamsters are somewhat nocturnal and tend to be very active at night.

Tip: Is it easier to take the hamster out of a cage with the door on the side instead of buying one with the door in the roof.

hamster tubes and cage
These Dwarf Hamster Tubes are Made Specifically for Dwarf Hamsters and Mirror the Pets Natural Ability to Burrow and Climb
Shown: Habitrail OVO Dwarf Hamster Habitat (Starter Kit $37 from Amazon)

Hamster Cage Bedding

There are a variety of bedding types that can be used for hamster cages. Pelleted absorbent bedding is a popular choice, and is probably the easiest and cleanest option. Other choices include shredded paper, timothy hay, or certain types of wood shavings. Never use pine or cedar shavings. These types of shavings emit fumes which are toxic, and can cause respiratory disease in you and your pet. You will need to remove soiled bedding and uneaten food daily. Once weekly you should completely empty the cage and clean it out with warm, soapy water. The cage should also contain an inverted water tube, which should be changed at least every other day, and washed out at least once weekly.

Hamster Cages and Accessories

hamster accessories chew toy
Hamster Accessories such as this Wood Chew Toy Help Hamsters Maintain Dental Health
Shown: Super Pet Perfect Chews for Hamsters from Amazon ($5.49)

Hamsters are active little creatures, and their quality of life is vastly improved when they are provided with enrichments. Hamster wheels are a great source of exercise and entertainment. Be sure to get one that is made of solid plastic, as opposed to the old-style metal ones with rungs. Tubes for the hamster to run through and hide inside of are also great. Plastic ones can be purchased at a pet store, or you can use paper towel rolls. If the paper towel roll option is used, just remember that you will have to throw it out after several days, as it will absorb moisture. Wooden chew toys are also important for your hamster, as his teeth are continually growing and need constant chewing. Not only will your hamster enjoy his chew toys, but they will also help to keep him healthy.

hamster car
This Hamster Car Gives your Pet the Exercise He Needs while Fun for the Family
Shown: Habitrail Hamster Car ($16.50)

Have a Question for Our Vet About Hamster Health or Care

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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