Mar 052014
 

If you are going to travel with your hamster, consider all the items you will need to bring to make the trip as comfortable as possible for your hamster. These include a cage, food, water and a medical kit. Also think about how you are going to travel as you’ll probably find that car travel is best.

Traveling by Car

The easiest way to transport your hamster is by car. That’s because a car is a much easier place for you to control the conditions which will make your hamster comfortable when traveling. Let’s look at the different key items you’ll need when you’re about to travel with your hamster by car.

Cage

Travel with a hamster

Flickr photo by ninithedreamer

The cage or carrier is the most important of all the items you have to bring. More than anything else, the traveling hamster cage has to be well-built, ventilated, and escape-proof.

You should avoid pet carriers made of cardboard as they are only good for temporary use. For instance, bringing your hamster home for the first time. No matter how solid they look, they are not made for anything but short trips.
Hamster travel cage

The ideal material is plastic but it must be the durable type that will be difficult for your hammy to chew through. In addition, you should avoid all wire cages as they are not secure enough. What’s more, they are not accepted for air travel.

The cage should have a self-locking top or door. You may want to weigh down the top with something heavy so your hamster can’t pick the lock and get out.

A one level hamster cage is best, but if your cage does has more than one level, take out any ladders and platforms so your hamster won’t try to climb around. One bump in the road and your hamster can have a bad fall from the second level of a cage.

Put bedding in the cage so your hamster can burrow if it gets scared. Hamster Carefresh bedding

And remember that your hamster likes a steady temperature so check your hamster if you turn on the car heater or AC. If you decide to open the car window you may want to cover the traveling cage so your hamster doesn’t get cold air blowing directly on him or her.

Finally, just as a precaution, get a label and attach it to the cage. Clearly write your hammy’s name, your name, address, and contact information. It is also a good idea to include your vet’s phone number in case of emergency. You should also add feeding instructions on the label.

Water and Food

When it comes to hamster travel, make sure to bring along your pet’s regular food and drink so its diet won’t be affected, especially if you’re going to be away from home for a while. The less change there is in your hamster’s diet, the less stressful the trip will be for your pet. Hamster food

If you are not certain about where you can find the same pet food where you are headed, bring enough food and treats to last for the whole trip. Don’t forget to bring along sufficient water, too, because just like people, a hamster could develop an upset stomach if the water is different. It is also a good idea to bring disposable spoons and dishes for easy cleanup. Besides, these are very convenient utensils and can be purchased anywhere.

Keep in mind that cucumbers are mostly water. So a slice of cucumber in the traveling cage can provide both food and water.

Emergency Kit

It’s best to avoid complications during your trip so take along any medication that your vet prescribed for your hamster. In addition, your kit should include ear cleanups, cotton swabs and balls. And while you’re at it don’t forget to add a tick and flea spray or powder. This might seem like overkill but it is better to be safe than sorry.

To complete your hamster travel kit, get an envelope and put any medical records and medical information in it. Such information might not be needed, but you never know. Also include your vet’s name and contact number.

A brush or lint roller might also come in handy to clean your pet’s fur so it doesn’t make a mess in the hotel.

Travel by Plane

If you must travel with your hamster by plane, you should first check with the airline to see what its hamster travel policy is.

Most airlines will not allow you to carry your pet on the plane and be with you at your seat. Most airlines will insist that the hamster be put in the baggage compartment. That’s because they don’t want a hamster loose inside an airplane cabin where he or she could chew wires and cause a terrible accident. So there is a good reason for the airlines insisting that your hamster travel in the baggage compartment.

Your hamster will still have to be in a traveling cage that the airline might inspect to be sure that he or she cannot chew its way out. You’ll want to put some water in the cage, of course. As with car travel, you may want to put a slice of cucumber in there for liquid.

Also, airlines may not allow your animal to travel when the temperature is too cold or too hot in the baggage compartment.

If at all possible it is much easier for your hamster to travel by car than by plane. If you are moving a long distance away, think about giving your hamster to someone who will care for it and getting a new one when you reach your new home.

Pin It
Feb 182014
 

Hamster history tells us that some hamsters, such as the Syrian hamster, had a native habitat that was warm and dry. Other hamsters, such as the Djungarian, originated in a cold weather habitat such as Siberia. But domesticated, pet hamsters don’t really favor climates that are too hot or too cold.

Instead, hamsters prefer to live in a temperate environment. The fact is that your pet will suffer and be susceptible to sickness if placed in conditions that are too cold or too hot. The most appropriate climate for hamsters is 68 to 78° F (20 to 25 C).

 

Effects of Frigid Temperature

If your hamster starts to get too cold, your hamster tries to protect itself by going into hibernation.  You can tell your hammy is in hibernation if you notice it’s staying in the same position for a long time, isn’t breathing very much, and looks like it’s dead. The danger is that your hamster won’t recover from hibernation. hibernating hamster

Immediately attempt to bring it out of hibernation by taking it to a warm environment and rubbing it gently.  It could take more than half an hour to get its normal bodily functions back. If you are concerned, take your pet to the vet

Avoiding Too Cold Temperatures

There are a number of ways to make sure your hamster doesn’t get too cold.

Always be careful about where you place your hamster’s cage.  You never want to put a cage outside. Hamsters are indoor pets.

Also, you don’t want to put the cage on the floor of your basement because in the winter, the floor gets very cold.  If you must keep a hamster in the basement, make sure it is raised up off the floor and has some way to get heat in the winter.
Hamster caage starter kit

Even inside your house, remember that cold air is closest to the floor. So keep your cage on a flat surface that is well off the floor and has good ventilation.

In your room, don’t put your hamster cage in front of an air conditioner as the cold air can then blow directly on your hammy. And, yes, if it’s too cold your hamster can go into hibernation even in the summer.

If the hamster cage is near a window, as with air conditioning, make sure breezes don’t blow in the window and into your hamster cage.

Finally, make sure your hamster has plenty of bedding material in its cage. That way, your hamster can burrow down deep to help keep warm.

Effects of Too Much Heat

Just as it is important to keep your pet away from extreme cold, so is keeping it away from too much heat.  When too hot, your hamster can get dehydrated or heatstroke, either of which is quite dangerous for your hamster’s health.

Avoiding Too Hot Temperatures

Again, putting your cage near a window can mean direct sunlight on your hamster. Direct sunlight provides too much heat, even for the normal wire cage.  And if you’re using an aquarium or bin cage, there is usually even less air circulation. That means more heat can build up inside the cage

Even if you put your hamster cage on a piece of furniture that is away from the window and think it’s safe remember that the sun moves during the day moves (actually, it’s the Earth that’s moving, but that’s a different story).  So check to be sure your cage doesn’t also get too much sunlight during the day when you may not be in the room with your hamster. air conditioning duct

If you have central air conditioning, also check for the location of the vents that the hot and cool air come out of. Put your hand over the hamster cage to make sure, the hot and cold air from the vent is not blowing directly on your hamster.

Additionally, in the winter, you may want to move your hamster cage to where the rest of the family is, such as the living room. But here too, make sure your hamster cage doesn’t get put too close to a fireplace or space heater. You’d be surprised at how fast these can overheat a small creature such as a hamster. And that’s particularly true for dwarf hamsters that are even smaller than Syrians.

Summary

As a hamster owner, you want to make your pet’s environment as comfortable as possible. Temperatures that are too cold or too hot are both unhealthy for your hamster.

The bottom line is that your hamster needs to stay in a warm room and isn’t exposed to too much sunlight or air that’s too cold or too hot. In addition, you need to make sure your hamster has deep and comfortable bedding.

To avoid guessing what the temperature is, you could install a wall thermometer in the room so you will know if the temperature is in the right range to keep your hamster healthy and happy.

Pin It
Sep 042013
 

If you’re considering getting your first pet, a hamster may be the perfect way to go. Not only do they make great house pets, but also they are reasonably easy to keep, and not as expensive as dogs or cats can be.

But if a hamster will be your first pet you should know what to expect as they go through their short life. That way, you can do what you need to do in order to ensure that they have the best life possible.

How long do hamsters live?

One major fact that new pet owners will want to know is how long hamsters live on average. The actual age at which a hamster dies depends on several factors including the food that it eats, how much exercise it gets, and its general well-being.

You also need to consider that different types of hamsters live for different amounts of time. For instance, while the typical Syrian hamster may have a maximum life span of around 2 ½ to 3 years if properly looked after, a Roborovski could possibly manage around 3 to 3 ½ years. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, have shorter lifespans of from about 1 ½ to 2 years.

So you can expect the typical hamster to live from 1 ½ to 3 years.

To give your hamster the best possible chance of lasting a long time, it’s important that you, as an owner, care for it properly so it can stay as healthy as possible.

Young active hamsters

During the younger years of a hamster’s life, it’s usually very active and doing a lot more than when it gets older. There’s a good chance that you have already seen a YouTube video where the family hamster is in its ball or running in its wheel or climbing around hamster tubes. You want your hamster to be active so he or she can stay healthy. CritterTrail hamster tubes

During this stage of their life you’ll want to add different items to the hamster cage such as toys, chew sticks, and hamster tubes.

Young hamsters are usually up for playing, running around and, of course, eating. Be careful with the amount and type of food you feed your hamster. You don’t want your hamster to become over-sized very quickly. That can shorten its lifespan. For more information about hamster food, read What You Should Feed Your Hamster.

Also, in terms of human interaction, younger hamster can be trained to be friendly creatures. It is crucial that during the first years of your hamster’s life, you try to spend as much time with them as possible, as this will help them stay healthy and happy.

Signs of aging and what to look out for

Of course, after the first couple of years your hamster will begin to show some of the telltale signs of aging, and despite what you may think, they are surprisingly similar to humans.

You will notice that unlike before, while they do still enjoy playing, they spend less time doing so, and they will progressively move slower as time passes. Their appetite will also diminish suddenly during the last stages of their lives, and it may come to the point where they go full days without touching food.

However, you can do some things to help look after your aging hamster; such as holding it. For the most part, don’t force it to play, but continue making food and water available for him or her.

Hamster death 

Inevitably, at one stage or another, your hamster will die. Now while death is never a pleasant thing to think about, you can do your part to make sure that the process is as comfortable as possible for your pet, and make the struggle as painless as possible.

This mainly involves offering them healthy food and even treats to consume, regularly providing fresh water, and continuing to clean out their cage. If you do not give your hamster the appropriate amount of attention, you may be shortening its lifespan even further. Therefore, it may be a good idea to put the hamster cage in a room where the rest of the family sits, so that they get as much attention as possible.

Finally, when your hamster’s time has come, you have a few options to consider. The first is that you can bury him in your back yard as a remembrance, or you can take it to the vets to be disposed of. That’s your choice at this point, but if you really treasure your hamster’s life, and have some pictures, it might be nice to create a little memorial book.

Summary

Hopefully this article has given you some much needed insight into the life of a hamster, and how you can be the best owner possible. It is worth doing some research before deciding which type of hamster you want to own. That way you can prepare to give it the best life possible and not be surprised about how long it will live.

Pin It
Aug 252013
 

You worry when your hamster won’t eat. Here are some of the common reasons your hamster is not eating and a few ideas for what you can do about it.

Hoarding

Hamster cheeks

All he does is eat eat eat ! by jpockele, on Flickr

Hoarding is a typical hamster behavior. Your hammy will stuff its cheeks full of food then find what he or she thinks is a safe spot in its cage and store that food. When it feels safe, it’ll come back and eat from the food it’s been hoarding.

Since hamsters are nocturnal animals, they may often be doing this at night while you’re sleeping. So your hamster may be eating but you don’t see it.

What to do:

You can look around your hamster’s cage while he sleeping (usually during the day). Poke around and see if there is a bunch of food being stashed somewhere. It may be inside a toy or in a corner not being used for a bathroom.

Don’t take the food away from the stash that your hammy has hoarded. Hamsters feel safe knowing they have a safe place to hide their food.

New stuff

When new things are introduced to a hamster it sometimes becomes nervous enough to stop eating. New things can include a new hamster cage or moving the cage to a different location. Even adding a connecting cage or new hamster tubes might cause your hamster to stop eating. hamster habitat

Also in the new category might be something as simple as giving your hamster a new type of food or new brand of food.

Another new thing that can scare your hamster so it stops eating is another pet in the house such as a cat or dog.

What to do:

First, give your hamster a little time to adjust to anything new in its environment. Give it a few days.

Also, when you add something new (such as hamster tubes) try to make your hamster more comfortable by petting it or holding it – if your hamster likes you to do that.
Hamster treat

Another option in this case is to try bribing your hamster with a treat – something you know he really likes such as a grape or a yogurt drop. Especially if you’ve introduced a new food, try mixing some treats in with it so your hamster learns to like the new food by associating it with the treat.

Abscess in mouth

An abscess is a sore or blister that occurs on the skin of your hamster. An abscess can occur in your hamster’s cheeks. It may look like the hamster has food stored in their cheek pouch, but it’s really the blister that pushing the cheek out.

What to do:

An abscess needs to be looked at by a vet. First check your hamster’s mouth to see if you can spot any sores inside his or her cheeks. If you see anything red, bring your hammy to the vet. The vet will most likely drain the abscess.

Once you hamster is home, you will probably need to feed it soft food while it’s recovering. People recommend using cooked pasta, baby food, or cooked oatmeal so your hamster can still get nutrition without having to chew any hard food.

Illness

There are many different hamster illnesses that can cause a loss of appetite.

Wet Tail is a bacterial infection usually found in younger hamsters. You will see a wet and soiled bottom area on your hamster. There might also be a bad smell. Since this is a contagious disease, you should take your hamster to the vet immediately to be checked out.

Diarrhea can be spotted when you see soiled bedding throughout the cage, not just in the spot your hammy normally uses for its bathroom. Diarrhea may or may not include loss of appetite. If there is no loss of appetite, you may just want to try changing your hamster’s diet – feed it fewer vegetables and fresh food. But if diarrhea is accompanied by a loss of appetite, this is another situation when you should take your hamster to the vet because you don’t want your hamster to get dehydrated.

It is also possible for a hamster to get the flu or an intestinal infection. You hamster may also suffer from a serious illness such as prolapse or bowel obstruction. A prolapse will appear as a red sack coming out of the hamster’s bottom.

What to do:

Unfortunately, these illnesses will require a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Old AgeHamster Sleeping

Remember, a hamster’s life span is typically 1 ½ to 3 years at most. As a hamster reaches older age, it becomes less active and begins to eat less. It is the hamster’s way of preparing for the end.

What to do:

Comfort your hamster and remember all the good times you had with him or her.

Pin It
Apr 142012
 

Whether we’re 10 or 70, we find hamsters fascinating. What is it about this charming little creature that makes us love it so?

In my opinion it can be put into one word – cuteness.

Hamster by narumi-lock, on Flickr

If you want the main reason for this cuteness, just look at a hammy’s face. The eyes are large and seem to have a naturally curious expression. Then there’s that little button nose and pointy ears that stick up and move around to hear what’s going on around it. This is a totally perfect face with an expression that seems to say “Let’s have some fun.”

Another thing that contributes to hamster cuteness is its overall size. Even a “big” hamster like the Teddy Bear or Golden, still only 3 to 5 inches long, is a great size for fitting in the palm of your hand. And the smaller dwarf hamsters are a perfect fit for smaller hands. What’s more, you can get two dwarfs in one nice sized palm.

Helping the hamster stay small is the fact that, except for the Chinese hamster, they have a little nub for tails. That makes the hamster round and compact, making him or her easier to hold in your hand.
That small size makes hamsters a great pet for keeping in a small space. Even if you use a large hamster cage, this type hamster habitat fits nicely on the top of the table in even a small room. The hamster, then, is a great pet for people who live in the city.

Another reason we love hamsters is because of the fact that these little creatures like to take care of themselves. You will see them standing there constantly grooming themselves. It happens before they run, after they run, before they eat, after they eat, before they drink… Well, you get the idea.

That means you don’t have to worry about washing them or taking them to a groomer. They are quite happy to keep themselves clean.

And they are easier to take care of than some other animals. A little food and water, a few toys, and a place to run usually keep them pretty happy. This means you can come home and either play with or watch your hamster without having to plan on taking them out for a walk or chasing them around the house. Unless, of course, your little hammy escapes from its cage.

Another reason we love hamsters is that they are a fun pet to watch. Sure, they sleep a lot. But when they’re active, they really go at it. They run around their exercise wheels like little madmen. And they love to explore. They crawl around any hamster tubes you put in their hamster cage or they push around an exercise ball. Even when they’re not running they can be active. They may be chomping on a food treat or stuffing it in their cheek pouches.

If properly trained, you can also enjoy the hamster interacting with you. It will let you pet it and hold it in your hand. You can hand it a treat and let it sit in your hand while it holds its food in its paws and munches on it. And who hasn’t enjoyed little hamster’s feet tickling you as it runs up your arm.

They’re cute, they’re small, they’re easy to keep, and they’re fun. So it’s easy to see why everybody loves hamsters.

Pin It