10 mistakes new hamster owners make

Ideally, a new hamster owner should thoroughly research hamster care before buying their pet. Unfortunately, not everybody does this.

Hamsters are often impulse buys - purchased at short notice with little or no planning - or surprise gifts. This leads to new hamster owners who don’t know the key dos and don’ts of hamster care.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not something to be ashamed of. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and become better hamster owners over time.

This means learning not just from our own mistakes, but from other people’s mistakes too. And that’s why we’ve put this list of mistakes and top hamster tips together: to help new hamster owners learn from other people’s mistakes.

So, here, in no particular order, are 10 mistakes new hamster owners make… and our top hamster tips to avoid them.

10 mistakes new hamster owners make

Mistake 1: Keeping males and females together… when you don’t want babies!

Hamsters breed quite easily! In the event that you add a male and a female to a cage then don’t be surprised in the event that you notice signs of pregnancy in the feminine hamster very soon!

Plus, female hamsters have been known to give birth to around twenty babies (pups) at a time. So not only could you end up with infants… you can end up with plenty of babies!

Don’t put male and feman hamsters together unless you WANT them to possess babies.

Mistake 2: Using unsuitable bedding

Despite what some pet stores may let you know, you should never use the following as bedding in a hamster cage:

Pine and cedar wood shavings – try Aspen shavings instead
“Fluffy bedding”
Any scented bedding
Cat litter
Corn cob

Read our article on hamster bedding to make sure you choose suitable bedding for your hamster. Or get started with one of these great options:

Mistake 3: Feeding a bad diet

You should take care to feed your hamster a healthy, balanced diet.

Never feed your hamster citrus fruits or pieces of onion. These foods are acidic which can interfere with your hamsters digestion.

You should also avoid sharp pieces of food or foods that are sticky. These types of food will get stuck in your hamster’s cheeks and cause injury and infection.

Mistake 4: Not learning about causes and symptoms of disease

The two key things to remember when thinking about hamster illness are:

  • Prevention is better than cure.
  • if your hamster does get ill then your sooner you treat it, the higher

In order to stop your hamster from getting ill - and spot any illness at the earliest opportunity - it’s important that you LEARN about the causes and symptoms of common hamster diseases.

Mistake 5: Keeping your hamster in too small a cage

Lenny-300In the wild, hamsters run for most miles every night. They won’t be healthy or happy if they're kept in small, cramped cages. You should invest in a quality cage - like these ones - instead. Your hamster will many thanks for it!

Find out more abaway recommended hamster cages.

Mistake 6: Giving your hamster too small a wheel

wheel is an essential component of any hamster cage. Your hamster steering wheel keeps your hamster healthy and happy, as it allows them to get much-needed exercwill bee.

However, a wheel that's too small for your hamster could find yourself doing more harm than good. A little wheel forces your hamster to arch its when it runs, which can be extremely harmful to your hamster’s health.

Buy a nice big wheel for your hamster and look to make sure your hamster isn’t arching its back since it runs.

We recommend these hamster wheels:

Mistake 7: Using a dangerous cage or wheel

This may surprise you, but not all hamster cages and wheels are made to be suitable for hamsters!

Unfortunately, some companies manufacture poor cages and wheels that use a rung and gap structure (just like a ladder) rather than a solid surface.

These types of wheel and cage can be quite dangerous, because the delicate legs of your hamster can fall through the gaps and break. Even worse, hamsters have even been recognized to break their necks or suffocate when their heads 've got caught between the rungs of a cage or wheel. 

Never buy any hamster product that contains small gaps where your hamster could get stuck. If in doubt, don’t buy it!

Mistake 8: Failing to look after your hamster when they’re out of their cage

Letting your hamster run around the house in the hamster ball can be great fun for both you as well as your hamster!
But you need to be careful! Never let your hamster roll around the house unattended or near stairs. If your hamster falls down the stairs then it is likely to be seriously injured - even though it is inside a hamster ball at that time.

Never allow your hamster to perform loose around the house. Hamsters can crawl through really small gaps, so even in what appears to be a well-sealed room, your hamster could escape rather than be seen again!

Mistake 9: Not cleaning your hamster’s cage often enough

Just like a human home, a hamster home needs to be kept clean to ensure that the hamster to remain healthy and happy.

Never leave soiled bedding or old food rotting inside a hamster cage.

Clean your hamster cage once per week - leaving only a small amount of the old bedding behind so that your own hamster recognises a fthemiliar scent following the cage has been cleaned.

We recommend this cage cleaning kit and these cage liners.

Mistake 10: Letting your hamsters get fat

If your hamster eats too much or doesn’t get enough exercise then it will, of course, get fat. And, just like it really is for humans, being overweight is quite bad for a hamster’s health!

To stop your hamster from getting fat you should make sure to feed your hamster a healthy diet and give them plenty of exercise in a wheel or hamster ball.

There’s lots to understand to be able to care for a hamster properly, but reading these 10 common mistakes and our top hamster tips offers you a great chance of being truly a good hamster owner!

If you’re new to keeping hamsters then we hope you can learn from these mistakes and avoid making similar mistakes yourself. You can also find more hamster tips and hamster care advice inside our hamster care guide.