It’s hard to know for sure what your little ball of joy is feeling. Hamsters even baffled scientists, until a recent study helped them get a closer idea about this animal’s inner life.
So, how to keep a hamster happy?
We may not know exactly what hamsters are feeling, but there is one thing that is certain, any animal will appreciate a peaceful, affectionate environment and lots of enrichment material.
Is my hamster happy?
If there’s one thing most housekept rodents do when they’re bored or generally unhappy, it’s chomping down on their housing elements. Some may even bite at the cage bars.
These are not good signs and can signify that your hamster is not comfortable with the way it lives. Clearly, you should do something about this.
You need to ask yourself the following questions and make sure to provide all the necessary equipment, food and enrichment items so your pet can lead a happy life.
Does my hamster have appropriate housing?
No one likes being in cramped spaces. Especially not an animal like a hamster. Sure, they love sleeping in a tiny hole, but these little furballs need to work out too, so accommodating their exercise needs is vital for their health and happiness.
There are two ways to find a proper house for a hamster. You can either purchase one or make one yourself.
If you choose to buy one online or from a pet shop near you, make sure it’s large enough. Hamsters may be small, but they need space to explore and investigate so they stay entertained.
And another great thing about large cages is that you can add plenty of enrichment toys and food to improve your hamster’s life even more.
Building a cage yourself may take longer, but at least you know it’s secure and custom-made for your little friend. Do keep in mind that hamsters are solitary creatures and having more of them in a single cage is not a good idea.
Location of your hamster’s housing is also important for them to feel comfortable. Avoid high-traffic areas and areas that have a lot of noise. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so they need quality sleep during the day.
And, as night creatures, they do not appreciate sunlight, so ensure they are far away from direct sun and, if possible, cover their cage with a dark cloth when they’re asleep.
What are enrichment toys and foods?
Enrichment material is anything that suits your animal’s needs and piques their natural curiosity to explore and play.
Enrichment toys help stimulate your pet by challenging them or providing hours of fun.
For hamsters, these may include running wheels, mazes, multiple levels, sand baths, blocks of wood and rocks, designated digging and burrowing areas, hammocks, tunnels, and more!
Enrichment foods are food puzzles that challenge your pet to work hard to get to the prize, in this case a tasty treat.
For hamsters, since they would forage for food in nature, scattering food across their housing area is one of the best ways to provide an activity that nurtures your hamster’s natural instincts.
And, while we’re on the topic of food, you should ask yourself…
Do I feed my hamster well?
If you’re using commercially available hamster food, you can rest easy knowing that your pet has all the nutrients it needs.
And if you want to enrich their diet with fresh fruits and veggies, various seeds and nuts, make sure they don’t exceed 10% of your pet’s daily intake. Hamsters are sensitive, so if you go overboard with treats, they will experience stomach issues, such as diarrhea.
Also, be absolutely certain of what types of fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts your hamster can eat, as a wrong treat can cause severe problems, even death.
Depending on the type of hamster you have, be mindful of the amount of sugar they consume. It’s best to check with your vet to make sure you’re not doing your pet more harm than good with all those tasty treats.
Does my hamster exercise enough?
Ensuring your hamster’s housing is large and enriched with toys will provide ample space and exercise material for them.
If you’re thinking about letting your hamster out of its cage for that additional dose of exercise, go right ahead. But first, pay attention to some crucial details.
Never allow your hamster to roam your house unsupervised. There are many dangers that lurk within your home and pose a threat to your fluffy friend.
These include your other pets (especially cats and dogs), objects on the floor (plastic, metal, or similar), food scraps, electrical outlets, and open doors or wholes that lead outside your home.
Any of these can prove fatal to hamsters. So, if you do want to offer them more space to run around, where you can watch them closely and play with them, then have a dedicated play area for such occasions.
This area should be rid of all hazards mentioned above and be enclosed.
A good work-out helps hamsters digest food and stay healthy. By enabling your pet to have as much room as they need and toys to keep them busy, not only will they be happy, but you will have hours of fun, just sitting by their house watching them.
Enjoying each other’s company
With everything we covered, we wanted to be certain you are informed and ready to have the happiest little furball keep you and your family warm inside and smiling.