​​California Hamster Association

So, you've just brought home a new hamster. Congratulations! Let's talk about what to expect from your new pet, and what you can do to make your home as welcoming as possible.

The First Few Days

Your hamster doesn’t need a housewarming party! Leave your new friend alone to finish moving in at least 24 hours. In the meantime, keep in mind:

  1. Your friend might be feeling a little lazy, and may not sleep in a house or run in their wheel right away. Don’t worry, they’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
  2. You might not see your new pet drinking for a while. That’s okay! Just keep an eye on the water level in their bottle. Taping off the level or drawing a washable line on the bottle before you go to bed and checking it in the morning is a good trick. They probably are just being sneaky and drinking while you’re away.
  3. For the first few days, keep an eye on that cute booty for signs of wet tail. It can be prevented by avoiding causing your hamster undue stress. Symptoms include a messy bum, dehydration, loose poop, a hunched back, and/or bad smell. If you notice any of these, you must take your hamster to the vet. Feel free to contact us too.

Other Things to Consider

He/she needs to get to know you. Go slowly and have patience.

Welcome to the exciting world of hamster racing! Did you know hamsters can run up to 8 miles per night? But you can only enjoy this if you give them a wheel! Because he/she is still young, be sure to provide them a wheel that they will be able to grow into. If their back arches as they run, the wheel is too small. Aim for at least 8” with a solid running surface. Some good brands include Wodent Wheel, Carolina Storm (both available online), Comfort Wheel, the 12” Silent Spinner, and Flying Saucer (all available online and in stores). 

Congratulations, you now have your own interior decorator! Provide him/her with both homemade toys made from non-toxic materials and store-bought toys. Be creative! Stick to aspen, kiln-dried pine (it will say on the bag) or paper-based beddings (we suggest Kaytee Klean and Kozy). Cedar and non kiln-dried, and products labeled "soft wood" can irritate your hamster’s sensitive respiratory systems and lead to death.

You’ve just adopted a tiny food critic! Seed mixes provide great variety, but hamsters tend to pick out their favourite bits and leave the rest—if you could eat cupcakes and french fries all the time, wouldn’t you? So, we suggest that you offer seed mix alongside a staple block food. You can buy more from us or online.

Unlike most kids, this one has no problem eating their fruits and veggies. They will enjoy a small amount of fresh food as often as possible. Visit our treats page for a list of options! We suggest that you feed fresh foods or healthy treats instead of pet store goodies. It’s hard to resist the call of the yogurt drop or edible log, but your friend will thank you!

What about bath time? Don’t fill up that tub! Your hamster should never get wet! Instead, your hamster will keep themselves clean if you provide them with a dish of sand. You can find hamster safe sand in your pet shop branded as chinchilla sand (NOT dust!). Otherwise, look no further than the hardware store for a bag of children’s play sand. Before giving it to your hamster, spread it on a baking sheet and toss it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes to sterilize it—this is important! Let it cool, and you’re good to go.

Your new Syrian hamster is a little socially awkward. Unfortunately, things can turn deadly if you allow two hamsters to meet or live together. So no play dates or breeding! We take a lot of care to do what we do in a way that is safe and not stressful for the animal.

If you notice your hamster is looking unwell, make sure to take it to the vet. We will try to help you find one if you shoot us a message!

Above all, love your new best friend!

Your New Hamster