If you’ve never had a hamster for a pet, but you’re considering one for your family, you’re going to want the basics on care for him. Here is a thorough list of things you’ll need to know on how to take care of a hamster.

How to Take Care of a Hamster

How to Take Care of a Hamster

1. Purchase Your Supplies

Before you actually purchase or adopt your hamster, you’re going to need some supplies.

  • Hamster cage
  • Hamster food
  • Food dish
  • Water bottle
  • Bedding material
  • Nesting material
  • Exercise wheel
  • Hamster hutch
  • Hamster toys

Hamsters are exceptional climbers, and love to play, and run about. If you’re able to, you could also purchase a playpen designed for very small animals to play in.

Find Your Hamster

Pet stores are an obvious choice for finding a hamster. Breeders, and animal shelters are also out there. You can decide, before going in, what kind of hamster you want, which may partially be determined by the size of the particular breed.

There are five popular hamster breeds used as pets, and these come in a variety of sizes.

  • Syrian Hamsters—5 to 7 inches long in adulthood
  • Chinese Hamsters—4 to 5 inches long in adulthood
  • Dwarf Campbell Hamsters—3 to 4 inches long in adulthood
  • Dwarf Winter White Hamsters—3 to 4 inches long in adulthood
  • Roborovski Hamsters—up to 3 inches in adulthood

2. Name Your Hamster

Of course, your hamster needs a name. Hamsters are comical, adorable little creatures that deserve equally silly, cute names. You can check out some websites for more ideas, but here are a few of our favorites.

  • Butterscotch
  • Snookums
  • Love Bug
  • Hammy
  • Hamlet
  • Gingersnap
  • Taz
  • Sparky
  • Peppermint Patty

Don’t forget to let your hamster’s personality and behaviors help you choose his name. His happy habits, silly poses, or his coloring might be just the thing to help you narrow down the list.

3. Feed Your Hamster

Hamsters primarily eat grains, which most commonly are received through hamster food that can be purchased at a pet store or online. They also love carrot tops, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower. Make sure your furry buddy gets at least some of these every day, though you do want to limit them. Too much of a good thing can make Hammy a bit ill.

Hamsters also need Timothy hay, and love fruits like pears, strawberries, and bananas. Both of these types of food should be limited, and treated as supplements or as healthy treats, rather than the main course.

Of course, your hamster also needs clean, non-chlorinated, filtered water daily. Change out his water bottle daily, along with getting rid of any old fruits or vegetables.

4. Clean Up After Your Hamster


Generally speaking, it’s going to be the long-haired hamster breeds that need assistance with grooming, besides a bath every so often. You’ll need to brush long-haired hamsters reasonably frequently. This helps to remove matting in fur, and eliminate possible odors from caked in food or bedding material.

Sometimes, your hamster will need to be washed. This should be done with a soft, wet cloth. Do not use soap or shampoo to clean your hamster’s fur. Always dry your hamster afterward, using a soft, dry cloth, and holding him in the cloth in your hands. Simply hold him in the cloth until he is dry, to avoid any illness he might catch from the cold.

Cleaning Your Hamster’s Cage

Cleaning Your Hamster’s Cage

Another key thing to your hamster’s health is cleaning out his cage regularly. Here are a few simple instructions on how to do so properly.

1. Do Daily Touch-Up Cleaning

Every day, look for things that need to be cleaned. Is there excess waste collecting? Has your little friend had any accidents with his water dish? Do spot cleaning in these areas.

You should also remove any old food, like aged produce or pellets. And you should always remove water daily, clean out the water bottle and refill before replacing in your hamster’s cage.

2. Do a Weekly Thorough Cleaning

Once a week, you should completely remove everything from your hamster’s cage and clean it with soap and water.

  • Remove your hamster from the cage.
  • Remove all toys, hutches, dishes, et cetera.
  • Remove and discard bedding.
  • Wash out the cage with soap and water. Let the cage dry thoroughly before replacing bedding, objects, and hamster.

Now You Know

Once you’ve gotten together your supplies, you’re ready to go out and find your hamster. You know how to take care of a hamster, you know where to find one, and you even know how to clean up after one. Let the fun begin!