Before you choose a short-haired hamster for a pet, it is important to have the proper information about the diet, housing, bedding and the symptoms of diseases common in these pets so that you will be able to give it the care it needs.
Hamsters are only small rodents with short, stubby tails and cheek pouches. The short-haired Fancy hamster is the result of selective breeding and does need proper handling. This is really a variety of the Syrian hamster, also known as the Golden Hamster.
Hamsters are very popular pets because they are not expensive to buy or to care for. They are also very clean and don't need a lot of space. There are certain things you need to have in place in your home before you bring home a hamster.
The main thing you need to have is a cage. The cage does need to be large enough for your pet to run around in and it should have bars that are close together so that the hamster won't be able to get out through them.
It is important to be careful when choosing the bedding for your short-haired hamster. Cedar and pine shavings are not appropriate because they could actually kill the hamster. Newspaper is not a good choice either because of the inks and dyes used in printing. Aspen shavings are best because they are low in wood oils that could cause your pet to develop respiratory problems. You can also purchase aspen fresh pellets at the pet store which serve a dual purpose in that they reduce any odor in the cage.
Another popular bedding product for hamsters is known as Carefresh. This is a light, fluffy bedding that has a great rate of absorbency and does reduce odor. However, it does not look very nice. If you want bedding that looks good and is effective, you can consider using Cell-Sorb Plus. This is made from recycled paper with gypsum added. The ammonia will keep odours at bay for about three weeks and the material is more highly absorbent than shavings.
You must always have fresh water in the cage for the hamster. You have to make sure you have the water bottle low enough so that the hamster can reach it when it gets thirsty. You also need to have a dish of food in the cage keeping in mind that the hamster may actually climb into the dish to get the food.
When purchasing the food, you should look for pellets that contain between 18 and 22 percent protein. Although there are seed diets available for hamsters, the seeds should only be used as treats because when you rely on these alone, your pet will not be getting all the nutrition it needs. An average daily diet will be about 12 grams of food and the hamster will likely store some food away in a corner of the cage.
Hamsters do get allergies to food and to cigarette smoke, some perfume scents and furniture polish. When you are cleaning the furniture in the room, it is best to remove the hamster cage to another room until you are finished. Allergies can manifest themselves as increased scratching, especially behind the ears. When you notice that your hamster is drinking more than normal, it is likely that it has a bladder infection and you need to consult a vet for antibiotics.