Exactly how much does it cost to take care of a hamster?I know… You are anxious about buying a hamster. But don’t rush into it! The initial cost for buying a hamster it’s not quite low and you will have to spend some money every month to take care of your hamster.Here is a list that will help you to make your own budget:
The price generally varies depending on the type of cage: wired, aquarium or bin and on the size and age of the hamster. Syrians might sometimes get stuck in Sam/Penplax tubes or in the Critter Trail.
Watch out! You might like the cage that is bright colored, with lots of tubes and fully plastic, but look at the price tag. It’s very possible to cost quite a lot.
It has various purposes: absorbs the odor, your hamster uses it as a toilet, lines the floor, and allows your hamster to hide in it. Bedding supplies are found in a wide variety, from wood pulp fiber, aspen shavings and various other shavings, recycled newspaper, Kaytee Soft Sorbent, Eco-Straw Pellets and many others.
At pet shops you can find even bedding smelling like apples or strawberries. Be careful when using those because they can cause your hamster an undesirable allergy.
Avoid fluffy bedding material as it can severely affect your hamster. Even if the package says it’s safe for your hamster, this kind of bedding, usually made out of some mix of cotton, polyfibers, and polyester, it’s responsible for the horrible deaths of hundreds of hamsters and other rodents every year.
NEVER use cedar or pine shavings. The chemicals in these two types of wood cause respiratory problems. Even if some hamster owners do not complain about these types of bedding, why take the chance when there are so many other healthy alternatives?
Paper bedding: as low as 1$
This is optional and the price is very low. You need some 2-8 squares of toilet paper. Put them in your hamster’s cage and he will do the rest. My hamsters just love it. They use is as a blanket or they chew it all in tiny bits and decorate the cage with it or even make their nest cozier, by stuffing toilet paper in they houses.
Water bottle: $2-$15
It’s a must for your hamster. The bottle is the best choice because your hamster can not spill it and make a real mess in the cage.
You have to be careful when you put this in the hamster’s cage: it has to be high enough so he can not chew the plastic part, still allowing him to drink the water easily.
Food dish: $2-$9
Avoid materials such as plastic or wood. These things do not last long in the presence of a big chewer. A ceramic bowl is the best choice and you can find them in various sizes, shapes and colors. Choose a bowl that is quite high, allowing your hamster to eat properly and, at the same time, not allowing them to throw the food out of the bowl when searching for favorite food.
You can easily use a ceramic bowl from your kitchen.
Hamster mix: $2.5-$25
This should be the main food in your hamster’s diet. Usually, the hamster mix consists of rodent pellets, peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, dog biscuit, crushed oats and barley. If you buy a more expensive hamster food you might find in the bag ingredients such as dried vegetables and fruits.
You can use some bird seed mix to supplement your hamster diet.
Be very careful to buy hamster/gerbil mix and not rabbit mix because it’s toxic for your little hamster.
The additional proteins and calories that the hamster needs should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables according to your hamster needs.
Hamster toys: $1.2-$30
These are great, for your hamster and for you as well. Your hamster basically needs a wheel so he can exercise freely ($3-$25) and some chewing toys to shorten his teeth. A hamster ball, lots of tunnels and various other toys for chewing or playing can be put on a shopping list for later on to allow you to save some money into the piggy bank.
Think of homemade toys. They are a great way of cutting of some costs! Instead of buying tunnels or other stuff that you may not afford at the beginning you can use a trick: don’t throw away your toilet paper rolls. Use them to entertain your hamster! You can even make some holes in the tubes and glue 3-4 rolls together and make a huge tunnel for your hamster.
When buying the toys check to see if they can harm your hamster. This applies with homemade toys, too. Make sure that the glue or any other product you use won’t affect the health of your hamster.
Yes! Your hamster can be potty trained. Sometimes is piece of cake and sometimes the hamster just takes a detour and has his potty place near the potty. You can choose between various potties that are sold in pet shops and look quite neat.
If you like, you could easily turn a ceramic bowl into a potty.
Potty litter: $1.5-$6
The litter should be changed daily so you would need to buy more to make sure you do not run out.
Alternatively, you can use chinchilla sand but NEVER use chinchilla dust because it will cause respiratory problems to your hamster.
First aid kit: $10-$25
You need to be prepared to help your hamster if he has some health problems. A basic first aid kit for your hamster should contain antibiotic, antiseptic and antihistamine lotions and powders, disinfectant, bandage and some gloves for your protection.
Hamster book: $1.99-$20
I’m not saying you should read the Encyclopedia to learn about hamsters. There are many useful and easy to read books related to hamster, hamster training, hamster breeds, hamster breeding and much much more.
These are the most important products you have to acquire before buying your hamster. This starter kit will assure a healthy and happy living for your hamster.
As you can see, the initial costs are quite high, the average being 150, without considering the hamster.
The monthly shopping list consists of bedding, food, litter:
bedding: usually, one big pack of bedding is enough for one month considering that you change the bedding at least once a week. We will average it $10 (per pack)
food: one or two pack, averaging at $12 (for 2 packs)
litter : two medium packs for $7
The chew toys and other supplies will be replaced as soon as you notice something is wrong in order to prevent any accidents or whenever you want to give them a little surprise
Photo credits: 1, 2