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:

Cage: $10-$40
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.
hammyWatch 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.

Bedding: $2-$10

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.
hammyAt 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.
hammyAvoid 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.
hammyNEVER 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$
hamster bedding
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.
hammyYou 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.
hammyYou 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.
hammyYou can use some bird seed mix to supplement your hamster diet.
hammyBe very careful to buy hamster/gerbil mix and not rabbit mix because it’s toxic for your little hamster.
hammyThe 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.
hammyThink 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.
hammyWhen 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.

Potty: $1.99-$16
hamster potty 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.
hammyIf 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.
hammyAlternatively, 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


You know how to buy a healthy hamster? Then the next step is to find the most appropriate place to shop for a hamster. Check all the options available and always think twice. This can be the difference between buying a sick hamster or a happy and healthy one.

Pet shop
This is one of the most common and advertised place to buy a hamster. Here you can find almost all the breeds and colors.

hammyThere are many articles and videos on the web on how bad some pet shops are.
The problem is not with the main chain, but with individual stores because of the manager’s lack of involvement or the staff’s lack of knowledge. And so we deal with neglected pets, Syrian hamsters sold as dwarf breeds and many other. The best way to decide if a pet shop really cares for his pets or not, is to visit it often and carefully look at the pets. They look healthy? They have fresh water and food? The pets look happy or are they afraid of people?
hammySometimes, when you buy an older hamster you could deal with numerous problems including bad health and taming issues.
hammyCheck online to see what other hamster owners say. Did they have problems with some pet shops? The animals are treated badly in a certain pet shop? If so, be very careful and try not to buy from that place because you don’t get smoke without fire!

Many hamster owners consider buying hamsters from a professional breeder a more reliable option than pet shops. You have the guarantee that you are buying a happy and healthy hamster. i love that you can keep in touch with the breeder and tell him exactly what hamster you need and when a female haves babies he can keep that certain baby for you. Hamster breeders don’t made hybrid species in order to have only healthy, original color and easy to tame hamsters which is a super bid advantage and you are positively sure that the hamster lived in a stress free environment

hammyIt might be quite difficult to find a hamster breeder in certain areas.
hammyMake sure you are dealing with an experimented breeder and not someone who accidentally ended up with hamster babies.

Rescue centers

“Make adoption your first option”

There are many hamster in rescue centers that just wait for you to take them home. Try to make difference by giving a home to a hamster that has been through a lot. Animal shelters are the best place to start searching for a hamster. They have a small adoption fee of $7-$10.

hammySometimes they are unable to tell the age of the hamster so you might end up with an old hamster.

* PetWebsite.com
* PetFinder.com
* PetClassifieds.us
* MetroPets.org
* TheJessicaWells.com
* HamsterRescue.org.uk
* PreLoved.co.uk
* many other associations, websites, depending on your location .


Don’t rush into the first pet store you see and buy the cutest hamster they have! You might end with a sick hamster or with a pregnant female. The hamster’s health should be very important to you. Remember: if you take good care of your hamster, he can be your pet for 1.5-2 years and even more, so why not pay more attention to this detail?

healthy hamster
© Jannes Pockele

Here is a list that will guide you in your acquiring of a healthy and tamed hamster. 

Things you want:

* eyes: clean, lively and bright
* nose:
dry and clean
* ears
: clean, soft and straight ears
* teeth:
well chiseled, aligned, not overgrown incisors
* anal region:
clean and dry
* coat:
fluffy, shinny, smooth looking and clean
* breathing:
* body:
round (barrel) shaped
* feet:
* condition:
neither skinny or fat
* behavior:
lively, alert, curious, active, friendly, tamed
* walk:
easily, effort free
* odor:
odor free

Things you want to avoid

* eyes: damp, swollen, sticky fur or bald patched near the eyes  
* nose: damp, with sticky fur around it or bald skin near it
* ears: dirty, with bold patches , wound/bite, the presence of bumps or lumps

* teeth: overgrown, incomplete, deformed, cavities or abnormal gums
* anal region:
wet and dirty ( a common sign of Wet tail disease)
* coat:
dirty, sticky, uneven, abnormal density with bald patches
* breathing:
fast, including clicking, wheezing, gurgling or any abnormal noises
* body:
presence of bumps/ lumps  (possible cause of a abscess)
* feet:
dirty, presence of bumps/ lumps
* condition:
overweight or undernourished
* behavior:
apathetic, lethargic, unfriendly, untamed, inactive
* walk:
hard, signs of pain, stiffness
* circling: the hamster is running in circles
* odor: unusual
* swollen abdomen
* continuously scratching
(possibly allergy)
* diarrhea

*Go hamster shopping in the evening or even at night because hamsters are crepuscular and at that time they quite active. You want to be able to see what temperament the hamster really has, don’t you?
* Ask the pet shop owner or the assistant what age is the hamster you intend to buy. 5-6 weeks is the best age you can buy them because they will be tamed easily.
* Make sure the males and females are separated to avoid buying a pregnant female.
* Look at the other hamsters in the cage. They look healthy and active? If not, it’s possible that your hamster is not healthy and active, too.
* There are some cases of hamster owners that bought sick hamsters and didn’t want to get them back to the pet shop. Instead, they treated their hamsters and thanks to their dedication and love, the hamsters overcome their diseases. But not everyone can do this and not every hamster can be treated. Some illnesses unfortunately have no cure, so be extra careful.