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.

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