So you’re wondering what hamster supplies you need for your new pet?
This guide will show the complete list of things you need for a hamster PLUS a list of things you should avoid.
Let’s get started:
The Hamster Cage
…and The #1 Mistake Most New Owners Make
A hamster cage is the most important item you need to get.
But this also where most new owners make a huge mistake.
The good news is you won’t be one of them — after you read this article.
So what exactly is that mistake?
Well if you went out and bought a cage based on what’s available in the pet store for hamsters, you would have gotten it all wrong.
Most hamster cages sold in stores are far too small. In fact, the ASPCA recommends at least 360 inches square of floor space for a hamster.
That rules out all of the fancy plastic cages with tubes and most of the bar cages you see in stores.
So what should you get then?
Surprisingly, the best cage for your hamster isn’t a hamster cage…it’s a 40 gallon glass tank
A tank like this has great ventilation, is escape-proof, and is easy to clean. You’ll also have enough space for your hamster to be happy and for you to fill with all sorts of interesting cage accessories.
Now, you might be thinking that the modular plastic cages look more fun. Or a smaller cage fits better in your room.
But that tiny plastic cage is going to be a nightmare to clean and you will have to clean it more frequently. I don’t know about you…but I don’t enjoy cleaning out a stinky cage multiple times a week.
And as if that’s not enough, your hamster will be stressed out in that small cage, which leads to all sorts of problems like chewing of the cage bars or health problems in the long run.
So if you care about the well-being of your new pet, or if you simply want to have more fun and less work with your pet, go with the 40 gallon tank
If glass tanks are not possible for you, the next best thing would be a DIY plastic bin cage or a cage made from modified furniture. These take a bit more work but can be cheaper if you are on a tight budget.
Just remember that the larger your cage, the better it is for you and your hamster.
Your hamster need bedding to burrow in and to build a nest with.
And hamsters are happier when they are given a deep layer of bedding to burrow in.
Good bedding also helps to absorb smells and urine and let you go longer before having to clean the cage.
It might not be apparent to a new owner but hamster bedding is probably the most expensive thing when you’re keeping hamsters.
This is something that you’ll have to buy over and over again.
And as it turns out, the total cost of bedding over the lifespan of your hamster easily costs more than the a cage.
What’s more, there are so many bedding options on the market that it can be confusing for a beginner.
So what should you get?
In my experience, the best bedding is a mix of inexpensive aspen wood bedding as a base and a handful of paper-based bedding.
Aspen provides excellent absorption, is an good digging medium and is super inexpensive.
Paper-based bedding such as Kaytee Clean and Cozy is soft and is great as a nesting material for your hamster and using a handful each time keeps costs low.
Read more about hamster bedding here.
Your hamster will need water from a bottle which can be attached to the cage or placed in a water bottle holder.
My personal preference is a 2 in 1 set that comes with a bottle and a ceramic bottle holder.
Water bowls are not suitable for hamsters because they tend to spill or get bedding kicked into them.
Good hamster food keeps your new pet healthy and may even extend its lifespan.
Your hamster will need food that is formulated with the right amounts of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals.
My personal favorite is a food mix like Supreme Hazel Hamster (also known as Harry Hamster in the UK), a food pellet like Oxbow Hamster and Gerbil food, or a mixture of both.
You may also give your hamster fresh food as treats but their main source of nutrient needs to be from a food mix or pellet.
Food made for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals are not suitable for hamsters and may cause health problems.
Anyone who tells you that an exercise wheel is optional has no idea what they are talking about.
In the wild, hamsters can run many miles every night and since your hamster is confined in a cage, you will need to get a wheel for it to make sure it gets all the running it needs.
Your wheel should be large enough so that your hamster does not bend its back while running in it. An 8 inch wheel is usually large enough.
It should have a solid running surface. Wheels with rungs (or gaps) are not suitable and may injure your hamster.
My favorite wheel is the Wodent Wheel which is a sturdy wheel that comes in its own stand and makes little or no noise (noisy wheels are the worst if you keep your hamster in the bedroom!)
A hideout is simply a cozy, private place for your hamster to sleep in.
There are DIY options such as small cardboard boxes, plastic tubs with holes cut out of them, or coconut husks but these have to be replaced as they get chewed up by your hamster.
I prefer ceramic hideouts as they are easy to clean, don’t get chewed on, and come in so many cute designs.
Here is a bunch that look great in any cage.
Toys and Chews
Toys and chews keep your hamster from being bored and also make the cage more interesting.
Many hamster owners keep a lot of these and swap them out to match the theme of their cages.
Some of the more popular ones are:
- Bendy tunnels and ladders
- Swings and see-saws
- Puzzle playgrounds
- Platforms (DIY hamster platform)
- Steps and climbers
You can also find a list of my favorite hamster toys here.
Food dishes are optional and more decorative than functional.
Some people prefer scattering food all over the cage so that their hamster can forage for it, kind of like what they do in the wild.
Here are some cute hamster food bowls.
Bath Sand & Toilet
Hamsters love rolling in bath sand.
If your hamster smells bad (it shouldn’t if you clean your cage regularly), letting it roll around in bath sand may help to get rid of the smell.
Some hamsters can even be trained to go potty in a toilet filled with bath sand.
Do not get powders or dusts as these may cause breathing problems in your hamster.
For the bath tub or toilet, use a shallow container that the hamster can get into easily or make a luxurious DIY one like this
Here’s the safe bath sand I recommend.
This is optional but useful in case you need to transport your hamster. It can also double up as a safe place to put your hamster when you clean its cage.
Here’s where you can get some hamster carriers.
I may be completely biased but this blog has all the information you need to take great care of and have fun with your hamster.
In addition, these are some of my favorite hamster books:
- Homemade for Hamsters: Over 20 Fun Projects Anyone Can Make, Including Tunnels, Towers, Dens, Swings, Ladders and More
Things Not to Get
Here is a list of things that are bad for your hamster:
- A tiny cage – as stated above, cages that are too small cause stress to your hamster and are difficult for you to clean
- Fluffy cotton wool bedding – these can cause obstruction in a hamster’s cheek pouch or worse, suffocate them
- Wheels with rungs – common cause of injuries in hamsters
- Wood bedding made from pine or cedar – these can lead to respiratory problems
Free Hamster Taming Handbook
If you’re like me when I first got started, I had no idea how to get my hamster to get used to me.
It took me way to long to learn how to get my hamster to voluntarily come on my hand.
This photo is that of Oatmeal, my dwarf hamster which I eventually tamed
…and you can learn how to do that with your hamster with my free hamster taming eBook.
You’ll learn all the tips and tricks I used to get my hamsters to LIKE coming to me.
Just click the button below and I’ll send the book to you immediately: