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SMALLPET / health & care

Hamster care guide

Tips from home to health to food and fun


4 things to know about your hamster

  • They can live up to 2 years
  • Genera: Mesocricetus auratus (Syrian) or Dwarf
    - Dwarfs grow up to 4 inches
    - Syrians grow up to 7 inches
  • They are nocturnal (active at night)
  • They are herbivores

How do I set up my hamster’s home?

The first day you bring home your new hamster, make sure it’s a pleasant, calm homecoming. You’ll also want to have a water bottle and a food bowl (heavy enough not to be tipped over) waiting for the new arrival. Fill the habitat with treats, and toys (a wheel or tunnels for exercise and chew toys) to make it a happy hamster home.

Hamsters like to chew, gnaw and gnash. Choose a habitat with a solid bottom or go for a glass aquarium tank with a well-ventilated wire mesh top. Line the habitat with 1 to 2 inches of aspen, pine or recycled-paper. Sprinkle in a few shavings from your hamster’s old habitat and your new friend will feel at home right away. Make sure your hamster’s food isn’t in the same place as the bed

What do hamsters eat?

Pellet food is a good bet for feeding your hamster. It stops them from picking out the most delicious morsels. Feed your hamster everyday, keeping the bowl about three-quarters full. Their diet can include also vegetables, which you can serve to your hamster every other day. Kale, collard greens, zucchini and shredded carrot are all on the menu. Only give hamsters as much fruits and vegetables as they can consume in about 4 hours' time. Don't overfeed hamsters - they like to hoard! As for water, offer it all the time. A hydrated hamster is a happy hamster.

How much should my hamster eat?

  • Pelleted food: refresh daily 3/4 full or 75%
  • Vegetables: dark leafy greens every other day or 15%
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, melons once a week or 5%
  • Treats: raisins and alfalfa hay twice a week or 5%
  • Water: provide clean water daily!

How can I play with and groom my hamster?

Hamsters love their cardio; be sure to provide an exercise wheel or ball for your hamster. Always supervise your hamster when he’s exercising in a hamster ball.

Hamsters engage in an elaborate, and often adorable, cleaning ritual, washing their faces and cleaning out their ears with their feet. No need to help them— they’ve got it covered.

How can I keep my hamster healthy?

Take your hamster to a vet experienced with small pets a few days after you bring her home, then annually.

Take your hamster for a check-up if it displays any of these symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Irregular eating or drinking
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Bald patches
  • Sores on the feet
  • Loose stools
  • Blood in the urine


  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.
  • Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
  • Never grab the fur or tail.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.