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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Dwarf Hamster

Dwarf Hamster

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Traits & behavior

Nocturnal
They like to run and play at night and sleep during the day, so be prepared for them to be active and noisy after dark.

Social
Dwarf hamsters can be friendly and social. If raised together, they can live together peacefully (house same gender pairs only).

Hoarders
They have large cheek pouches to carry food, which they'll store in a special hiding place.

Clean
You'll notice your dwarf hamster grooming herself a lot while she's awake.
 

Things to remember

Easily startled
Be careful, if she gets scared, she may bite. Take extra care when awakening her.

Lifting & handling
Handle your dwarf hamster gently -- scoop her up in both hands and hold her with cupped hands so she'll feel safe and secure.

Special needs
Your dwarf hamster's front teeth never stop growing -- so she needs lots of healthy things to chew on like treat sticks and chews.

Exercise
Dwarf hamsters have tons of energy and need to run on a wheel in their habitat, or in an exercise ball daily.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Choose a fortified diet appropriate for hamsters. Fill the bowl approximately 3/4 full.

Fruits & vegetables*
One teaspoon of chopped carrots and dark green veggies like mustard greens, collard greens or kale may be given daily. Offer finely chopped pieces of apple twice a week. Take care not to overfeed these fresh foods. They have a high moisture content and too much can cause an upset stomach.

Oatmeal
A pinch of plain, uncooked oatmeal added to your pet's food dish every day helps provide the fiber needed in her diet.

Treat sticks & chews
These hard and crunchy treats keep your dwarf hamster's front teeth trimmed -- always keep one in the habitat.

Water
Change and fill your dwarf hamster's water bottle with clean water every day.

*Remember that fresh food items require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to avoid spoilage. Treats should be less than 10% of total food intake.

Health

Signs of a healthy dwarf hamster:
 

  • Clean, bright eyes
  • Soft fur
  • Full, slightly-rounded body
  • Curious, active behavior
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Well-formed droppings with no diarrhea
     

Things to watch for:

  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Bare patches in the fur
  • Diarrhea or wetness around the tail area (called "wet tail")
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

If you notice any of the signs described above, please consult a Small Animal Veterinarian as soon as possible.
 

Habitat

Housing
Your dwarf hamster needs a well-ventilated home, large enough for a food dish and water bottle, a hiding area (if one isn't built in) and an exercise wheel. There should be plenty of room for all cage accessories, and for her to move around freely.

Bedding
Dwarf hamsters love to hide and burrow, so lots of clean aspen or other appropriate bedding is a must. Line the home with 1"-2" (3-5 cm) of bedding, and change it weekly or more often if needed.

Cage placement
Place the habitat in a cool, low humidity area, out of direct sunlight.
 

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Comments

23 Aug 2010 6:52 pm

Sarah182 said:

I really liked this guide. it really covered everything. I thought I knew everything there was to know about dwarfs but this helped me out alot! Thanks

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