How To Choose a Healthy Hamster

by Hamster Care

A hamster might be a small animal, but choosing a healthy pet is important, no matter what the size. Before bringing a hamster home, examine the animal’s body and get to know its personality to ensure it’s a healthy hamster.

But how do you choose a healthy hamster? Look at the hamster’s surroundings at the family pet store, too; the cage should be clean, offer easy access to fresh food and water, and not be overcrowded with other animals. Hamsters kept under good conditions will become less stressed and have less exposure to disease, meaning your pet will be likelier to live longer.

Examine the Body

Take an opportunity to pick up the hamster and handle it for a few minutes. Look at the overall body condition: a hamster should be neither fat nor skinny, with no swellings. The hamster’s coat should be well groomed-that is, fluffy and smooth-with no bare patches where fur has end up beingen pulled out.

Observe how the hamster reacts to people

The hamster’s eyes, nose, and ears should be clean and free from discharge. Check the fur around the eyes and nose for signs of wetness, staining or crusts. Although it might not be possible, try to get a look at the teeth, as they should not be overgrown and should be well-aligned.2 Also, check for wet or matted fur on the chin.

Observe the hamster’s breathing, which should be quiet and not labored, with no wheezing, clicking, or gurgling noises. Now, put the hamster down and watch it move around. It shouldn’t display any signs of lameness, stiffness, or reluctance to proceed.

Check out the Personality

Hamsters should be bright and curious in attitude and never lethargic. This can become a bit hard to judge in a nocturnal animal such as a hamster, but with attention-and perhaps some very gentle prodding-a hamster should wake up and seem to be inquisitive about what is happening. Check for soiling around the rear end or wetness on the tail, as this may indicate a problem with diarrhea. Although most will be skittish at first, try to pick a hamster that is relatively calm about being approached, along with OK with being handled by people.

Tips for Choosing the Right Hamster

  • Try to find out the age of your hamster, and adopt one that is as young as possible-around 6 weeks old is best.
  • If any of the hamsters in the same cage-or even at the exact same store-seem ill, resist the temptation to adopt from there. If it is contagious, your hamster may fall ill next, perhaps even after you have already taken it home.
  • Make sure the store separates males and females. Familiarize yourself with the differences between males and females, and if the store doesn’t separate them or seems unsure about the gender of the hamsters, move on to another shop. It is best to avoid the possibility of surprise litters, especially in very young hamsters.
  • If the shop will not let you handle the hamster before you buy, it is best to move on as it is definitely worth trying to handle a potential pet to assess its temperament.

Most health problems in hamsters can be treated, especially if detected in the early stages. Moreover, it is still critical to be aware of the diseases that hamsters can carry and how to keep both a hamster and its owner as healthy and happy as possible. For further information, check out Hamster Health and Diseases.

By HamsterCare.Net

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