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Old 02-15-2020, 05:43 AM   #1
Vierville
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Default The cost of owning a hamster

I've had pets all my life - many dogs, various birds, fish and just short of two years ago I got my first hamster.

As many of you know, hamsters are addictive and I have now had experience keeping five dwarf hamsters, three of whom were rescued though in generally good health except for Nanuk who has a chronic bone infection but seems to live a very full and active hamster life.

I think I've spent more money and certainly more time and effort taking care of the hamsters than on any of the other pets I've ever owned.

I wish that people who think hamsters are good 'starter pets' because they think they are cheap and low maintenance would realise this.

They are actually very high maintenance little animals and need a lot of care, attention and time from their owners.


I wonder how many hamsters out there have the proper care, habitat and nutrition that they require?

It does concern me that they are seen as 'starter pets' when they actually are anything but that.
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:50 AM   #2
Kyrkogrimr
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

I agree with your feelings about hamsters as starter pets, but as someone who also has rabbits, I find bunnies are more expensive. It's quite possible to spend a lot on a hamster, but I find it easier to find inexpensive workarounds for hamsters than rabbits, personally.
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

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Originally Posted by Kyrkogrimr View Post
I agree with your feelings about hamsters as starter pets, but as someone who also has rabbits, I find bunnies are more expensive. It's quite possible to spend a lot on a hamster, but I find it easier to find inexpensive workarounds for hamsters than rabbits, personally.
I've never had rabbits but definitely from a housing perspective I can see what you mean. Not sure about their medical care requirements?

My hamsters have needed more medical care than all my previous pets combined. I absolutely love them and don't for a second begrudge it but I wish that people who are told hamsters are low maintenance would realise this.

Here's a list of the issues that have required veterinary care:

-March 2019: Monty suspected splinter on chest from wood chew

-March/April 2019: Monty suspected skin mites (course of four injections)

-June 2019: Admiral Lord Nelson skin tumours.

-June 2019: Monty anasthetic to investigate skin condition. Exczema diagnosed.

-July 2019: Nanuk eye infection. Eye drops prescribed.

-August 2019: Nanuk second course of eye drops.

-August 2019: Nanuk second opinion, x-rays confirm mouth abscess. Anasthesis and antibiotics.

-September 2019: Nanuk repeat visit and medication change

-October 2019: Nanuk repeat visit, x-rays and another medication change.

-December 2019: Nanuk medication change.

-January 2020: Norman missing skin off nose from overly enthusiastic chewing, ointment prescribed

- January 2020: Nanuk medication change

-February 2020: Monty pouch infection.

It seems to be never-ending!
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

I think any pet can become expensive in some way(even if it's more about time than money).

As much as people don't expect vet bills for hamsters, they can and often do occur once or twice in their lifetime in the average hamster. For some hamsters there can be quite a bit more in the way of vet bills though.

Food and treats aren't typically the expensive part of care for most pets. Substrate and litter can get expensive and so can cages etc for a lot of "exotic" pets, but there are some really good ways to avoid spending more than necessary while still providing proper care.

I see so many people making the mistake of buying expensive tiny cages for all sorts of pets. We should all be actively researching any pet before we even try to take one(or more where appropriate for the species)home, but unfortunately not everyone is responsible enough to do that. Knowing how much space an individual or pair etc of any species actually needs allows you to make the right long term investment instead of throwing money down the drain on improper housing - and if you can't do so for certain pets such as many snakes(who shouldn't be housed in adult size enclosures right away and need "grow out" enclosures), you can look into appropriate housing that isn't too expensive but still comfortably houses them.

There really is no starter pet of any kind - definitely not hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits just as a few examples! Hamsters technically should be less cost intensive than rabbits(a big reason being size), but both can still become costly especially if you make housing mistakes for example and end up wasting money.
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

I learned a lot the hard way with cage items - wasted a lot of money on cage toys that were either unsuitable, dangerous or just broke very quickly. I think the biggest initial expense is the cage but I am very careful with toys and set up now to avoid things like splinters - some toys and houses even have nails! I bought sandpaper for the first time in my life! And that helps when checking wood items. Bendy bridges are very popular but some of those have gaps a foot can get caught in - I only get the smooth coloured ones now. Putting hard toys under a shelf prevents fall injuries as they just land on substrate or soft items.

But it does sound like you’ve had duke bad luck so far! Also dwarf hamsters are hybrids and perhaps more prone to health issues! With all 3 of our Syrians, none have needed vet treatment until they were very old. Our Robo has to have a couple of visits and meds at less than 1.5 years old. Russian dwarf hybrids have the genetic possibility for disease and also the same from possible breeding practices.

The skinned nose doesn’t sound good! What was he chewing?! Sadly many people who get them as starter pets, don’t want to know when they get sick or old or injured and sell them for rehoming etc.

Sorry your little ones have had these issues. I think Syrians tend to be seen as the “easier” starter pet but even they can have genetic predispositions to certain health issues or die young.

They are lucky to have you to look after them.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Sadly many people who get them as starter pets, donít want to know when they get sick or old or injured and sell them for rehoming etc.
I think that's so incredibly sad.

Serendipity, where did you get your coloured bendy bridges from, please?
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

Serendipity7000, at first he skinned his nose on a seed bell which I then removed and then he took to skinning his nose on his chew sticks (applewood and hazelnut wood sticks). I honestly don't know how he does it!
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

Some hammies are just maverick! I get the bendy bridges from ranch house cages on eBay. They come with screw fixings so you can screw them to the bars (secure ramps) but you can just take the two screws out and it’s a standard bendy bridge (if you have a screwdriver!)
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:44 PM   #9
Vierville
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Sadly many people who get them as starter pets, don’t want to know when they get sick or old or injured and sell them for rehoming etc..
That is absolutely heartbreaking but it is true. My beloved little Admiral Lord Nelson was one of those...he was abandoned at a petshop as an elderly hamster after he was attacked by a cat and lost an eye. I went in to the pet shop to get food for my other hamster and saw him. I asked the shop assistant what was wrong with him as he was extremely thin and had the eye injury.

I didn't sleep a wink that night and first thing the next morning I went and got him. He was the most wonderful little hamster and I was honoured and priviledged to be able to make his last few months as good as possible.
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: The cost of owning a hamster

Lovely that you adopted him. That is maybe why you’ve had so many costs, adopting hamsters that haven’t had the best life or treatment.
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