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Old 04-06-2020, 07:41 PM   #1
Ollie Ollie
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Question Small online businesses to buy from?

Hi! I'm most likely getting a hamster in the near future. (Yay!!!) When I buy accessories, I want to avoid going to Petco or PetSmart as much as I possibly can. That said, aside from viovet, I have yet to find any good places. Anyone here know of any? Also, I need ones that are available online since I don't have any local pet stores where I live of any kind.

(Also, if this has been asked before, a link to that thread would also be awesome!)
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Old 04-07-2020, 04:22 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Hi there. A few tips before you buy. Many accessories and toys sold are unsuitable for Syrian (teddy bear) hamsters as they are too small and only suitable for dwarf hamsters. Anything with an entrance hole that is too small has risks. Also a lot of toys sold for hamsters are not safe - eg ladders with rungs, cloth hammocks and some things made with nails. You can also use a lot if things you already have as hamster toys. Cardboard is always good and safe to chew. Eg a shoebox or tissue box for a house and cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls as tubes and tunnels (slit them down the side so they expand if it’s for a Syrian Hamster).

I wasted a lot of money in rubbish toys that looked cute initially- that either broke very quickly or weren’t safe.

So start thinking about what items you need and the odd fun item is always nice. The basics are

1) A good sized house or nesting box that is open underneath so it can sit directly on the substrate (so they can build a big cosy nest and bury hoards under it).
2) A wheel that is the right size and with a solid running track - not mesh. 6.5” to 10” diameter is fine for dwarf hamsters. 8” to 12” diameter is fine for Syrian hamsters. Ideally 10 to 11” for most Syrians.
3) A potty litter tray and chinchilla bathing sand to put in it (for Syrian hamsters - they will use it if you put it in the place they choose as a pee corner and it saves on substrate and reduces how often cleaning is needed which also reduces stress of clean outs for the hamster).
4) A sand bath - this is mainly for dwarf hamsters - you can use any kind of household dish - eg a Pyrex casserole dish or a salt pig Again Chinchilla bathing sand for that.
5) A good water bottle - ideally 2 or 3 so you have spares in case one fails or even use two water bottles in the cage/tank so if one does fail the other should work.
6) Safe substrate - Boxo (bull bedding) or Kaytee clean and cosy are good.
7) Nesting material - plain white toilet paper is best - torn into strips - a big pile of it so they can forage for it to build their nest.
A shelf or platform - I think this is really important to help them feel secure - they like to have something to sit under and it helps the cage not feel too exposed from above. It’s also somewhere else to go and a good place to put heavier items like a sandbath or food bowl - they can tunnel under heavy items if they’re on the substrate and get squashed).
9) Basic toys like bendy stick bridges.
10) Cork logs also make good toys - a large tunnel that is also an interesting texture to climb over and could be used as a ramp up to a shelf if sat partly under a shelf.
11) Hidey places as toys - eg a coconut, cardboard egg boxes with a hole cut out, and you can get little hides like fruit shapes for fun items.
12) Chew sticks to help keep their teeth trim- whimzees in the smallest size are popular.

Other fun items can be little wood chews shaped like fruits or a caterpillar eg. Or hanging kabobs you can put treats on. Possibly get a sheet of sandpaper! (See below)

Things to avoid - anything with chains - hamsters can get a foot caught and break a leg. Open runged ladders. Check any wood items for splinters or nails or anything else sharp.

Fluffy bedding type things or kapok are a big no no.

Personally I think amazon is the place to go - smalller shops often sell on there and amazon themselves sell a lot of items. Reptile stores on Amazon sell cork logs.

Another thing to get is sisal string - untreated - you should be able to get that on eBay. It is safe for hamsters to chew and can be used to tie things to cages instead of chains etc. Handy to have around.

Big thing of course is getting the right cage/tank. There is a good cage on amazon called the precursor cage- it’s about 80cm by 50cm and not too expensive. That is good for a Syrian but too tall for a dwarf hamster. It’s not too expensive either. Other alternatives are the Lixit Mickey 2XL ( barrow bar spacing and suitable for either a Syrian or dwarf hamster but not cheap - on Amazon). Or the Marchioro Kevin (if you can find one!). Abbaseed also sell the Fop Tamburino which is good for a dwarf hamster and not too expensive. Other than that you can make a bin cage or a detolf hack or get a 40 gallon breeder tank.
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:54 AM   #3
Ollie Ollie
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Thank you! I've been doing tons and tons of research lately. Victoria Raechal I've been watching a lot. I was also trying to avoid amazon as it's frankly a company with questionable morals, but I'll definitely go there before pet stores. Thank you, most of that sounds familiar but if nothing else it's certainly nice to have a list!
Thank you for taking the time to make a detailed reply! =)
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Honestly I would go to chain pet stores before Amazon. Amazon doesn't necessarily have authentic products - pet stores typically do, just be sure they're authorized retailers for various brands(especially food and treats - unauthentic food products from Amazon are a real thing and are a very serious issue, but it can happen with other sources as well).

Chewy is a great option. Again, be certain that they are an authorized retailer for any food products/treat products in particular before ordering. They offer one of the safest substrate options of Oxbow Pure Comfort.

Alternatively for substrate you can order through Small Pet Select. Their substrates are virgin fiber dye free etc, so much better than almost all substrates(except Oxbow Pure Comfort which has the same benefits). Carefresh for example uses a known harmful wood species as one fiber source and is known to be very dusty so I would avoid that at all costs(plus it's very overpriced).

https://www.petmountain.com/product/...small-pet-cage

The Kevin 82 is a good option for a non-Amazon cage. I personally would not use them for Syrians though and would instead go for a much larger DIY cage(preferably twice the size or more) with the ability to hold significantly more substrate(12+ inches). The Kevin 82 is still a very good choice for dwarf species though!
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Old 04-07-2020, 03:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Thank you. I'm mostly buying through viovet (I have yet to look at shipping though, assuming that's fine I will) but I have found a few things on amazon, mostly bedding but the Oxbow does look good and cheaper, so I think I will use that! Might also get aspen but still on the fence. I guess I'll try Chewy, but if I remember it's an extension of Petco (or Petsmart, I can't remember which). I don't like supporting them but what you said makes sense about Amazon.
I plan on making a DIY cage! =) It's gonna have about 1,150 square inches if I remember correctly? 24x48in anyways.
Thank you.
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Old 04-07-2020, 05:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Do you mean Boxo rather than Oxbow? Oxbow is a food - not recommended. Boxo is sold at Walmart I believe. You can also mix two beddings. Aspen can be a bit dusty I find. eg you could mix Boxo with Kaytee Clean and Cosy - makes the Kaytee last longer and its an interesting texture variety for the hamster. Or you could have different bedding in different sections.
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Old 04-07-2020, 05:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Oxbow make more than just food, and while their foods are not the best quality(especially their hamster food which should not be fed) they do have some decent products. Their Pure Comfort bedding is extremely different to Boxo. Boxo is not virgin fiber, it is recycled cardboard - two very different things!

Speaking of food, the food to feed in the US is Higgins Vita Garden. A lot of people will mention Higgins Sunburst but do not feed that - it's loaded with dried fruits which aren't very good for hamster diets regardless of species. People also often mention mixing Sunburst with Mazuri lab blocks which is a very bad idea and should not be done. Stick with high quality whole food protein boosts like Pure Bites shrimp, chicken, turkey, etc.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

Oh yes you're right - I forgot about Pure Comfort bedding. Wasn't keen on that myself. It was ok when it first came out but then got quite dusty and weird texture I found. Kaytee clean and cosy is much better.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Small online businesses to buy from?

The majority of people haven't had any issues with Oxbow Pure Comfort from what I've found, but bad batches can happen with any substrate. Small Pet Select might have better quality control and I'm pretty sure they also have a lower cost - plus they carry virgin fiber aspen which could work for mixing!

In small amounts Small Pet Select seems to be slightly more expensive than Oxbow Pure Comfort, but in bulk it is less expensive compared to the mixed brown and white Pure Comfort you'd have to buy to get a similar amount. You'd also be supporting a smaller business by purchasing through Small Pet Select!

https://shop.smallpetselect.com/prod...nt=16373947265
https://shop.smallpetselect.com/prod...=3408865394714
https://shop.smallpetselect.com/prod...nt=36592982605
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