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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Hamster as a Pet?

By Tiffany Manley
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Many individuals choose to have a hamster as a pet at some point. Some feel that it is a great pet to start teaching children pet care and responsibility. Others might view hamster care as being easier than caring for a cat or dog. People who are allergic to cats or dogs might try a hamster because they can be contained in certain areas. There also are some negative aspects of having a hamster, such as the care required, the short life expectancy, the initial and recurring costs and the hamster’s small size and containment.

Although caring for a hamster does not require a great deal of time, there is some time and dedication required to care for a hamster. Hamsters must have fresh food and water available daily, and their cages should be cleaned at least weekly. This involves changing the hamster’s bedding and cleaning the cage. Having a hamster as a pet might not involve the level of care required of other pets, but it does warrant having a schedule to care for the hamster’s needs.

When an individual chooses to keep a hamster, he or she should keep in mind that many hamsters do not have a long life expectancy. This is especially important for people who have children. Many hamsters live only one to four years, which is a relatively short period of time for a pet.

In addition to the initial cost of purchasing a hamster, there are also other initial costs such as the cage, food, play equipment and bedding. After these items have been set up, there still are recurring costs for items such as food and bedding. Many times, individuals enjoy purchasing extra playthings for their hamsters; this also would qualify as a recurring cost. These items are relatively inexpensive, but it is important for an individual to budget for these items before purchasing a hamster as a pet.

Many people enjoy the fact that having a hamster as a pet allows them to still have a pet to enjoy while not having to commit a great deal of space to the pet. Hamsters usually have small cages and tend to stay in their cages. They can be let out in something such as an exercise ball, but this generally is done only for short periods of time. For individuals in apartments or small living quarters, hamsters might make a great choice because of the small amount of space that the pet uses.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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