Are you thinking about getting a pet hamster for you or a child? Check out this list before you go to the pet store to make sure you get a healthy and happy hamster!

  • 01 of 07
    Hamster on Green Background
    GK Hart & Vikki Hart/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Hamsters are popular pets for children. They are small rodents that typically live about two years, are usually best if housed alone, and come in a variety of colors and breeds. Different breeds are known for different traits and any potential owner to be should learn about the choices they have before picking one out to take home. 

    • Chinese Hamsters - These small hamsters are not as common as other kinds of hamsters. Many people often mistake them for dwarf hamsters.
    • Dwarf Hamsters - Several...MORE varieties of dwarf hamsters, such as Roborovskis and Russians, exist and are similar to Chinese hamsters.
    • Syrian Hamsters - Syring hamsters come in several color variations and go by different names such as goldens and teddy bears.
  • 02 of 07
    Dwarf hamster
    Dwarf hamster. Getty Images/jade_c

    Not every hamster in the pet store is of optimal health. Moving from supplier ​to store to a new home can be a stressful period for baby hamsters and they will often get sick from it. Learn how to choose a healthy hamster and what to watch for after you take it home. Hamsters that are younger are best for taming as they will most likely be friendlier from the get-go. Choose an active hamster and one that doesn't look like he has a wet rear end or watery eyes. And even if a cage seems to have...MORE a few sick hamsters, it is probably best to avoid buying any hamster from that group since hamster diseases are very contagious.

  • 03 of 07
    Hamster cage
    Hamster cage. Getty Images/Cultura RM/Adrianko

    There are many hamster cage options available online and at pet stores but some cages are better than others. Several cages (like the ones with all the tubes and colors) may look cool but aren't very functional. These popular cages are difficult to clean while some other kinds, like fish tanks, aren't good for hamsters to live in due to a lack of appropriate ventilation. You also have to take into consideration that smaller hamster breeds have different cage considerations than the...MORE larger Syrian varieties. Regardless of what kind of hamster you choose, it's a good idea to get your hamster cage all set up with bedding, a water bottle, a wheel, chew toys, and other necessities before bringing them home.

  • 04 of 07
    syrian hamster
    Syrian Hamster. Martin Harvey/Getty Images

    Is that store-bought bag of seed mix really the best thing for your hamster? Do hamsters need other proteins, fruit, or vegetables other than what comes in the seed mixture? Find out what a hamster really needs to be eating.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Hamster biting cage bars
    Hamster biting cage bars. Getty Images/retales botijero

    Does your hamster bite? Does your child not want to play with their hamster anymore since it bit them? Learn how to not startle your hamster, entice them to climb onto your hand, gain their trust, and avoid those bites!

  • 06 of 07
    Hamster ball
    Oktay Ortakcioglu / Getty Images

    Hamsters need activities and enrichment to keep them happy and healthy. They also need chew toys to keep their teeth neat and trim. A variety of hamster toys exist in pet stores but other pet rodent toys often work great as hamster toys too. You can even make some of your own toys!

  • 07 of 07
    Hamster with babies
    Hamster with pups. Getty Images/jade_c

    Hamster breeding is not something the casual hamster owner should do. It is best left to hamster breeders who are breeding for specific qualities and temperaments. But accidents happen and sometimes you end up with baby hamsters or a pregnant hamster unknowingly. Learn a bit about hamster breeding and see what you can expect with a pregnant hamster.