Hamsters make popular pet rodents, and with proper care, many hamsters can live for two to three years. While feeding and bonding are the fun part of hamster ownership, it is important to consider their medical expenses. Hamsters require veterinarian visits for check-ups and when they are ill. When you adopt or buy a hamster, you are in charge of ensuring their medical needs are met.
As prey animals, hamsters can hide how they are feeling quite well. Once you notice that something is wrong with your hamster, such as an illness or injury, you will need to take your pet to a veterinarian right away.
So, how much should you expect to pay for a vet visit and what funds do you need to cover a hamster’s medical bills? This article will give you all the answers you need.
How Much Does a Hamster Cost?
The average hamster costs between $5 to $60, depending on where you get the hamster. In some cases, the species, age, and health of the hamster you choose may influence the overall cost. The well-known Syrian and dwarf hamster species usually don’t cost more than $40. However, hamsters like Roborovski and Chinese hamsters may cost slightly more. If you were to adopt a hamster, you would only have to pay the adoption fee.
For a small pet, this fee is usually no more than $50 and this fee usually goes towards supporting the adoption organization or covering the cost of the hamster. Certain big-chain pet stores may also have hamsters up for adoption in the back rooms, even if they sell other hamsters up front.
If you are ever faced with the option to adopt from a rescue or buy a hamster from a pet store, adoption is a great choice. As a bonus, by adopting a hamster, the previous owners might be able to give you insight into the hamster’s behavior and medical history.
Another option is to purchase a hamster from someone who is looking to rehome the hamster. The fee that you will need to pay will be up to the person rehoming the hamster.
Other Factors That Influence the Price of a Hamster
Aside from the species of hamster, additional factors may influence the price.
The age of the hamster could influence the overall price, as younger hamsters are often higher-priced than older ones. Since hamsters have a relatively short lifespan, many people don’t want to spend too much on a hamster that is already old and only has a few months to a year left to live.
While some dwarf hamsters can have different colored coats, Syrian hamsters can be found in most varieties. Syrian hamsters can have a short coat (standard) or long coat, or even be hairless. Their coats come in a variety of different colors and markings. If coat type is uncommon, these hamsters may be priced higher than those with standard coats.
When most people buy a hamster, they want one that is healthy and lively. This likely means that you don’t want to pay full price for an unhealthy hamster. Some big chain pet stores may reduce the adoption fee if the hamster is ill. However, the hamster will need to be seen by an exotic veterinarian for treatment and a full health evaluation.
If you are looking to adopt or purchase a hamster from a rehoming site, then the fee is usually higher if the hamster comes with a cage, accessories, food, or bedding. However, it’s uncommon to come across hamsters for rehoming that are already kept in an appropriate setup. So, you will need to buy the right cage and supplies.
If that is the case, it is better to only pay for the hamster and save the rest of your money for vet check-ups or proper supplies.
The Cost of Vaccination and Other Medical Expenses for Hamsters
Hamsters can experience a range of diseases and disorders that require a veterinarian visit. This includes simple things like overgrown nails or teeth, to more severe health problems like cancer, pneumonia, and prolapses. Procedures like neutering or spaying often aren’t recommended for hamsters, since anesthesia may be a risk for these small pets.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, there are currently no vaccinations required for hamsters. However, you will need to take your hamster to a veterinarian when necessary. If you have the funds, you can even take your hamster to a veterinarian for a check-up every six months to a year. This is especially important if you have a chronically sick or senior hamster, as frequent vet visits might be necessary.
The average price of a vet trip ranges from $30 to $950. This can vary depending on what your hamster needs. In comparison to a dog or cat, these are relatively low medical costs. If the hamster is severely ill and the necessary treatment is too invasive or expensive, some veterinarians may recommend euthanasia as the kindest option. If your veterinarian does choose euthanasia as an option for your hamster, it can cost anywhere from $35 to $300.
An annual check-up may only cost as little as $30 to $120, depending on the veterinarian.
The Cost of Food and Supplies for Hamsters
While the hamster itself is usually inexpensive, their cage and supplies can vary in price. Many of the supplies and foods marketed for hamsters can be unsuitable for them. This includes small pet store cages, toxic substrates, low-quality foods, salt or mineral licks, and even small wheels. However, there are plenty of suitable supplies and foods that you can purchase for your hamster.
These items can cost more, but you are usually paying for quality items that will last a long time. You can also modify rabbit or guinea pig cages to accommodate a hamster, or you can purchase custom-made hamster enclosures that are spacious.
This can cost between $100 to $350, depending on the size and quality of the cage. If you are modifying a bin cage or small pet cage, the tools and mesh supplies are relatively inexpensive.
You might need to mix two or more quality hamster foods to get an appropriate mix, which can cost between $25 and $60. Suitable substrates like unscented paper beddings usually cost between $10 to $40. Wheels and enrichment items for your hamster usually cost around $30 to $50 in total.
Altogether, you might spend around $550 on a hamster when purchasing their supplies and food. Afterward, you will only need to pay the ongoing costs, like food and substrate.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Hamster?
Insurance can be beneficial if you want to be prepared for emergency vet visits. It can also reduce the costs of certain veterinarian procedures, along with some medications. Unfortunately, there are not many pet insurance companies that will accept hamsters. However, it is still worth looking into whether your area has any small pet insurance companies or plans available.
Overall, it can cost between $5 to $30 per month to insure a hamster.
Since hamsters don’t have many medical expenses, you might not even need hamster insurance if you are willing to pay for any emergencies or necessary check-ups yourself.
Do Hamsters Need Veterinarian Care?
Yes, ensuring that you take your hamster to a veterinarian when they are sick or injured is essential. Hamsters are capable of feeling pain and suffering and require a trip to the veterinarian just like a dog or cat. Unfortunately, due to a hamster’s small size and short lifespan, many hamsters are not given proper medical care. As a hamster owner, it’s up to you to ensure that all your hamster’s needs are met to keep them happy and free from pain. This includes taking them to a veterinarian that has experience with small pets like hamsters.
Can Hamsters Live Together?
No, hamsters should not live together. Syrian hamsters in particular are highly territorial and cannot be housed together. If they are, mature Syrian hamsters will fight and severely injure each other, often resulting in death. Hybrid dwarfs and Chinese hamsters should not be housed together since they will fight as well. There are some situations where Roborovski hamsters have been successfully housed together, although this should be left to more experienced hamster owners.
So, if you are planning to buy two or more hamsters at a time, you will need to keep them separate from each other. This means buying more than one appropriately sized cage, wheel, and enough safe substrates for each hamster.
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