Hamsters are cute, affectionate animals. They can bring positivity and happiness to the hearts of their owners.
So, you’re probably wondering: Can a hamster be an emotional support animal? And if they do, what’s the proper documentation for getting one?
The answer is yes! Hamsters can qualify to be emotional support animals. Do you want to find out more?
In today’s article, I’ll tell you how hamsters provide their owners with emotional support. Let’s dive into the details right away.
Can a Hamster Be an Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals (ESA) can provide mental support to people with disabling mental illnesses. They’re different from service animals, which are usually dogs.
An ESA can basically be any animal that offers emotional support to its owner, and hamsters are no exception.
Unlike service animals, emotional support animals aren’t trained to perform any particular tasks for their owners.
Instead, their presence provides therapeutic benefits to the owner’ mental health. In turn, it can improve their quality of life and reduce the symptoms of the disability they’re suffering from.
For that reason, any pet can become an emotional support animal, including hamsters.
What Makes Hamsters Good Emotional Support Animals?
The initial thought of having a hamster as an emotional support animal might sound unconventional. However, you’d be surprised to know that hamsters make good ESAs.
Let me tell you why.
1 – Small Body, Big Heart
As small as they are, hamsters have big personalities. They also love their owners a lot.
In fact, hamsters can recognize their owners’ scents and voices. Not only that, but they feel safe and comfortable around their owners.
In other words, they’re affectionate, and they love their owners.
2 – Low Maintenance
Hamsters don’t require high maintenance. For starters, you only need to clean the hamster’s cage once a week.
The cleaning process isn’t difficult either. Additionally, they groom themselves.
Unlike dogs, they don’t require grooming, training, or long walks. They also aren’t picky about food.
More importantly, they don’t require large amounts of food or water. On top of that, these fuzzy pets only need a small living space.
On that note, keeping a hamster isn’t expensive, as you won’t be spending a fortune on food and grooming.
3 – Pocket-Sized
Hamsters don’t require a big living space. For that reason, the furry rodents make the perfect travel companion.
While you won’t actually put a hamster in your pocket, you can easily carry it around in a small cage or a designated container.
Plus, you won’t have to carry a lot of food around, as they eat tiny portions.
4 – Quiet
Dogs and cats are great ESAs, but they can sometimes be noisy. On the other hand, hamsters are quiet and don’t cause any disturbance.
You can have an entertaining play time with your hamster without annoying your neighbors!
5 – Nocturnal Companions
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Don’t fret! Your emotional support hamster will be awake to keep you company.
Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they’re more active at night. So, whenever you wake up from a bad dream, you’ll find your furry rodent waiting to comfort you.
Can I Buy an Emotional Support Hamster?
Hamsters aren’t sold as emotional support animals. Instead, you’ll need to adopt or purchase one from a pet store.
After that, you can register your fuzzy buddy as an ESA.
It’s best if you go for a young, healthy hamster. Additionally, you should take it to the vet for a quick check-up before registering it as an ESA.
How to Register Your Hamster as an Emotional Support Animal
It’s essential to understand the difference between ESAs and service animals. While service animals are legally protected and have official registrations, ESAs aren’t.
Alternatively, emotional support animals should have a certified letter from a mental health professional, including the following:
- Qualification of the mental health professional
- License number and signature of the same mental health professional
- A clear explanation of your condition and how the ESA can help you
If you’re unable to find a qualified mental health professional that can write this letter for you, there are still other ways you can get your hamster certified.
For starters, there are multiple online letter services that can provide you with a professional, certified letter. These services include ESA Doctors, CertaPet, and Touch ESA.
Keep in mind that these services aren’t for free, and they require mental evaluation.
If you come across an online organization that claims to provide ESA letters without mental evaluation, it might be illegitimate.
That said, you should thoroughly do your research on any organization before applying for an ESA letter.
What Mental Health Issues Can Hamsters Help With?
A hamster can definitely brighten up your life, but did you know it can help with certain emotional and mental conditions?
Let me tell you about some conditions that emotional support hamsters can help with.
1 – Depression
Pets can significantly help with depression. Having a tiny, playful companion can ease feelings of depression and loneliness.
On top of that, hamsters can help you get moving. You’d be surprised how much playing with your furry rodent can cheer you up.
Playtime is fun for you and your hamster. A couple of minutes with your little buddy can make your day better!
However, you need to keep in mind that getting a pet isn’t an alternative to professional help.
While an adorable hamster can help with everyday life, it’s best to consult a mental health professional if you’re struggling with depression.
2 – Anxiety
There’s nothing more relaxing than playing with a lovable hamster. If you’re suffering from anxiety, a hamster might offer some much-needed routine.
Caring for your furry pet is also a perfect way to unwind at the end of a long, stressful day. Even observing your little friend playing around in its cage can feel peaceful and fun.
3 – ADHD
It goes without saying that a pet won’t magically treat ADHD. However, children suffering from ADHD can benefit from having a pet.
In fact, hamsters are ideal first pets since they can teach children about responsibility. On top of that, emotional support hamsters can help kids develop their time management skills.
Not to mention how playing with hamsters can reduce stress levels.
On top of that, playing with tiny rodents can also provide a great energy outlet for kids with ADHD.
In this case, Syrian hamsters might be a better option. That’s because smaller hamsters don’t do well with being handled.
Before Getting an Emotional Support Hamster
Having a pet is a big responsibility. While an emotional support hamster can ease up your day-to-day life, you’ll also need to provide it with appropriate care.
Generally, hamsters are low-maintenance pets. However, you’ll still need regular vet visits, cage cleaning, and routine feedings.
If you provide your pet with care and love, they’ll return the favor!
So, can a hamster be an emotional support animal? The answer is yes! Hamsters can be good emotional support animals.
They’re cute, affectionate pets. Additionally, they require low maintenance, and they’re ideal for both adults and children.
Hamsters are small, so they make good travel companions too. More importantly, they don’t require a lot of food or water!
To register your hamster as an ESA, you’ll need a certified letter from a mental health professional.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.