The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Hamsters are often considered budget-friendly pets. After all, their food bill is practically nothing when compared to a horse. Nor do hamsters require a lot of space or expensive clipping and grooming.
But hamsters do have some needs that cost money, including needing the vet. So how much do vets charge for treating a hamster?
The cost of taking a hamster to the vet depends, but budget around fifty dollars as a starting point. Emergency care will cost at least double. Regardless of an animal’s size, you are still paying for the time of a highly qualified professional to look at your pet.
Vet bills depend on where you live and the treatment required. There may be areas where a well-check for a hamster costs much less than fifty bucks.
Sometimes, animal shelters allow you to bring an animal in at subsidized costs. But there are other expenses in owning a hamster, too, not just vet bills.
Hamsters And Veterinarians’ Time
The good news about owning a hamster is that they do not require annual vaccinations. This keeps their medical care costs down. They do, however, require a yearly exam and have a fecal test for parasites. The hamster is tiny, sure. But the veterinarian’s time is still being used to do the exam and fecal test.
Veterinarians are doctors of animal medicine. It is expensive to get that degree. Their time costs. This is why that quick visit is going to run you around fifty bucks. However, that time will cost even more if you get the vet out of bed for an emergency visit. You are now paying for time plus inconvenience and, potentially, transport.
Hamsters can get sick or get into something they shouldn’t. Both will result in needing professional care quickly, as a hamster’s health can go downhill fast. The good news is that hamsters take much smaller medication dosages than, say, a German Sheppard, which usually means the cost is significantly less.
If the hamster isn’t chewing enough, its teeth might become overgrown. Teeth that are too long must be filed down by the vet. That costs a bit more time, and hence a slightly higher bill.
What Is The Cost Of Having A Hamster Euthanized?
If your hamster is suffering, you will face the difficult decision of having the pet given a gentle death. This can easily cost around two hundred dollars. You can read this vet’s rant after somebody on Twitter complained about paying $171. She breaks down why the cost is that high.
Sometimes, however, there are cheaper yet still humane options. This SPCA, for example, offers subsidized services and will give your hamster a dignified death for between $25-$50 plus tax. As lovely as these services are, they are unfortunately not available in all communities.
Other Hamster Expenses
Hamsters are such tiny animals, and yet, like any other pet, they have needs. The setup for a hamster can actually be more than some traditional pets.
A cat, for example, can just curl up and sleep on your bed. Trying to do that with a hamster can lead to problems, such as a missing and hungry pet.
So, what do all the hamster accessories cost? Well, that depends, but they are rarely for free.
Hamster Accessory Costs:
It isn’t fair to the hamster to never let it out of its cage. However, letting it run free will probably end badly. Thus, the exercise ball that runs between six and fifteen dollars.
Remember safety: the ball needs to be kept away from stairs and not set on high surfaces. In addition, the ball should not be a way to entertain other pets, such as cats or dogs, which will terrify the poor hamster.
Hamsters need bedding to keep their cage clean and smelling fresh. Each day wet bedding must be scooped and replaced; each week, a complete bedding change is required.
Bedding comes in several forms. First, a natural granule blend with lavender (do not artificially scent your hamster’s home) is 10L for under twenty-five dollars.
A more affordable dust-free paper bedding: 10L for around eleven dollars. Or hemp bedding: 1lb for under ten bucks.
Hamster teeth do not stop growing, just like rabbits and guinea pigs. Chewing their food is not enough to keep their teeth at the correct length.
If they grow too long, it can interfere with eating, drinking, and even worse, grow into their gums and create an infection.
You can pay a vet to file a hamster’s teeth to size. This will cost a lot more than providing chew toys. A number of all-natural chew toy sets can be found for under fifteen dollars.
Technically speaking, a hamster just needs a nice clean bowl to eat from. Not too high, or the hamster can’t get to the food. The downside to the cheap and cheerful bowl is the hamster’s tendency to clamber around and tip it over. It wastes food and creates a mess.
Some automatic feeders are harder to tip for under twelve dollars. Alternatively, use a bowl that clamps to the side of the cage, as you do with birds. These are easy to clean and much harder for the hamster to knock over.
Hamsters may be tiny, but they do need to eat. Thankfully, their food is a bargain compared to a Labrador’s chow. A 3lb bag can run you around 5 to 10 bucks, depending on brand.
Treats, such as chew sticks, can run you around ten bucks for a pack. But just tasty fun rice pops are less than two dollars.
Hamsters need a place to live within your home that is no less than 120 square inches. These smaller, more basic cages start around forty dollars. Your fancier, roomier homes, with lots of exercise options and tunnels, can run up to eighty-dollars.
It’s great if you’ve managed to find an inexpensive cage. But those typically do not come with any entertainment or exercise wheel for the hamster. Hamsters have physical and mental needs, and they must have places within their cage to hide and exercise.
Empty toilet rolls have been used as “tunnels.” But a hamster wheel is going to cost around twenty dollars.
Unless you buy an upmarket hamster hotel, you will need to purchase the water bottle separately. You sometimes end up buying more than one due to the bottle leaking (not good). Read the reviews and hope for the best.
A standard bottle for a hamster is less than five dollars, although there are those around 10-12 dollars that claim that they won’t drip. Water bottles that come paired with a food base and is around ten dollars.
Hamsters are one of the more affordable pets. However, even though they are small, they still have several costs. Nor does their size save you from the price of a veterinarian’s time. However, you will save money due to hamsters not requiring annual vaccinations.