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sumbirdy
07-31-2007, 03:52 PM
Either tomorrow or Thursday I will be getting a dwarf hamster. I've wanted one for a long time but have always gone with the more familiar (and supposedly friendlier) teddy bear hamsters. It's been about a year since my hammy boy, PeeDee, passed away and I have now decided that I'm ready for a new one. And I have a few questions on dwarf hamsters for anyone who knows.

* Are they friendly, like to be handled, petted, ect?
* Since they are so small can they easily squeeze through cages with bars? We already have a two story hamster cage that I am planning on using and the bars are about an inch or a little under an inch apart. Do I need to buy a cage that doesn't have bars?
* Is the care of them basically the same as any other hamsters? (as in food they eat, bedding, ect?)

Also any other bits of information you have would be helpful.

I have boy names picked out already (Pyro or Calypso) but if I get a girl I would like some naming help please. I saw a beautiful silver/gray one that I loved and am hoping to get one with that coloring.

IRescue452
07-31-2007, 04:10 PM
As far as handling goes, its luck of the draw with any hamster. I had a very sweet dwarf when I was about 10 years old. It loved to be handled. Handling before you buy is the best way to find a nice one. Don't settle for a feisty one if its all you can find at the moment, you'll be much happier if you wait for a friendly one.

The cage bars should be under 1cm or about .45 inches apart. I don't know how you'd keep anything in a cage with 1 inch bars. I hope this was a typo.

The care is the same as the other hamster varieties.

sumbirdy
07-31-2007, 04:12 PM
I hope this was a typo.

.

:o It was...I'm so used to saying everything is in inches.

sumbirdy
07-31-2007, 04:18 PM
I saw these dwarf hamsters in a pet store. They have live animals but all of their animals are well taken care of and live in roomy, clean cages. I've been in here a few years before where that was not the case but it has changed owners since and they no longer sell anything bigger than a chinchilla. And they don't sell kittens or puppies. Also on every cage or below or above it (except for on the hammies and fishes) they have proper care, requirements, and handling of the animals which I think is really good to have. The only thing I didn't like was that they kept male and female hamsters together.

Christmas_Hamster
07-31-2007, 06:25 PM
What are the measurements of the cage? Do you have a picture of the cage or do you know what the rband name is? What shavings are you using? What brand of food are you using? What breed of dwarf are you getting?

Pine, Cedar and other soft woods shavings contain pheonals which can and will harm hamsters (and other small animals).

Dwarfs are prone to diabetes so you will have to pick out any corn or peas that are in the food mix. They cannot have any corn, peas, carrots, fruit or store bought treats because these foods are high in sugar.

For future reference Teddy Bear hamsters are actually syrian hamsters ;)

sumbirdy
07-31-2007, 11:04 PM
What are the measurements of the cage? Do you have a picture of the cage or do you know what the rband name is? What shavings are you using? What brand of food are you using? What breed of dwarf are you getting?

Pine, Cedar and other soft woods shavings contain pheonals which can and will harm hamsters (and other small animals).

Dwarfs are prone to diabetes so you will have to pick out any corn or peas that are in the food mix. They cannot have any corn, peas, carrots, fruit or store bought treats because these foods are high in sugar.

For future reference Teddy Bear hamsters are actually syrian hamsters ;)


I didn't know dwarf hamsters had breeds. I thought they were a breed themselves :o . What kind of bedding and brand of food should I get?
I couldn't find a pic on the internet that looks exactly like our cage but this is as close as I could get:

http://www.vitavet.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=VV&Product_Code=275257

The difference is that ours is longer (almost twice so) The ramp and second story are bigger and the bowl is set in more. And ours didn't come with a wheel we went and bought one. (Not one of those with the bars.)
Our wheel looks something like this:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/images/Categoryimages/normal/p_16739_24242PZ_24.jpg

Hellow
07-31-2007, 11:59 PM
Pine, Cedar and other soft woods shavings contain pheonals which can and will harm hamsters (and other small animals).http://www.petoftheday.com/i/our_smilies/confused.gif
I dont know about hamsters but i always use Cedar shavings in Little Bit's cage and he has never had any problems. I have heard that Pine shavings have bad affects on small animals but cedar dosen't.

Genny
08-01-2007, 02:31 AM
HI, I've never had a dwarf, but I think if you spend lots of time with it then normally it's gonna be a sweet hamster :) I've heard from people that dwarfs are a little more nippy, but I'm sure there are some exceptions.

The care and feeding is the same for all kinds of hamsters. The names you've picked out are cute--I don't know of any girl names--good luck~

IRescue452
08-01-2007, 05:06 AM
Reggie-you've got that backwards, cedar has the worst effects. But if it doesn't cause problems with your hammie...

I have a mousery and I also have rats. Mice and rats contain a bacteria in their bodies that makes them more prone to respiratory infections than hamsters. This means they are more sensitive to bedding. I find kiln-dried pine to be the best option after soil. Even carefresh is bad because of all the tiny dust particles. The problem is finding a pine bedding that is actually rinsed and kiln-dried. I buy huge packages of America's choice at the hardware store that are meant for horse stalls. The stuff from pet stores seems to bring out the worst in my mice. Kaytee and the walmart brands (names evade me) are bad- they say kiln-dried but they still smell of hydrocarbons and give my mice red noses. Anyway, I talk to tons of mousery owners who raise show mice, and many agree that pine is a good bedding, you just have to watch your rodents and get a decent brand.

Here is a very good site to look at (though phenols are blamed instead of hydrocarbons)
http://members.tripod.com/~antigonemeans/phenols.html

This one's a little more sciency, but it backs up my belief that phenols aren't the problem (hydrocarbons, cedrene oils, and general bacteria associated with untreated beddings are the problem)
http://www.geocities.com/heavyhitter1.geo/Pine.html

Christmas_Hamster
08-01-2007, 10:35 AM
Cedar and Pine are both bad.

I suggest Harry/Hazel hamster food. Carefresh, yesterdays new cat litter, aspen shavings are all great. Some kiln dried shavings still have alot of phenols in them so you have to be careful.

Can you measure the cage?

There are four different breeds of fwarfs. Russian Campbell Dwarfs, Winter White Dwarfs, Chinese Dwarfs and Roborovski Dwarfs.

Jessika
08-01-2007, 10:49 AM
My only suggestion is NOT to handle him a lot right after you bring him home because you're more likely to be bit because he's stressed out. Just put him in his home in a quiet room and let him adjust to the change, then I recommend handling him :)

sumbirdy
08-01-2007, 01:44 PM
I've always used cedar with hamsters and they never had a problem with it.

I can't measure the cage at the moment (I don't think we have anything to measure it with) but it was big enough for regular sized hammies and I don't think a dwarf should have any problems with it.

Anyway, getting one has become a maybe instead of a definant. (Other matters have come up that probably need to be tended to first)

Christmas_Hamster
08-02-2007, 10:32 AM
Please read this carefully:


Cedar and pine bedding are bad for hamsters because these shavings are made from softwoods which contain an oil called "phenols." these phenols are irritating to the respiratory system of hamsters, and prolonged use of these beddings for hamsters build up toxins in a hamster's liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys are 2 main organs that govern a hamster's health; when these organs don't function correctly anymore because of the overburden of toxins, a hamster can't fight off opportunistic diseases like cancers for example.

Some hamsters are extremely allergic to cedar and pine, so you'll see an almost immediate reaction with fur loss accompanied by itching. Other hamsters will start to experience repeated respiratory problems such as colds and breathing troubles, which are surprisingly fatal to many hamsters.

But some hamsters might not show these more immediate signs... they may have stronger respiratory systems & so some people say, "my hamster doesn't have any problem with these beddings!" but you can compare it to people who smoke cigarettes. The damage in the lungs builds up over time, not overnight. Same with hamsters.

Another side effect of hamsters living in pine or cedar bedding is how the irritated respiratory passages will make it difficult for your hamster to survive anaesthesia, should s/he ever need surgery! What happens is that hamsters are administered a gas anaesthesia called isofluorane. If your hamster has lived in cedar or pine, 1) the respiratory passages are damaged and the gas anaesthesia will "leak" into the bloodstream the wrong way, and 2) the build-up of toxins in the hamster's liver will cause the hamster to wake up from anaesthesia too soon... which will not be good for the hamster. The vet may try to overcompensate with more anaesthesia, but this is usually fatal to the little one since anaesthesia puts such stress on them to begin with.

I hope this is enough reasons 4 everybody to not use pine or cedar anymore! The good news is a hamster cans "de-tox" in a couple of weeks if the bedding is changed to aspen or carefresh!

As I said, some hamsters have a more robust respiratory system than others so you won't notice signs of breathing distress. But the damage that happens to the liver and the kidneys is going on all the time, invisibly.

Your hamster is about 8 months old now? She is getting to the age where health problems such as tumours and other cancers start to stir. & Her liver won't be able to help her fight off such problems if it's already got its "hands full" trying to deter the phenols from your hamster.

By changing the bedding from pine to aspen, or carefresh, you will be making a big step towards allowing your hamster to live as long a lifespan as possible. As it is they live such short lives, so why not do everything you can to make them spend as much time with you as possible?

You also don't know whether the babies will have as strong a respiratory system as their mom. The pine may affect them differently. I would strongly recommend changing the pine bedding after 15 days have passed to either aspen or care fresh.

I used to use pine also. In fact I used it 4 over a year and a half b4 I learned about what it does to hamsters. I had a few hamsters that had respiratory problems and a couple of them died from it. I changed over to aspen & care fresh & I haven't had that problem anymore except for 1, Toby, who probably had his respiratory tract too damaged and irritated so now it's oversensitive. i have to always watch him to make sure he isn't getting sick again. Itís a lot for him to have to go thru.

It is from a a hamster forum called hamster hideout.

Now there is a possibilty that the cage you have is to small. I used to think that a 10-gallon tnak was great for 2 dwarf hamsters which it is not even big enough for 1 dwarf. Please get the measurements, a picture something. You want to do the best for this hamster right? Why take the chance?

IRescue452
08-02-2007, 03:43 PM
Phenols are not to blame, hydrocarbons are. Whenever you see site that talks about bedding and blames phenols, the person hasn't done any real research. That said, cedar is still a bad choice because cedar contains other oils that are not lost in treatment. Carefresh can also cause bad reactions. Soil is the only bedding that causes no problems whatsoever.