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Gerbils & Hamsters/Should I get a hamster?


Hello. I have been thinking about getting a hamster but I have two dogs who would be in the same area as the hamsters cage. I don't want to get one if it would be nervous scared and miserable so I was wondering if hamsters are usually nervous and anxious animals? Do you know if they are happy in homes with dogs?

Hi Jamie

Thanks for your question.

I would think it is fine to get a hamster however I would be tempted to get a slightly older Syrian rather than a baby as babies can get stressed and this can cause a terrible illness called wet tail.  If you get one from a rescue they will know the temperament of the hamster.

Obviously if there are other pets you do need to take precautions so that they are safe. A cage situated on a shelf would be safer with dogs than one that was lower down. Also make sure the cage is safe in that there is no chance of escape - some of the tubular ones are prone to coming
apart therefore I would recommend a wire cage with a plastic base - if you are in any doubt you can always wire the doors shut temporarily. Hopefully the dogs won't be bothered by the hamster once they are used to the scent from its cage. Remember that hamsters are nocturnal so they become active at night and this is the time you probably need to be more careful. During the day they will sleep. Providing the dogs aren't shut in the same room with them if you are out then they should be ok otherwise I suggest you move the cage into a room where the dogs can't o I.e the bathroom.

If you get an exercise ball for your hamster it is worth taping over any openings in case it comes apart if it bangs into furniture and I recommend you only put the hamster in the ball when the dogs are not in the room as you don't want them chasing it. Also when handling the hamster I would suggest doing this away from the dogs just in case it gets away from you as you don't want the dogs retrieving it!

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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