The right kind of pet can be an invaluable source of learning experiences for a child. But there’s always the question of what is the right kind of pet for a child, a family and a household? A dog or a cat is not ideal for everyone. Sometimes a small pet, such as a hamster, is easier to take care of, and is more easily kept in a smaller area or a single room, if necessary.

Hamsters can be wonderful pets, and overall, hamsters are relatively low-risk when it comes to diseases they can potentially transmit to humans. However, they can sometimes carry bacteria like Salmonella in their feces, and the virus that causes lymphocytic choriomeningitis, to name a couple. But there are a few simple things you can do to help greatly reduce the risk of transmission of these and other diseases from hamsters.  Doing many of these things will also help keep your hamster as healthy as possible.  It is very important to learn about what a hamster needs and how to take care of hamster (or any kind of pet) before you decide to get one.

Here are a few important hamster care tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your hamster in a clean enclosure with good ventilation and enough space for your hamster to have separate areas to eat, sleep, exercise and poop/pee.
  • Prevent contact with wild rodents. This means keeping your hamster in its cage and not letting it roam around the house. Also ensure that your hamster cannot escape from its cage and wild rodents cannot get into the cage.
  • Most importantly, always wash your hands after handling your hamster.

Also check out  the new information sheets about hamsters posted on the Worms & Germs Resources page!