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How Much Does A Hamster Cost With All The Supplies?

Hamsters only live for 2-3 years, but purchasing the necessary supplies increases over time. Consider if you have the budget to afford a hamster before committing to getting one.

You can buy a pet hamster for $5-$25, and the average cost of ownership is $260 per year.

The first year will cost $345 due to buying the cage, exercise wheel, toys, and water bottle. Expect to pay between $605 to $865 over the hamster’s lifetime, which includes food, bedding, sand, and vet bills.

Once you’ve bought the cage and accessories, you’ll only need to replenish the hamster’s food and bedding. Everything else is an up-front cost that you make just once.

How Much Does It Cost To Own a Hamster Per Year?

Hamsters are much cheaper to own than cats and dogs. While the cost of a hamster isn’t high, they have living requirements that can cost more over time.

Here’s the annual cost of owning a hamster:

ItemCostRecurring Cost
The hamster$5 to $50No
Cage or enclosure$50 to $250No
Exercise wheel$25 to $50No
Water bottle$2 to $5No
Bedding (substrate)$50 to $100 per yearYes
Vet care$40 for a checkup, $10 for medication, or $200 for surgery (prices vary depending on the vet and condition)Yes
Toys$10 to $30Yes
Total setup cost$345No
Total yearly cost$260Yes

What Is the Average Price of a Hamster?

Hamsters are cheap pets and, ironically, the least expensive part of their cost. They’re also easy to buy, as you can find them in most retail pet stores in the U.S.

On average, hamsters cost $5 to $25, depending on where you buy one. Pet store hamsters are cheaper, while reputable breeders charge slightly more.

Pet store hamsters can be sickly as they’re bred in rodent mills, meaning they’re likelier to experience health conditions and die younger. Hamsters from breeders tend to be healthier.

However, it’s better to find someone with the appropriate paperwork and experience, as almost anyone can call themselves a hamster breeder if their pet gives birth.

There are many different hamster breeds available as pets. Their average prices are as follows:

Hamster BreedAverage Cost
Syrian hamster$15 to $20
Roborovski hamster$10 to $15
Chinese hamster$5 to $20
Campbell’s dwarf hamster$15 to $25
Winter white hamster$15 to $25

Where to Buy a Pet Hamster

Most owners get hamsters from a local pet store.

However, many pet store workers give outdated and incorrect advice because they don’t have specific hamster care training, leaving new owners ill-equipped.

Before buying a hamster from a pet store, consider the following factors:

  • How well it’s being looked after.
  • Age.
  • Time at the store.
  • How well the hamster copes in its temporary enclosure.

Monitoring these factors can indicate how a hamster will settle into your home.

However, some hamsters become much calmer and tamer in a permanent home away from a busy pet store, so you might consider choosing a stressed hamster to give it a better life.

There’s also the option to purchase a hamster from a private breeder. Some are better than others, so you must be careful who you choose.

The best breeders carefully select the parents to prevent inbreeding and ensure the pups are healthy. They should also give you correct care advice and ask to see images of your setup.

You could adopt a hamster from someone wanting to get rid of theirs. There are also rescue centers that offer hamsters with full enclosure setups for a small fee.

While you can’t guarantee that the hamster will be tame or healthy, you’re giving an animal in need a home. You can also work on taming the hamster when it’s settled in its new home.

How Much Is a Hamster Cage?

A hamster cage is the biggest purchase you’ll make. Even though hamsters are only small, they need a large enclosure measuring at least 80 x 100 cm to:

  • Burrow deep tunnels underground.
  • Roam and explore.
  • Forage for food.
  • Fit a 28 cm wheel and multi-chamber hideout.

Hamsters can run 4 to 6 miles a night, so they must have room to be active.

According to Animal Welfare, golden hamsters with a minimal ground floor area of 10,000 cm2 are happier than those in smaller cages.

Female Syrian hamsters, in particular, need the largest home you can provide. An appropriately sized cage costs between $40 to $250 – the bigger they are, the more expensive they’ll be.

You can keep costs down by making your enclosure. Deltof or Linnmon products from IKEA are popular DIY choices. Alternatively, buying a 40-gallon breeder tank from a pet store or second-hand marketplace is a cost-effective way to provide a decent home.

Pre-used tanks are usually cheaper than ones bought from new, offering enough space for the hamster to enact natural behaviors and live a comfortable, happy life.

They also prevent bar biting and monkey barring, two leading stress indicators.

how much does it cost to own a hamster per year?

How Much Does a Hamster Wheel Cost?

Hamsters need an exercise wheel for stimulation. As mentioned, hamsters are highly active animals.

Wild hamsters keep themselves busy by evading predators, digging tunnels, and foraging for food. It’s more difficult for them to remain as active in captivity, which is why a wheel is essential.

The following sizes are recommended for the most popular pet hamster species:

  • Syrian hamsters: 28 cm (11 inches) in diameter.
  • Chinese hamsters: 26 cm (10 inches) in diameter.
  • Dwarf hamsters: 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter.

The main reason hamster wheels should be these sizes is that they must have a flat back when they run. Too small wheels cause the back to arch, resulting in long-term spinal issues.

They also must have a solid running surface with a solid back and no crossbars. This prevents a hamster’s limbs from getting caught while running, which is among the most common reasons for broken limbs.

The best hamster exercise wheels cost $25 to $50. While this seems expensive, preventing injuries and providing a hamster the entertainment it needs to be happy is essential.

How Much Does Hamster Bedding Cost?

Hamster bedding is among the trickier things to get right due to the number of choices. Many unsuitable options are also sold in pet stores, which makes choosing the right substrate confusing.

Hamsters need the highest bedding section to be around 30 cm (12 inches). According to Applied Animal Behavior Science, most hamsters won’t attempt to burrow unless they have enough bedding.

Researchers studied several hamsters and discovered that those with 80 cm (approximately 31 inches) in their cages didn’t exhibit stress-related behaviors. This isn’t feasible in captivity, but providing as much bedding as your enclosure allows at the highest section is recommended.

The cost of hamster bedding varies, depending on the type. Expect to pay approximately $50-100 per year for bedding. More specific prices are as follows:

  • Hardwood shavings, like Aspen, Chipsi Original, and Allspan: $20 for 60L.
  • Paper-based bedding, such as Kaytee Clean and Carefresh: $30 for 8 cubic feet.
  • Hay, like meadow grass and orchard hay: $40 for 178L.

Never use softwood shavings in your hamster’s cage. Sawdust and wood shavings aren’t very absorbent, so your hamster’s cage will quickly smell.

You’ll need to clean it more frequently, upsetting the hamster and causing stress. They’re also dusty and high in phenols, which is bad for a hamster’s respiratory tract.

You’ll also need to purchase sand for a hamster. Hamsters clean themselves using sand, absorbing excess oils and removing dirt and debris from their fur.

Each bag costs about $30, and you’ll use 3 bags annually. You need to sift out the soiled parts and top the sand bath up every time you perform a cage clean.

What’s The Cheapest Hamster Bedding?

Bedding doesn’t have to be expensive. Hamsters become stressed if their bedding is completely changed, so it’s better to spot-clean the hamster’s cage by only removing soiled bedding.

That way, you rarely have to replace it. That said, you can keep costs down by choosing the following cheaper bedding materials:

  • Teabag bedding is inexpensive and comes in huge bags that last a long time. It’s not the best for holding tunnels, but it makes a soft bedding layer.
  • Shredded tissue paper. Shed it yourself and use it as a soft and comfortable bedding material.

How Much Does Hamster Food Cost?

Hamsters need a wide and varied diet that incorporates many different tastes and textures.

Most hamsters are food-motivated and rely on food for mental stimulation, which is why many owners like to scatter-feed their pets instead of providing food in a bowl.

Adult hamsters need between 17-19% protein, 4-7% fat, and 6-15% fiber to be healthy. Hamsters also need the following foods in their diet:

  • Commercial hamster pellets, also known as lab blocks.
  • Seeds, nuts, and grains.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Plants and flowers.
  • Insects, such as mealworms.
  • Treats, such as pasta and boiled egg.

Hamsters aren’t expensive to feed because they don’t eat much in one feeding session. Most need 1-2 tablespoons of food every 24 hours.

Even then, hamsters don’t eat their food at once. They stash it in their burrows, ready for when they get hungry. As a result, expect to pay roughly $50 for your hamster’s food yearly.

Hamsters can eat most fruits, vegetables, plain cooked pasta, and boiled eggs. You can feed your pet leftovers (if they’re unsalted and unseasoned) instead of buying additional food items.

How Much Do Hamster Toys Cost?

Hamsters need to chew toys for their mental stimulation and physical health. Cell Reports explain how rodents have continuously growing teeth.

If they’re left to grow unchecked, they’ll pierce the hamster’s mouth, causing painful sores, infections, and, in the worst cases, death. Hamsters keep their teeth filed down but must have the means to do so.

Plain wooden toys are the best way to help a hamster wear its teeth down. They’re inexpensive to buy, costing between $1 to $10, depending on your choice. Larger, more expensive toys can cost around $20.

Wicker, seagrass, and hay toys are also suitable. Tunnels or round balls are the best kinds of accessories, as they’re easy for hamsters to play and interact with.

Stash some food into seams or gaps to encourage your hamster to chew on them.

Avoid plastic toys, as they easily break. A hamster could then swallow or choke on the broken pieces. The pieces could also get stuck in your pet’s pouch, causing painful sores. Dyed or painted toys are also dangerous, so stick to plain, natural materials and buy only toys specifically for hamsters.

monthly cost of owning a hamster

How to Save Money on Hamster Toys

One of the easiest ways to save money is to make hamster toys. DIY toys are easy to create and provide hours of endless fun. You could:

  • Cut some slits into toilet or kitchen roll tubes before filling them with hay. Hide some seeds and nuts inside to encourage your hamster to forage.
  • Place a cut-up egg box in the hamster’s cage for it to chew on.
  • Put a thick piece of corrugated cardboard (from a delivery box, for example) into the enclosure for your hamster to chew and tear. You could also hide some food in the gaps.

You don’t have to spend additional money on these items, but they’re just as suitable for keeping a hamster enriched until you can purchase something better.

Cost of Vet Care for Hamsters

Another expense you’ll need to factor into your annual bill is the cost of veterinary care. With luck, you’ll have a healthy hamster that doesn’t need to be seen by a vet.

Unfortunately, hamsters experience health conditions like wet tail, Cushing’s disease, and pyometra. They’re also susceptible to tumors and broken bones.

Even though hamsters are only small animals, they can still rack up expensive vet bills when:

  • Hamster care is misunderstood and underestimated, meaning owners provide their pets with dangerous and unsuitable setups.
  • Hamsters only have short lifespans. As they age, they develop health problems.
  • Hamsters are escape artists, so injuries are relatively common.

Veterinary costs vary depending on who you use and what you need to treat, but some examples of bills include the following:

  • $35 to $40 for a consultation.
  • $100 for an emergency appointment.
  • $10 to $20 for medication, such as antibiotics.
  • $100 to $250 for a spay or neuter (only done in emergencies).

If you’re concerned about vet bills, speak to them before buying a hamster to double-check their prices. That way, you can save up for emergencies before buying a hamster.

Hamsters aren’t as cheap as you may think. While they’re not as expensive as cats and dogs, they still require a comfortable and enriching environment that enables them to carry out their natural behaviors.

Bedding and food are recurring expenses, but you’ll also need to replace toys once the hamster becomes bored or destroys them.