We look at the questions ‘why are hamsters good pets for kids’. Hamsters are cute little creatures which on first impression are easy to look after and don’t require much attention. There are about 20 different types of hamsters that you can choose from and to be honest, all are as cute as each other. Pets can have many benefits for kids and a whopping 67% of American households has a pet.
Why are hamsters good pets for kids? Hamsters are good pets for kids because they:
- can be tamed
- are playful
- don’t take up a lot of space
- can be loving little creatures
- require minimal maintenance
- give your child responsibility
Now that you know that hamsters are good pets for kids, there might be some things you will want to know before you welcome a hamster into your home. I will explain each hamster trait which your child will love, as well as some more bothersome traits.
Why are hamsters good pets for kids?
Why do parents think a hamster is a great pet?
Many parents see a hamster as an easy introduction to pet ownership for kids.
Their reasons are normally slightly different to why hamsters are good pets for children.
Parents like it that hamsters are:
- a budget pet,
- can be bought easily
- don’t take up a lot of space
- don’t need to be walked
- are easy to look after
- and are a shorter commitment then many other pets
I absolutely love hamsters, and I believe they can make a great pet for your child, however, there are some things about hamsters which many parents either overlook or have not heard of at all. And knowing all the facts might make you wonder if hamsters are actually the best choice as your child’s pet.
It’s important to make an informed decision when buying a pet for your kids, including a hamster.
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Let’s look at the benefits of owning a pet, specifically for kids.
One of the biggest things a pet can teach your child is responsibility. After all, the deal is often, we will get the pet, but you must look after it. Giving the new family friend water, food and exercise are important for the wellbeing of your pet and teaches your child that with love comes responsibility.
Reality, however, is that you should never get a pet if you are not willing to look after it yourself. Because while it teaches your child responsibility, the key here is “teaching”. This means guidance is needed as well as help with looking after the pet.
Respect and compassion
Pets have boundaries. Like humans, they don’t like to be scared, woken or man handled. It’s important to teach your child this otherwise your pet might do this for you.
Children will learn quickly what their pet is happy with and what they’re not happy with, and a loving bond will quickly grow between your new pet and your child.
It can be very hard on a child when their beloved pet dies. Especially when the pet has been part of your family for a significant amount of time.
Of course, death is part of life, and a pet passing is a great opportunity to discuss this topic and to learn how to deal with grief. However hard this is, where it’s a part of life, it might well be a lesson best learned young.
Having empathy towards animals is a good thing and children who have a pet are more likely to have this. Because your child will love their pet, they can understand that animals are worthy, and they can see how other animals are loved. They become more than animals. They become friends. Friends who should be loved and cared for.
While the list above clearly shows its good for kids to have a pet. A question on my mind is, does this include hamsters. Are hamsters really good pets for kids?
So now that we know some reasons why having a pet is good for kids, let’s have a look why hamsters specifically make great pets.
Hamsters can be tamed
It’s important to let your kids’ new pet settle into its new surroundings when you first bring it home. Then let your child spend lots of time with the hamster by softly talking to it while the hamster is still in its cage. Then slowly your hamster can get used to be held and with enough kind stroking and handling a hamster will get used to your child and they can become great friends.
Hamsters are playful
Hamsters are very playful little animals and it’s great fun to watch them run around and be busy in their cage. There are great toys you can get your kid’s hamster, so the hamster is never bored, and your child has toys to entertain the hamster with. This is great fun and great for bonding with the hamster.
Hamsters don’t take up a lot of space
It’s important that your hamster has enough living space in the shape of a well-ventilated cage. However, compared to many other pets, their living space is small and can easily be put in a corner of a room.
Hamsters can be loving little creatures
When hamsters are tamed and handled carefully and kindly, they can become very loving creatures who will enjoy spending time with your child as much as your child likes spending time with their hamster.
This comes down to taming the hamster when you first bring it home and by always being careful and gentle with it.
Hamsters need minimal maintenance
In the scheme of things, hamsters are easy to look after. If you keep their cage clean and give them fresh water and heathy food, most hamsters will thrive. They don’t need to be walked and you can easily leave them when you are going out for a while.
Hamsters can give your child a great sense of responsibility
Having a hamster means having a living creature in the house which has needs and therefore needs looking after. This is something you can teach your child from the beginning, and this can give your child a great sense of responsibility.
In my opinion a hamster really makes a great pet for a child, however age is really something which needs to be taken into consideration.
Young children can easily hurt it because they don’t have the motor skills to handle it carefully. Therefore, if your child is under the age of 7 or 8 it might be best to not let them hold the hamster unsupervised.
Cleaning the hamster cage and feeding it are also things younger children are not capable of doing on their own. That said, with supervision I believe a hamster can be a great pet for your younger child too.
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Reasons why hamsters are NOT a good pet for your child.
If you look at some of the habits of hamsters, their vulnerability and behavior, you might consider a different pet for your child.
Easy to kill
Where hamsters are so small, it’s very easy to be too rough with them. This means their tiny bodies can be easily crushed possibly leading to internal injury.
Hamsters are nocturnal.
The reason why you would buy a hamster for your child is so your child can play with the pet during the day. However, the hamster rather sleeps during the day and is ready to get up at bedtime.
This poses some different issues. The chance that the hamster is not happy to get attention during the day is high as playtime is not in the middle of resting time. This means your hamster might get agitated, scarred or shocked by being woken up. This can cause stress but can also make your hamster bite.
This in turn can pass on disease but can also scare your child of handling the hamster.
Noisy at night
It also means that the hamster starts making noise at bedtime. Running around in its wheel for example and overall rummaging in its cage.
When it’s quiet in the bedroom, a hamster can make a rather lot of noise. Of course, a solution can be to have your hamster in another area then the bedroom.
Hamsters can pass on disease
Some diseases hamsters can pass on can be dangerous to young children.
About 5% of hamsters carry a virus called Lymphocytic choriomeningitis which is normally mild but can be serious in young children.
Salmonella is also something which can be passed from hamsters to children and can be dangerous for youngsters.
Frequent and thorough handwashing is a must!
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Which type of hamster is the friendliest?
Syrian Hamsters are often seen as the friendliest hamster and are sometimes also called teddy bear hamster or golden hamster.
There are other hamster breeds like Chinese Hamsters which are also seen as friendly. This doesn’t mean these hamsters are always nice and friendly and will never nip or bite you. Ultimately, the friendliest hamsters are those which are tamed well and handled and petted with love and care. They will form a bond with their owner which will make them great pets.
Which hamster is the easiest to tame?
Syrian hamsters are popular hamsters as they have a gentler nature and are most likely to be tame and happy to be handled. Of course, it’s still very important to take the time to get your Syrian hamster accustomed to its new home when you first get it. And you will also need to take the time for your hamster to get used to you before you handle it. Once this is done, the more time you spend with your hamster, the happier your hamster will be to be handled by you.
Conclusion: are hamsters suitable as a pet for your child?
Having said all that, all pets have a level of risk and the only way to avoid this is by not having a pet at all.
In my opinion the benefits greatly outweigh the downsides of having a hamster as a pet for your child.
Hamsters have a very short lifespan, of between 1.5 and 3 years. Dwarf hamsters even shorter than that. This is a benefit for many parents, as it’s a relatively short period of time to find out if their offspring is ready to look after a pet.
Though once you get your child that first hamster, you might find it’s only the beginning of many lovely hamsters passing through your home for years to come.
They really make lovely pets in loving homes!
What age is a hamster good for?
Children above the age of 9 or 10 can look after a hamster on their own, however, parents should be willing to supervise that the hamster has fresh water and food and that their cage is kept clean. It will be up to the parents to decide whether they think their child is responsible enough regardless of age, or willing to teach responsibility to their child for the pet hamster.
Are hamsters good pets for toddlers?
Hamsters are not good pets for toddlers as their motor skills are not developed and will therefore be too rough with their hamster resulting in bites from the hamster and possible damage to the hamster. Close supervision is necessary when toddlers are with any pet, and they should never be left alone with any pet either.
Are hamsters good pets for 3 year olds?
Hamsters are not the best pet for 3-year old’s as 3-year-old children are still fine tuning their gross and fine motor skills. They are often not aware of their own strength yet and might accidentally hurt their hamster.
Are hamsters good pets for 5 year olds?
At the age of 5 children have developed their fine motor skills and will be able to handle their hamster with care. Having said that, they are not mature enough to look after a hamster and can easily be distracted, which can leave a hamster in danger of accidents and escape. Very close supervision is still needed.
Are hamsters good pets for 8 year olds?
Children at the age of 8 will be more likely to look after their hamster with care, however they are not always aware of consequences. Fighting over who can hold the hamster for example could easily lead to hamster damage at this age. Supervision is advised.
Are hamsters good pets for 9 year olds?
Most kids aged 9 will be responsible enough and hamsters can become great pets at this age. It’s likely 9 year olds will handle their hamster with care and feed it on time. Supervision is most likely needed with water, food and cleaning of cage as well as with ensuring the hamster doesn’t have a chance of escaping.
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Are hamsters good pets for 10 year olds?
Hamsters make great pets for 10 year olds. Ten-year-old kids are likely to handle their hamster with care and feed it on time. Cleaning out the cage is not the greatest job and might be ‘forgotten’ more at this age.
Are hamsters good pets for 11 year olds?
Hamsters are great pets for 11 year olds as it teaches them responsibility and at this age there is a great chance the hamster is looked after well especially if the hamster is placed in the bedroom of the child. Checking in on the hamster is still advised.
Are hamsters good pets for 12 year olds?
Hamsters are great pets for 12 year olds and will teach responsibility to the child. Checking in on the hamster is a good idea to make sure food and water are supplied.
Are hamsters good pets for adults?
Hamsters are great pets for adults especially if time is taken to train the hamster and to handle it often. The more the hamster gets used to you, the easier it will be to handle it and cuddle it.
Should I get my kid a hamster?
The most important things to think about when considering any pet for your child, are: is your child kind and caring towards animals? And are you willing to look after the pet as well? Many pets are brought into the home after enthusiastic promises of kids saying they will look after the pet, walk it, feed it and change or clean the cage. As a parent you will need to want to reinforce these promises or take on (part) of the care for the pet.
Which hamster is best for a child?
There are many hamster breeds, and some are better pets for children than others. The tamest hamster breeds are the Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamster and the Syrian Hamster, with most parents choosing the latter one as their children’s pet.
At what age should a child have a hamster?
A hamster can be a pet in your household regardless of the age of your children, as long as young children don’t have access to the hamster at any time, and only children with developed motor skills are allowed to handle the hamster. Younger children should be fine to stroke the hamster but could damage the hamster badly when holding it. Children above the age of 9 should be able care for a hamster as their own pet, though additional checking on the hamster is still needed.
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