by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Aww, mommy, they're so cute! Can I have one?" Hamsters may be small and cute. But they require more responsibility than one may think at first glance. Parents will need to help initially and possibly throughout the life of a pet to ensure proper care. My kids are experts at caring for hamsters and rescue those in need whenever we have room. But it took guidance from me to get them there.
Pets are not toys. This is the number one thing kids need to know when adopting a hamster. Because hamsters are so small, it is easy for kids to forget they are living things. Don't take the joy out of watching the hamster play. But be sure your child realizes this aspect before ever being allowed to hold the hamster. Someone told me a horror story about rolling a hamster in the ball too hard when they were a child. It didn't turn out well for the poor little guy. Only the hamster should be spinning the ball or wheel.
Can kids handle full care for a hamster? Even the most responsible kids should be taught how to properly care for a hamster. It is safest for your child and the pet if you assist. Depending on the age and responsibility of your child, more responsibilities can be given as your child shows signs of proper hamster care. My tween and teen have proven capable of taking full responsibility for the hamsters after practice and teamwork with me. At first, they were allowed to feed the hamster, as well as clean the cage and place new bedding. Next came the ability to hold the hamster with supervision. When they mastered holding, they were allowed to also place the hamster in his ball and watch him run around the room, as well as do other tasks.
What should adults do to help? Hamsters need lots of attention and love. But they like to run, so it is important adults show kids know how to hold them properly. They can easily escape, which is not good for their health and well-being. My tween and teen can hold all of the hamsters, except one who is an escape artist. Thus far, I am the only one who can hold Butterscotch. The younger kids are only allowed to hold our female hamster, Kiki, and must have supervision from me. Besides escaping, another problem is biting or the kids holding hamsters the wrong way. Hamsters sleep a great deal during the day and be most active at night. Parents need to remind the kids of this and not allow them to wake the animals when they need to rest.
What if my child isn't caring for the hamster properly? If your child is not caring for the hamster properly, you will need to take over. While it is important to teach kids about responsible pet care, you cannot let the hamster suffer. Our first hamster came to us with a sad story. The kids were not caring for him properly. The parents did not step up to help and ended up surrendering him back over to the pet store. The best way to teach kids about being responsible for the care of a pet is by doing it, not by abandoning that responsibility.
Extra handy hints on hamster care for kids
- Check with local animal shelters and rescue organizations to see if any hamsters are in need there. This helps an animal in need and helps control pet overpopulation.
- Always have the kids wear gloves when handling their hamster. Hamsters may bite, which can cause the kids to jump and possibly injure the hamster.
- Never put hamsters of different litters and breeds together. They may fight. Some breeds cannot be housed together at all, even from the same litter. All of our hamsters have their own cages and the kids know to keep them separate.
- Never put males and females together unless you are a professional breeder. While baby hammies may be cute, it is not wise to breed hamsters unless you know what you are doing. Also, so many pets die every day because of overpopulation. Teach your kids about proper procedures concerning hamster breeding.
- Major pet supply retailers often hold classes kids can take to learn about the care of their pets. This is a good idea before ever adopting a pet. It is also a good idea if your kids are not taking responsibility.
Note that the author is not a licensed animal specialist, but a long-time animal nurturer. This article is based on her personal experiences and should not take the place of your veterinarian's advice.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
ALL PETS CATEGORIES
Animal Advocacy & Healthy Pet Parenting
Heart 'N Mind Paw Rescue
Pet Rescue Journal
Positive Pet Parenting Journal
Raising Pet Positive Kids
Supermom... Kind Of
Pawsitively Adventurous Pets
Pawsitive Pet Training Tips
Spirit of the Wild Lands & Animals
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
They live among tigers, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastic energies, teaching others to claim their own power and do the same.
By supporting us, you support a dedicated parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to several causes. Profits from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature support these causes and our beautiful family!
HIRE OR SHOP WITH LYN | CONTACT LYN
More Pet Advocacy
Defenders of Animals
American Humane Association
Animal Rights History
Compassion Over Killing
Responsible Pet Ownership
Zoo & Aquarium Visitor