How Much Does Owning a Hamster Cost?

If you plan to get a hamster, logically you want to know how much that adventure will cost you. People usually say that hamsters are inexpensive pets but is this true?

The hamster itself is not expensive. Syrian hamsters are a bit more expensive and the price is about 5-10$, Dwarfs are a little less expensive. If you buy the hamster from a reputable breeder cost could be higher than 15-25$ per hamster. Some of the necessary equipment like a cage is something you need to pay right up front. Bear in mind that there is a big variety of models so the price can greatly vary between 50 and 200$ for a cage. Other things like food, bedding, toys, health care are either monthly or annually cost. Depends on the situation you can spend between 400-600$ per year on your hamster.

Cage cost

Essential equipment for your pet hamster and you are buying it only once. You can choose a plastic, metal, or glass tank. The price may vary and depends on where you buy, the size of the cage, etc.

The average cost is about 50-200$. The minimum size you need is 24×12 inches abs 12 inches tall but in case you have a Syrian hamster, you will need to get even larger. You can order online in that case you have to add some $ for handling and shipping.

On the other hand, you can just walk into a pet shop and buy the cage you like, avoiding those extra costs but overall I think online shopping is more cost-effective.

Bedding cost

It is not an expensive item. You can choose between Aspen wood chips or shavings or paper bedding.

In each case, the bedding pack you buy in a pet store lasts usually for 3 months, so if the cost of that pack ( cca 7 lbs) is about 12-15$, then the monthly payment for bedding is about 4-5$.

You should change the bedding once a week. You can also use unscented toilet paper or paper towels.

Nesting Habitat/Hideouts

Your hamster needs a safe place where he/she can hide and build the nest.

Hideout is something that you buy only once and the best option, in my opinion, is a wooden hideout as your hammy can hide but also can chew on the wood.

I have seen plastic hideouts but they are not so good, as if your pet is chewing on plastic and swallows some plastic parts that can cause a health problem.

Also, these places keep moisture so it can happen that your furry ball comes out of it wet. A proper wooden hideout that will last for a couple of years costs about 10-15$.

Toys cost

A great variety of toys, you can buy in a pet shop, order online, or be creative and get some free toys for your hammy. For example, empty (ink-free) cardboard boxes and tubes, tubes left from toilet paper or paper towels would be just a perfect toy for your little furry friend.

Wheel cost

Simply irreplaceable in the life of one hamster. They really adore this little thing, as hamsters need to run a lot.

An exercise wheel is an item that you should buy only once for one hamster but if you misjudge your hamster’s adult size, it might happen that you buy a too-small wheel.

So it is really important for you to know how much your hammy will grow and to buy the exercise wheel accordingly. The average price is 30-40$ per wheel.

Exercise ball

Same as a wheel, a great thing for your hammy. Moreover, a very useful one, as you can put your pet there while cleaning the cage. One ball should be just enough for the whole hamster’s life.

These toys are made of hard plastic so unless someone else destroys them ( kid or some large pet) should last for quite some time. The average price of an exercise ball is about 8$, do not forget to add handling and shipping fees if you order online.

Food cost

As you can see in the chart below I put 0$- 5$. If you feed your hammy with the food from your fridge, the same food you have bought yourself that we can consider that hamster’s food costs you nothing.

In case you mix your food with some specialized packed food ( pellet+ seeds) for hamsters which are strongly recommended then you will have a couple of $ to pay.

For example, the average price of packed food ( about 2 Lbs) is around 10-15$. This quantity can last up to 3 months.

Along with food, you have to provide a good source of water for your hamster. Although water is not an additional cost water bottle is. It costs between 10 and 20$. It’s not something you need to change on regular basis but if it loses function and you discover that is broken you need to replace it.

Vet Visit cost

When I searched for prices and costs of having a hamster as a pet, only this item showed up as potentially high-priced. Most of the things for hammy you buy only once, except for food, bedding, and vet visit.

We have seen that food and bedding are not so expensive things but vet visits could affect your finance.

The good thing is the hamsters do not have any obligatory shots but your furry friend might need medical help at some moment.

Don’t forget that yearly checkups are recommended for hamsters. Those can cost around 35-50$. These check-ups are really important as you cannot always see that something is wrong with the hammy.

Hamsters can suffer from several parasites like tapeworms, pinworms, mites. In that case, your hammy would need antibiotic therapy which can cost you between 35-100$. 

I recommend you to put some money aside every week, making a vet emergency fund. Once you really need to visit the vet, the money will not be an issue.

Transport Cage cost

A useful thing in case you have to move your hamster from your home for any reason ( vet visit, moving to another house, traveling…) Transport cage can be found for 15-40$. 

Here is the table of the items you have to buy when having a hamster with the prices and how often do you have to buy it.

Hamster itself5-25$One time
Cage50-200$One time
Bedding5-7$Every month
Nesting habitat/Hideout10-15$One time
Toys0-20$One time
Wheel30-40$One time
Exercise ball8-12$One time
Food0-5$Every month
Vet visit20-350$Annually
Transport cage15-40$One time

Related question :

How To Save Some Money on Hamster Care

If you have a tight budget but you still want to have a hamster as a pet, there are some things on which you can save some money.

Bedding – instead of buying the bedding for hamsters you can put a shredded paper towel or toilet paper or newspaper. Some people also you fleece blankets instead of classical bedding. A fleece blanket is a one-time buy and you can wash it and keep your hamster’s habitat clean.

Toys- you don’t really need to buy toys for your hamster, you can use shoes, cereal or other cardboard boxes, paper towels or toilet paper tubes, wooden Popsicle sticks…

Food – you don’t have to spend money on specially formulated food for hamsters, you can feed your hammy with tasty things you have in your kitchen. These can be fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains…

Here is a great clip on owning a hamster on a budget, take a look.

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