25 Ways to Make Your Hamster Happy

If you love your hamster, you want them to be happy. But, how do you do that? Fortunately, there are many ways to make your hamster happy, and most of them are incredibly easy!

As you'll see, the best way to keep your hamster happy is to provide the best possible care for them and to stimulate them mentally.

We're going to go into more details so you can learn everything you need to know about keeping your pet content.

Keep reading to find out 25 ways to keep hamsters happy!

A happy hamster that looks contented with life, 25 Ways to Make Your Hamster Happy

1. Give Your Hammy a Big Cage

Another point to make about the above example is that the cage looks big for that one dwarf hamster. However, when you consider how much territory a single hamster has in the wild, it just makes sense to give your pet as much space as you can.

When they have plenty of space for burrowing, hiding, and toys, they'll be much happier and less likely to get bored.

Remember that just because a hamster is small doesn't mean they want to stay in a tiny space! Their cage is not just their home; it's their whole world.

Read more here: What's the right size for a hamster's cage

2. Provide Proper Nutrition

The first thing you want to do to keep your hamster happy is to make sure you're feeding them a good diet.

Although it will take a little work to figure it out, once you create a plan to feed your hamster, you will improve their health. A healthy hamster is a happy hamster!

We've taken most of the guesswork out of hamster nutrition by putting together a guide that even first-time hamster owners can follow.

It lets you know exactly what hamsters need and gives you a food recipe along with recommendations for adding fresh foods to their diet.

Read it: How to Feed Hamsters: A Guide for Beginners

One point that we'll bring up here is to avoid over-feeding. Once you figure out how much food your hamster needs every day, just provide that much. If their bowl is empty, they probably moved everything to a food stash in their burrow, so don't worry. 

3. Keep Them Hydrated

A hamster staying hydrated in his cage

Besides giving them food, you need to make sure they always have access to water. As many species of hamsters come from desert climates, they may not drink much.

However, you still want to make sure they always have access to fresh water.

Installing a high-quality water bottle is the best way you can ensure your hamster will stay hydrated but their bedding will remain dry. Check out our post on the best hamster water bottles to see what we recommend.

See this popular water bottle on Amazon.

4. Have an Exercise Wheel

A small gray hamster running in his purple colored running wheel

Hamsters can run between two to five miles every night. When they don't have the ability to do that, they can become bored and gain weight.

To provide a way for them to run off that extra energy, give your hamster an exercise wheel. There is a wide variety to choose from so you're sure to find something that will make your hamster happy.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Hamster Wheels and Spinners

5. Create a Tunnel System

A cute brown hamster crawling inside his blue tunnel system in a yellow cage

In the wild, hamsters live in complex underground tunnel systems. So, if you truly want to keep your hamster happy, you'll recreate that as best you can.

This will allow them to engage in natural behaviors and will help prevent them from getting bored if the only form of exercise they have is a wheel.

Commercially-made plastic tunnels exist but can be pricey, especially if you want to have a large setup. To save yourself some money, you can also make your own tunnels with paper rolls or plastic bottles.

If you want your hamster to get the most out of their tunnels, be sure to check out our guide on tunnels. This Habitrail Ovo Pack will make any hamster happy!

Read more: Why and How to Make Hamster Tunnels

6. Give Them Deep Bedding

Because hamsters are burrowers, they'll only be happy if they're allowed to do some digging.

The safest way to do that is by providing them with deep bedding. Once you discover where your hamster likes to sleep, you can go ahead and pile it up especially deep for them in that area.

Here's an example of a hamster that's completely content in her burrow:

And, here's one that somehow managed to fall asleep in a little corner.

Cute hamster sleeping in his cage

7. Provide Toys

Wheels and tunnels are great, but toys are even better! Giving your hamster different toys will stimulate them mentally which will make them happier.

We recommend setting up a playpen outside of your hamster's cage where you can allow them to play every day. Ideally, this would be the first thing in the morning or late in the evening when your hamster is awake and active.

Be sure the area is safe and inescapable, and keep an eye on them the whole time. There's nothing worse than a loose hamster!

Read more: How to hamster-proof a room in 10 easy steps.

8. Give Them Treats

Don't go overboard with this because you don't want your hamster to end up gaining weight, but healthy treats are certainly a way to make your hamster happy. It's also the perfect way to bond with your furry friend.

When they realize that you're the one providing them with such deliciousness, they'll love you for it!

Here are a few treats you can give hamsters:

  • Fresh veggies
  • Fresh fruit
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Mealworms

Get the complete list here: What Treats Can I Give My Hamster?

9. Pet Them (But only if they like it)

Once you have gained the trust of your hamster (by feeding them lots of healthy treats, of course!), you can pet and snuggle them as often as you like. Although most hamsters are solitary in the wild, these pets have since become affectionate and love getting attention from their owners!

Check out this little guy getting snuggled:

The next few tips revolve around your hamster's cage. Since that's where they spend the majority of their time, it's vital to your hamster's happiness to give them the best possible home.

Read more on how to get your hamster used to be petted (and why not all hamsters like it)

10. Keep Their Cage Clean (But don't clean too often!)

Hamsters don't have the luxury of flushing a toilet and having all their waste instantly removed from their living area. Instead, they need you to do it for them.

Since hamsters have sensitive noses, make sure you clean it regularly rather than waiting until you smell it.

We recommend removing visible debris from the cage on a daily basis. A complete cage clean-up is somewhat stressful for your hamster, so shouldn't be done too often. Read here on how often you should clean the cage and how.

If your hamster uses a litter box, you may be able to go longer in between full cleanings as long as you're cleaning the litter box every day.

Training your hamster to use the litter box is a bonus tip for this post.

When your hamster has a certain place to go that gets cleaned regularly, it will keep them much happier than having to deal with an overflow of waste when their designated toilet area gets too messy.

Read more: How to Train Your Hamster to Use the Litter Box

10. Create a Natural Habitat

Many owners feel that when you create a more natural environment for your hamster, they are both healthier and happier.

These hamster cages are designed to create endless fun for your hamster. You can get as fancy as you'd like, or keep it simple with just a few natural elements included.

However far you take it, be sure that everything you add is safe for your hamster. If you bring in anything from outside, make sure it's free of chemical pesticides and sanitized.

Here's one example of an awesome natural habitat:

Get more inspiration here: Natural Hamster Cage Ideas

12. Keep each hamster in his or her own cage

While there are some species of dwarf hamsters that don't mind living with other hamsters, the vast majority prefer to live alone.

This is particularly true of Syrian hamsters. If you have more than one, neither will be happy and they'll likely fight until one leaves or is killed.

You are the only friend your hamster needs, so if you want to get more than one, keep each one in his or her own cage. They will thank you for it.

13. Give Them Hiding Places

As you're setting up your hamster's cage, you'll want to make sure they have some places to hide. As prey animals, hiding is something that comes naturally for them.

If your hamster hears a strange noise or gets nervous when your cat comes to visit, they'll feel much happier if they can quickly duck into a hiding place.

This can be as easy as providing a toilet paper tube which they can hide in, or you can buy ones like these:

You can see even more awesome hamster houses here.

14. Put the Cage in a Good Spot

Where you put your hamster's cage can have a bigger impact on their health and happiness than you probably realize. However, since hamsters are sensitive to noises, drafts, and temperature fluctuations, you want to take some time to think about where you put your hamster cage.

Read more: Where Should I Put My Hamster's Cage?

15. Use Pet-Safe Accessories

The next few tips after this will deal with some additional accessories you should get for your hamster if you want them to be happy. With all of these, this point applies: make sure they're safe!

If you give your hamster a natural wood habitat with things you found outside, for example, these could be treated with harmful pesticides or could have dangerous bacteria on them.

These could make your hamster sick or even kill them!

For that reason, you always want to make sure anything your hamster comes into contact with is safe for them!

16. Provide Chews

A hamster eating his nutritious treat

Like all members of the rodent family, hamsters have teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives.

If they don't grind these down by chewing, they can become overgrown which presents a number of problems, starting with your hamster not being able to eat.

To keep your hamster's teeth the proper length, ensure they always have something safe to chew on. There's a wide variety of chews to choose from that your hamster is sure to love.

Read more: 9 Best Hamster Chews

17. Let Them Have a Sand Bath

Hamsters love taking sand baths, so the act itself will make them happier.

It can also help them feel cleaner as it removes excess oil from their skin which in turn leaves them feeling clean! Just make sure you pick out sand that's safe for hamsters and get them the right bowl.

Read more: How to Give My Hamster a Sand Bath

18. Get Them a Hammock

Hammocks are another way you can enrich your hamster's environment to make them happier.

It will also give them another cozy place to snuggle into while they sleep the day away. You can find any style of hammock that will match you and your hamster's preferences.

While not all hamsters will take to a hammock, those that do will be happier!

Read more: 10 Best Hamster Hammocks

19. Consider a Hamster Ball

A cute Syrian hamster having fun inside his purple hamster ball

This accessory allows your hamster to do some running outside of their cage. When used correctly, a hamster ball is a great enrichment tool for many hamsters. The biggest mistake many pet owners make is leaving their hamster in the ball for too long.

Generally speaking, you want to leave your hamster in the ball for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

This gives your hamster enough time to enjoy a change of view but doesn't allow them to get frustrated when they can't easily sniff and interact with the environment on the other side of the plastic.

Always monitor your hamster when he or she is in the ball.

Some hamsters become stressed and frustrated as they can't really interact with the world around them while in the ball. If your hamster doesn't seem to be enjoying the experience, skip the ball.

20. Keep Them Healthy

We've mentioned it several times already but it's worth repeating.

If your hamster is healthy, they will be happy. Quite a few things on this list are directly related to improving your hamster's health, but here are a few more:

  • Watch for signs of illness, especially wet tail
  • Take your hamster to the veterinarian if you're worried about their health
  • Give special care to older hamsters

Hamsters only live an average of 2 to 3 years. So, if you want them to be around and happy for as long as possible, you need to keep them healthy!

21. Let Them Sleep

A cute hamster sleeping in his bowl, Should You Freeze Hamster Bedding Before Use?

All species of hamsters are either nocturnal or crepuscular animals. Either way, they sleep during the day.

If you want your hamster to be happy, let them sleep as much as they want during the day. Whenever possible, clean the cage and interact with your pet in the evening hours when they wake up on their own.

Read more: Are hamsters nocturnal?

22. Don't Breed Them

The idea of cute baby hamsters is fun, but it's not a good idea to breed your hamster if you want them to be happy.

Pregnancy and caring for babies are hard on females. Besides that, there are already plenty of hamsters in the world, so there's no need to breed more just for the fun of it.

If you do end up with a pregnant female, make sure you give them special care and do your research on how to care for them so you can ease her burden.

23. Groom Your Hamster

Grooming your hamster is another way to make them happy. Use a special brush for hamsters or an old toothbrush to keep their coat shiny.

Long-haired hamsters also need to be groomed regularly to prevent mats from forming.

It's also important to trim your hamster's nails. This will prevent them from scratching you or themselves, and they'll be a lot happier with short nails that don't get caught on things.

Read more: Should You Trim Your Hamster's Nails?

24. Respect Their Space

A Syrian hamster resting in the small balcony inside his cage

Although we've already mentioned that most hamsters love to be snuggled, there are some that simply aren't big fans of being held or touched by people. If you have a new pet hamster, they may simply need time to get used to you.

Either way, if your hamster doesn't seem to want you in their space, respect that.

Over time, you may win them over with treats and by taking things slowly, but you should always respect an animal's space.

25. Learn Everything About Hamsters

Last and certainly not least, the best way you can make your hamster happy is to learn everything you can about hamsters.

Fortunately, with our numerous articles on hamsters, it's easy to learn what you need to know to provide the best possible care for them.

Be sure to check out our post with 37 Hamster Care Tips That Will Take You to the Next Level to get started!

Also, we want you to check out How to Feed Hamsters, included there is information about feeding hamsters.

Now that you know that your hamsters are happy, you should check out What Should You Put in a Hamster’s Cage? (An Owner's Checklist). So that your hamsters aren't just happy but are comfortable in their cages.


    • It was! I was a previous hamster owner with two winter white dwarf hamsters. One’s name was Cho, and I got another after she died named Peanut. Neither of them lived to be even a year old. I know that Cho died from wet tail, but I’m not sure what caused Peanut’s death. I am willing to give being a hamster owner another shot, and i want to try with a Syrian hamster this time. I already knew a lot about hamsters before and when I owned my dwarfs, but I am doing more research now to make sure I really know my stuff. This article covered a lot of things I already knew, and I learned some things too and remembered some things I had forgotten. If I get another hamster, I am determined to make them happy, and thanks to you they probably will be! Thanks for the awesome article stuffed full of information and cuteness! 🙂

  1. thx! I’m thinking about getting a hamster, which would be easier to take care of or which will live longer? or last but not least, which is less delicate or more prone to death?

  2. I used to have 3 hamsters 1 died and 2 lived for 2 years now and I really want to let my friendliest hamster Humphrey let him get used to me holding him I make him mazes and by one miracle he sometimes let me touch him but I have to do a slight skimmed across his fur and my other 2 hamsters buster and spiky they mad one bites my Humphery on the butt and there was no fur since. my hamsters are small ones and they are fast so I would recommend a bigger hamster Savannah, not a guinea pig of course! there stinky and I don’t think you’ll be happy with a guinea pig. well to be sure Savannah I think a big hamster is the best for you. and this website is the web I need!

  3. Awesome thank you so much for this helpful article! It helped me realize how to make my dwarf hamster happier since she was acting a little upset in the past few days, but she seems better now, which is very great! ?

  4. Wow this article was so helpful! I might share it with my human to give her some tips, she just got me so I’m gonna give her some pointers ??
    ~Dumpling the Hamster

  5. Thank you for this great article! I really want my dwarf hamster Betty to be safe, healthy and happy, so this is very helpful. I have invested in some plastic tubing connecting two cages but I’d like to make more cardboard tunnels for a playground. You mention using electrical tape for plastic what tape/adhesive is hamster safe for cardboard? Thank you ??

  6. Thank you for this great article! I really want my dwarf hamster Betty to be safe, healthy and happy, so this is very helpful. I have invested in some plastic tubing connecting two cages but I’d like to make more cardboard tunnels for a playground. You mention using electrical tape for plastic what tape/adhesive is hamster safe for cardboard? Thank you ??

  7. Great article, I have had four hamsters in the past, and I’m now on my fifth,she is so cute, long hair Syrian. Is toilet paper safe for hamsters, or is too soft for their cheeks. Will they choke on it.
    My hamsters name is missy and I love her to pieces ,
    From kemi

    • Hey, i had 2 dwarf hamsters, and i currently have 1 syrian hamster.
      Yes, toilet paper is safe for hamsters. … The best TP to give to hamsters – not for food – is plain, unscented.

  8. Hi I have a dwarf hamster four days ago, how long must I wait till I can try to let me handle it like to hold it? I have tried to hold it today but I am not sure whether it but me or nibbled me but my finger was a little bleeding. So what should I do if I want to tame and handle it without it biting me?

    • @The new hamster owner, what you need to do. For whenever you decide to do this the 1st week stay by the cage. 2nd week place your hand in the cage. 3rd week hand feed your hamster treats. 4th week pet your hamster. 5th week hold him. If your hamster bites again go back to the previous step. For example if I was on week 4 and my hamster bit me I would go back to week 3. I hope this helped. Repeat all this every time you get a new hamster.

  9. So,excited. I can’t wait to get my own hamster!! This was so helpful!! I’m getting a hamster in April. I can’t wait

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