If you're away from home for significant periods of time, it's nice to have a qualified individual taking care of your hamster. You can board a hamster just as you might board a dog at a kennel when you're away for days at a time. Unlike a dog or cat, you will take your hamster to the boarding facility in its own cage.
Contact your vet and ask about hamster boarding options. Some facilities board only cats and dogs, while others are prepared to provide care for a wide variety of domesticated animals. Your own vet may provide on-site boarding services himself; otherwise seek referrals to find a facility that best meets your needs.
Visit facilities you are considering and ask questions about what their routine care for a boarded hamster entails. You are seeking a facility that keep hamsters in a clean area separate from the larger boarding population, and that has a staff that will not just feed your pet and clean his cage but will play with him, too, if he's socialized -- which he should be.
Fully clean your hamster's cage and replace soiled bedding the day before boarding.
Double-check all locking elements of your cage to ensure they are in good working order. Make sure that doors fit and lock snugly and that no loose or damaged portions of your cage exist.
Pack hamster supplies necessary for the time you will be gone. Take the facility a supply of food your hamster is familiar with, as well as a bag of fresh bedding. This will help maintain a familiar feeding and cleaning routine for your hamster with foods and materials he is familiar with.
Transport your hamster to the boarding facility in his existing cage. If your hamster has an elaborate set up with numerous tunnels and levels, it may be more practical to transfer your hamster to a smaller cage or to an aquarium-style cage for his boarding period. Do so well before boarding the pet -- he should be acclimated to whatever environment he will be boarded in to ensure he is not stressed during the process.
Provide the boarding location with instructions on how often and how much to feed your hamster. If your hamster has any behavioral problems or medical needs, outline these as well.
Retrieve your hamster as soon as possible after your return. Clean his cage again, and give him lots of love and attention.
- Hamsters are relatively low-maintenance animals, so if your pet is healthy and has no special needs, it may be more cost-effective to ask a friend or relative to look after your hamster than to pay kennel fees.
- hamster lunch time image by cat from Fotolia.com