Whether you’re picking up your new hamster or making a trip to the vet, it’s important to have a sturdy carrier that they cannot escape from.
The best hamster carriers are made of plastic with adequate ventilation, secure latches, and a base to hold bedding for them to burrow into. Your carrier should be escape-proof and small enough to prevent your hamster from being tossed around as you drive.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything to look for in the best hamster carriers, how to set up your carrier for travel, and more.
Table of Contents:
Why Hamster Carriers are Important
Hamster carriers are needed whenever you travel with your pet. While this shouldn’t happen very frequently, you will need a carrier both to bring your hamster home and for vet visits.
It’s essential to purchase a carrier before you adopt your hamster. Not only does it give you a sturdy way to bring them home, but it also allows you to be prepared in case they need an emergency vet visit or you need to evacuate your home in a crisis.
Your hamster should also see the vet for check-ups every six months to a year, so you will need the carrier eventually!
How to Choose the Best Hamster Carrier
Consider Containment vs Ventilation
Finding the perfect hamster carrier is a balance between choosing one with adequate ventilation and choosing one that they cannot escape from! Hamsters are little escape artists, and you certainly don’t want them getting out in the car.
Many carriers are made from hard plastic with ventilation at the top. You want this to allow for airflow, especially in the summer months when you risk heat stroke by keeping your hamster too cooped up.
But, the holes cannot be big enough for your hamster to slip through! If you choose a cage with metal bars, make sure they’re spaced closely together, or cover the outside with a tightly-spaced mesh fabric.
You’ll also want to ensure that all latches on the carrier are secure and cannot be easily opened by your hamster or jostled by movement in the car.
Choose Chew-Proof Materials
Many hamsters will chew through cardboard or fabric carriers, especially if you’re on a multi-hour long trip. They’re not sturdy enough to keep your hamster safe, you’ll have to repurchase them when they’re damaged, and you also risk your hamster consuming fabric and developing a blockage.
Metal bars cannot be eaten, but stressed hamsters may chew the bars and damage their teeth, so you will want to watch for this.
A thick plastic carrier is the best option, as its flat surface cannot be chewed as easily.
Pick a Carrier that’s Easy to Clean
Plastic is also easiest to clean, as you can simply wipe it down when you return home. It can also be sanitized if your hamster is sick, and you can use it for multiple hamsters without worrying.
Some fabric carriers can be machine-washed, but otherwise are a pain to clean. Cardboard carriers must be thrown away, as there’s no way to clean them once they’re soiled.
Look for Comfortable Handles
Handles can help you carry your hamster easily, especially if you have other things to grab. It can be a challenge to juggle your keys, your bag, your hamster’s paperwork, and their carrier when walking into the vet!
You can also use the handles to loop a seatbelt through and strap your hamster into the car. This prevents them from sliding around as you drive and can keep them a bit safer if you’re in an accident.
Choose the Right Size
It may seem like bigger is better when it comes to hamster carriers, but putting your hamster in a large space while you drive can cause them to be tossed around.
You also don’t want the carrier to be too small, as this can cause stress. Your hamster should be able to move around, stand up, and have a bit of bedding to burrow into.
In their cage, your hamster needs about 10 inches of bedding in order to burrow. In a carrier, a few inches is okay because it’s a very temporary setup.
What About Long Trips?
If you’re on a long trip, it’ll be best to look for both a carrier for the car and a cage you can set up wherever you’re staying. For example, you might bring a bin cage that you can fill with all of your hamster’s necessities.
Things like heavy accessories and a hamster wheel aren’t appropriate to include in the car carrier, since they can fall or slide and injure your hamster. But, they may be needed if you’re going to stay someplace for multiple days.
Alternatively, leaving your hamster at home during vacation might be best for them. Remember that travel can be very stressful!
Repurposing Small Cages
If you have an old hamster cage that was far too small, you can sometimes use it as your carrier. Just make sure it fits all of the above criteria, especially when it comes to safety!
You may be able to make adjustments to accomplish this, such as zip-tying flimsy pieces tightly together or adding mesh over the bars to make the cage escape-proof.
Setting Up Your Hamster’s Carrier
Setting up your hamster’s carrier is very simple, especially if you won’t be in the car long. Here’s how:
- Move bedding from the cage to the carrier. Your hamster’s bedding holds their scent and will make them feel less stressed than fresh bedding. It also gives them someplace to burrow–make sure it’s as deep as possible given the size of the carrier.
- Avoid adding heavy objects. You can include a light hide if you’d like, but heavy objects such as hamster wheels can slide around and hurt your hamster.
- For longer trips, include a water bottle or watery vegetables. If including a water bottle, make sure it’s secure and won’t leak or move around as you drive.
- The back seat is the safest spot for pet carriers. Passenger seats have airbags that can hurt your hamster if they go off. It’s also important to strap your hamster’s carrier in with a seatbelt across the carrier or looped through the handles.
Keep in mind that hamsters aren’t the best-suited for frequent travels, and will usually prefer to stay in their cage with someone to care for them.
But when you do need to travel with your fur baby, I hope this article has supplied you with all of the information you need! Remember to look for durability, ventilation, and an escape-proof design.