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Why I Had to Potty Train My Pet Hamster

Dwarf Hamsters, Flipper, Petco, Puppy Potty Training

Several years ago, when I first started to work at PetCo as a part-time employee, I re-discovered pet hamsters. Of course as a child, my family had the cute furry pets, but now as an adult, I was reintroduced to the funny antics, cute furry smiles and inquisitive nature of these animals.

During my first week at PetCo, I wandered by the hamster enclosures and noticed one of the dwarf hamsters playing excessively. The little cotton ball would run laps, do back-flips off his wooden hamster house and eat like he was at a free buffet. Day after day, I wandered by the hamster enclosure to see what this crazy little guy was up to. After a week, I had named the acrobatic hamster Flipper, and decided that he needed to come home with me.

After setting up a deluxe hamster cage complete with toys, ramps, tubes and a separate playground, I felt as if I were ready for this active hamster. Flipper loved his new home, and used every inch of his circus-like enclosure.

After his fist few days home, I noticed that his bedding was extremely wet. I assumed his water bottle had leaked, since it was nearly empty. After careful inspection of the water bottle, I found that it wasn’t leaking at all. My hamster was urinating a lot, and we never noticed this at PetCo, because there were several hamsters living in the enclosure, and the bedding was spot cleaned daily.

Flipper was diagnosed by the store veterinarian as having diabetes. I learned to live with his condition by regulating his diet with hamster food, sweetened dog biscuits, fresh vegetables and fruits. When the hamster acrobatic show began, Flipper got a sweet treat to regulate his blood sugar.

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The one thing I couldn’t regulate was his need to urinate. Even though this dwarf hamster was the size of a kiwi fruit, he could dampen the bedding in his entire cage in two days. After several weeks of cleaning his cage every two days, I decided to learn how to potty train my hamster. We actually sold hamster litter pans and litter at PetCo, so I decided to give it a shot.

I thought back to my puppy potty training days and followed the same methods. I took a few of his poop pellets and some of the urine soaked bedding and put it in his hamster litter pan. The pan was carefully placed in the corner where he started his potty rituals. It only took a few days for Flipper to realize that he always had a clean, dry place to go potty, since I changed the litter in the litter pan about three times a day. After a long day at work, the entire pan would be soaked, but finally he had a clean home, full of fresh fluffy bedding that he could tunnel through and build nests.

Flipper lived a long dwarf hamster life of about two years. Considering his medical condition, he lived a long happy hamster life, full of sweet treats and a playground he called home.

Employee training at PetCo Animal Supplies & personal experience.