First Aid Kit Lists
Vet phone number
1ml and 5ml syringes
For giving medications and water
Snugglesafe, hot water bottle or heat mat
Place these on the outside of the cage, not inside. Do not use with an unconscious hamster who cannot move away from the heat.
Choose scales that read to 1g
Cotton buds and cotton pads
for cleaning cuts and wiping sticky eyes
Glass dropper bottles
For storing mixed medications
Comb and/or brush
For fur care with long haired Syrian hamsters
Small glass bowls
For water bowls or giving soft foods to unwell hamsters
For covering carriers on the way to the vet, or swaddling reluctant hamsters for medications
If you are confident in trimming nails. If you are not, ask your vet
If your vet has tablet medications that need to be mixed up at home. In the UK compounding vet pharmacies are uncommon.
Over the Counter Health Supplies
Diastix and/or Ketostix
If you have Chinese hamsters, Campbells or hybrids
Johnson's Tea Tree Cream
Useful for dry skin or wounds
A small lip-balm pot has many uses in the hamster room, including for quieting squeaky wheels and the emergency treatment of paraphimosis in male hamsters
For cleaning cages after illness. Your choice depends on the pathogens you need to eliminate, for example Virkon for bacteria and viruses, Total Mite Kill for mites.
You can use wet rich foods for building up poorly hamsters, hiding medications in or tempting sick hamsters to eat. Normal hamster mix should make up the majority of their diet, but extras are helpful short term.
Wet cat or dog food
Lactol and powdered baby porridge
Baby food jars
Ratrations mash mix
Supplements and Herbal Remedies
If you choose to use supplements or herbal remedies, make sure you are familiar with their use and side effects. Do not use them instead of seeking vet advice. Harm can come to hamsters who are treated incorrectly with herbal remedies.
For hamster on antibiotics. One example is ProC.
For diarrhoea. Use after seeing a vet.
For diabetes. Use after testing and seeing a vet. It can cause harm in non-diabetic hamsters.
Turmeric (or golden) paste
For arthritis. Inform your vet if you are using this. Do not use with Metacam (melocxicam).
Cod liver oil
For arthritis. Use in small amounts.
Vitamin solution or paste
For hamsters in need of a boost. Healthy hamsters on a good quality commercial food do not need regular vitamins.
This is ideal for someone with one or a few hamsters. It is a good starter guide to hamster care including health.
Diseases of Small Domestic Rodents
A veterinary text book, but more accessible than the BSAVA one.
BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets
A veterinary text book which your vet practice may have. It includes drug doses and information about surgery.
When you think about hamster first aid, it is easy to forget quarantine. This is important if you have more than one hamster.
A sick hamster should be isolated away from other hamsters. This prevents cross-infection to the other hamsters. It also allows the unwell hamster to have closer care and attention in a quiet environment. Find out more about hamster quarantine here.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated for clarity in May 2019.