Hamsters are fun and cute pets that are great for first-time pet owners. They have their own unique care needs, but they’re also fairly independent and don’t require as much of a time commitment as dogs or cats.
If you’re interested in bringing home a hamster, it’s important to find one from a reputable place. Many large pet store chains purchase hamsters from unethical pet mills, which mass-produce hamsters without providing adequate living conditions and proper health care. Therefore, many pet store hamsters, unfortunately, live with poor health or contract fatal diseases.
There are other, more ethical ways to bring home a hamster. Consider some of these best places to buy your next hamster.
Large retail pet stores can claim to have ethical standards, but it’s difficult to regulate, and each store location gets managed differently. For example, Petco was named 2017 World’s Most Ethical Company, but investigations revealed that this company worked with pet mills operating in inhumane conditions.
Rather than visiting pet store chains, search for local pet stores. A lot of small pet stores will buy their hamsters from local breeders rather than large pet mills. They’ll also have the time and ability to give proper care and attention to their hamsters.
Here are a few good examples of reputable, local pet stores:
Lexington Pet Place
Lexington Pet Place is a great example of a caring local pet store. The employees provide loving care for their pets, and the facilities are kept clean at all times. This pet store also works with their local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and adoption agencies to continue to promote humane living conditions for all pets.
We Lov Pets
We Lov Pets is another local pet store with several locations in Ohio. They have clean facilities and provide adequate spaces for their small pets. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about caring for all the small pets in their stores.
We Lov Pets also partners with local pet organizations and humane societies and has adoption promotion events throughout the year.
Another option for shopping for hamsters is searching online.
Just note that hamsters shouldn’t get shipped because it’s too stressful of an experience for them. Therefore, it’s best to locate hamster breeders or hamster clubs online and try to connect with ones that are local and close to where you live.
Hamster breeders are one of the best options for buying a pet hamster. They’re very knowledgeable about their hamsters and how to care for them. A good hamster breeder will be able to provide important records, such as the hamster’s birthdate, medical records, and mating and breeding logs.
Other signs of reputable hamster breeders are their knowledge about the specific types of hamsters they breed and their willingness to answer any of your questions. A good hamster breeder will also be a part of hamster clubs or associations, such as the National Hamster Council or California Hamster Association.
You can find reputable breeders online through different websites, such as Hamster Central. When you look for breeders, here are some exemplary ethical breeders that you can use as a reference.
Hubba Hubba Hamstery
Hubba Hubba Hamstery is a small business located in Oregon with a mission to provide ethical alternatives to pet store hamsters. Interested customers have to go through an application process and pass the application in order to purchase a hamster.
In exchange, you’re guaranteed to bring home a healthy hamster. Hubba Hubba Hamstery also provides an initial care package and ongoing support throughout the lifetime of their hamsters.
This small business in Santa Cruz, California sells hamsters, rats, and chinchillas. The owner, Diane Kipnis, is a USDA Licensed Class A Breeder. She used to sell her small rodents to a large pet store chain until the chain ended its partnership to work with bigger vendors instead.
Furball Critters has a custom room with a special design to house small pets. This business operates with transparency, and it provides prospective customers the option to schedule an appointment to visit the facility.
Hamster Clubs and Associations
Hamster clubs and associations are also a great way to connect with breeders online. Many of their websites have a directory of breeders that are members of the organizations.
Along with the National Hamster Council and California Hamster Association, the Internet Hamster Association of North America is another great resource for hamster breeders and enthusiasts.
Many pet adoption websites also post adoptable hamsters. A lot of times, hamster owners may have an unexpected litter of baby hamsters, so they’re looking for adopters. Adoption websites, such as Adopt a Pet and Pet Finder often have hamsters available for adoption.
Along with retail and online options, you can also buy hamsters at hamster enthusiast gatherings such as hamster shows and pet expos.
A hamster show is competitive, but there are often opportunities to purchase hamsters at these shows. The benefit of going to a hamster show is that you’ll find healthy hamsters with good pedigrees.
The California Hamster Association hosts a hamster show and also allows breeders to sell hamsters. The breeders must fulfill their care requirements in order to sell at the shows.
Pet expos are also a great way to connect with hamster breeders and purchase a hamster. They’re also fun events for the whole family and often have education pieces scheduled into their event planning.
America’s Family Pet Expo is one example of a pet expo where you can buy small pets.
Featured Image Credit: Johannes Menge, Shutterstock