Some hamster owners want to get rid of their hamsters for a variety of reasons. Life can change fast, and sometimes a pet owner may realize that they can no longer care for their hamster anymore. If you’re going through the same thing, you may want to know what you should do with a hamster you no longer want to keep.
You can get rid of a hamster by finding it a new home. When you need to rehome your pet hamster, you can ask anyone local you know, veterinarians, pet stores, animal shelters, and animal rescues. Even if any of these sources can’t take the hamster, they’ll likely know someone who can.
With some networking, fellow pet lovers will help assure that the hamster has a safe transition. Here are some details on how you can make these sources work for you and your pet, as well as what not to do. Keep reading.
Be Responsible When Getting Rid of Your Hamster
Hamsters are living beings, and they deserve to be treated with respect, too. If you can no longer take care of your hamster—for whatever reason—make sure you find it a new home first before you get rid of it.
There are many ways to rehome your hamster, fortunately.
Ask Your Friends and Family if They Can Adopt Your Hamster
The best option for your hamster and what may likely be the least fuss for you is to ask around. Friends, family, and coworkers will be the most invested in finding a good option for a pet.
They may want the hamster for themselves, their kids, or other people in their lives who may want to adopt a new hamster.
Ask Your Vet To Help You Find a New Home for Your Hamster
Consider talking to veterinarians. They can recommend your hamster to their customers. Vets may also be in contact with people who rescue or foster pets.
Before letting your hamster go, it might be a good idea to let your vet check your hamster’s health, too. That way, you’ll know that your hamster is healthy when you hand it over to someone new.
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Visit the Local Schools in Your Area
Whether you’re in Boston, California, or New York, you can find elementary schools that might be interested in your pet. A school teacher might appreciate having the hamster around as a class pet. School kids may also appreciate having the hamster around.
Make sure you call the local elementary schools first before visiting them.
Use Social Media To Connect With Other Pet Owners
Social media sites sometimes have hashtags or groups dedicated to local exchanges like a modern classified section of a newspaper. You’ll need more care here because you won’t immediately know who you’re talking to, but at least the people reading your message will be local.
Search for Other Pet Lovers Online
Petfinder.com is a large site that also works as social media and classifieds. It’s a popular site for people looking to adopt a pet and don’t want to be limited to chain stores or the local animal shelter. It’s also a helpful resource for small animals that are hard to find at these other locations.
Potential owners can search by species, keywords, or miles from an address. The site has entries for all adoptable animals. Animals can be from private homes, stores, or shelters.
AdoptaPet.com always coordinates with local shelters all over North America.
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Contact Rescue and Animal Shelters
Call around to see if any of your local rescue groups or animal shelters take hamsters. Many stick to dogs and cats, but sometimes they’re ready to take in other types of pets. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who specializes in rescuing hamsters.
Even if a shelter or rescue doesn’t take hamsters, you can ask them if they know anyone who might. They may know that occasional hamster rescue specialist or an individual looking for a hamster to adopt and had no luck before you came along.
In 2016, almost 57% (in states like Wyoming, West Virginia, and Nebraska) of U.S. households had a pet. Sure, dogs and cats are popular pet choices in general, but that doesn’t mean cat and dog parents wouldn’t welcome hamsters to their homes, either. Your local animal rescues or shelters may likely know people who can take care of your hamster.
Ask Pet Stores if They’ll Accept Your Hamster
We have PetSmart and PetCo as the major pet stores across the U.S., be it in New York or Massachusetts.
PetSmart, for example, has 1,500 stores nationwide. These stores have return policies that you can check if the hamster you want to return was bought not too long ago, usually within 30 days. They may even take animals bought beyond that time frame but offer them for adoption rather than sale.
If you go this route, the store staff will likely ask you many questions about your situation and how you cared for the hamster. They do this to verify your reasons and know what other considerations they will need once they take the hamster back.
Sometimes, stores will require a minor fee to compensate for the time and labor to get the hamster prepared for adoption again.
When returned, the hamster may need to have a brief quarantine period. It’ll likely last a few days.
The hamster may also have a vet check. This scenario will especially be the case if you have returned it for medical concerns.
Once the hamster is ready for resale, the store may sell it at a reduced rate. But at least the store has no other stigma against returned animals.
If the hamster is sick or has some other medical issue, the store will still offer it for adoption and be open about the hamster’s medical history. Many animal lovers prefer to adopt these extra-deserving animals, so a disabled hamster is still likely to find a new home.
Smaller pet stores will have different policies, but you can phone them and ask. They probably will try to work with you. Most people want to keep pets as comfortable and safe as possible. So they’ll try to help however they can.
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You Should Never Release Your Hamster in the Wild
Hamsters and their flexible diet might make it seem like they can survive in the wild. But imagine if you were raised locked in a house and suddenly dropped into the wilderness alone. How would you know how to survive? Hamsters don’t last long outside.
Hamsters didn’t grow up learning the landscape and getting skilled at burrowing. They wouldn’t know how to protect themselves.
In some places, it’s also illegal to release a pet. The action may even classify as animal cruelty.
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Make Your Hamster As Adaptable as Possible
You can ensure your hamster will get adopted quickly by doing the right thing—getting a clean bill of health affirmed by a vet is one. It reduces the upfront costs to the new owner or the risk of them adopting to discover a medical issue.
Advertising for new homes through your vet also adds credibility to your hamster as a healthy addition to someone else’s family. Going through people close to you who are also close to the new potential owner will also set aside concerns.
Photos of your hamster will let new potential owners visualize what they want in a new pet—it’s like meeting someone in person instead of over the phone or online without photos. A face gives people a sense of familiarity and confidence.
If your hamster has any behavioral or medical issues, be honest about them. You want a prepared household to take in your pet, not one who got surprised and had to rehome the hamster again.
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Is It Okay for Me To Get Rid of My Hamster?
It’s okay for you to get rid of your hamster if you think it’s best for you and your pet. Many pet owners let go of their pets when a life challenge arises. But note that you have many resources at your disposal to help you work through your challenges without losing your pet.
The Human Society can help you learn how to cope with pet allergies, financial struggles due to job loss or a surprise vet bill, and pet-friendly housing options.
Maybe you lost your job or developed medical problems, even pet allergies. Or maybe your hamster has too many medical issues, or it turned out to be pregnant, and now the babies need homes. Either way, you have options for an unwanted pet hamster. Most fellow pet lovers want to help your animal stay safe and comfortable.
To rehome your pet hamster, start networking and asking around. You can reach out to friends, schools, veterinarians, pet stores, and animal rescues. If any of these sources can’t take the hamster, they will likely know someone who can.
Related Hamster articles:
- Why Is My Hamster Sleeping So Much?
- How Much Does Hamster Food Cost?
- Why Is My Hamster Drinking So Much Water?
- What Does Hamster Diarrhea Look Like?
- Why Does My Hamster Poop So Much?
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more