Having a pet provides so much joy, but sometimes you want to have more than one different type of pet. It is essential when choosing pets to live together, that you find animals who will get along.
In this article, we will be looking at whether dogs and hamsters get along and what you can do to help them form a bond.
Do Dogs and Hamsters Get Along?
Yes, dogs and hamsters can get along, but whether they get along depends more upon the dog than the hamster. You will need to assess your individual dog’s personality and traits before deciding whether a hamster will be a good fit in your home.
There are definitely ways to help dogs and hamsters get along, but it will require some work on your end if they don’t get along naturally.
Reasons Why a Dog and Hamster Might Not Get Along
Dogs are naturally curious and playful, and they may seek to play with the hamster, who may find the experience nightmarish if they aren’t used to being around a dog. Even a smaller dog will seem huge to a hamster because they are so small.
There are a variety of reasons why your dog and hamster may not get along; let’s explore these reasons in a little more depth.
Your Dog is Hyper and isn’t Good With the Hamster
Some dogs are very calm and peaceful, whereas others can be super bouncy and quite hyper (like mine!). Similar to other small pets like guinea pigs, many hamsters will not appreciate a wild crazy dog.
Not only could this hyperactivity scare the hamster, but it could also result in them getting injured.
Usually, an excitable dog will not mean any harm to the hamster, but due to the obvious size difference, if your dog accidently injures your hamster it could be fatal.
The Hamster is Afraid of the Dog
Imagine being a helpless little hamster and being confronted with Fido – it’s pretty intimidating, isn’t it?
Since hamsters have a relatively short lifespan, it’s likely that they wouldn’t have come into contact with a dog before moving in with you – unless they had a previous owner.
The loud barking, hyperactive behavior, and size of the dog could frighten the hamster and cause it to refuse to come out of its safe place within the cage.
Your Dog isn’t Trained.
Regardless of whether you have other pets, it is always a good idea to ensure that your dog is trained. A trained dog will make your life easier in general, but it will also help your hamster and dog get along better.
If your dog isn’t trained, it can be much more challenging to create a safe and loving home for two pets of different species.
If your dog is trained, you can teach them commands like stay, leave it, down, quiet, and gentle. These commands can be used to teach your dog to use self-control around the hamster and to be gentle.
Your Dog has a Strong Prey Drive
Some dogs have a stronger prey drive than others. Dogs with a strong prey drive will have a greater natural instinct to chase and try and catch things that move. Small things (like a hamster) are more easily catchable by a dog than larger moving things.
If your dog likes to chase things like cars, bikes, or play fetch, they may have a strong prey drive. These dogs will likely need more training to learn that the hamster not prey, should not be chased and caught and should be left alone.
Ways to Help a Dog and Hamster Get Along
A hamster and a dog can definitely live side by side, but depending on the personality of your dog they may or may not the best buddies you see on Instagram.
Calmer dogs may not even bat an eyelid if you bring home a hamster, whereas more hyperactive dogs will be intrigued and looking to sniff, investigate, play with, and pounce on the new creature.
Below are some things you can do to help increase the odds of these two animals getting along:
Don’t Leave the Animals Alone Together
If you leave the dog and hamster alone with one another, especially while the hamster is out of the cage, this gives your pooch the perfect opportunity to pounce. Therefore, it is vital that you always supervise your dog when the hamster is out of his cage.
Be Careful with your Hamster’s Ball
Dogs can be especially playful animals and your hamster’s exercise ball could be seen as a toy by your canine companion. For this reason, it is essential to discourage your dog from playing with the hamster ball even if it is not in use by the hamster.
If your dog starts seeing the hamster’s ball as a toy, it is more likely to try and chase it down when the hamster is using the ball as well. If your hamster is using the ball, your dog should definitely be supervised, and some dogs may have to be in another room while the hamster plays if they can’t help themselves from chasing after the ball.
Train your Dog
One of the great things about dogs is that they are incredibly smart creatures and can be easily trained if you use the right methods and remain consistent.
One of the most common issues with keeping dogs and hamsters together is that the dog isn’t trained to know how to behave around their much more delicate housemate.
Teaching your dog some simple commands such as ‘leave’ and ‘stay’ can mean the difference between harmony and all out animal warfare.
Tire your Dog Out
Another thing you can do to make sure your dog is less interested in their hamster housemate is to tire them out on a daily basis.
Dogs are naturally energetic and need a way to burn this off – frequent walks and play time are essential and it is important to include this in your schedule every day. A tired dog will be less interested in bothering the hamster to keep themselves entertained.
Don’t Take the Hamster out of the Cage When the Dog is Present
Prevention is better than cure. If you want to ensure that there are no dog-hamster run-ins, the best way to achieve this is to keep them apart until you know your dog can behave appropriately.
When you take the hamster out of the cage for playtime, put your dog up in another room.
Some owners also find that keeping the hamster cage in a room where the dog is not allowed to enter also helps.
This is a more extreme way of helping these animals get along, but there are some dogs that just won’t learn to be gentle enough to be safe around the hamster. Only you can know your individual dog and will best be able to make the assessment if you need to use these more extreme measures.
Keep the Hamster’s Cage Above the Dog’s Eye Level
Many experts suggest that placing your hamster’s cage above the dog’s eye level is a great way to draw attention away from the fact that there is another critter in the house.
Your dog may still be aware of its presence but if he cannot see the hamster moving around, your dog will become less interested in the hamster in general.
Introduce the Pets Properly
If the hamster has moved into your home after the dog, your pooch may feel as though his space is being invaded and will naturally want to investigate. Introducing the two pets to one another correctly can make the transition from lone pet to housemates a lot easier.
First, you should be sure to keep the dog on a leash and allow it to interact with the hamster whilst it remains in the cage. Let the dog sniff the cage and get a good look at his new friend.
Gauge your dog’s reaction, if your dog remains calm, wonderful! If your dog gets hyper and barks and tries to get in the cage, you will need to be more careful with your dog around the hamster.
If you dog remains calm around the hamster while it is in its cage for a few days, you can try and let the hamster out of the cage but keep your dog on a leash the whole time so you can control your dog. Have another person assist you with taking the hamster out so you can control they dog and they can look after the hamster.
If the dog doesn’t care about the hamster you have a match made in heaven. If your dog gets all excited, that just means that they will likely need more training sessions or will just need to be placed in another room when the hamster is out of the cage.
Don’t give up after just one time, try this exercise many times over the first few weeks, some dogs just take a little more time to get used to the hamster’s presence.
It is common for people to own more than one pet. If you have a dog and want to get a hamster or vice versa you probably want to make sure they get along easily.
The personality of the dog will be key in determining whether these two pets can get along without any drama. Doing things such as introducing the pets properly, keeping your dog tired, and training the dog will help out immensely. Dogs and hamsters can definitely get along or at least co-exist in most instances.