PDSA now recommend 100cm x 50cm minimum cage size for hamsters. This is for ALL species of hamsters including dwarf and it’s great to see that smaller hamsters aren’t being discriminated due to their slightly smaller size. This month Blue Cross another major charity, also increased their minimum and now say “no smaller than 100cm x 50cm”. We hope that this sets an example to other major organisations who suggest a smaller minimum requirement.
In a major overhaul of their old advice the new guide contains lots of great information and it’s refreshing to see the old out dated advice being improved to contain the correct welfare advice on how to care for your hamster.
HamsterWelfare.com have provided the photos that are included in the new PDSA hamster guide and it’s fantastic to see them displaying examples of home made hamster cages. These are often IKEA DIY hacks, like turning an IKEA Detolf glass cabinet into a tank, or turning a desk on it’s side and adding an acrylic front. Hamster keepers who know about the suitable environment that hamsters need, have to resort to making their own cages as a large wheel and deep bedding for burrowing simply won’t fit in a small shop bought cage.
The Animal Welfare Act requires keepers to “provide a suitable environment”, “to exhibit normal behavior patterns” and “to be protected from pain, injury and suffering”. A small cage with a shallow base doesn’t allow the keeper to provide enough bedding for burrowing, a natural behaviour, and it will only fit a small wheel that a hamster will regularly use and will run with a curved spine and head tilted upwards causing back problems, pain and suffering. The Blue Cross have recently warned against small wheels.
It is a criminal offence to break The Animal Welfare Act and keepers must use a large enough cage so that they can stay on the correct side of the law.
The PDSA cage size recommendation is backed up by TVT research from Germany. The Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare is Headquartered in Frankfurt and was established in 1985 by 150 veterinarians, also known as (TVT). Nowadays, TVT has approximately 1300 veterinary members and around 40 scientists. They recommend the cage size should be at “minimum 100cm x 50cm x 50cm (L x W x H) which is 5000 cm2 (775 in2)” for ALL species of Hamsters.
A translated version of the TVT Hamster Care sheet can be seen here.
HamsterWelfare.com has been displaying this 100cm x 50cm minimum hamster cage size on our hamster cage page since we launched in 2021.
The Blue Cross have also recently improved their hamster care information and they have increased their minimum cage size from being 80cm x 50cm to now saying “The ideal home for a hamster is housing no smaller than 100cm x 50cm floor space, by 50cm tall. The bigger the better as hamsters love to explore and roam.”
Before teaming up with Pets at Home in 2012, The RSPCA used to recommend a minimum cage size of 80cm x 50cm but they have since removed that advice and they now just say “buy as large a cage as you can“. This advice doesn’t provide any guidance and plays into the hands of pet shops not having a specific measurement to follow. The public have begged The RSPCA but our persistent requests have remain ignored. There is currently a Change.org petition to Bring back the 80 x 50cm RSPCA minimum enclosure size for hamsters with over 37,000 signatures.
It is unclear where the 80cm x 50cm minimum cage size derived from but with TVT Research from Germany, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany, Blue Cross, PDSA and Hamster Welfare all saying 100cm x 50cm we hope that The RSPCA will also advise that this is the minimum hamster cage size requirement.
In a major overhaul of their care information The PDSA also say: “Fluffy beddings – such as cotton wool, kapok, and bamboo fluff, these are often marketed as safe for hamsters but can cause injuries by getting wrapped around their legs, and life-threatening gut blockages if ingested.”
The public were extremely pleased see this updated care information from PDSA and here are some of the social media posts that we spotted: