Hamster Diet: What Can Hamsters Eat?
Table of Contents
- What Can Hamsters Eat?
- What Can I Feed My Hamster?
- How Often Should You Feed a Hamster?
- When Should I Feed My Hamster?
- How Do I Feed My Hamster?
- What Kind of Fruits and Vegetables Can Hamsters Eat
- Foods Your Hamster CANNOT Eat
- Questions? Comments?
New hamster owners, or people thinking about getting a hamster, often wonder about what hamsters can eat. After all, you don’t want to feed something to your pet hamster that will cause it to get a stomachache! Read on to learn about the dos and don’ts on keeping a healthy hamster diet.
What Can Hamsters Eat?
Hamsters can generally eat a variety of food products. However, some foods are better than others when it comes to keeping your pet healthy.
A general guideline to follow is to feed your hamster what they would generally eat in the wild. Wild hamsters eat a combination of grains, grasses, seeds, and even insects!
What Can I Feed My Hamster?
The best approach is also the simplest approach. You can feed your hamsters with commercial hamster food that can be bought online or at a local pet store.
Commercial brand hamster foods contain all the nutrition your hamster will need for a well-balanced diet. These usually come in the form of seed mixes or pellets. Furthermore, companies have spent a lot of time developing these foods to appeal to your hamster’s taste. Your hamster will wolf down their seed mix or pellet before you know it!
You can also feed your hamster fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed. These are used as treats to supplement your hamster’s diet. Fresh food is not necessary in a hamster’s diet (which is why we consider it a treat), but your hamster will love you for adding variety into their meal plan. After all, everyone loves to eat a variety of different foods.
Just a precaution that some foods should not be fed to your hamster as they can cause stomach distress (you can find a list of foods to avoid in the table at the bottom of the article). A hamster’s stomach is a lot more fragile than ours so they cannot eat everything that we can. You can find a list of fruits and vegetables that a hamster can eat at the end of this post.
How Often Should You Feed a Hamster?
Hamsters have a fast rate of metabolism and are high-energy creatures. You can often see them scurrying around in their cage or running on their hamster wheel. That probably makes you think that they get hungry easily and need to be fed often right? If so, think again!
An empty food bowl in your hamster’s cage does not mean that it will need to be refilled right away. Hamsters hoard their food if you give them more than they need. These secret stashes are quite hard to find in a hamster cage! Your hamster will easily get fat if you provide them with a bottomless supply of hamster food to eat.
Below is a general guideline on how often you should feed a hamster.
Commercial Hamster Food
You should feed your hamster approximately one tablespoon of seed mix or pellets once a day since this will be their main meal. Be sure to check the package label to ensure your hamster is getting the right amount of food to eat. Treats can be supplemented as needed if you think your hamster will need more food.
Treats can be given in small quantities to satisfy your hamster’s appetite if they are still hungry from eating their pellet or seed mix. You do not want to give too many treats as it may spoil if your hamster ends up hoarding it away. A good guideline to follow is to treat your hamster once a day.
Treats usually consist of small bits of fruits or vegetables such as a slice of apple, a floret of broccoli, or several raisins. Many companies also make hamster treats that you can purchase if you do not have any available fresh food. Remember not to give your hamster too much or else they will end up hoarding it.
- Drops are made with yogurt and strawberries and are a tasty treat your hamster will love.
- Contains natural whey and protein to promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Features essential lecithin your hamster needs to stay healthy with no artificial coloring.
Hard Hamster Treats
A hamster’s teeth will continue to grow throughout its life. If it becomes overgrown, their teeth can cause injuries to your pet’s mouth and the jaw can get misaligned.
Hard treats can help to wear down your hamster’s teeth and should be offered once a week. You can use branches from fruit trees as hard treats or even buy them online for your hamster to eat.
When Should I Feed My Hamster?
The best time to feed your hamster is during the morning or in the evening. Many hamster owners have argued on this topic so use your judgment to determine what is best for your hamster:
- Evening Feeding: Some owners think that it is best to feed your hamster during the evenings because that is when wild hamsters typically forage for food. A wild hamster comes out of their burrow in the evening to look for food to eat. However, they only do this due to the presence of daytime predators which we don’t think your household has!
- Morning Feeding: Hamsters have a tendency to wake up periodically for short periods during the day to eat their meals. Providing food during the morning allows your hamster to enjoy their meal throughout the day!
Regardless of when you choose to feed your hamster, just remember that your hamster will need regular access to food and water. Don’t forget to provide these things so your hamster can have something to eat and drink!
How Do I Feed My Hamster?
Hamsters are easy to care for and feeding them is not complicated. Here are a few tips to keep in mind on how you can feed your hamster:
- Don’t forget to keep your hamster hydrated! Your hamster should have easy access to water at all times. Attach an inverted water bottle to the side of your hamster’s cage. Remember to change out the water every one or two days to keep the water supply fresh and free from contamination.
- Get a hamster food bowl to put your food in so your hamster will know where to expect food. Hamsters like to fill their cheek pouches and hide their food so that they can eat it at a later time. Keeping their food location helps them remember where they can find food to eat.
- You want to place the hamster food bowl in an area far away from your hamster’s bathroom area. Hamsters usually choose one corner for their bathroom needs so just place the bowl opposite of this corner.
- Consider getting a smaller hamster food bowl as it takes up less cage space and prevents you from overfeeding your pet. Also opt for a ceramic hamster food bowl instead of a plastic one. Ceramic is chew-resistant, sturdy, and heavier (harder for your hamster to overturn and spill their meal!). In contrast, plastic hamster food bowls are easily chewed and scratched through which create bacteria breeding grounds.
- Don’t forget to wash the hamster food bowl with soap and water on a weekly basis to prevent the spread of germs.
- These absolutely chew proof dishes feature wide profiles that lend stability
- The heavyweight design makes these dishes tip resistant.
- Eliminate messes and promote healthy pets with Stoneware Dishes,
What Kind of Fruits and Vegetables Can Hamsters EatYou can use this table to search for fruits and vegetables that your hamster can eat. If it does not appear in this table, you may want to double check before letting your hamster eat it.
|Fruits and Vegetables Hamsters Can Eat||Notes|
|Avocado||Skinned and seedless|
|Brussel Sprouts||Small amounts occasionally - not all hamsters like the strong taste|
|Cabbage||Should only be fed in small amounts occasionally as too much can cause health problems|
|Cauliflower Leaves and Stalks|
|Cherries||Stones should be removed as they can be dangerous if gnawed|
|Kale||Should only be fed in small amounts occasionally as too much can cause health problems|
|Kidney Beans||Needs to be cooked|
|Lettuce||Small amounts occasionally - in excess it can cause liver problems|
|Parsley||A good tonic|
|Plums||Stones should be removed as can be dangerous when gnawed|
|Potato||Needs to be cooked|
|Raspberry Plant Leaves||Beneficial for diarrhoea|
|Sugar Cane||Small amounts|
Foods Your Hamster CANNOT EatYou should avoid feeding food products in this list to your hamster. They are either toxic to your hamster or cause indigestion within their stomach.
|Hamsters Cannot Eat These Foods||Notes|
|Almonds||Contains cyanic acid. Can kill hamsters if they eat too much.|
|Avocado||Contains Cardiac Glycosides|
|Celery||Stringy bits can choke a hamster.|
|Citrus fruits||Orange, Lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, etc. The acidic content is too high for a hamster to eat.|
|Garlic||Can cause indigestion.|
|Junk food designed for humans||Chips, chocolates, etc. Sugary food is bad for a hamster's teeth.|
|Kidney beans||Hamsters cannot eat these raw. Needs to be cooked.|
|Lemon or Lime||Too acidic for a hamster's stomach.|
|Onions||Causes damage to the hamster's red blood cells.|
|Peach Stone & Leaves|
|Peanuts||Toxic to hamsters in large quantities.|
|Potatoes (Raw)||Hamsters cannot eat raw potatoes. It is toxic to them.|
|Rhubarb||Toxic to hamsters.|
|Tomato leaves||Toxic to hamsters|
|Watermelon||High water content causes diarrhea|
- The Humane Society of the United States. Hamster Feeding. Retrieved from: humanesociety.org/animals/hamsters/tips/hamster_feeding.html
- Western Oregon University. Feeding Hamsters. Retrieved from: wou.edu/~ecarter09/MyWeb/Hamsters.html
Please post any additional questions on what your hamster can eat below. Feel free to provide any tips on a healthy hamster diet in the comments as well!