Hamsters are generally easy to care for, but here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to hamster food and supplies. A hamster is small, furry, and entertaining to watch. Despite their small size, hamsters have many needs that must be met for them to be happy, healthy, and live their best and longest lives.
Remember that hamsters will hide their food. Don’t be concerned if you’ve just fed your hamster and there’s no more food in his bowl half an hour later – that’s fine. Hamsters stuff all of their food into their cheeks and then hide it in their nest.
Hamster Food List
Hamsters can eat a wide variety of foods, from fruits and vegetables to seeds and rusks. This list aims to give you some ideas that can spice up your hamster’s diet, as well as providing a safe food list.
In general, if you’re not sure whether or not your hamster should eat this specific food, then we don’t advise that you risk it. Hamsters have very different digestive systems to our own, and there are many foods that we can eat happily that hamsters cannot.
- Apple slices (without seeds)
- A Cherry (pitted)
- Egg (small piece of boiled and scrambled)
- Hamster dry foods
- Hamster treats
- Lettuce (very small amounts only)
Some foods to avoid (non-exhaustive):
- Citrus fruits
- Un-ripe fresh food
- Over-ripe fresh food
- Human Food
It’s best to try tiny slivers of safe foods with your pet in case they develop diarrhoea. When you’re sure a food is fine, offer your pets a pea or bean sized amount.
What Not To Feed A Hamster
When it comes to feeding hamsters, it might be best to stick to a list of what hamsters can eat rather than what they can’t. If you’re not sure whether or not your hamster can eat a certain food, it’s better to be safe than sorry and to not offer it to them. Although it’s tempting to offer your pet foods that you enjoy, they could become detrimental to your pet’s health, especially mealstuffs such as sweets and chocolate. If you need to treat your pet, try to figure out their favorite fruit, or purchase some special hamster treats from your local pet shop.
Some things that will harm hamsters include (non-exhaustive):
- Dairy products
- Chocolate (unless specifically for hamsters)
- Some house and garden plants
Hamsters can eat a lot of different fruits and vegetables, as well as a number of seeds and grains. We’ve made a listing of some great foods that hamsters can enjoy safely.
Hamster Food Dispensers
A hamster bowl is perfectly adequate, as, when combined with a water bottle, these two pieces of equipment are all you will need to keep food in your pet’s cage. It’s a good idea to try to recreate this variety with pets in order to minimize stress and keep them entertained. Fresh foods don’t need to be provided every single day, but your hamster will enjoy chomping on them a few times a week.
If you would like some suggestions as to what to feed your hamster, then have a quick look at What Can Hamsters Eat.
When you’re choosing fresh food to feed your pet, it’s best to make sure that what you provide is thoroughly defrosted, and ripe, as hamsters struggle a bit more with ingesting under or over-ripe food. If you’re thinking of offering your pet fresh food that you’ve collected from your garden or local area, then this can be a great way of supplementing your pet’s diet and giving them a tasty treat.
If the greens are carefully selected (some species are harmful to hamsters) and thoroughly washed, then this is a fantastic way of providing your hamster some variety in their diet.
One thing that owners will want to be a little careful of is the quantities of fresh food that they provide for their pets. If you give your hamster too much fresh food, three problems can occur. First, too much can give your pet an unpleasant upset stomach and diarrhea.
Second, if the fresh food is fruit, too much can lead to dental problems. Third, hamsters will try to store any food that they are unable to eat in one big glut, and fresh food becomes unsuitable to eat quite quickly. We suggest removing any leftover fresh food the day after it was put in. This usually will minimize the risk that your pet will eat it and cause itself problems.
Just like humans, hamsters need protein in order to stay fit. Some dry mixes have been formulated to provide adequate protein for your pet’s needs, but others require you as an owner to occasionally supplement your hamster’s diet with a little bit of this key nutrient. Many experts recommend offering your hamster a little of a bit of hard-boiled or scrambled egg, a food which is full of protein.
It’s a good idea to only offer a small amount, as hamsters are really tiny creatures who don’t need that much foods. Moreover, if your animal tries to stash the egg, then the food can go bad very quickly. If your hamster does manage to hide a bit of this away, it’s important that you find the stash and remove it quite quickly, to be able to avoid your hamster becoming ill from bad food.
Just like us, your hamster will enjoy a little treat from time to time. Hamster treats can involve shop-bought delicacies, but many hamsters also really enjoy a piece of their favourite fruit or vegetables.
There are a wide variety of hamster treats available in pet shops, so if you’re on the hunt for some tasty morsels for your pet then you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. Just as with humans, it’s a good idea to exercise a bit of moderation when supplying your pet with treats. Just as we humans shouldn’t have too many, neither should hamsters. Treats should be occasional, rather than a regular or staple part of your hamster’s diet.
Many owners have made the mistake of giving hamsters ‘treats’ made out of human food. Although hamsters enjoy many of the same fresh fruits and vegetables as we do, their bodies aren’t used to everything that we are able to ingest, and some foods that are delicious and safe for us have quite different effects on our pets.
For example, sweets and chocolates should never be fed to any hamster. Although they’ll probably seize it like they do any other food, these foodstuffs can cause serious problems with your hamster’s cheek pouches and digestive system. It is for these reasons that it’s much safer to stick to hamster-safe vegetables and fruit, and treats made specifically for them, such as for example hamster chews and sticks.
How Much Do Hamsters Eat?
How much hamsters eat depends on their size, but roughly, hamsters will eat one or two teaspoons of their dry food mix a day. If you notice that your hamster is storing huge amounts of its dry food in its bedding, then you might be feeding it too a lot. If all the food dcan end up beingappears very quickly, then you might want to increase the amount.
You may want to be considered a bit cautious if you choose to purchase loose foods. If you own a larger hamster like a Syrian, then it may need a little more. Pregnant or recovering hamsters may also need more food than usual. It’s likely that you will have to use your judgement to adjust how much you feed your hamster on a pet-by-pet basis.
How Much Does Hamster Food Cost?
Dry hamster food is very cheap, usually only about two or three pounds for a decent-sized bag. Which hamster food you choose to buy is up to you – do you want something that provides all the vitamins and minerals your hamster needs, or are you happy supplying fresh food more often in order to supplement the dry?
If your hamsters are very small, like Roborovskis, then they may need less than one teaspoon. Make sure that it has been kept in a very clean area, as any moisture or dirt can contaminate the food with bacteria and mould, both of which can be quite dangerous to your pet. It’s often best if loose foods in shops are kept in airtight containers.
Hamster Food Bowls
If you’ve got a Qute Hamster Cage, then a hamster food bowl comes included. It’s shallow and with a thick rim so that your hamster doesn’t tip it over or hurt itself on the sides. A wheel and a water bottle are also free with the Qute unit.
If you don’t have a Qute, then you’ll likely be able to find an hamster food bowl at your local pet shop. Human bowls aren’t a very good idea because they are likely to tip over, a dangerous event when you’re smaller than the bowl! When purchasing a hamster bowl, you’ll want one that’s shallow and easy to clean.
Fresh Food For Hamsters
Although dry food should form the bulk of your hamster’s diet, in the wild they would benefit from lots of variety.
Pet food dispensers usually have a lot more meals in them than your hamster will need on a daily basis. If the hamster can collect food from them whenever it chooses, then you might find yourself filling up the food dispenser far more often than you thought you would need to. This is because hamsters love to stash foods all around their territory. In the wild, the amount of food would vary a lot, and so they like hiding food in case they run out of it at any point.
In the event that you give your hamster plenty of food via the dispenser, after that it will probably store a lot of it throughout its cage, meals that will be caught up and disposed of when you clean out the cage. This means that a lot of food will be wasted! If you can find a food dispenser that doesn’t allow the hamster access to all of the foods, then this might be a better option, or you can simply provide their food each day in their food bowl.