The ideal diet for your hamster
Since hamsters are omnivores, they consume both plants and insects in their natural habitat. The healthiest diet for your hamster is one that includes fresh vegetables and protein-rich goodies like mealworms, similar to what they would consume in the wild.
Top tip: Feeding muesli-style food to your hamster is not a good idea. They eat the parts that are high in sugar and leave the parts that are high in fibre. This can result in painful dental problems as well as weight gain.
The ideal hamster diet will include:
- Commercial hamster pellets (not a muesli-style mix). You can buy these in pet shops.
- Small amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs.
- Timothy hay. This is a special variety of hay that’s full of fibre and is ideal for small pets. You can buy it in pet shops.
- Occasional treats, like nuts, boiled egg or mealworms.
Drinking water for hamsters
Drinking water should always be available for hamsters, especially in a bottle with a valveless sipper tube. They frequently change their water, thoroughly clean the bottle and nozzle, and regularly inspect the water bottle for leaks or obstructions.
Hamsters may have trouble overcoming the resistance from the water flow in conventional “ball-valve” sipper tubes since they can’t provide a lot of suction. It will be simpler to drink from a sipper than one with a mechanical impediment in it if the sipper has a reasonably small diameter or is built with a pinch in the segment. This might be crucial for hamsters that are young, old, or ill.
Make feeding fun
In the wild, hamsters spend a lot of time looking for food. Making your pet work for their food is an excellent approach to keep them busy and prevent boredom. You could try the following:
- Instead of feeding them from a bowl, scatter some of their food pellets around their cage. If you have a hamster who is particularly possessive of the food bowl and won’t give the other hamsters a fair chance to eat, this is a really fantastic idea.
- Hiding hay, food pellets or fresh greens inside paper bags or cardboard tubes or boxes. Your hamster will enjoy searching for their food and can also gnaw on the packaging you hide it in.
Healthy fruit, veg and herbs
All of the below herbs, fruits, and vegetables are safe for your hamster. Before feeding them to your hamster, be sure to thoroughly wash them, and only feed a small bit each day.
- Sweet peppers
Note: Don’t feed citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons or grapefruits, to your hamster!
Things to chew and gnaw
Hamsters enjoy biting and chewing on things. It’s a behavior that comes naturally to them and keeps their teeth strong and from overcrowding. Additionally, it offers your hamster something to do and prevents boredom.
- Hamster love to shred and chew things like:
- Coconut shells
- Hay cubes
- Unbleached loofah
- Pumice stone
Hamsters can gnaw on untreated softwood. Before you give them any softwood branches to chew, bake them on a low heat for an hour and give them a good wash to make sure they’re safe for your hamster.
- Good woods to use are:
- Elm & Red Elm
- Grape & Grapevine
- Willow (goat, weeping, or pussy willow)
Monitoring your hamster’s diet
Always keep a close eye on the amount your hamster eats and drinks. If they start eating less, their droppings become moist or their hind-quarters become soiled, talk to your vet immediately. Avoid sudden dietary changes and stale food, as this can upset their stomach.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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