You’ll want to make sure you’re ready to care for any new family members before bringing them home as pets. And while the majority of people are aware of how to care for cats and dogs, the same cannot be said for small animals. For instance, consider hamsters. Are you thinking about getting a hamster but want to make sure you can afford its diet and way of life?
What should you feed your hamster?
We have solutions to hamster feeding issues and more here.
A typical hamster diet
Since hamsters are omnivores, they consume both meat and plants. Hamsters in the wild consume grains, grasses, seeds, and insects. A diet resembling that of wild hamsters is essential for hamsters kept in captivity. In their cheeks, all hamsters keep food that they occasionally save for later. Because hamsters consume a lot of food, you must be careful not to overfeed them.
Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamsters are the two varieties of hamsters most frequently kept as pets. Both species of captive hamsters should receive about 10 grams of hamster pellets twice daily, or one tablespoon daily. Dwarf hamsters are smaller than Syrian hamsters, but they have a much faster metabolism, which accounts for why they consume roughly the same amount of food. Make sure your hamster has enough food to store in their cheeks or to come back to since they prefer to snack throughout the day rather than consume large meals.
Suitable food for hamsters
Pellets are a convenient way to provide complete nutrition for hamsters without having to worry about missing anything. The pellets don’t spoil as quickly as produce or vegetables, and hamsters adore chewing on them.
The fact that hamsters cannot pick through pelleted diets to find their preferred small pieces is their main benefit. Your hamster probably only chooses its favorite foods, whereas you might put together a complete diet using a variety of seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
Pellets have a uniform appearance and resemble tiny cookies or biscuits. Dogs cannot eat grapes, but hamsters can.
- Seed mixes
A little more thrilling but also riskier for your hamster are seed mixes. Along with the various seeds, some seed mixtures also contain pellets or dried fruits. Hamsters search through to find their preferred items and attempt to ignore the rest.
Feeding seed mixtures gives your hamster a balanced diet, but the key is to let the bowl get completely empty before adding more mix. You might occasionally want to supplement with only pellets if you have multiple hamsters.
You should mix the seeds because giving your hamster just one type won’t give it the proper nutrition. You should pay close attention to this because you don’t want to leave your hamster’s bowl empty and because refilling it might let your hamster eat only certain foods that it enjoys.
- Fresh foods
Fresh foods excite hamsters the most, and they frequently make excellent treats to complement your hamster’s diet and offer enrichment. Safe fruits and vegetables that you can include in your hamster’s diet include the following:
– Most greens – Greens help your hamster’s chewing urges by giving it vital nutrition and fiber. They are low in calories but high in water and essential nutrients.
– Fruits – Bananas, apples, strawberries, and blueberries are just a few examples of the sweet treats your hamster can enjoy. Although they are filling and low in calories, try not to give your hamster too much of them or it might refuse to eat the regular food.
– Vegetables – Your hamster could also get a nutritious snack from foods like peas, sweet potatoes, or squash. Make sure to thoroughly clean the bowls so that spoiled food is not unintentionally left behind.
– Whole grains – Whole grain toast or bread can provide fiber and makes a fun treat when you don’t have fresh veggies or fruits available.
– Mealworms, eggs, and other proteins – Make sure to get mealworms from reputable vendors, or give your hamster a small amount of protein. If you use something like chicken, make sure it’s cooked all the way through and don’t season it.
All about hamster food mixes
A meal of prepared hamster food is the most comprehensive nutrition your hamster can get all at once. In big bags or bins, hamster pellets or muesli are sold. Some veterinarians advise feeding hamster pellets rather than seed mixes because the latter can result in hamsters consuming only specific seeds from it, depriving them of vital nutrients. Look for hamster food brands without artificial coloring or fillers when choosing one. Occasionally adding meat, produce, fruit, timothy hay, or seeds to your hamster’s diet is another option. These animals shouldn’t be fed more than twice or three times per week.
Can hamsters eat meat?
The answer is yes.
One common misunderstanding about hamsters is that they are strict herbivores. Animal protein is actually necessary for hamster survival. In terms of nutrition and protein content, meat is excellent for hamsters. You could give your hamster mealworms or live crickets since wild hamsters consume insects. Hamsters can also eat some cooked meats if you can’t handle insects. Hamsters can safely be fed cooked beef and chicken.
Hamsters should never be given raw meat, and meat should always be cooked plain without seasoning. A hamster can be fed canned (wet) dog food as well. Give your hamster a small amount of meat, regardless of the type you choose to give them. Low-fat cottage cheese and hard cheeses are two additional sources of animal protein acceptable for hamster consumption.
Can hamsters eat turkey? Turkey can be given to hamsters as long as it is cooked properly and in very small amounts, so make sure to chop it up into extremely tiny portions. The turkey must also be free of marinades and salt, both of which can be detrimental to the health of your hamster.
Can hamsters eat fruit or vegetables?
You can give your hamster a variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to the occasional meaty treat. Allow your hamster to sample a small portion of any food before giving them a whole cube. Be aware that your hamster might get diarrhea if you give them too many plant-based meals at once. Your hamster will always receive a full meal because there is nothing to pick out.
Other human foods that are safe for hamsters:
Remove the skin and any large seeds before chopping the fruit into manageable pieces if you’re giving your hamster grapes, apples, or pears. A treat should last for one day with just one fruit cube. Hamsters should only receive fresh greens two to three times per week, in fact. Hamsters can consume carrots, celery, cucumber, green peppers, lettuce, pumpkin, spinach, and squash as far as edible vegetables are concerned. Vegetable skins and seeds should be removed before feeding them to a hamster, just like when feeding fruits.
Foods to avoid
Not all fruits and vegetables are safe for hamsters to eat, however. You’ll want to avoid giving your furry friend anything on this list:
- Citrus fruits
- Raw Beans
If consumed by hamsters, all of the aforementioned are harmful. Any meat, fruit, or vegetable that is fed to a hamster should be ready right away. Food shouldn’t be allowed to spoil in a hamster’s cage. As soon as you become aware of any food that is going bad, throw it out. Additionally, foods high in sugar like white bread, chocolate, and candy are bad for hamsters and should not be given to them.
When in doubt, consult your vet
You just need to be aware of what you can and cannot feed a hamster in order to ensure that it isn’t difficult for you to do. To be safe, if you have any additional queries about what to feed your hamster, you should speak with a small animal veterinarian. The best hamster pet food to feed your cherished friend has hopefully been made clear to you in this guide, which is hoped to have been helpful.
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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