Although the term "fur-baby" tends to refer to a cat or a dog, you know it in your heart that your hamster has a special place in your family as your own fur child—even though they're not very furry.
To help you give your hamster his or her best growth, you want to be able to fuel them up for a healthy life.
Since a hamster's nutritional diet isn't exactly common knowledge, we hope this guide can help you with the finer details of the ideal hamster diet.:
- 1 The Details of the Ideal Hamster Diet
- 2 Tips for Picking the Perfect Hamster Food
- 3 FAQ on Hamster Food
Picking Out the Menu:
Types of Food to Feed Your Hamster
From muesli to pellets, there are so many different types of food to test out with your hamster.
Picking out your hamster's food is not as simple as just choosing the first bag you see. You have to consider nutritional benefits and preference, among other things.
The more natural you choose, the better—especially since most hamsters like fruits and veggies as components of their everyday diet.
For a little extra protein, you can also feed your hamster with pieces of hard-boiled egg or mealworms.
There are foods that you'll want to avoid as it can be quite unhealthy or dangerous for your hamster, but we'll get into that later.
How much food should you give your hamster?
You want to spoil your small fur-baby—but how much is too much?
According to the PDSA, you should be feeding your fully-grown hamster around 8-10 grams of dry hamster food, at least two times per day.
However, that's just a suggestion. You need to take your hamster's age, breed, and health status to gauge how much he or she needs.
If you want to be the most accurate, you can also ask your hamster's vet on the recommended quantity and type of food your hamster should be waiting.
The Best Times to Feed Your Hamster
Although there might be varied opinions when it comes to feeding times for your hamster—whether young or fully grown—the general consensus is two times a day, especially when they are on average pretty active.
Interestingly enough, hamsters actually stuff and collect food in their cheek pouches to snack on later—waking up multiple times a day to snack on the food they've got packed and hid in their cheeks.
Foods to Avoid in Your Hamster's Diet
Although you may want to always slip a bit of food from your dinner's leftovers into your hamster's cage for munching, you might need to be a bit careful about what you give him or her to eat.
To help keep your hamster as safe and as healthy as possible, avoid these foods since they can be dangerous to your mini fur-baby:
- Almonds: Generally too high in fat for a hamster's digestive system
- Celery: The physical, stringy texture of celery can be a choking hazard
- Chocolate: Just like with dogs, chocolate can be quite harmful to your hamster
- Garlic and Onion: This type of food can lead to indigestion and various blood disorders
- Iceberg Lettuce: Not only is this low in nutrition, but it can also cause diarrhea
- Peanuts: Too high in fat and can endanger your hamster of dehydration
- Spicy food: In general, this type of food can cause diarrhea in your hamster
- Tomato leaves: Are poisonous to hamsters
Other foods that should also be avoided include:
- Apple seeds
- Raw beans or potatoes
- Citrus fruits
- Rhubarb leaves or raw rhubarb
Things to Consider When Buying Hamster Food
Whether your hamster's vet has dictated a specific dietary need that your hamster has or if you need help choosing which type or brand of food your hamster needs, there are different properties and components of hamster food that you should consider.
Unfortunately, although your budget may not allow for extremely high-quality food, you also want to avoid the cheapest, most affordable packaged food. Most of these brands contain fillers in their foods and are rated low in nutritional value.
Especially since hamsters—just like all creatures and human—have specific nutritional needs, you'll need to do your research to make sure that you are investing in a nutritionally beneficial, packaged hamster food.
To help you choose the right hamster food, here are a few things that you should be considering:
Although this isn't a necessarily make or break component of the type of food you serve your hamster when it comes to nutritional value, the brand name packaged foods that are the most popular generally have a reputation for setting out healthy foods.
If you're going to be investing in a brand name food, you can usually rest assured that it contains the nutritional value that your pet needs. Most no-brand packages have a lack of quality in ingredients and can cause malnutrition in your hamster's health.
Check out the reviews about how other hamster owners rate the flavor and taste of the product—not that they themselves have taste-tested it, but how their pets have reacted to flavor, taste, and texture. Just like human food, hamster food can be too sweet, bitter, or even salty. You can tell your hamster's reaction to food if they reject to eat it.
To help transition your hamster to a different food type, you want to introduce and integrate it in small quantities so they can get used to it.
Obviously, as we stated before, the nutritional value of your hamster's food can also have a significant impact on their health. Try and stay within the constraints that we mentioned above when it comes to protein, fat, and fiber.
Taking the time to read the nutritional value label at the back of your hamster's food can help you check out the numbers related to the various components. Try and choose a food with a healthy balance.
From how old they are to your hamster's life stage—whether they're still growing or if they've reached adulthood—plays a massive role in the type of food your hamster needs.
As we mentioned before, just like with other animals and humans, the nutritional requirements will change depending on the age of your pet. Younger hamsters have different dietary needs than adults and vice versa.
From pellets to a scrambling type of muesli, you want to consider the form of food, as well. Not only does the food need to be the right length or size, but it also needs to be the right texture to have them chew like normal.
Tips for Picking the Perfect Hamster Food
If you find yourself standing in front of the hamster food section in your local pet supermarket, you might need a bit of guidance.
From the employees to your hamster's vet, there are various opinions or suggestions you need to work through to pick out the very best hamster's food for your pet's health.
To help you out, here are a few tips:
1. You need to be aware that some—if not most—pre-packaged foods won't have the right nutrition for your hamster.
2. Check with your vet the right time to feed your hamster—some people suggest that evenings are best since most hamsters are nocturnal.
3. Don't leave food in your hamster's cage to rot. Make sure you're cleaning that area of the cage thoroughly since this could lead to your hamster eating expired food.
4. Even if the packaged food you're giving him or her is not entirely high-quality, you can also add in natural fruits, vegetables, nuts, and specialized protein blocks to your hamster's diet.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out not only the best food for your hamster's health but also answered any questions you may have had about the finer details of hamster health and diet.