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What Can Hamsters Eat? (The Best & Worst Food Options)

What Can Hamsters Eat? (The Best & Worst Food Options)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hamsters are among the most popular kinds of pets. They’re cute, fluffy, and quite easy to care for, but what can hamsters eat, and what can’t they?

Hamsters can eat many varieties of food, including vegetables, fruits, seeds, and pellets. In addition to that, you can occasionally give your pet hamster nuts, proteins, and grains.

In this article, we go through all the different kinds of food hamsters can eat. Plus, you get to learn more about hamsters’ healthy feeding routines. So keep reading.

What Can Hamsters Eat?

A hamster’s diet mainly consists of seeds, pellets, fresh produce, and occasional treats.

Store-bought hamster food should take the largest part of your hamster’s daily intake, making up about 75% of it. A good quality brand contains all the vitamins and minerals your pet needs.

However, incorporating a few bites of other foods now and then is a good idea. That’s because your pet hamster may get bored with repeated meals.

Take a look at some of the foods your hamster can eat.

1 – Pellet Hamster Food

Pellet hamster food looks like cereal or tiny cookies and offers a comprehensive, balanced diet for your pet hamster.

That’s because the pellets are little chunks of many ingredients mixed and compressed together.

As great for your pet as this may be, some hamsters get bored of it and refuse to eat it. Thus, it’s better to incorporate other alternatives into your pet hamster’s diet.

2 – Seed Mixes

Seed mixes offer a wide variety of flavors for your pet hamster, as they contain a blend of seeds, grains, and dried fruits/vegetables.

However, some hamsters tend to pick through those mixes, eat what they like most, and reject the rest. This may result in nutritional deficiencies.

That’s why offering both pellets as well as seed mixtures alternatively is better. Luckily, some hamster seed mix brands already contain pellets in them.

3 – Fresh Food

Hamsters enjoy eating fresh food, and it’s great for them. Fresh produce should make up about 20% of your pet hamster’s diet.

Make sure to cut any fruit or vegetable into small bits before serving them to your hamster.

Those chubby creatures tend to collect food in their mouth pouches and stash it away. Thus, you should look for and remove any uneaten pieces at the end of the day so they don’t rot.

Best Vegetables for Your Hamster

Vegetables are excellent for your hamster. The best treat to give hamsters is something similar to what they find in the wild, which is fresh uncooked food.

Hamsters enjoy eating pieces of:

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Squash

Best Fruits for Your Hamster

Hamsters love sweet treats. However, you should limit their intake of anything sweet, as this can hurt their teeth and affect their weight.

Offer your hamster small bits of fruit a few times per week as a chance to break the routine.

Try things like:

  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • pears

What Human Food Can Hamsters Eat?

Hamsters can eat a lot of human food, and they love it. Most hamsters enjoy grain-based human food, such as whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat bread, cooked pasta, and cooked rice.

Although they prefer eating most vegetables in a raw form, hamsters may also like having cooked potatoes.

In addition, some hamsters love eating non-plant-based proteins. So, you might want to try feeding your little buddy a bite of scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, cooked chicken, or turkey.

That said, hamsters shouldn’t consume any food containing sugar, as this can have a negative impact on their little chompers.

So, make sure to always check the packaging on any type of food you’re offering to your little fur ball.

Can Hamsters Eat Cheese?

Yes, they can. However, try to limit their intake of cheeses to just a tiny cube once or twice per week.

Choose a type of cheese that’s low in fat and salt. Additionally, try to avoid fatty and processed cheeses.

So, when it comes to feeding your hamster cheese, a bit of low-fat cottage cheese or mozzarella should be fine.

Do Hamsters Eat Hay?

You might have an idea about guinea pigs eating hay and are wondering if hamsters do too. Some hamsters do eat hay, although others may just use it as bedding for its softness.

Hay isn’t as essential for hamsters as it is for rabbits and guinea pigs. However, it can be good for them because of the fibers and minerals it contains.

So when it comes to hay, some hamsters may eat it, some may ignore it, and some may just chew on it to wear their teeth down.

In all cases, if you want to try offering hay to your pet hamster, the following types are the safest:

Other Dried Herbs Your Hamster May Enjoy

Basically, hay is the dried version of different species of grass. Consequently, your hamster can also have dried herbs, such as:

  • Marigold
  • Daisy
  • Clover
  • Chamomile

What Nuts Can Hamsters Eat?

Nuts make a great source of antioxidants and omega-3 for hamsters. Yet, you should only offer small amounts of certain nuts to your pet hamster as an occasional reward.

Nuts are packed with fats, and too many of them can lead to weight gain. Besides that, having an excessive amount of nuts can make your hamster lose interest in other types of food.

So, moderation is always the best way to go.

Take a look at some nuts your hamster will definitely enjoy.

  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Monkey nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Unsalted peanuts

Can Hamsters Have Nuts With Shells On?

Hamsters’ teeth never stop growing. That’s why they constantly gnaw on tough foods, cage bars, and wooden objects to file down their teeth.

Offering nuts with tough shells can keep your hamster amused for a good amount of time. Hamsters naturally enjoy the challenge of breaking the shell and finding the prize inside.

Are Hamsters Vegetarian?

No, they’re not. Hamsters are omnivores, which means they eat a mix of plants as well as insects.

The best diet for your hamster should mimic what they would have in the wild.

So, alongside the fresh fruit, veggies, and pellets, you should offer your hamster protein-packed treats, such as mealworms.

If your hamster stays in a big aquarium and can use a bit of exercise, try a feed of live crickets. You can find many types of insects in pet shops that specialize in reptile feeds.

How Often To Feed a Hamster

You should offer food for your hamster once per day.

Hamsters can fill their cheek pouches with large amounts of food. In fact, they can hold an amount of food inside their cheeks that weighs almost as much as their body does.

This is normal hamster behavior. As cute as they look with chubby faces, make sure the stored food hasn’t gone stale before giving your hamster more feedings.

It’s always a great idea to let your hamster finish eating the stored food first.

How Much To Feed a Hamster

Hamsters are small creatures, and it’s not easy to eyeball how much food they need. Generally, it depends on the hamster’s age and weight.

A typical hamster eats around two tablespoons of food per day. For smaller species, such as the dwarf varieties of hamsters, one tablespoon is usually enough.

Keep an eye on signs, like fast weight gain and unfinished food, as this may indicate that you’re feeding your hamster too much food.

On the other hand, hamsters finishing their food quite quickly is usually a sign that they need a slight increase in their food portions.

Can Hamsters Overeat?

Hamsters are natural hoarders, making it too easy to overfeed them by accident.

You may not notice how much food your hamster is storing. Thinking that your hamster has eaten all the food, you fill the bowl again.

That’s why it’s important to keep track of the amount of food your hamster is eating to avoid serious health problems, such as:

  • Obesity: Weight gain in hamsters puts strain on their little hearts and may lead to cardiovascular issues.
  • Digestive Problems: Overeating, especially the wrong type of foods, leads your hamsters to suffer from digestive issues, like diarrhea.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: When hamsters have too much food available, they tend to only consume the items they like, missing out on some essential elements.

What To Feed Hamsters When Out of Food

If you run out of hamster food, there are many things in your kitchen that are good for your hamster to eat.

Aside from fruits and vegetables, you can feed your hamster the following items:

  • Cooked eggs
  • Tofu
  • Sugar-free bread
  • Whole oats
  • Sugar-free whole wheat cereal
  • Fish
  • Unseasoned, oil-free popcorn

What Not To Feed Hamsters

Although hamsters can eat a lot of food around the house, there are some kinds you shouldn’t give to your little furball.

Some foods contain toxic substances, and some don’t have any nutritional value for your hamster. Whatever the reason is, avoid offering the following food to your hamster.

  • Bitter Almonds: contain trace amounts of cyanide, a toxic substance that can kill your little hamster.
  • Raw Potatoes: contain a toxin called solanine, which can be deadly to most mammals.
  • Raw Beans: are hard to digest, leading to bloating, and some kinds are even toxic to hamsters.
  • Chocolates and Sugary Food: are bad for your hamster’s health, and their bodies can’t process them.
  • Citrus Fruit and Pineapples: are very acidic and can upset your hamster’s stomach and lead to diarrhea.
  • Garlic and Onions: are toxic to small mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters.
  • Raw Rhubarb and Rhubarb Leaves: contain high amounts of oxalic acids, which can harm your pet hamster.

Final Thoughts

Hamsters are low-maintenance animals, and they make great pets. Those pocket-sized creatures are amusing, but what can hamsters eat?

Vegetables and fruits make awesome treats for your hamster. Other protein sources also do. However, your hamster’s diet should consist mostly of pellets.

Make sure to consult your vet about how much food your pet hamster should have to remain healthy and have the longest life possible.

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