If you own a hamster or planning to get one for yourself as a pet, you must be thinking that what does a hamster eat and how often you should feed him. Well, this question is a technical one to answer as hamsters are sensitive and little animals who should be fed the right thing at the right time and in the right quantity. Any disturbance in their diet plan can cause several problems in their health, diarrhea, vomiting, and obesity is the most common.
In this article, we will answer all your queries about hamster’s diet. What you can give to your hamster, what should never be given to your pet and how often you should feed your hamster.
What your Hamster can eat?
There is a general misconception that hamsters can eat pretty much everything. When hamsters live in the wild, their diet is according to the area of their habitat. When they are kept as pets, you should give them a diet that is best for their health. Hamsters are omnivores and just like humans, they eat a mixture of vegetables and meat. Following foods are recommended for your hamsters
Ready-made Diet – Hamster diet mix is easily available at a nearby pet store. You can get the diet in the shape of pellets and small cubes. This mixture contains almost all the ingredients your hamster needs to have a healthy diet. Try to get the packed food which is natural and contains fewer additives as artificial additives can cause diarrhea.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – Hamsters love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits like bananas, strawberries, and grapes are a great option for your hamster. Such fruits should not be given in large quantities and on a daily basis, rather they should be offered as special treats on a weekly or biweekly basis. The hamster’s breed also impacts the amount of quantity of fresh fruits you are giving to your pet, Syrian hamsters can be given a little bit more as compared to dwarf hamsters as they can handle an extra amount of sugar in their bloodstream more effectively then dwarf hamsters.
You can also give your hamsters vegetables as well since vegetables do not have a high level of sugar in them, they can be offered more often than fresh fruits. Carrot and cucumber are the best vegetables for hamsters. One thing you must keep in mind that the fresh fruits and vegetables should be washed properly, cut into small pieces and then offered to your hamster. You should also make sure that the leftovers are not kept in the cage as they can get rotten pretty fast and if your hamster eats them, it will hurt him.
Fresh and Clean Water – Your hamster should have access to fresh and clean water all the times inside the cage. The best way to do this is to get a water bottle for your hamster. We recommend a water bottle over water bowl as water can be spilled from the bowl and cause a mess in the cage.
Milk – Hamsters also need milk as it offers calcium and magnesium, which are very important for proper growth and skeleton development. Make sure that the milk you give them is skimmed and fat-free. You can also soak bran bread or sugar-free biscuits in the milk and offer to your pet. Such treats should also be given on a weekly basis and in moderate quantity.
Other Treats – You can also offer bakes chicken, baked fish, and popcorns to your hamster. These treats should be given on a weekly basis as well. Nuts are also an excellent option for occasional treats. Hard- boiled egg and some meal-worms are also perfect for occasional treats as they are a rich source of proteins.
What not to Give
Since we are discussing what your hamster can eat, it is also better to highlight the fruits that are a no go for your hamster. Following are the foods that you should never give to your hamster
Citrus Fruits – Citrus fruits which are sour can disturb the digestive tract of your pet and also cause an infection that can lead to a cough.
Foods with High Sugar and Cholesterol – Hamsters are prone to diabetics. If they are given fruits that are high in sugar and cholesterol, they can suffer from diabetics and it can damage the sensitive organs of their body.
Pointy or Sticky Foods – No matter what the food and how healthy it is, never give anything that is pointy and sticky to your hamster. Such things can easily get stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches and cause injuries inside.
How much Hamster should be Fed
Well, the recommended answer from pet experts and authorities is 10 grams of dry hamster food; twice a day is good enough. But let us think, is that really enough? Each hamster is different and has a different appetite. The real demand for your hamster depends on the lifestyle of your hamster and the appetite of him. There are some hamsters that eat less and do a little exercise, other hamsters remain active a lot and much more than their fellows. Dwarf hamsters eat the same as Syrian hamsters as they have a fast metabolism rate. If you have a hamster that is large in size, it is obvious that his diet requirements will be high as compared to smaller hamsters. So, once you have brought the little fellow home. Observe his routine and how much he eats for a week or two, and then you will be able to assess the right amount your hamster needs to meet all his requirements.
The Best Time to Feed
There is no hard and fast rule to pinpoint the time that your hamster can be fed. The best way is to give them special treats at the time when they are most active; evening and night time. Other than that, you can make sure that they have access to their dry food and water all the time. So whenever they feel hungry, they can just munch on and stay satisfied. Hamsters have the habit of storing food in their cheek pouches, so you might notice them munching on the stored food.
We hope that you are now satisfied after reading our article. If you are planning to introduce a new diet to your hamster’s food plan, make sure you do it in a proper way. Give your hamster a little amount of the food you are planning to introduce, then weight for a couple of days to check for any possible side effects. If everything goes fine, then you can introduce this food to your hamster’s diet.