Hamsters are great pets. They are active, playful, and easy to take care of. A common question asked by most new owners is “what can hamsters eat?”
The answer is quite simple; hamsters can eat almost anything that is edible to other pets and humans.
However, that does not mean you should take the easy way out and feed it solely from scraps from your table.
Hamsters are highly susceptible to illnesses such as diarrhea, diabetes, and obesity. Therefore, you have to keenly monitor its diet for a long, healthy, and active life.
Feed the hamster only once daily, late in the afternoon is the best time.
Hamster Mixes and Pellets
The very best food to feed your hamster is the hamster mixes available from your favorite pet store or even from online pet pharmacies.
These mixes are carefully blended to provide a well balanced diet that is both tasty and nutritious for your pet.
Nevertheless, hamsters are very picky creatures and will nit-pick through their food and eat only what they like out of the mix.
They are also hoarders and will find a hidden spot in their cage to hoard up some food. Therefore, what you should do is on the first day provide a general helping of mixes as recommended on the pack.
Then later in the day check the cage for the hoarded food and dispose of it but leave what is remaining in the food dish intact. If there is very little add just a small amount. Do not add any more until your hamster eats all the food.
Repeat this process every day to make sure your hamster always eats all of its mix and not just the bits that it likes as this will result in an unbalanced diet.
Speaking of what can hamsters eat, when buying hamster mixes for your pet, keep in mind that different breeds have different nutritional needs.
Thus, only buy Syrian hamster food or dwarf hamster food depending on the kind of hamster you have. The commercial mix should be bugs-free. Some of the major ingredients in the mix are usually sunflower seeds, unsalted nuts, beans, maize, wheat, barley, pellets, flakes, and millet.
Ideally, your hamster’s mix should contain some hard particles to satisfy the hamster’s natural instinct to gnaw. This helps keep their teeth healthy, well sized, and well aligned.
Hamsters love fruits and these provide a healthy and natural source of essential vitamins. However, care should be taken to avoid giving fruits with the seeds still in them.
As part of what can hamsters eat, start out by giving fruits in very small quantities and add the portion sizes slowly and gradually with time.
This is because most fruit cause the hamster to diarrhea if fed in large quantities.
Some of the fruits you should feed your hamster include:
Apple, Blueberries, Banana, Cantaloupe, Blackberries, Cherries, Grapes, Melon, Mango, Cranberries, Raspberries and raspberry leaves, Peaches, Seedless grapes
When considering what can hamsters eat, you should give a healthy and regular helping of raspberry leaves as they provide much-needed fiber and help with diarrhea.
Vegetables, Roots, and Herbs
Most new owners forget to add vegetables, roots, and herbs to their list of what can hamsters eat. They form a great natural nutritious addition to the daily meals for your pet.
Some of the recommended vegetables, herbs, and roots include:
Carrots, Turnips, Broccoli, Chicory, Spinach, Kale, Cauliflower, Parsley, Cabbage, Lettuce, Brussels sprouts, Cucumber, Peas, Dandelions greens, Sweet potatoes, Squash, Cooked potatoes, Peas, Sweet corn, Alfalfa, Eggplant, Chard, Bok Choy, Endive, Water Chestnuts, Radichio, Zucchini, Yellow pepper
Meats and Proteins
If you ask any pet owner what can hamsters eat, then a healthy dose of protein should be included. Some of the protein sources for hamsters include:
Cooked lean meat without seasoning, Baked/steamed chicken, Baked/steamed turkey, Cottage cheese, Mealworms, Grasshoppers, Boiled eggs, Plain tofu, Plain yoghurt
Your hamsters’ teeth are forever growing and the hamster is naturally inclined to gnaw and chew at hard stuff to clean their teeth and keep their growth in check.
To help them along, include some hard chewable items in their cage. These include:
Dog biscuits, A small tree branch, A hard hamster treat
Your pet hamster needs a few regular treats occasionally so add that up to what can hamsters eat lists. These may include:
Raisins, Sultana, Whole grain bread, Cooked brown rice, Unsalted peanuts, Crickets, Pumpkin seeds, Lentils, Popcorn (without butter or salt)
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that may be toxic to hamsters causing death. Others cause illnesses, irritation, or hamsters simply do not like them.
These types of foods should be struck off the lists of what can hamsters eat and they include:
Almonds, Apple seeds, Raw potatoes, Chocolate, Onions, Citrus fruits, Garlic, Sugary and salty foods, Fried foods/junk food, Celery, Kidney beans, Rhubarbs and rhubarb leaves, Spicy or seasoned foods, Tomato leaves, Potato tops, Unwashed vegetables
Always remember that water is important. Keep it fresh by changing it daily. Hang it on a water bottle on the cage for the hamster to drink in drops. Keep it away from the bedding area and change the bedding regularly to keep them from becoming damp.