Are you wondering whether you can share with your hamster what’s inside your fridge and your pantry? Is it safe if you give your pet a slice of that crisp and sweet apple or perhaps a few slices of that crunchy celery stick? Well, this is what this article is all about to find out which are the best hamster food you can safely feed to your cute little pet.
Highlights of What Can Hamsters Eat:
- Commercially dried hamster food
- Fresh food for humans is generally safe for your pet but in limited quantities.
- Remove the pit or the seeds from the fruits.
- Avoid giving human food that is high in sodium and spices.
Best Hamster Food Should Contain:
There are three things that you need to look for and these are fiber, fat, and protein.
Your small pet needs fiber to maintain a healthy tummy. And, the older your hamster is, the more fiber it needs.
Fat is not an absolute ‘bad guy’. All living things need fat for energy. Without the right amount of fat, your hamster won’t be able to run and play around. But, make sure that your pet only gets a safe amount of fat, lest it can be bad for its health.
Your hamster’s fat intake depends on its weight and health problem if any.
Protein is needed for optimum growth and development. This is the reason why baby hamsters need a higher level of protein in their diet compared to adult hamsters.
The same is true if your hamster is expecting a baby, high levels of protein are also needed.
What if you are caring for a senior citizen hamster (1.5 years old and above)? A low amount of protein is healthier to avoid kidney health issues.
As a rule of thumb, it is safer to err on the side of feeding less protein than too much protein, especially for adult hamsters.
What Is a Balanced Diet for Hamsters?
Now, you may be asking, what then is the right balance of fiber, fat, and protein for your hamster? Referred to as guaranteed analysis (GA), here is an example of the GA of the best hamster food:
- For hamsters aged less than 6 months: 8 to 10% fiber, 7-8% fat, and 19 to 20% protein levels.
- Hamsters 6 to 18 months: 10 to 12% fiber, 6 to 7% fat, and 17 to 18% protein levels.
- Hamsters aged 18 months and higher: 12 to 15% fiber, 6 to 7% fat, and 15% of protein.
The GA stated above is the recommended values. If, for example, you have two hamsters, one is a ‘fitness buff’ while the other one is a ‘couch potato’, the former may need higher levels of fat. You have to adjust, then, the diet of your pet’s food based on its age and activeness.
How to adjust its diet? By mixing appropriate food mixes like dry hamster food with those that you have in your kitchen. In other words, this is referred to as food mixing.
What Is Food Mixing?
The idea of food mixing is to give your hamster the nutrition it needs through different food sources.
For example, what if the protein level from the seed mix is significantly lower than the recommended protein for your pet? Then what you can do is to supplement it with lab blocks which are usually higher in protein.
Also, another way of ensuring that your pet gets the right amount of nutrients is by giving fresh treats occasionally.
Good examples of treats for your hamsters are fruits, rolled oats, nuts, just to name a few. What’s nice about this that some of these foods are available in your kitchen.
What Can Hamsters Eat?
Considering the vast food options you have for your pet, you will never have a hard time feeding it. As a result, the best hamster food must have a perfect balance of fiber, fat, and protein.
This is the major source of nutrients for hamsters. Dry hamster food is carefully formulated to meet the nutrition requirements of your pet.
You can choose between seed mixes and lab blocks of pellets.
Regardless of your choice of the best dry hamster food, keep in mind to avoid those that contain high amounts of sugar and fat.
These include different types of seed, oats, wheat, dried fruits, and vegetables. Seed mixes are a good choice since these contain a healthy balance of nutrients.
But, just like you, your small pet may be a picky eater and may only choose the ones it likes from the seed mixes. Most often than not, your pet may only touch the tastier ones like the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. But, this is not good at all since those two seeds are higher in fat.
What should you do then?
One option is to remove the fatty seeds and give these only once in a while. If you worry that the dried fruits and veggies may get stuck in your hamster’s mouth, you may also pluck these out from the seed mixes. But, doing this only leads to an unbalanced diet.
Though seed mixes are good for your pet, the problem is if it becomes selective. This brings us to your next food choice for your little one.
Lab Blocks and Pellets
This is probably the best hamster food for your pet. As the name suggests, the food comes in blocks so there is no way for your hamster can single out the food items that it only wants to eat. The lab blocks are made up of pellets.
Though lab blocks may be a bit pricy, this is an awesome way to guarantee that your pet is eating a balanced diet. And if you think about it, in the long run, you may even save a lot of money since there is no food wastage due to selective eating.
You can also supplement your pet’s diet with fresh human food. But, these fall under the category of treats, thus, give your mini pet some fresh food but in mini amounts, too.
Can Hamsters Eat Fruits?
Yes, fruits are safe for your hamster. Aside from good taste, fruits are good sources of vitamins for your paw baby.
But, do not get overexcited. Fruits are treats so be moderate when feeding any kind to your pet especially if you are caring for a hybrid dwarf hamster.
Too much leads to obesity and diabetes. Stick to one teaspoon of fresh fruits once or twice a week.
Reminders when feeding fruits:
- Wash the skin with warm water to remove chemical residues.
- Remove seeds and stems.
- Cut into bite-sized pieces appropriate for your small pet.
1. Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?
Grapes may be toxic to some animals but not to your hamster. Your paw baby can enjoy this juicy fruit but, again, only in small amounts.
While you and your hamster may not share the same biology, it can also benefit from the nutrients coming from grapes, for as long as it is not allergic to grapes.
Just like you, all animals may show some adverse reactions to food. This is why you have to introduce grapes slowly. Begin with one-eight of a grape. Then observe your pet, like did it show digestive issues like loose stool? How’s the behavior? Is it showing signs of compulsive chewing of its bedding?
How to Feed Grapes to Your Hamster?
One piece of grape is too much for your small friend. Slice the fruit into four. Just remember not to feed more than one teaspoon.
Then, remove the seeds to prevent choking. You may also want to peel off the skin, more so if the fruit is not organic.
2. Can Hamsters Eat Citrus Fruits?
Are you ready to give some juicy citrus like a fresh orange to your paw baby? We do not mean to disappoint you, but citrus fruits are a no-no for your pet.
The high acidity of citrus fruits can upset the tummy of your friend. To find-out which fruits (aside from grapes) are okay for your little one, here’s some hamster food list:
What Can Hamsters Eat (Human Food) Aside From Fruits?
Fortunately, hamsters love greens. In other words, these are good sources of vitamins, fiber, plus the fact that veggies are very hydrating. You can give between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon twice a week.
What vegetables can hamsters eat? Here are some of the recommended greens for your paw baby:
What about dairy products, are these safe for your little one, too? Let’s find out.
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese?
When you think of rodents, one of the things that come to your mind is cheese. So, yes, hamsters can enjoy a few slices of cheese.
Your hamster can benefit from the calcium and protein in cheese which is why cheese is also good for the baby hamsters.
The preferred types of cheese are cottage cheese and mild cheese such as gouda and goat cheese. Avoid giving smoked cheeses, blue cheese, parmesan, and those with chives and onions.
If you choose the mild cheese, just give a few shreds once or twice a month. On the other hand, with cottage cheese, one teaspoon once a week if good enough for your little friend.
Can Hamsters Eat Grains, Nuts, and Seeds?
Yes, these are good for your hamsters. Nuts with shells are not only healthy with proteins but can provide an entertainment factor for your pet. It’d be busy and happy cracking the nutshells for its yummy reward.
However, be careful with overfeeding nuts, seeds, and grains as these can be bad for the weighing scale. You may give one nut every other day.
Here’s another batch of hamster food list:
Cooked pasta or rice
Peanuts with shells
Walnut with shells
What About Plants and Flowers?
When it’s snack time, you can never go wrong with plants and flowers. The most common plants that are served to hamsters include hawthorn leaves and dandelion plants and flowers.
The only thing you have to note is to only feed your pet organic plants and flowers. Therefore, here is a shortlist of the best hamster plants and flowers food for hamsters:
What Can Hamsters Not Eat?
Not everything in your pantry is safe for your little friend. Although you may still be able to give some of these foods but do so with caution. If you are not sure whether the human food is safe or not, best if you just give something else that you are sure won’t cause harm.
Here’s a list of those foods:
The ingredients that you use to spice up your food may not be safe for your pet. For example, onions contain N-propyl disulfide that can affect the red blood cells of your pet. Bell peppers could be too acidic for their tummy.
Garlic may also lead to indigestion as well as blood disorders.
The theobromine, a substance present in chocolates may be toxic to your pet if eaten in large amounts.
The bitter and round in shape almonds contain cyanide and are high in fat. What you can give are the sweeter and the longer in shape variety of almonds.
- Iceberg lettuce
This variety of lettuce does not contain any nutrients for your hamster, not to forget that it may cause diarrhea.
- Sugary and salty food
- Tomato leaves
In conclusion, with all the food we have mentioned, we understand if you find it a bit overwhelming to understand which is the best hamster food for your little one.
To keep it simple, stick to high-quality hamster food which is a mix of good seed mix and good quality of lab blocks.
There are other human foods you can give but make sure that you give these in small amounts only.