Hamster Care: Feeding your hamster
4. What sort of food should you give your hamster?
Feeding your hamster – If your hamster was living in its natural environment it would be eating seeds and grasses, plus a few insects. Hamsters are naturally omnivorous, just as humans are. The natural hamster food that you can buy at the pet store is made to mimic the seeds and grains that a hamster would eat in the wild. You should opt for this natural food, rather than the highly coloured varieties which may look interesting, but which often contain a lot of additives.
Once a week you can consider giving your hamster an edible treat by providing some meal worms, or a small amount of boiled egg. These are favourites with most hamsters, and they are also rich in protein so they make an excellent addition to your pet’s diet.
Always remember that you should never give your pet anything sticky to eat. If you do it may get stuck in their cheek pouches and cause an injury.
- Choosing a type of hamster
- Buying your hamster
- Your hamster’s home
- Feeding your hamster
- Getting to know your hamster
- Health problems
What about fruit and vegetables?
Your hamster will love to eat fruit and vegetables, but you should be careful not to give them too much. A small cube of fruit or vegetable, two or three times a week, is more than enough.
Be very careful when giving your hamster carrots to eat. Your furry friend will absolutely love them, but it’s important to remember that carrots are full of natural sugars and should be provided as a treat, not as part of a hamster’s regular diet.
Other fruits and vegetables that your hamster will like include cauliflower, broccoli, pear, peach and banana. Always remember to remove any uneaten food from your hamster’s cage so that it doesn’t rot.
How much food does a hamster eat?
One of the main problems is that a hamster will often beg for food even when they are not hungry. They maintain the habits that they have in the wild, and store food in their cheek pouches to eat later. In the wild this is because hamsters search for food at night, which they then take back to their underground home.
This does not mean that they sleep all day in the wild; they do actually wake up and snack on the delicacies that they have collected. In captivity is isn’t necessary for hamsters to build up a large stock of food as they always have access to fresh nourishment in their cage. So, they may continually beg for more to stash away, but only feed your pet as much as they need to eat.
The PDSA recommends that a Syrian hamster needs to be fed approximately 10g of dry food twice a day. It may surprise you to learn that a dwarf hamster needs about the same. They may be smaller in stature but they have a higher metabolism than Syrian hamsters.
What time of the day is best for feeding a hamster?
Many people think that hamsters don’t eat at all during the day but as we’ve already mentioned this isn’t true. Hamsters certainly doze during the day but they will still wake to eat at times, so there is no harm in providing a little food in the morning and a little in the evening.
The main thing is to ensure your furry companion has the right amount of food, and that fresh food is supplied at each feeding time. The water in your hamster’s water bottle should also be changed each day, and the bottle should be washed thoroughly at least once a week.
What type of water should a hamster drink?
Many people give their pet hamster water straight from the tap, but water high in chlorine is not good for your pet. It is often a good idea to give your hamster filtered water to drink if you live in an area where the tap water contains a lot of chlorine, or other chemicals.