Hamster food – What should your hamster eat?
What can hamsters eat and not eat?
A hamster needs a varied diet rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins to feel good. There are different kinds of hamster food to buy in the form of pellets from many different brands. This hamster food should also be combined with the addition of fruit and vegetables from time to time, but it is important that you read up on what type of food suits your particular hamster species. Dwarf hamsters, for example, are more likely to suffer from diabetes than golden hamsters and should therefore have a more low-sugar feed.
Hamsters must always have access to pellets, because hamster pellets are specially designed to contain all the nutrition a hamster needs. Since hamster pellets must always be available in the cage, this is the main part of the hamster’s diet, but should also be combined with fresh food. However, fresh food should not be given more often than every other day, but 1-2 times a week is enough.
In addition to pellets, your hamster must always have access to fresh water. It is therefore important to make sure to change the water often so that your hamster does not get sick.
Some important things to keep in mind are to never give your hamster too much fresh food at a time. The hamster is very small and does not need very much to be full. If you feed them too much, they are very likely to hoard (save leftover food in their cheeks) or hide food for later. The risk is then that the food has time to rot, which is not good for the hamster’s well-being.
Hamsters should also not eat too many watery vegetables at a time as they can become loose in the stomach. Also, avoid giving them fried food or cooked food that is very spicy.
When you give your hamster fresh food in the form of vegetables, it is also very important that they are free from chemicals and pesticides. Therefore, wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before feeding your hamster and avoid picking vegetables and plants near roads. If the fruit or vegetable is not organic, it may also be good to peel it before feeding it to your hamster.
Food for different types of hamsters
Golden hamsters and dwarf hamsters have great similarities in their diet, but there are also some differences and it is important to be aware of what suits your particular hamster. Below you can read more about what is suitable and what is not suitable for different types of hamsters.
The gold hamster’s diet
In the wild, golden hamsters live in the soil of fields in Syria and are often seen as pests as they more often than not destroy crops. Plants, seeds, insects and fruit are a natural food that thrives well in these field environments.
Since the golden hamster is omnivorous, it therefore eats both animals and plants. They do very well on a mainly plant-based diet, but should also get a protein-rich supplement in their food from time to time. Small pieces of boiled egg are absolutely perfect for this. A small piece of cooked chicken or meat also works great. However, since the hamster does not eat this in the wild, insects such as mealworms or crickets are a more natural and also much appreciated meal.
Do you want to know more? We have also written a guide with fun and important facts about golden hamsters!
The diet of the dwarf hamster
All hamsters, just like humans, can suffer from diabetes, but dwarf hamsters and Chinese hamsters are generally more at risk of suffering from this than golden hamsters are. Just like the golden hamster, they should have free access to pellets, but this should be as low in sugar as possible. It should also not contain that much fat.
Feel free to give your dwarf hamster apples, carrots, broccoli and other vegetables that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. However, fruit contains a lot of fructose, sugars and carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Therefore, make sure to give your hamster fruit in moderation.
Also try not to feed your dwarf hamster fast carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes as this can also lead to diabetes. Fiber, on the other hand, is something that is very useful and also reduces the risk of suffering from diabetes. Therefore, please make sure that your dwarf hamster gets a fiber-rich diet.
The above information generally applies to all types of dwarf hamsters. Below we have collected some information about what is unique to different varieties.
If you are interested in dwarf hamsters, we have also written an article about the different species of dwarf hamsters.
Food for Roborovski dwarf hamsters
Unique to the Roborovsi dwarf hamster is that it does not drink as much water as the other species. Their kidneys work in a different way that means they don’t need as much fluid. There is therefore no need to worry if it seems that your Roborovski is not peeing very much. However, it is always just as important to make sure your hamster has access to fresh water.
The diet for a Roborovski is the same as for other dwarf hamsters. Since it is not as prone to diabetes as the Campbell, it is not quite as sensitive to sugar, but one should always be careful about giving too much and too often of sweet fruits and vegetables. Small pieces of, for example, apples and carrots are of course fine every now and then. Sunflower seeds and flax seeds are also good additions sometimes.
Food for Russian winter white dwarf hamster
The Russian winter white dwarf hamster lives on grass savanna in the wild and naturally feeds on insects, grass and seeds, among other things. It is therefore appreciated to give your Russian winter white dwarf hamster a varied diet. A very green diet is fine, but it is appreciated if it also includes animal products from time to time. Insects or small, small pieces of cooked ground beef or fish work well, for example.
Food for Campbell’s dwarf hamster
Along with Chinese hamsters, Campbell’s dwarf hamsters run the greatest risk of suffering from diabetes. If you buy a Campbell it is therefore very good to find out if the parents are tested for diabetes as this is a hereditary condition. Serious breeders almost always test their hamsters for diabetes, and it is therefore safer to buy hamsters from breeders than from the pet store, which usually does not have as good a grasp of the hamster’s background.
You should therefore always make sure that the hamster’s parents are tested, but it is also important to make sure that the hamster you intend to take home is tested for diabetes before it leaves the breeder.
Diabetes is also caused by the wrong diet and it is therefore extra important to be careful with your Campbell’s diet to ensure that it stays healthy. Therefore, avoid feeding your Campbell’s dwarf hamster with food that contains a lot of sugar or fat.
Broccoli, for example, is a good type of fresh food that can be given to your hamster from time to time as it is very rich in both fiber and vitamins. Cabbage, spinach and dried insects are also good snacks for a Campbell.
Food for the Chinese hamster
As the Chinese hamster, like Campbell’s dwarf hamster, is easily affected by diabetes, the same principles apply to both of them. Avoid too much sugar, fat and fast carbohydrates and make sure the diet is rich in fibre.
What food should not be given to your hamster?
Any food can be dangerous for your hamster if it gets too much of it. Hamsters gain weight easily and can suffer from ailments such as diabetes and the like. It is therefore important to always feed your hamster in moderation.
Always avoid giving your hamster sour fruits, stone fruits, all types of onions, fried or spicy food as well as almonds and salted nuts.
If you want to know more about these wonderful pets, please check out the hamster guide with useful information about having a hamster as a pet.