Hamsters are omnivores. Although pet hamsters can survive on a diet of exclusively commercial hamster food, other items, such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, can be given. Hamsters in the Middle East have been known to hunt in packs to find insects for food. Hamsters are hindgut fermenters and eat their own feces (coprophagy) to recover nutrients digested in the hindgut, but not absorbed.
In the wild all of the hamster species eat a variety of seeds, plants and insects. We can give our pet hamsters all of the nutrients they need by giving them a varied and balanced diet.
The main part of your hamster's diet should consist of a good quality hamster mix. As with us, foods containing lots of artificial colours and additives won't do your hamster any good. I have seen hamster mixes containing bright purple biscuits and bright yellow popcorn. This sort of hamster mix is best avoided.
Your hamster can be fed a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Give your hamster a small piece of fruit or vegetable daily. Don't give your hamster citrus fruits or onions as these foods are very acidic and will give your pet an upset stomach. Instead, have a look at the following list and see how much variety you can treat your hamster to. All of the fruit and vegetables offered to your hamster should be well washed to remove any residue of dirt or pesticides. Drain off surplus water and present the goodies to your pet.
- Sweetcorn/corn on the cob
- Cauliflower and Cauliflower greens
- Dandelion leaves
Your hamster can also have millet sprays and all hamsters, particularly the dwarf species love to eat small bird seeds such as foreign finch mixes, mixed millets, linseed and budgie tonic seeds. Try mixing a little into your pets hamster mix. Other foods that your hamster will enjoy include cooked rice, cooked pasta, cooked potatoes and milky porridge.
A dog biscuit (such as Biscrok or Bonio) will help to keep your hamster's teeth trim. Place on in your pet's cage for it to gnaw. Your hamster can also keep its teeth trim by gnawing on a piece of cuttlefish.
Don't give your hamster sticky treats like chocolate or sweets. Chocolate is very toxic to many animals and sticky foods, particularly those which will melt, will get stuck in your hamster's cheek pouches. If you would like to give your hamster a special treat why not try some of the following foods - hamsters love them!!
Never try to make your own food, because your hamsters will miss out on some of the essential nutrients they need to survive. They like variety, so try to buy food with different food types. Pellets work well too.
Remove old or stale food regularly.
Do not change your hamsters food or diet suddenly; take it slow. Add a little more of the new food every couple of days until all your hamster's food is the new kind.
Try hand feeding occasionally; it will build a trust bond between you and your little friend.
Place something in the cage that the hamsters can chew on. Because they are rodents, their teeth continue to grow. They must chew something to wear down this growth. Hamster-safe wood is good.
Play with your hamster. Hide the food around the cage for them to find. Don't do this too much, though, as they may not be able to find it, and the food will go stale. Remove any leftover hidden food when you change the bedding. Also have them run around on the ground freely but you must be watching them. Always keep them away from corners and wires.
Give your hamster water, ideally in a plastic bottle.
If you use a plastic bottle, make sure that the ball is metal, not plastic. Bottles are easier to handle and keep the water cleaner
If you use a bowl, choose one that is about 1 1⁄2 inch (3.8 cm) tall and fill it about halfway.
Hamsters prefer bottled water but it isn't necessary for them to survive
change the water every 3-5 days
Choose good bedding. The best bedding is shredded toilet paper or a type of soft bedding (like carefresh), or aspen bedding. All three are practically harmless.
Some types of bedding can be hazardous to your hamster. Any fluffy bedding, such as cotton, can KILL your hamster.If you use wood shavings, avoid cedar. It releases aromatic oils that can be fatal to your hamster(s). Pine isn't a wonderful choice either, but it's better than cedar, so if those are your only choices, pick pine
pread the bedding thickly enogh that your hamster can burrow in it.About two inches should be enough.