How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food? [Explained]

When I was younger, I had a hamster named snoopy. That cute little critter was simply adorable. I remember the one question that my parents used to ask the vet whenever we used to plan a trip, how long can a hamster go without food or water?

If this question is coming to your mind too, you must be thinking about going out on a trip leaving your hamster alone at home. So, if you are sailing in the same boat, let me answer your question.

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food? [Explained]

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food? A short answer to this question will be, a hamster can live for about 3-4 days without food and/or water. This means it will be okay to leave your hamster alone while you are off on a weekend trip.

The short answer seems very simple and convenient, but the long answer is a bit more complicated than this. Let’s learn something more about it.

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food & Water?

The hamsters can conveniently live for 3 to 4 days since they last had any food or water. So, if you gave food and water to your pet on Friday evening and went for a weekend outing, you will find your pet in good condition by Monday evening or Tuesday afternoon.

A few days of leaving your hamster alone is fine. But, if you are planning to go on a summer beach vacation for a week or more, then you will need to make proper arrangements for your fluffy pal. Leaving the hamster for a long period without food and water will result in serious health issues.

For how much time your hamster can last without food or water varies from hamster to hamster. The 3-4 day period that we discussed is for a fit and fine adult hamster. There are several factors that influence the period for which the hamster can go without nutrition. Some of the major factors include:

  • What is the age of the hamster?
  • How well has it been taken care of?
  • Heath condition of the hamster.
  • What has it eaten last?
  • Room temperature in which it has been kept.

You have to take into consideration all these factors before you leave your hamster alone. Additionally, before going, make all the arrangements to make your pet’s life comfortable and easier.

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How Long Can A Hamster Live Without Food?

When I used to clean my snoopy’s house, I found that my hamster was a hoarder and used to have a nice stash of food in its house. I found it unusual at first. But when I told the vet about this, he said to me that it is common for hamsters to keep a stash of food safe in their hideout.

Hamsters are desert animals, and therefore, they are in the habit of hiding food to make sure they have enough for any apocalypse. But, note that their stash does not last for a long period. Hamsters just have enough food that will keep them full for 1-2 days.

So, if you are thinking that you can go for a long vacation, leaving your hamster relying on the stash, that will not be a good idea. The reserve will be over in a day or two, and when you come back from the sunshine state, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Furthermore, the duration for which your pet will last without food also depends majorly on the diet you give to your ham. It would help if you fed a variety of food, including pellets and grains, some pieces of veggies, a little bit of boiled chicken, egg whites, and even some grapes and other nutrient-rich food.

A well-balanced diet will keep your hamster going for a longer period. Veggies keep your pet full, but protein-based food will keep it full longer. At the same time, grains and pellets keep the ham fed for the longest.

So, if your hammy’s last meal was of seeds, grains, and pellets, then it can quickly go for 3 to 4 days without food. During this time, the hamster will depend on its saved stash.

How Long Can A Hamster Live Without Water?

When it comes to water, the answer is a bit trickier than food. It is because the water requirement in hamsters depends on their size or weight. Generally speaking, a hamster requires 10ml (one-third of an ounce) per 100gm of bodyweight per day.

So, if I take the example of snoopy, then it was a fully grown Syrian hamster weighing 180gms. This means its basic water requirement was 18ml per day.

So, if your hamster drank water in the morning today, he will be fine for the next 2 to 3 days. To be on the safer side, it will be wise if you fill your pet water bottle before leaving.

The estimation of 2 to 3 days is when your hamster doesn’t eat anything. The water requirement varies depending on the food it eats. It is because hamsters draw water from the food they eat as well.

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Having a diet full of dry grains and pellets will provide little to no water, but it provides more proteins. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide a fair amount of water to your pet, and it can go without water for more than 2 to 3 days.

Things To Keep In Mind When Leave Your Hamster Alone For A Few Days

There are some things that your need to take care of if you are thinking to leave your fluffy friend alone for few days:

  1. On number one comes the food. Only one type of food is not enough. You should leave a mixture of dry and wet food. It is because every kind of food has its own advantage. A bowl full of grains and pellets, along with some leaves of lettuce, as well as a piece of cucumber, will do the work. The quantity of food you leave for your pet will depend on the number of hours the hamster will be alone.
  2. Along with the food, you should also leave a whole water tube.
  3. If you are off to a weekend trip, then a single serving of pellet along with a fully filled water tube will be enough for an average hamster.
  4. Even if it needs some more, you need not worry as your hamster already has a nice supply of food stashed in its home, if you remember.
  5. Temperature is also an essential factor. A fully grown adult hamster in a healthy state will live comfortably in a constant temperature. It will be nice if the room temperature is not too humid or cold or drafty.

What If You Are Going For A Longer Period?

If you are out for more than just a weekend, then you have to make some additional preparations:

  • You need to measure the size of your pet’s bottle closely and calculate whether it will be enough for the period you are gone.
  • To ensure a sufficient supply of water, you can leave a bigger water bottle because hamsters aren’t going to hoard water like they do with food.
  • When it comes to food, a regular single serving will not be enough. For a period of 4-5 days, 2 to 3 teaspoons of dry food will be fine.
  • In addition to this, you can also leave a dry biscuit in your pet’s cage. It will be a large chunk of food for your pet to nibble on and can make your hamster last for an extended period.
  • Now comes the turn of some fruits and vegetables. To balance the diet, you can also toss a few of them in the cage (avoid cabbage). In case the water supply goes out, a hamster can draw some water from these.
  • To ensure the backup supply, you can take a close look at your ham’s cage to see how much food it has hoarded. If you find that your little pet has stashed basically a full food bowl, then you can happily go out without any worry.
  • Also, it will be good if you are well aware of your pet’s habits. If it has a good diet and is prone to binging on its food, then you should leave some extra food.
  • In the last, the most important point. There is nothing wrong if you ask your friend, relative, or neighbor to keep a check on your hamster from time to time while you are away. Asking for some help is always a better option than leaving your innocent pet alone all by itself.
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Check On Your Hamster As Soon As You Get Back Home

The first thing that you should do when you get back home is to check on your hamsters to ensure that it is safe, in good health, and happy too. Immediately give it some food and water if it is out.

Initially, it might look somewhat weak and inactive, but the condition will improve after a nutrition boost. Sometimes, pets feel lonely when their owners are nowhere to be seen due to the attachment and bond they share. This can make them a bit sick. So, spend some time with your hamster as soon as you come back home.

Also, in case your hamster shows the following signs of discomfort, take it to the vet immediately:

  • Irregular appetite.
  • Runny nose.
  • Foot sores.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Wheezing.
  • Bald patches.
  • Loose stools.
  • Overgrown front teeth.

Wrapping Up

So, how long can a hamster go without food? Now, you have the answer to this question. While you can easily leave your hamster alone for 3 to 4 days at max without food, the time period can be extended.

The only catch is that you need to leave a sufficient supply of food and water in its cage. Also, the food hoarding habit of hamsters can be a lifesaver for the little pet.

But, the best option is to ask someone to keep a check on your pet from time to time. Keeping in mind all the discussed guidelines and doing necessary preparations will guarantee that you will have a healthy and happy hamster waiting for you when you get back home.