We all know how cute, cuddly, and adorable hamsters are. These little fur-balls are one of the best pets to have. They’re friendly, harmless, and not very high maintenance. They don’t have a ton of special requirements so you can relax while having a pet hammy. However, one important aspect is dietary intake.
Hamsters need a carefully planned and controlled diet. The best way to provide them a healthy diet is by keeping it nutrient-dense, yet low in calories and avoiding sugar and salt, or basically, anything fattening.
The reason hamsters can’t really eat unhealthy foods is that they have tiny bodies. They are known to be fragile creatures and their delicate digestive system is quite different from ours. In fact, when exposed to any toxic or potentially harmful substance, they cannot easily expel it from their body. Plus, they can quickly get sick too and face a number of health complications.
When it comes to their diet, the amount of food hamsters eat is extremely important as well. These little cuties love to eat and they are complete foodies. This makes them very prone to over-eating as well as obesity. Being genetically dispositioned towards diabetes, hamsters must not eat too much of certain foods.
Let’s take a look at what hamsters should eat and often they should ideally be fed. An in-depth guide is important for hamster owners to make the right choice as the appropriate amount also varies depending on the breed, and type of foods being given to them.
The Ideal Diet for Hamsters
Commercial hamster pellets can easily be found in the store and you can feed them regularly. Primarily, these consist of grains and seeds of different types that are healthy for your pet hammy. You should avoid giving them muesli mixes though. Because hamsters will start to eat the sugary bits that are unhealthy for them and leave out the nutritious, fibrous parts.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can also be given to hamsters at times. These should be given in small amounts as they often contain high levels of sugar.
Another popular and healthy food choice for hamsters is Timothy hay.
And remember, your hamster will need fresh, clean water at ‘all’ times. Ideally placed in a feeder, constant access to water is important for your pet hammy.
Foods that you must avoid including highly acidic, salty, or sweet ones. Fruits that are citrusy or sugary are not recommended. Meats that are high in fat, as well as pungent vegetables like onions, garlic, peppers should not be given. And junk food is also an absolute no-no.
How Often Should you Feed Your Hamster?
The ideal way to feed your hamster is by giving it its daily portion once a day. Hamsters do not two or more meal-times, simply because it’s not going to benefit them in any way. Hamsters can manage just fine thanks to their useful cheek pouches.
As the hamsters love to store spare food in their cheek pouches for extended periods of time, their meal-time is not really restricted. Owners might notice their cute furball stuffing lots of food in their cheek and emptying their food bowl quickly.
The hamster is basically keeping the food in its cheek pouch and will snack on it throughout the day. Research indicates that hamsters like to eat regularly, with 2-hour intervals.
You should keep a check on the bowl from time to time and see if it’s still filled up. If there’s too much left in the store, it means you’re giving too much. But you need to make sure that it is not over-eating.
If you see your hamster storing lots of food, you need to cut back on the quantity. Also, keep a check on your hamsters’ weight to make sure they’re not eating too much.
Now that we’ve established that your hamster should be served once a day, let’s find out what the amount should be.
How Much to Feed Your Hamster?
Your best bet while serving commercial pellets or seed mixes is to always look at the packaging instructions. They usually have directions on the appropriate amount to feed.
Generally, one to two tablespoons of hamster food is enough for one day. This is the right amount for most hamsters and allows them to store some too. Smaller hamsters like Dwarf types need less food while Syrian hamsters can typically eat more.
The right amount of fruits and vegetables is also important. Every fruit or veggie has different nutritional elements, so you must look into each one separately, and research its appropriate quantity for hamsters.
As mentioned earlier, anything new that you introduce to your hamsters’ diet should be carefully considered.
How Often Should you Feed a Hamster Fresh Food?
There is an extra precaution to remember when feeding your pet hamster fresh fruits or vegetables. These foods are quick to rot or go bad, whether the hamster keeps them in his store or his cheek pouches. Such foods can become harmful for the hamster, and if kept in the cheeks, can lead to tooth decay and other problems.
If there is any of it uneaten, just remove it to avoid contamination.
This is another reason why its’ generally recommended to give tiny amounts of fruit or vegetable to hamsters.
The Right Time to Feed Hamsters
You can choose to feed your pet hammy in the morning or in the evening. There is no hard and fast rule here. However, pet experts often suggest night-time as a better choice.
This is because hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they are awake and active at night. So, they might want to naturally eat during this time.
But again, they do wake up and snack with intervals during the day as well. So, it all comes down to what you decide is best for your hamster.
Ultimately, what matters most is the amount you serve, and the quality of food you give to your pet.
We hope this guide helped you in making the right feeding choices for your beloved pet hamster.