Good quality hamster food is one of the most important things you need (for obvious reasons!) and it is important to get it right. Most petshops will sell at least one brand of hamster food. It is important though, that once you have chosen a brand of food for your little pet, that you stick to it because changes in diet can result in many stress-related diseases. Your hamster’s diet should be balanced, just like ours! A healthy balanced diet for a hamster consists of a good healthy hamster mix and the occasional treat.
If you have a dwarf hamster like, Pip, then you need to buy a special dwarf food mix. The difference being, that the seeds are smaller and they can eat the food more easily. The mix that I use for my Hamsters is called “Versele – Laga”. It is just the one that my petshop happens to supply, but, as long as they have the right ingredients, then any hamster food mix will do!
Usually, good hamster food consists of:
- crushed oats
- flaked maize
- sunflower seeds
- dried peas and fruit
- grass pellets
- dried biscuit
Hamsters are natural hoarders, which means when they are not immediately starving, they’ll stuff any extra food into their cheek pouches and save it for later. When a hamster’s cheek pouches are full, (It looks incredibly hilarious!!) he/she will take the food to their storage area (usually in their den) and keep it for a time when they’re hungry. It is important to check on this storage area daily, to check if there is any spoiled food in it. And don’t forget to top up the food bowl!!!
Top Tip:To keep your hamster food fresh so it lasts as long as possible, put it in a plastic, airtight container like a lunchbox!
Other than a hamster food mix, you might want to experiment with other types of food and find out what your hamster loves and what he/she loathes! For example, my hamster Pip absolutely loves iceberg lettuce but won’t even look in the direction of a piece of apple! I only really recommend that you give your hamster fruit and veg as part of his/her diet, however some people choose to give their hamsters little tiny pieces of raw meat. Yes, that’s right hamsters are not technically vegetarians! (For more cool facts about hamsters, visit my “Hamster Facts” page) Still, however, I have never met a hamster that loves a bit of steak now and again, so I’d stick to fruit and veg treats if I were you!
Some fruit and veg that are safe for a hamster to eat:
- Ice berg lettuce
But be careful! Some fruit and veg are poisonous for your hamster:
- raw potato
If fruit and veg treats don’t take your hamster’s fancy or if you like to vary the treats as much as possible, then you can buy special “hamster treats” in the petshop. Most petshops will sell “yoghurt drops”, these are tasty little treats for your hamster, made primarily of yoghurt. Most hamsters love these and are great to use when you are trying to coaxe your hamster onto your hand or into a carry-case. They are very fattening though, so only give them in moderation, or your poor little pet will be as big as a balloon! If you can’t find any yoghurt drops, there are plenty of other treats on the market.
Top Tip: All treats should be given to your hamster in moderation! An overdose on treats means an overweight hamster!
If you chose not to give your hamster any meat, then you need to supply a protein substitute. Give your hamster a little bit of hard boiled egg or cottage cheese twice a week and your hamster should be happily full of protein! I sometimes give my hamster, Pip, a small teaspoon of cottage cheese and he always gobbles it up!
Water is just as important when it comes to hamster care, and (I cant stress this enough) your hamster should always have a supply of water in his/her cage. CONSTANTLY! Change the water every day and make sure that the bottle is working properly. I know that when I first got Pip, I was worried that he wouldn’t know where the water was and that he might die of thirst! But I was soon proved wrong, when I heard the “clickety click” sound that his water bottle made. So don’t be worried if you think your new hamster isn’t drinking!
So by now, you should know how to feed and water your hamster. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different food and try and vary your pet’s diet as much as possible. Good luck!
See this link to a selection of hamster food on offer at PetPlanet.co.uk