If you have a hamster, you’re probably well aware that they love to eat! Just like humans, hamsters need to eat a variety of nutritious food to be healthy and happy.
When to feed them?
There are differing opinions on this, but the choices are either morning or evening. Evening feedings coincide with their nocturnal activity, and morning feedings accommodate their tendency to wake sporadically for short periods throughout the day and snack on available food. You can do whatever works best for your schedule.
What to feed them, and how much?
Any basic diet for a hamster should include:
- Hard, gnawing-type food such as pellets
Pellets are a food where the ingredients are ground up, mixed, and formed into little pieces. The requirement to gnaw on pellets and the balanced nutrition of pellets make them a suitable part of your pet’s diet. A commercial food that includes all of the nutrients your hamster needs is a convenient, easy way to keep them healthy. About one tablespoon of pellets or seed mix once a day, supplemented by treats, is sufficient for both dwarf and Syrian hamsters. Just because your hamster’s food bowl is empty, don’t assume it needs refilling. Although hamsters are high-energy animals with speedy metabolisms, they can still become overweight quickly by overeating.
- Some seed and grain
Seed-and-grain mixes are a good supplement to pellets. The biggest concern with these mixes is an overabundance of sunflower seeds. Hamsters love sunflower seeds, but the fatty oils in them can lead to obesity if your hamster consumes too many.
- Some fresh foods
Feeding fresh foods can be a nice change and a treat for your hamster. Choose treats that provide additional nutrition to their regular diet such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Offer fresh foods only two or three times a week, one or two small pieces at a time. A small amount of greens plus a floret of cauliflower, a slice of apple, or several raisins (or an equivalent amount of other appropriate treats) once a day is plenty. Pesticides are very dangerous to hamsters, so completely wash any fresh food you give them. Also, do not leave fresh food lying around the cage or it will rot. Check your hamster’s food storage regularly and remove any fresh food stored there before it spoils.
Healthy Diet = Happy Hamster
Diet can be a major contributing factor in their dispositions towards you and other hamsters. If you make sure your hamster has love and care including a properly balanced diet, they’ll be happy, healthy and lovable.