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What to Feed Your Hamster (and What Not To)

For the most part, hamsters do not require a lot of different types of foods. However, she will need a well-balanced diet to meet her nutritional needs. You can do this by offering a mixture of high-quality hamster food, grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Do not make a dramatic change to your hamster's diet. This could stress your hamster and cause her to develop wet tail. If you would like to change her diet, do so gradually.

You may be surprised to know that your hamster will not overeat, so be sure to keep her food bowl filled at all times. A well-balanced hamster diet consists of a high-quality hamster food that is specially formulated to provide the proper balanced nutrition with the ideal daily dosage of vitamins and minerals, plus all the other essential nutrients.

You can supplement her diet with a limited (no more than 10% of her total daily food intake) amount of:

  • Grains. This is the primary food for hamsters. You should provide approximately a tablespoonful daily. Grains offer protein and carbohydrates and can come from prepared hamster mixtures. Do not over feed fatty nuts (peanuts and sunflower seeds) as they promote obesity. These should be only a small part of the mixture.
  • Vegetables. Fresh, organically grown greens are the best. Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, carrot tops, broccoli spears, spinach, artichokes and any other dark green veggies are great choices. Avoid iceberg lettuce and other veggies or fruits (like watermelon) that are high in water content as they can cause diarrhea. Remember to wash the vegetables thoroughly to remove traces of harmful pesticides.
  • Fruits. Hamsters love apples, pears, strawberries and bananas. They should be given in moderation, as a supplement to the regular diet. Be sure to remove any vegetables or fruits that are not eaten within 24 hours.
  • Timothy hay. Hay is a great gnawing food that can help keep your hamster's teeth in good condition.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Treats! Yes, you can reward your hamster with her favorite hamster treats, just keep them in moderation.

Do not feed your hamster:

  • Chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, as these can cause serious medical conditions. And avoid sugar and treats with a high fat content.