Like all rodents, a hamster’s incisors keep growing throughout their lifetime. Therefore, sometimes it can be crucial to provide them with something to chew on or gnaw to help them wear down their ever-growing teeth. However, contrary to popular belief, not any rigid, durable material will do.
You can give your hamster non-toxic wood, seagrass, sisal, cardboard, and toys to chew on. Additionally, you may want to consider a variety of chews, including pellets. However, these products should not contain any food ingredient or chemical that is unsafe for a hamster.
Keep in mind that hamsters, like humans, have their own wants and preferences. This means that the same chewing toy that a previous pet might have loved might not be of much interest to a new hamster. Therefore, keep reading to learn more about finding some of the safest objects and materials for your hamster to chew on.
Hamsters can chew on natural wood sticks, walnuts, seagrass and sisal toys, pellets, and cardboard. However, steer away from anything that may contain parasites or bugs (like a twig from your backyard). Additionally, don’t give your hamster any plastic toys.
There are three types of gnawing materials you can give to your hamster:
- Natural food with a hard shell.
- Readymade hamster chews or toys.
- Repurposed household items.
If you live in the US, you’re probably just a short drive away from the nearest pet store, most of which sell chews and toys for hamsters. Besides, you can shop online.
In the following sections, I’ll list some widely available, inexpensive, and safe items that your hamster can blissfully chew on.
Your hamster will likely go hammer and tongs on one whole walnut unless it’s the pickiest rodent on the planet. The tough shell of walnut is ideal for hamsters, irrespective of species or size. Not to mention, playing with a whole walnut can be a thrilling activity as it rolls and bounces around in a playpen.
Here’s the kind of hamster vs. walnut fight you can expect:
Let’s assume your hamster gets bored playing with a whole walnut. Or, a hamster may fail to crack the shell and thus abandon it. Well, you can always consider other intriguing chews for your spritely pet. Ware Pet Products, a company based in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a wide range of options, including several for hamsters.
Consider the Ware Manufacturing All Natural Sisal Ball Toy available on Amazon.com. This ball for small pets like hamsters is made of all-natural sisal and straw. Therefore, it is undoubtedly safe for your hamster. However, keep your kids away from the ball if they’re too young.
Moreover, check out the Ware Manufacturing Seagrass Twists on Amazon.com. Each twist is a sun dried seagrass snack measuring only 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) wide. If you have an especially small hamster, these twists may be more suitable for the pet than a ball toy.
Ware offers a wide range of other bestsellers like the Ware Manufacturing Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy on Amazon.com. While this toy is suitable for small animals like rabbits and a few rodents, it may not be ideal for a smaller hamster. Therefore, always choose on the basis of your hamster’s size.
You’ll find a plethora of wood chews for hamsters online, but you’ll always want to opt for an all-natural option. Therefore, I’d highly recommend the Kaytee SuperPet Apple Orchard Sticks on Amazon.com. This pack has 10 pieces of organic apple wood sticks, a natural chewy toy for hamsters.
You may also explore similar alternatives like the FJNATINH Natural Organic Apple Wood Chew Toys on Amazon.com. This 2 pack has disc-shaped apple wood blocks instead of sticks. The assembly has a metal hook you can use to hang it in the hamster cage or anywhere in the playpen you deem suitable.
The eCotrition Snak Shak Edible Hideaway on Amazon.com is a fantastic chew toy for hamsters and other small animals, like gerbils. Additionally, this toy is edible and can serve as a hideaway for your pet.
However, the product (with its yummy honey flavor) may entice your hamster a bit too much for its own good. Prevent your pet from overeating if you use these types of edible chewy toys. The activity log and its variants are available in different sizes. As always, choose an appropriate size for your hamster.
Wild Harvest Colored Wood Chews on Amazon.com are fruit-flavored sticks for hamsters and other small animals. This pack is among the most affordable chew toys or flavored sticks you’ll find online or offline.
Hamsters generally like fruit flavors, but you may be unlucky if yours is a unique connoisseur. While the colors may appear vibrant to us, hamsters aren’t necessarily fond of hues. They’re drawn more by odor than visual delights.
Mineral chews are not necessary for hamsters. The food or feed mix you provide your hamster should have all the essential minerals and vitamins. However, you can use a mineral chew if it entices your pet, especially as an occasional treat.
A salt-based mineral chew toy is useful if a hamster is not receiving sufficient nutrition in its diet. Some hamster foods contain only corn and sunflower seeds. Therefore, you’ll want to choose a mix of seeds, grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and animal proteins.
If you want to use mineral chews or flavored edible toys, consider the likes of eCotrition Small Animal Cheesie Chews and Ware Manufacturing Apple/Carrot Salt and Mineral Chew Treat. These affordable chews on Amazon.com last long and don’t splinter, so they’re fully safe for your pet to gnaw on.
Some owners give dog biscuits and pellets to their hamsters. While you can get chewy edibles or pellets for a hamster, those should not include garlic, leek, onion, and spices. Additionally, do not buy edibles that contain ground bone or animal meat. In the wild, hamsters don’t eat vertebrates.
A better substitute for pellets in this context is cardboard. You can repurpose the cardboard from a standard toilet paper roll. However, make sure the cardboard doesn’t have any residue adhesive or other materials used for packaging.
While hamsters can eat paper, the same can’t be said for cardboard, meaning they’ll only be able to chew on the material. If you use a cardboard tube or roll, pick one that is large enough so that the hamster doesn’t get stuck inside.
Hamsters can chew on a natural loofah, straw, and cane. However, these are generally not the rodent’s favorites. You’ll likely have much better luck with whole walnuts, sisal, seagrass, apple orchard sticks, wood chews, and cardboard. Don’t forget; you can also give your rodent a mineral chew occasionally.
Healthy hamsters are some of the most hyperactive rodents. However, the nocturnal and crepuscular animal loves its sleep during the day. Therefore, it’s important not to wake your hamster when it is supposed to dream, as it may even bite if you disturb it while it is asleep.
In optimal circumstances, there’s no reason why your hamster shouldn’t chew on anything that is worth gnawing, nibbling, and testing its teeth on. Many hamsters gnaw on the cage bars and other materials around it. However, a stressed and ailing hamster will not behave normally.
On the other hand, if your hamster is healthy and active with normal eating, drinking, and sleeping habits, the issue could be the chewing material you’ve chosen. Every hamster doesn’t have an identical fondness for the same chewing toy. Therefore, you’ll need to make the chewy more palatable.
You can make your hamster chew by mixing the toys in its meal. The scent of its favorite foods will influence the hamster to explore the chewy toy. You can also add a tiny tinge of peanut butter to a chew or soak the toys in fruit juice for flavor.
Hamsters are instinctively curious. They also feel a compulsion to chew as their teeth continue to grow. Therefore, most pet owners don’t usually have to put in any effort or time to get a hamster to chew, so you’ll want to watch out for other signs of concern, such as lethargy, inactivity, and unusual behavior.
A stressed hamster may move erratically inside the cage. An anxious, scared, or uncomfortable hamster may give up its natural curiosity and hibernate. These types of signs are worrying, which is why you’ll want to address these issues as you resolve its lack of interest in chewing on a toy.
Peanut butter has an amazing taste and smell. Hamsters love both. Not to mention, their olfactory sense is exceptionally strong. However, be modest with the serving size.
A hamster is not supposed to eat a lot of peanut butter, irrespective of its species and size. All hamsters have large cheek pouches, and these spaces can easily create the possibility for peanut butter build-up. Given its stickiness, peanut butter can stick inside your hamster’s mouth and clog the cheeks.
Here’s how you can safely use peanut butter safely on a chew toy:
- Use natural or organic peanut butter.
- Ensure the peanut butter is fresh and edible.
- Take a speck of peanut butter on a fingertip, not even a small blob.
- Pick a chewy toy and choose a spot or part that is most accessible for the hamster.
- Smudge the peanut butter on the selected part and ensure the application is even.
- Smoothen the peanut butter to verify that there aren’t any chunks or blobs anywhere.
- Give the flavored and fragrant chewy toy to your hamster, and wait for the fun to begin.
You can soak a few chew toys in fruit juice, especially berries. Hamsters are generally fond of strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. Most sweet fruits are palatable and safe. However, don’t give citrus fruits to your pet.
Here’s how to make a fruity chewy toy at home:
- Juice a few berries.
- Dilute the juice with an equal amount of water.
- Warm up the mixture if necessary.
- Allow the diluted juice to cool.
- Place a few small to medium chewy toys in it.
- Leave the chewy toys to soak for a few hours.
- Air dry the chewy toys until there’s no more juice on the surface.
- Give your hamster the fruity treats to chew on.
Your hamster should not chew on sticks from outside because they may contain bugs and parasites that can infect your pet. Furthermore, you cannot be sure that the sticks from outside will remain intact and not splinter when your pet hamster tries to chew on the roughage.
Hamsters can’t chew on popsicle sticks because they can splinter, and the broken particles have sharp edges. Additionally, you should exercise caution if you plan to use popsicle sticks for hideouts, decorations in the cage or playpen, and other similar purposes.
You can’t give a pencil to your hamster to chew on or for other purposes. Most generic pencils can break. Some companies make chewable pencils that are generally deemed safe. Therefore, if you must, make sure you get one that is specifically suitable and safe for your hamster.
Household items you can safely give your hamster to chew on include cardboard and paper. Most hamsters like to chew on cardboard, and paper is safe even if your pet ingests a bit of it. However, do not give your rodent household items that comprise cotton, plastics, and indigestible matter.
Hamsters don’t need to have lava rocks or pumice stones, so they are inconsequential and futile. Likewise, hamsters don’t need mineral stones, even for chewing. Hamsters have much more fun chewing on natural wood, walnut, seagrass, sisal, and cardboard.
A healthy hamster in a comfortable indoor environment should chew on most items in its cage or playpen. Therefore, the only criterion for what you can give your hamster is your pet’s safety. Moreover, if you use edible chewy toys, keep a check on how much of those your hamster gorges on daily.
You may like the following hamster articles:
- Can You Get Rabies From a Hamster Bite?
- What To Do When Your Hamster Dies
- How Often Do You Change Hamster Bedding?
- Why Is My Hamster Itching?
- How To Get Your Hamster To Like You
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more