Proper nutrition is critical to your hamster’s proper growth and overall health. Failure to provide your dwarf hamster with the correct diet could result in stunted growth and lead to some serious dental illnesses. Accordingly, it is critical to know what you can and cannot feed your dwarf hamster.
You can feed your dwarf hamster various seeds, grasses, whole grains, corn, insects, worms, meats and fish, assorted low-fat poultry products, vegetables, and fruits. You should supplement these foods with commercial pet food to ensure that your dwarf hamster meets its nutritional requirements.
In this article, I will take you through the foods you can feed your dwarf hamster and provide some nutritional tips to keep in mind. I will also discuss some foods to avoid and why you should avoid them for your dwarf hamster. Read on for more.
Dwarf hamsters are omnivores. Although they predominantly feed on seeds, grasses, and grains while in their natural habitats, they still need to consume protein from eggs, dried crickets, cheese, and mealworms.
The good news is that dwarf hamsters, like other gerbils, do not require much variety in their diet, and as such, you can meet your hamster’s dietary needs with a simple meal plan.
In the next section, I will discuss some of the foods you can feed your hamster and some commercial pet food combinations that you can throw in the mix to ensure that your hamster gets the required vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
According to PDSA, you should try within reason to replicate what the hamsters will naturally eat in the wild, and this means ensuring that your hamster has a steady supply of insects and a mix of plants and vegetables.
However, if you are unsure about what to feed your pet hamster, I recommend the following food options.
Commercial food blends are an excellent way to ensure that your hamster gets the necessary minerals and vitamins. While commercial hamster foods are high in nutritional value, they should not be the only feed you give to your hamster.
In general, these supplemental feeds should take approximately 10% of your hamster’s diet.
These commercial foods include hamster pellets that you can easily buy at the store. There are numerous commercial high-grade hamster foods available in the USA. If you are not aware of the available commercial hamster foods in the market, I have you covered.
Below are four examples of commercial hamster foods for your dwarf hamster (available on Amazon.com) to get you started:
- Oxbow Essentials Hamster Food and Gerbil Food
- Kaytee Fiesta Hamster And Gerbil Food
- Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Tasty Mix
- Kaytee Pro Health Hamster and Gerbil Food
These foods will typically contain grains, pellets, seeds, and grains in different amounts.
Timothy Hay pet food is high-fiber pet food that is an excellent option for stimulating growth. It is ideal for small pets, including dwarf hamsters, and its high fiber content promotes healthy digestive and dental health among small pets.
Timothy Hay pet food is manufactured in the United States and therefore readily available in stores whether you live in New York, San Francisco, or Houston.
You can also order Small Pet Select Timothy Hay Pet Food from Amazon.com to save yourself some time. It comes in several different-sized boxes and includes a 100% money-back guarantee.
Veterinarians and pet experts also recommend this option. For instance, PDSA explains that not only does this pet food enhance gastrointestinal health in small pets, but it also helps to prevent obesity, bloating, or gas.
Additionally, you can feed your pet hamster unlimited amounts of this food without having to worry about overfeeding.
If you cannot access Timothy Hay pet food, there are a wide variety of grass hay foods that you can purchase, including the following:
Mealworms provide one of the best protein sources for hamsters. When provided in moderation, mealworms can also improve your hamster’s moods, protect them against heat-related diseases and even enhance bone development.
However, it is essential to note that not all hamsters will naturally be inclined towards mealworms, and some may be unwilling to feed on mealworm packs. If your hamster initially refuses to eat mealworm, there is no cause for alarm.
The above notwithstanding, you can give your hamster mealworm as an alternative to meat on occasion.
You can also try other high-protein food sources for hamsters, as explained below.
Meat and fish are also high in protein and monosaturated fats and will go a long way in meeting your pet hamster’s dietary requirements.
For health considerations, light-colored meat sources are preferred over dark-colored meat options. Therefore, you cannot go wrong with meats such as:
- Boiled turkey
- Canned tuna
Depending on which is readily available for you, the above options are ideal. One of the common mistakes that some pet owners make is giving their hamsters uncooked or undercooked meats. It is crucial to ensure that all meats are adequately cooked and cooled before giving them to your hamsters.
Cooking is essential because undercooked meats can cause many diseases in the same way they do to humans.
Additionally, you should avoid adding salt, pepper, and other spices and adopt a cooking approach that does not require fats or oils. To this end, boiling or baking the meat is ideal.
Save for protein from mealworm and other meats, you can also feed your pet vegan protein options as discussed below.
If you are a vegan or are unwilling to handle or give your pet hamster meat, the good news is that there are easily-accessible high-protein vegan options for pet hamsters. Below is a list of vegan options that are high in protein:
- Roasted soybeans
You can also use these vegan protein sources to vary your pet hamster’s meal plans, pairing them or alternating them with cooked meats for a touch of variety.
In the same way that you can often get bored of eating the same foods every day, your dwarf hamster will also appreciate some variety in its diet.
Contrary to popular belief, you can feed your dwarf hamster various poultry products, albeit sparingly. There is nothing wrong with adding some cooked egg whites to your hamster’s food or some egg yolks.
However, as previously stated, it is advisable to steer clear of high-fat foods or provide them on occasion and in small amounts. Save for eggs, you can also feed your product with unprocessed cheese or low-fat unsweetened yogurt.
You can also feed your hamster whole grains to ensure that they have balanced meal options. However, it would be best if you exercised caution not to have too much grain in your hamster’s food, and instead, only provide it as a snack.
You can also feed your hamster with cooked whole grain feeds, but you need to properly cool these foods before feeding your hamster. Some examples of such foods include whole-grain rice or whole-wheat toast.
Additionally, you can also feed your hamster on unsweetened cereals. An important point to note is that, unlike veggies and hays, you should only provide these foods as snacks for your hamster to chew on, not as the primary feed.
Corn is also a common feed for dwarf hamsters. Unlike meat, you can feed your hamster either raw corn or steamed corn. You can also provide them with baby corn or dried or fresh corn kernels. Whichever option you choose, your hamster will love it.
However, you should not feed your hamster creamed corn or canned corn because these options tend to have a high sodium content, which could compromise your pet’s health.
Additionally, take care not to overfeed your hamster with too much corn because it can cause obesity due to the high carbohydrate content.
Because hamsters are omnivores, you should throw the occasional seeds and vegetables into their diet.
Vegetables provide one of the healthiest feed options for your hamster that you can easily supplement with commercial mixed blends and formula. This is because green vegetables are a rich source of nutrients and vitamins for your hamster.
There is a wide variety of vegetables that you can feed your dwarf hamster, including lettuces, leafy Romaine, cauliflower, spinach leaves, broccoli, and kale.
You may also want to throw in some sweet potatoes, cucumbers, or peppers if you can get your hands on them. Your hamster will love them.
You can also feed your dwarf hamster a variety of seeds and nuts. Still, it’s essential to do this only occasionally, as these options have been known to have a high-fat content that could negatively impact your hamster’s overall health or cause obesity.
Fruits are an excellent way to add to hamsters’ nutritional needs while also adding variety to their diet. When fed in moderation, fruits provide an essential source of vitamins to supplement the dwarf hamster’s regular diet.
Some of the favorite fruits among dwarf hamsters include bananas, strawberries, apples, and pears. As a general rule of thumb, wash these fruits properly and with clean water to remove any traces of pesticides or other chemicals.
Additionally, only provide fresh fruits. This means that you should remove any fruits from your hamster’s feeding basket if the hamster does not eat them within 24 hours. The same applies to vegetables.
You can buy freeze-dried insects from most stores in the United States to feed your hamster. As previously discussed, it is advantageous to provide your hamster with the foods it would eat while in the wild, and insects are one of these food options.
Pet stores specialize in pet feeds all across the United States from Washington DC to Georgia. Hamsters especially love crickets, and you can add them to your pet’s diet as a treat.
You should feed your hamster once every day to avoid overfeeding. Because they are nocturnal creatures, it is recommended that you feed your hamster during the evening, when it is waking up.
Like human beings, dwarf hamsters require proper and regular nutrition for their growth and development. Accordingly, you should develop an appropriate schedule of feeding that is easy to adhere to because hamsters should be fed at regular intervals.
Hamster’s teeth grow continuously, and as such, feeding them the wrong foods could result in painful dental issues and an unwillingness to eat. Their cheek pouches are also vulnerable to puncturing.
You should avoid feeding your hamster coarse foods or sticky foods that could pierce them or stick to their cheek pouches. You should also avoid feeding your dwarf hamster any high-fat or sugary feeds because this will most likely result in an illness.
On the same breadth, some foods are toxic to a hamster. These foods include avocados, chocolate, and macadamia nuts. You should also avoid the following foods because they may undermine your hamster’s health:
- Apple seeds
- High-fat junk foods
You should always have clean and fresh water available for your hamster. I recommend purchasing a hamster water bottle, making it easy for your dwarf hamster to access and drink water when it gets thirsty.
This will also prevent mixing with food. Below are some options available in the market today (available on Amazon.com):
- Vannon 3 in 1 Hamster Water Bottle
- Choco Nose No-Drip Hamster Water Bottle
- Depets No Drip Small Animal Water Bottle
- Guardians Little Pet Automatic Drinking Bottle with Food Container
Check the water bottle regularly to ensure that it has water. Additionally, change this water regularly and daily to ensure that it is always fresh and clean.
Just like you, your hamster needs a well-balanced diet for proper growth and development, as well as overall health. Accordingly, it is imperative to strike a balance between different meal options to make sure that your dwarf hamster gets its dietary needs from the feeds provided.
This article shows that dwarf hamsters can eat various foods, including fruits and vegetables, seeds, whole grains, corn, and various meats. However, it is recommended that you supplement these natural feed options with commercial hamster feeds. Your hamster will be well-fed, healthy, and happy with these foods and proper hydration.
You may also like the related hamster articles:
- What Can Kill a Hamster
- Why Is My Hamster Biting Me
- How To Tell if a Hamster Is Pregnant
- Why Is My Hamster Biting the Cage
- How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Sick?
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