The Best Hamster Food

Hamsterpal Team | October 4, 2019 | Vet approved content learn more
hamster food being eaten by a hamster

Hamster food can come in several forms, including pelleted feed and grain mixtures. As it comes carefully formulated, purpose-built hamster food is an excellent way to provide your hamster with the nutrients it needs to live a healthy and happy life.

As far as pets go, hamsters are relatively low-maintenance. They can go about most of their day to day activities by themselves, including getting their own exercise. But when it comes to food, they rely on you to feed them the right food.

Products we recommend…

Best Hamster FoodVet Recommended
Mimics Natural Diet
Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster FoodOxbow Animal Health Hamster and Gerbil Fortified FoodOxbow Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food
Buy on ChewyBuy on ChewyBuy on Chewy

The Best Hamster Food

hamster-food-guide

A good hamster food will be nutritionally balanced, but what does this mean? Your hamster food should provide the right amount of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. In this section, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite foods for hamsters.

Here’s a list of the 5 best hamster foods we’re sure you and your little friend are going to love.

Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster Food

Kaytee’s Forti Diet Pro Health contains protein from seed like sunflower, grains such as wheat and corn as well as yucca to help with odors. It is specifically formulated for hamsters and is also suitable for gerbils too. The probiotics and Omega-3 helps to aid heart and digestive health.

This food doesn’t contain artificial coloring or flavoring and is naturally preserved to ensure it’s as fresh as possible. It’s a hamster food that’s very easy to eat and one we highly recommend trying out.

Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Food Mix Hamster Food

The Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend is made up of a great mix of dried fruits, vegetables and sun-cured hay along with pre-cooked legumes. This is a mixture that is excellent for supporting your hamster’s digestion.

It contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, not to mention DHA omega-3 fatty acids as well as amino acids. When it comes to the makeup of this food, there’s nothing artificial, just nutritional goodness. This is an excellent blend and one that we’re very impressed with.

Oxbow Animal Health Hamster and Gerbil Fortified Food

One manufacturer that usually makes its way on to lists for small animal food is Oxbow. Their Essentials Healthy Handfuls food for hamsters is another excellent example of what they can do.

The food supports a balanced diet focused on your hamsters’ weight, digestion as well as dental health. The blend is made up of timothy hay, oats and barley. The combination means the food is packed full of flavor. The timothy hay used is fresh from the farm, to help deliver the best possible fiber content. With plenty of vitamins including C, A and B12, this is a food that targets your hamsters’ overall health and immune system.

Oxbow Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food

Another feature from Oxbow makes the list, this time the Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food. This is another very well-balanced hamster food that has a variety of ingredients you’d find in your garden. These include tomato, carrot, whole yellow pea, spinach and banana.

This blend also contains a mixture of three varieties of hand-chosen grass hay. The unique selling point is that this food emulates a natural foraging diet for small animals. It’s a combination that thinks outside of the box, and we’re big fans of the second Oxbow food to make our list.

Brown’s Tropical Carnival Hamster & Gerbil Food

This eye-catching hamster food comes in a variation of shapes and consists of fruit, vegetables, grains and seeds. It aims to support digestion through healthy bacteria, vitamins and nutrients.

The natural preservatives are key to providing an enhanced diet for your hamster. What we love about this food is the fact that it’s as fun and quirky as it is nutritious. Overall it’s a well-rounded food that catches eyes on the shelf, delivers a balanced diet and is fun for your hamster to eat

A Guide to Hamster Food

hamster-food-guide

Hamsters are intelligent, inquisitive, lively and friendly pets. To keep them happy and healthy, you need to understand how to feed them. What foods do they need for their health? Can they have treats? What foods should they definitely not eat? How much food should you give your pet? Do they need supplements? And of course, what do they need to drink?

You want to do the best for your pet, and that means choosing the best food. Instead of just buying the first thing you see, and maybe never changing it, it pays to understand hamster nutrition. Continuously monitor how your hamster is doing, in terms of health, wellbeing and enjoyment of their food.

Basic Hamster Needs

Hamsters, like other mammals, need the right combination of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. If his or her diet gets out of balance in any way, your pet will not thrive in the way you would like. Additionally, hamsters are rodents, and this means that their teeth are growing all the time. In order for their teeth to stay strong, healthy, and the right length, hamsters need things that they can chew on. This can be food, or if you can’t offer enough chewing opportunities in their food, give them safe chewable toys.

Home-Made or Ready Made?

There are many excellent ready-made foods available for your hamster. However, it can be fun and interesting to make up your own mixture. The problem with this is that it can be difficult to provide a balanced diet this way, so it’s usually best to make home-made mixes only occasionally as a treat. . Either way, you should check that you are providing a balanced, nutritious diet for your pet. If you can’t find what you want in your local pet store, remember that there are lots of good suppliers who offer online shopping.

The Balance of Nutrition for your Hamster

Here is the basic formula for feeding your adult hamster. For a baby hamster, a pregnant female or a lactating female (a hamster that’s feeding her babies with her milk) you should increase the protein content just a little.

Protein intake should be between 12% to 15%. Protein is the building block for growth and for healthy muscles and can be of animal or vegetable origin. In the case of hamsters, you are likely to be using vegetable protein like nuts, grains and soya. Some mixes may include milk-based proteins, but it’s important to remember that these are difficult for adult hamsters to digest and may contain a lot of fat, contributing to obesity.

Fat should be from 3 – 6% of a hamster’s feed. This is worth monitoring carefully as too much energy in the diet can cause weight gain.If you have a very active pet, then go for the higher end of the range, if you have a more laid back hamster, then choose the lower range. Don’t forget to include fat in the diet, as no mammal can be healthy without fat, which in particular helps with joint and fur health.

The balance of a hamster’s diet is carbohydrates, generally in the form of grain, fruit, and seeds. There’s plenty of great resources out there for hamster nutrition, just make sure you only follow credible sources.

Sugar

You should avoid feeding your pet sugary items, no matter how much he or she might like them. Froot Loops might be OK for you, but not for your pet! Hamsters get enough natural sugar from fruits like apples and berries, and from vegetables like carrots, to keep them healthy and happy.

Sugar will just make them fat and sick, so please, keep your hamster’s diet a sugar-free zone – except of course for those good natural sugars which we mentioned.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

You’ve probably heard about these tiny organisms which live in the guts of animals, including humans and hamsters and help with digestive health. Many ready-made pet foods these days offer prebiotics and probiotics, but if you decide to make your own feed, you can add a special hamster supplement to give a boost.

Salt

Hamsters need salt in their diet, which in the natural world they would get from licking mineral rocks. It’s a good idea to provide your hamster with a mineral lick, they will automatically help themselves to as much as they need. They’ll get some other needed trace elements from their lick as well as salt.

Texture and Play

For an adult hamster, food with good crunchy texture is important for tooth health. Vets generally recommend feeding a pellet-based food rather than a museli mix as you can expect your hamster to use food almost like a toy, carrying it around the cage and tucking a good stash of food away in its nest.

They’ll often eat the bits they like most first, and leave the healthy bits- just like a child with a bowl of sweets and vegetables all mixed together. Instead, provide interest and texture by giving small amounts of vegetables, fruits and other treats, as well as chew toys.

They’ll often eat the bits they like most first, and leave the healthy bits- just like a child with a bowl of sweets and vegetables all mixed together. Instead, provide interest and texture by giving small amounts of vegetables, fruits and other treats, as well as chew toys.

It’s a lot of fun watching your hamster stuff his cheeks with food until it almost looks as if he will explode, and then rush off to store his treasures in his sleeping spot.

Fresh Feed

Even if you are using ready-made food, you can also add some fresh veggies and fruit into the mix. Each hamster seems to have its own likes and dislikes, but things to try as treats are small pieces of apple, carrot, pear, lettuce, and unsalted nuts.

You should avoid acidy foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes (a list of foods which you shouldn’t feed your pet can be found at the end of this article). Your hamster will really enjoy a little extra in his diet, but make sure you don’t offer too much and remember if they just store it in their food stash, you might want to fish it out later before it gets moldy. If your hamster’s food stash is getting large, it may be because you are overfeeding him. Try reducing the number of treats until he only stores a small amount.

Water

It’s essential that hamsters have enough water. The best way to supply water to your hamster is by using a feeding bottle. This ensures that your pet always has clean fresh water to drink. Ordinary water from the faucet is fine, if you drink it yourself, but if your domestic water supply isn’t great, then plain bottled water is ideal.

If you have to use a water dish, for example, if you can’t attach a bottle to the walls of a glass-sided cage, then make sure that the water is changed a couple of times a day. Dished get pooped in, filled with bedding, and spilled. The dish should be heavy enough so that your pet can’t easily knock it over.

How Much to Feed?

Hamsters actually eat quite a small amount of food, just one or two tablespoons each day. Remember that they do have a natural instinct to create a food stash, which they probably won’t even eat, so allow a bit of extra food for them to save for a rainy day – but not too much!

That means that you need to make sure you clear out all the saved food from your hamster’s personal larder when you clean his cage. You might want to clear this store out more often than you clean the cage, to avoid a build-up of stale and moldy food.

Pellets Versus Seed Feeds

Pellets are easy to handle and generally have a nice crunchy texture. They are usually homogenous – in other words, all the pellets look and taste the same. Seed feeds will be a mixture of grains, nuts, and fruits, and look more interesting. In the wild, a hamster will forage for its food, choosing a bit of this and a bit of that.

Seed mixes allow your hamster to replicate what he or she would do in the wild. They also allow your hamster to pick and choose what he or she likes best, which can be a bad thing. Seed diets are only correctly balanced if your hamster eats all of his portion. Since we know that they stash food, and often some is left in the bowl, we know they’re actually picking and choosing, making an unbalanced meal. The best solution may be to give your hamster pellets for the most part, but a small sprinkle of seeds and other interesting things over the top. This will ensure that they get a diet that is the right texture and is both balanced and interesting.

Changing Your Hamster’s Diet

We all enjoy a change of diet, and it’s no different for hamsters. These bright little creatures live in a world consisting of food, sleep and play, so food is very important. If you decide to have a change of diet, introduce the new diet gradually, to avoid upsetting your pet’s digestive system. Add 10% of the new food to 90% of the old food on day one, 20% to 80% on day two and so on. Ensure your hamster is eating the new feed, and check that all his health signs are good.

We worked with Dr Joanna Woodnutt to make sure this content is worthy of vet approval. You can find more about the Hamsterpal team and how we strive to make high-quality content here.