November 6, 2020

Best Hamster Food

Vet-Approved Choices For Your Hammy

Fact checked by Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Although hamsters are small and, in many ways, easily cared for, feeding your pet with nutritionally sound food is vital because hamsters have specific dietary requirements that should be met to keep them healthy.

But with all the choices available, how do you know which one you should choose?

Don't worry; we have done the hard work for you. If you just want to know the best hamster food, we have the top picks for you. All you need to do is to follow the feeding instructions on the package.

Or, if you want to know more about feeding your hamster, we also have a detailed buying guide that covers everything you need to know about hamster food and feeding.

Best Food for Hamsters – Our top picks

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The 10-second guide to choosing the right hamster food

    1. Seed mixes offer variety and mental stimulation but are high fat.
    2. However, kibble is better if your hamster is a picky eater or a portly pet.
    3. You can alternate between the two if you want to ensure a balanced diet while supporting your pet's natural foraging instinct.
    4. Choose a food that is specially formulated for hamsters.
    5. Buying in bulk is not recommended because food loses freshness and nutrients over time. Instead, if you want to save time and money, you could make a repeat order from an online store.

All that said, let's have a look at our top recommendations:

Best Seed Mix for Hamsters

Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food – The Premium Choice

  • All-natural
  • Premium blend of ingredients
  • Formulated for hamsters
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Contains omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Supplemented with probiotics
  • No flavors or preservatives added
  • Resealable bag to guarantee freshness

This premium hamster food blend has been formulated according to the special dietary needs of hamsters. It contains only natural ingredients with healthy seeds, grains, nuts, dried fruits, sun-cured hay, and pre-cooked legumes.

The fat content is slightly high, which is why some other food may be more suitable if your pet needs to lose weight. Otherwise, this gourmet blend will provide your hamster with vitamins and other nutrients to support his overall health and encourage his natural instinct to forage.

The variety of flavors and textures will provide mental stimulation while ensuring your hamster is getting everything they needs in their diet.

Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food – Tasty Runner-Up

  • All-natural
  • Formulated for hamsters
  • Tasty and an easy-to-eat texture
  • Contains omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
  • Fortified with vitamins
  • No flavors or preservatives added
  • Prebiotics and probiotics to promote digestion
  • Textured to support dental health
  • Resealable packaging

This Kaytee Hamster food provides your pet with a nutritionally balanced diet to support his well-being. It contains only natural ingredients, including corn, wheat, and sunflower seeds that have been naturally preserved to maintain freshness and nutrients.

The protein content is a bit low, which is why it's not suitable for pregnant or nursing hamsters but can be ideal if your hamster has gained a little extra weight. On the other hand, this mix contains sunflower seeds, which are high in fat, but the overall fat content is in line with dietary recommendations.

The food is rich in antioxidants to support the immune system with probiotics added for healthy digestion. It even contains yucca to control the odor of your hamster's poop.

Best Pelleted Food for Hamsters

Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster Food – Best Kibble

  • All-natural ingredients
  • A complete and balanced diet
  • Formulated for hamsters
  • Rich in fiber for digestive health
  • Perfect choice for picky eaters
  • Promotes healthy weight
  • Supports dental health
  • Fortified with Vitamins C, A and B12
  • Most hamsters find the food tasty and appealing
  • Vet-recommended

The Oxbow Healthy handfuls hamster food is an excellent choice is your hamster is a selective eater and will only eat the tastiest pieces of food if offered the choice.

This food is free of high-fat seeds and high-sugar fruits, which are high-energy foods that may lead to health problems if not eaten in moderation.

The kibble is a bit low in protein but a healthy option for hamsters prone to gaining weight. If you want to feed pellets but encourage foraging as well, you can combine pelleted hamster food with servings of timothy hay and seed mixes.

Oxbow Garden Select Hamster Food – Perfect for Picky Eaters

  • High-quality garden ingredients
  • Perfect choice for picky eaters
  • Very flavorful and enjoyed by hamsters
  • Formulated for hamsters
  • Rich in fiber for digestive health
  • Promotes healthy weight
  • Supports dental health
  • Farmed in the U.S.
  • Vet-recommended

This tasty, high-quality hamster food contains all the nutrients your little pet needs. It offers a balanced diet with hand-picked ingredients like tomato, carrot, banana, and yellow peas together with high-fiber hay to promote digestive health.

The Oxbow garden select is perfect for picky eaters as it prevents selective eating while offering your hamster tasty and healthy food.

The protein content is a bit low, so make sure to occasionally supplement your hamster's diet with some high-protein foods like nuts or egg. Otherwise, this kibble is a great choice for keeping your hamster happy and healthy.

Hamster Diet

Out top picks are great products for feeding your hamster, but if you're a new pet parent, you may be interested to learn how you can choose the best food for hamsters and everything else there is to know about feeding your pet. Let's find out:

What do hamsters eat?

When buying food for your hamster, it must meet your pet's dietary requirements. Although grabbing any bag with a picture of a hamster on it may seem like a good idea, many hamster foods at the store don't actually ensure a balanced diet and may even lead to health problems like obesity and diabetes.

Hamsters are active animals that require a lot of exercise and a healthy diet to thrive.

Just like humans, hamsters also need all those important minerals and vitamins to flourish. And not just the right nutrients, but in the correct proportions as well. Although they are small, they have specific nutritional needs. And as a good pet parent, it's your job to ensure your pet is feeling well and fed according to the guidelines.

feeding my hamster

Here is what you need to know about feeding your hamster:

Hamsters are active animals that require a lot of exercise and a healthy diet to thrive. They are omnivores, which means that in the wild, they eat insects, meat, seeds, veggies, and grass.

Your hamster's diet can include the following:

Seed mixes

Hamsters love seed mixes because of the variety and stimulation they offer. A good seed mix will contain many different types of seeds, nuts, and grains, with fruits often added for color.

However, the problem with these blends is that selective eaters may only pick the pieces they like and leave the rest.

Picky eating will cause the diet to become limited, which may cause deficiencies of certain nutrients. Also, colorful fruits may look tempting, but they may bring too much sugar into your hamster's diet.

Pellets

Hamster food pellets may look like a boring option, but they are the best way to ensure a balanced diet. Formulated for hamsters, especially, they are just the right size with all the vital nutrients to meet your pet's dietary needs.

You should aim to use pelleted food as these are blended, and each pellet contains a balance of vital nutrients.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

If your hamster is a picky eater, but you also want to offer variety and mental stimulation, you can always feed both seed mixes and pellets, with the latter making up the bulk of the food you feed. It's best not to mix the foods together but to alternate between the two if your hamster is selective with its food.

You can also supplement your hamster's diet with some treats to keep them stimulated and entertained.

Here are a few good choices:

Vegetables and fruits

  • Veggies are a healthy treat that will entertain your hamster and help keep their daily diet varied and exciting.
  • Fruits can also offer you hamster many useful vitamins and other nutrients, but they should only be served as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar.

When treating your hamster to some yummy veggies, make sure you wash them first. Pesticides and other chemicals can be harmful to your hammy.

Nuts

Many hamster food blends already contain nuts, but if you feed mostly pellets, nuts can be a great little treat. They are an excellent source of protein and fat, but nuts should only be fed as a special treat because hamsters are prone to gaining weight.

hamster eating pellet food

Dried mealworms and other high-protein snacks

As omnivores, hamsters don't just eat seeds and veggies but meat and insects too.

  • Mealworms are high in protein and offer hamsters many essential nutrients.
  • Other high protein snacks your hamster will love are cooked fish, meat, or hard-boiled eggs.

These treats should only be offered occasionally because they are high in energy and may cause weight gain when fed too often.

Timothy hay

Timothy hay is a fantastic source of fiber and many minerals and vitamins. It will help your hamster maintain a healthy weight, promote digestive health, and offer your hammy something to chew on.

Hamster treats

Hamster treats can be an excellent way to keep your hamster occupied. They also promote chewing and keep your pet's teeth trimmed down. Just be sure to avoid any high-sugar treats like hamster sticks that have been glued together with honey, as too much sugar in the diet may lead to diabetes.

Related reading: Best Hamster Treats

Best Hamster Food Brand

There are many brands of hamster foods available, and the variety can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, not all of those foods actually provide a balanced diet for your hammy. By choosing high-quality hamster food, you will provide your pet with all the essential nutrients and support their overall health.

Some of those better options may cost a little more, but in the end, keeping your hamster healthy will save you from making trips to the vet.

Also, not all cheaper foods are bad for your pet. You can find affordable hamster foods that check all the boxes in our food guide. If you choose a well-known brand like Oxbow, Higgins, or Kaytee, you know you're getting a nutritionally sound product.

What is the Best Hamster food? Buying Guide

How do you know which hamster food you should choose? With so many varieties and brands on the market, the choice can be overwhelming. Let us help you out:

Tips for picking hamster food

1. Opt for specially formulated food. Choose a food that is specially formulated for hamsters as rodents have different nutritional needs.

2. Check the amount of protein. Hamster food should contain about 15-25% of protein to keep your pet feeling full and to help them stay at a healthy weight.

3. Check the amount of fat. Fat content of 3-6% is ideal for maintaining a healthy weight

4. Pregnant or nursing females. Pregnant or nursing females may need a bit more protein and fat in their food.

5. Opt for pellets. Pellets may be a better choice than seed mixes if you want to ensure a nutritionally balanced diet. They offer a blend of all the important nutrients compressed together so that your hamster can not only pick the tastiest treats.

6. Choose seeds wisely. If you prefer a seed mix, pick one with a variety of ingredients like maize, oats, seeds, pellets, and dried fruits and veggies.

seeds and nuts for hamsters

7. Mix it up. You can also consider mixing a blend of seeds and pelleted food to benefit from both. The mix is more exciting food, while the blend ensures all the dietary needs are met.

8. Avoid foods with unnecessary sugar. Hamsters are prone to diabetes, which is why foods that contain unnecessary sugars are a big no-no. Salt, however, is essential for your hamster's well-being, and their food should contain a little salt.

9. Avoid colorful food. Colorful food may look tempting, but it's better to avoid unnecessary chemicals and stick with healthier options.

10. Ensure the food is not sticky or sharp. Ensure the food is not sticky or sharp because your hamster stores the food in its cheek pouches. Also, soft food will not promote dental health, so choose a food that offers your hammy something to chew on.

11. Don't buy in bulk. Buying in bulk may seem like a good idea, but in time hamster food loses some of the nutrients and vitamins it contains. Hamster food lasts about 3-4 months, so buying small packages is better. And if you want to save some time and money, a repeat order in an online store can be an excellent deal.

Hamster food does not have to be expensive to be nutritionally sound. Also, if you don't offer your pet high-quality food with all the nutrients they need, unfortunately, you may be spending every penny you saved on hamster food on visits to the vet.

Feeding Tips

How often should I feed my hamster?

Hamsters should be given 10g of dry food twice a day (about 1 tablespoon).

However, smaller hamsters may not eat as much. If you find uneaten food in the cage every day, you may be overfeeding your hamster. Remember that hamsters like to hide food in their little stashes, so an empty food dish may not be a sign that your hamster finished all of their food.

Free feeding your hamster is not a good idea because food that sits in the dish will go stale and not interest your hamster anymore. It's better to fill the dish more often and throw away anything your hamster hasn't finished.

A sturdy ceramic dish is ideal for feeding hamsters. Plastic dishes may get scratches where bacteria can grow, and they may tip over more easily. Some hamsters may also try to chew on the plastic, causing a serious health hazard.

Always clean up after mealtime – especially after giving your hamster fresh foods. Foods can quickly go bad and moldy food will become a health risk for your pet.

When Should I Feed my Hamster?

Because hamsters are most active during the night, you should give about half of the food in the evening and the other half in the morning so your hamster will have something to snack throughout each 24 hour period.

Should I Remove Stashes When Cleaning My Hamster's Cage?

It's not necessary to remove the food your hamster has hoarded every time you offer them more food. But because food can go bad very quickly at room temperature and attract mold, it's best to check the cage and your hamster's hideouts once a day.

You can let dry food be hidden for a day or two, but if you're not sure how long the food has been stashed for, it's better to remove it.

Related: Safe & Spacious: Best Hamster Cages in 2021

Best Hamster Treats

Hamster treats are a great way to offer mental stimulation, encourage play, and keep your hamster busy. But make sure to stick to healthy alternatives because many hamster treats contain excess amounts of sugar, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues hamsters are prone to.

Treats should not make up more than 5% of your hamster's everyday diet.

Fruits, veggies, meat, cooked fish, and eggs are excellent treats for your hamster when fed in correct amounts.

However, we recommend also giving commercial hamster treats, especially if kids are involved in feeding the pet. Offering fresh foods in proper amounts is essential to your pet's health, and estimating the right balance can be challenging for kids. Therefore, wholesome treats are the best way to bond with your hamster and encourage play.

Remember, that treats should not make up more than 5% of your hamster's everyday diet.

These are our favorite hamster treats:

Our Top Pick
Oxbow Simple Rewards Oven Baked with Apple & Banana

Oxbow Simple Rewards Oven Baked with Apple & Banana

  • Healthy and tasty
  • Provides enrichment
  • Encourages interaction
  • With real apples and banana
  • Resealable bag
Our Top Pick
eCOTRITION Yogies Cheese Flavor

eCOTRITION Yogies Cheese Flavor

  • Fun and tasty
  • Nutritious with calcium
  • Encourages interaction
  • Made with easy-to-digest yogurt
  • Resealable bag

Summing up

Providing your hamster with a balanced diet that meets their dietary needs is important for their health. However, it's not always easy to find the right food that promotes your hamster's well-being while also being tasty and supporting natural behavior.

Because hamsters are omnivores, they need enough protein in their diet. On the other hand, too much protein, fat, and sugar may lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. With the right food, you'll be able to keep your hamster going strong and encourage natural foraging instincts to keep them busy.

We hope our hamster food guide has helped you understand how to feed your pet and also to choose the best hamster food for them. As a pet parent, you're responsible for helping your hamster thrive. Luckily, with the right foods and a little knowledge on feeding your hammy, it's quite easy to do.

FAQ

How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Food?

A healthy hamster could probably go without food for about 3-4 days, even more, if it has access to water. That being said, you should never leave your pet alone without food for several days. Filling up the feeder and having more than one water bottle just in case will enable you to leave your pet for a couple of days. If you're planning on a short trip and leaving your hamster home, you should have someone check on them and fill up the feeder, change the water and clean the cage at least every other day.

Vet's Comment

You love your hamster and want to give them the best nutrition you can. You should aim to use pelleted food as these are blended, and each pellet contains a balance of vital nutrients.

Feeding seed and nut 'cereal' mixes can lead to selective eating. Your pet may choose their favorite foods (usually high-fat seeds and nuts) while avoiding some others, which can lead to nutritional imbalances that may lead to expensive vet trips and hospitalization of your hamster.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your hamster's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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