According to a recent survey, more about 6 million American households have small pets like gerbils, guinea pigs, and rabbits living in them. For nearly one-third of these households, this small pet is a hamster.
Did you just welcome a hamster into your house? If so, it’s going to be very important for you to feed it the best pet food possible. It’ll help you keep your pet hamster strong and healthy in the months and years to come.
So, what is the right way to go about feeding a hamster? In this article, we’re going to break down the ideal hamster diet so that you know how to provide your pet hamster with the nourishment it needs.
Continue reading to get some hamster care tips that’ll have you giving your small pet the right hamster food in no time.
Begin by Buying a Bag of Pelleted Hamster Food
If you’re going to welcome a hamster into your home, you’ll need to pick up a bag of pelleted hamster food to go along with it. This is actually the best thing to feed a hamster in most cases.
Pelleted hamster food will contain all the nutrients your hamster will need to grow to be big and strong. It’ll also give your hamster plenty of energy so you’ll be able to play with it as often as you would like.
The pet food industry has grown to be quite large over the years, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding lots of options when you’re in the market for hamster food. Buy a bag from a trusted pet food manufacturer and bring it home with your hamster so that it always has something nutritious to eat.
Make Pelleted Food the Bulk of Your Hamster’s Diet
To be clear, you aren’t only going to want to feed a pet hamster pelleted food. You’ll also want to incorporate some other foods into its diet.
But generally speaking, you should plan to have pelleted food make up the majority of your hamster’s diet. You’ll want to fill your hamster’s food bowl with almost nothing but pelleted hamster food each day.
You should also get into the habit of replacing old pelleted hamster food with fresh food every morning. Ideally, all the pelleted food you give to your hamster will be gone by the time you go to check on it. But if there is some left, you should toss it and put new hamster food in its bowl.
Provide Your Hamster With Fresh Vegetables Daily
While the bulk of your hamster’s diet should be nothing but pelleted food, you’ll also want to work a few other foods into the mix. Vegetables will be one of the other things you’ll want to provide for them.
There are so many tasty vegetables your hamster will enjoy chowing down on, including:
You can stick these vegetables into your hamster’s enclosure each morning so that it can enjoy them throughout the day.
The vegetables you give to your hamster will set them up with even more nutrients. But maybe more importantly, it’ll give them a break from pelleted hamster food while also providing it with a source of entertainment. It’ll have a good old time nibbling away at its vegetables.
Remove Old Vegetables From Your Hamster’s Cage
It’s a great idea to give your hamster vegetables to eat each day. But you should try not to let its old vegetables sit in its enclosure for too long.
If, for whatever reason, your hamster doesn’t eat all the vegetables you give to it, you should remove them from its enclosure after they’ve been in there for more than a few hours. It’ll stop the vegetables from beginning to break down in the enclosure. If this happens, they might start to smell.
You might even want to go as far as to take notes on which vegetables your hamster eats right away versus which ones it lets sit for hours on end. It might not like these types of vegetables, in which case you can cut them out of its diet and try to find other options it’ll like better.
Set Your Hamster Up With Fresh Fruits Twice a Week
You’re free to give your hamster more than just vegetables to eat. You can also work some fresh fruits into its diet.
Just like with vegetables, there will be a variety of fresh fruits your hamster will enjoy eating when you stick them into its enclosure. Some of the fresh fruits it might like the most will include:
You will, however, need to be a little bit more careful about how often you’re providing your hamster with fresh fruits. Fruits tend to have more natural sugar in them than vegetables, so you should limit your hamster to eating fresh fruits just twice each week.
Overall, fresh fruits should make up a very small percentage of your hamster’s diet. Otherwise, you might find that your hamster will not react well to having so much natural sugar in its diet.
Give Your Hamster Treats Every So Often
When you invite a hamster to live in your home, it isn’t going to take you too long to fall in love with it. You’ll start to wonder how you survived without having a hamster before.
To show your love to your hamster, you’ll want to shower it with treats from time to time. It’s perfectly okay to do this as long as you don’t go too overboard.
Much like with fresh fruits, you don’t want to start giving your hamster treats every time you turn around and watch it put on too much weight. Instead, you’ll want to have treats make up a tiny percentage of its hamster diet.
You can buy special hamster treats at most pet stores. You can also find things like grasses and hays that you can give to your hamster as treats.
Just make sure you keep a close eye on your hamster when it’s eating treats. Since it isn’t always going to be used to eating them right away, it might try to eat too much at a time. You might want to break up its treats to make eating them way easier than it would be otherwise.
Keep Track of When You Give Your Hamster Treats
It isn’t all that uncommon for families, in particular, to give hamsters more treats than they should. As we just mentioned, this could potentially be bad for your hamster’s health. So if you have a family that’s going to help take care of your hamster, you should avoid giving it too many treats at one time.
To steer clear of doing this, you might want to set up a treat chart for your hamster. Or better yet, you might want to come together as a family to give your hamster treats.
Do whatever it takes to make sure you and your fellow family members aren’t all giving your hamster treats throughout the course of the day. This could lead to treats making up way more of your hamster’s diet than they should.
Give Your Hamster Access to Fresh Water
Providing your hamster with the right types of food will obviously be of the utmost importance. But it’ll be equally as important to see to it that your hamster is getting enough water.
You should invest in a sturdy water bottle for your hamster that you can hang on one of the sides of its enclosure. It’ll give your hamster an opportunity to go over to this bottle and drink water from it whenever it would like.
You might need to work with your hamster a little so that it’s able to get the hang of drinking from this bottle. But once it has got it down, you can rest assured knowing it’ll pay a visit to it any time it starts to feel thirsty.
This fresh water will work wonders for your hamster’s health. It’ll keep them hydrated and put it in a position to lead a longer and more fulfilling life overall.
Replace Your Hamster’s Water At Least Once a Day
The average hamster weighs less than a pound. As a result, your hamster probably isn’t going to drink that much water throughout each day. There will be plenty left over in its bottle when a day is over.
Because of this, you may be tempted to let the same water sit in your hamster’s enclosure for days or something even weeks at a time. But you should avoid doing this at all costs.
It would be a much better idea to replace your hamster’s water at least once a day. It’ll guarantee this water is every bit as fresh as it can be.
Over time, contaminants can work their way into your hamster’s water and possibly make your hamster sick. They might also prevent your hamster from wanting to drink water every day, which could leave it dehydrated even though you’re technically giving it water.
You and your fellow family members might want to take turns feeding your hamster each day and replacing its old water with fresh water. Your hamster will appreciate all the extra attention you’re giving it, and it’ll respond by eating and drinking better than it might under other circumstances.
Learn Other Ways to Keep Your Hamster Healthy
As long as you take advantage of all the hamster care tips we’ve provided thus far, you should be able to raise a happy and healthy hamster in the coming years. But there are a few other steps you might want to take when it comes to helping your hamster maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For starters, you should provide your hamster with plenty of toys to play with in its enclosure. These toys will help your hamster get the exercise it needs. It’ll also help it stay busy so that it doesn’t get bored and just lay around sleeping all day and night long.
Here are a few other things you can do to help your hamster maintain its health:
- Take your hamster out of its enclosure every now and then and allow it to run around in a larger space
- Cuddle with your hamster to show it how much you love and care about it
- Hand-feed your hamster when possible to make sure it’s getting certain foods like vegetables into its diet
You might also want to take your hamster to see a veterinarian regularly for check-ups. A vet will be able to give you additional information on what you could be doing to keep your hamster healthy.
Additionally, you should bring your hamster to a vet’s office ASAP if you see any signs that show that it might be in distress. If, for example, your pet hamster is refusing to eat or drink anything, this could be an indication that something is wrong. A vet will be able to evaluate your hamster and tell you what to do next.
Feed Your Hamster a Healthy Diet From the Start
A big part of the reason why hamsters have become so popular in this country is that they’re very easy to take care of for most people. You won’t have to put in too much time and effort to provide hamster care.
But you will need to make sure that your hamster is getting the recommended amount of pelleted food, vegetables, fruits, and treats. You’ll also want to give your hamster plenty of fresh water to keep it hydrated all the time.
Browse through the other articles published on our blog to get more hamster care tips and tricks.