If you’re considering purchasing a hamster as a pet, or recently brought one home, you’ll need to consider the animal’s dietary needs. Luckily, hamster diet isn’t overly complicated. Here, a San Fernando Valley vet gives you the basics.
The main part of a hamster’s diet will consist of his commercial food, available at pet stores and retail stores. Commercial diets can be made of pellets, grains, cracked corn materials, seeds, or blocks. Different hamsters might prefer different types, and all have their nutritional differences—ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on what your hamster might like.
Hamsters will also need small amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits. For veggies, try spinach, lettuce, carrots, celery, or small pieces of broccoli or cauliflower. Most hamsters will happily gobble up these treats, but keep the portions small. You don’t want your hamster to overeat. Also, check with your veterinarian before feeding your hamster any sort of vegetable you’re unsure about.
Small slices of apple and banana can make sweet treats for your hamster. Your hamster might also love strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mangos, and even kiwis—consider using these as occasional treats. Remember to keep the portions small, since a lot of a sugary substance like these fruits could upset your hamster’s digestion. Always consult your vet to make sure a fruit is safe to give your pet.
Onions, potatoes, certain beans, and tomato leaves should never be fed to hamsters. Stay away from these foods entirely. Consult your vet for more foods that hamsters should steer clear of.
Check your hamster’s food dish shortly after mealtime to remove any uneaten portions—you don’t want food to go bad inside the cage. Hamsters are notorious stashers, so check other hiding spots in the cage for food.
Your hamster should stay happy and healthy with plenty of commercial food and the occasional veggie or fruit treat. Contact your San Fernando Valley vet for more information on hamster diet and nutritional requirements.