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What To Feed Your Hamster

Updated on June 16, 2011

Your hamster should have a well-balanced and nutritious diet.  With good nutrition, your hamster can have a long and healthy life.  Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to be sure your hamster has a healthy array of food.  All it takes is a combination of dry food, fresh fruits and vegetables, some treats, and, of course, water.  Then there are some foods, like chocolate, that you definitely want to avoid feeding your hamster.

The right combination of hamster food will give your hamster a balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.  This combination of nutrients will help your hamster build and maintain its body.  And good food will also give you a happy hammy.

Dry Food

You can easily buy dry or packaged food in pet and other stores.  It’s usually sold as a combination of hamster and gerbil food.  It’s often a combination of seeds, nuts, and grains.  Some manufacturers also put in beans or dried fruits and vegetables.  Some people make their own combinations, but I think it’s a lot of work.

The packaged dry food is usually a loose mix of ingredients.  This means your hamster may look it over and only pick out the things he or she likes to eat.  If, for example, your hamster eats only the sunflower seeds, it may mean it won’t be getting a balanced diet.

That’s why some block-type food is also recommended.  This is usually a block of food with all the ingredients stuck together.  That way, your hamster has to eat a little of everything.  Combine this with some dry food and your hamster will get a balanced diet.

Speaking of balance, be sure to read the label on any food you buy so you can check the ingredients.  Look for the amount of protein, which should be from 15 to 20 percent, and fat and carbohydrates, which should be only about 5%.

Although dry food has a long storage life, it’s recommended that you store it in a plastic container with a lid that’s on tightly.  That will help keep it fresh and tasty.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Feeding your hamster fresh fruits and vegetables provides your hamster with both liquid and nutrition.  What’s more, most hamsters also appreciate the change from dry food.

We’re only talking about a small piece of a fruit or vegetable.  For example, a whole strawberry is just too big for a hamster to handle.  It can also cause diarrhea.  Look at the size of your hamster’s paws. Try to cut a piece of fruit or vegetable that your hamster can hold comfortably with its paw.

Only give your hamster about 1 piece a day.  As you know, hamsters store their food. So check the cage the next day and remove any piece of fruit or vegetable that looks like it’s going bad. 

Some fruits to use include:

  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Strawberry
  • Tomato
  • Blueberry

Some vegetables to use include:

  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach


It’s fun to feed your hamster treats.  It’s the food that will most likely get your hamster to eat out of your hands.  Just don’t overdo it.  Too many treats can make your hamster fat.

Some treats can be good because they provide protein.  These include live mealworms or crickets.  Don’t worry – you don’t have to catch them yourself.  You can find crickets and mealworms in most pet stores.

Other treats you can provide include:

  • A piece of cheese
  • A little bit of a scrambled egg
  • Dry, sugar-free cereal
  • Raisins
  • Toast crust

Pet stores also sell bags of treats.  These include yogurt drops and cheese drops.  Be careful not to give your hamster too many of these at once.


You must make sure your hamster has water every day.  Most people fill a water bottle and attach it to the hamster cage.  You can also put water in a small ceramic bowl and keep it inside the hamster cage.  If you use a bowl, be sure to add new water every day.

You should also check the water bottle every day and refill it when it starts getting low.  And clean out the bottle once a week so bacteria can’t start growing in it.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods can make your hamster sick.  Many of these are what you might think are treats.  But a treat for you can be dangerous to your hamster.

These bad foods include:

  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Cakes and cookies
  • Snacks such as potato chips (too much salt)

But there are other foods that can cause your hamster digestive problems.  These include

  • Canned vegetables
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Pickles
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw potatoes


If you want to know more about how hamsters eat, read my other Hub Page What You Should Know About Hamster Eating Habits.


Your hamster has a high metabolism so needs a constant supply of food.  Make sure that food is a nutritious combination of dry food and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Then add a few treats from time to time and you’ll have a healthy and happy hamster.


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    • Billsnotes profile image

      Billsnotes 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. And keep your hammy heatlhy!

    • profile image

      KCmadison 7 years ago

      This is a very well explained hub. It shows some recommended foods and treats and some foods that should not be given to a hamster. And considering I have a hamster this was all very helpful to read!