Have you got yourself a new little furry friend? You might be wondering what your little hamster eats. Hamsters actually have pretty specific dietary requirements, and there are a couple of things that they like, and likewise that you should avoid feeding them.
There are also hundreds of different hamster food brands and products to choose from, which can make it tricky to decide which actually might be best for your pet.
Not to worry, we’ve done our research, and not to mention owned a fair few hamsters in our time, to provide you with this in-depth buying guide on exactly what to consider when buying hamster food and we’ve picked out some of our top products for you, so keep reading to find out more!
What is the best food to feed a hamster?
Your hamster is an omnivore, which essentially means that they love eating a mixture of insects and plants. As you would expect the best diet for your pet is to replicate, as close as possible, what they would eat if they lived in the wild. In the wild hamsters would eat anything packed with protein, like mealworms or fruit and veg.
You’ll also quickly notice when feeding them, they will stuff all their food in their mouths making it look like they have huge cheeks. Don’t worry, that is completely normal, and you’ll often find that they deposit it in their little den and come back for it periodically. They are very protective over their food and absolutely love to hoard it.
In an ideal world, your hamster’s diet should include a mixture of things, including hamster pellets, little bits of fresh fruit and vegetables every so often with a few herbs sprinkled in, special hay called Timothy, some occasional treats like nuts or mealworms and of course, regular clean fresh water.
Hamsters are picky though, and they only like certain types of fruit, vegetables and herbs. In regards to fruits, stick to small chunks of apples, pears, peaches and melons. When it comes to the vegetable you can have a bit more variety including carrots, broccoli, cress, courgette, sweet peppers, spinach, chicory, cabbage and cauliflower. On the herbs front, stick to just basil, sage, coriander and parsley.
What SHOULDN’T you feed your hamster?
There are a few things that you should steer clear of which could be dangerous for your little hamster. Apple seeds and skins, grape seeds, eggplant, onions, peanuts, garlic, almonds and fruit pits can all be toxic for your hamster, and not to forget, chocolate.
You generally should also avoid giving them too many nuts and those that are high in fat content like almonds and peanuts, you’re hamster is only small and it will only take a few nuts for them to exceed their recommended calories per day.
A further tip, you should avoid giving your hamster any muesli style food mix, your sneaky little pet will pick out the parts of the muesli that are high in sugar and leave the fibre parts – causing issues with their weight and teeth.
It’s really easy to have an obese hamster, which of course will shorten their lifespan, so you need to be really careful what you feed them.
Using food to stop your hamster from getting bored
Hamsters get bored, and many are surprised by that, but think about it, their constraint to that small cage all the time – you need to stimulate them. There are a couple of telltale signs that your hamster might not be having the best time, and in need of some extra entertainment:
- They will spend a LONG time sleeping and resting, with very little ambition to get up for activity around their cage
- Chewing can also be another sign, if there gnawing at different items in their cage or the bars themselves, then it could be because they are trying to entertain themselves
- Behaving manically, running around and jumping everywhere. The complete opposite to sleeping, but it’s your hamster trying to burn off excess energy and overcome the boredum
No one wants a bored and depressed pet, right? There are a few things you can do to help them overcome this, and all it takes is a bit of their food! There are two main things that you can do:
- Creative Dinner Times: Hamsters love a good adventure! Don’t just put their food in their bowl and be done with it, hide it in various places around their cage including in their toys, bedding or other places – making your hamster forage for food re-enacts a more natural environment and it will keep them from getting bored and importantly stop them getting aggressive.
- Give Them Something To Chew: The other thing is to buy toys specifically for them to chew on. They absolutely love to chew, and it’s no surprise as their teeth are always growing. You can use a variety of things as chew toys such as bits of coconut shells, hay cubes, seagrass and pumice stone.
There are also lots of other things you can do to prevent your hamster from getting bored, such as making sure they have a cage that is big enough and contains enough obstacles for them to keep entertained, a gym if you’d like. You should also always have a hamster wheel, they are a necessity.
How much should you feed your hamster?
This is quite a hot topic because it can really be hard to tell, as previously talked about, they fill their cheeks and run the food to their little den, wherever that be in the cage. You’ll notice that very shortly after you fill the food bowl up, it’s gone, so how often should you feed them?
Well, the hamster doesn’t eat the food immediately, it drops it off in its little house or hut, and will snack on it in intervals throughout the day or night. It can be quite hard to tell when all that food is gone and when you should fill your hamsters bowl back up again. To answer the question quickly, you should fill it about once a day.
There’s a caveat though, try to tell how much food the hamster has in their little hidey-hole, and don’t overfeed them, if they have loads of food in their nest, don’t fill their bowl up. If you notice this keeps happening, clean up their little nest of food as it’ll go stale.
You can use the hamster’s food store to tell whether you are feeding them enough or not, if it’s getting too big, you’re feeding them too much.
Hamsters don’t need a whole lot of food in their bowl each day either, just two tablespoons or so for Syrians and a tablespoon for smaller breeds.
The other food-related question people have tends to be around how much fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs you should feed them. You should only really feed them it in really small quantities, as they will again take this back to their food store and these foods tend to go mouldy quicker than purpose made hamster food, so if you are feeding your hamster fresh food, make sure to empty their store of it after just a day to stop them getting ill.
Best hamster food UK
The time you’ve been waiting for. As you might be able to tell by the above buying guide, we’ve done a lot of looking into hamster food, we’ve also read about hundreds of different products and looked through the individual customer reviews to pick out what we feel are the best hamster foods for your little pet to ensure they live a long, healthy and happy life.
Without further ado, here’s a break down of all our favourite choices for you below:
Our top choice is this hamster food by Witte Molen Puur, it’s a portion of great food at a relatively inexpensive budget – it’s currently an Amazon Choice product and you can see by the reviews it’s a favourite.
So what’s in it? Well packed into this small 400g pouch of rodent food are mealworms, peppers, puffed rice, grapes, varied muesli and sunflower seeds. It contains just about everything you need to keep your hamster healthy. It has a very balanced composition with added vitamins and proteins.
It contains high-quality animal proteins and also has Yucca, which helps prevent any unwanted odours that you get with some of the cheaper available hamster food products. Furthermore, it has prebiotics that ensures your pets digestive tract remains healthy.
It’s also suitable for dwarf hamsters, which isn’t always the case with hamster food and something you have to be wary of. As well as that, you might be pleased to know you don’t have to soak it.
You’ll also be happy to hear that there are absolutely no added artificial preservatives or dyes. The breakdown of the food in further detail is as follows:
- Puff Rice – 2%
- Cereals – 1%
- Seeds – 3.5%
- Fruits – 2%
- Mealworms – 1%
- Crude Protein – 13.3%
- Fibre – 8.1%
- Rohfett – 7%
- Calcium – 4.3%
- Phosphorus – 64%
- Sodium – 32%
Next, we have 2 packs of Supreme – Harry Hamster. Why 2x? Well because it’s about a pound extra compared to buying a single pack, so you’ll save significantly on buying the two!
This food by the brand Tiny Friends is another popular one when it comes to reviews and it’s available at a reasonable price, although we will be honest and say you can often find it cheaper in store if you do go.
None the less, this food is suitable for hamsters of all shapes and sizes, dwarf hamsters included. It also has all the ingredients that are suitable for a balanced diet for your pet including pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat, peas, maize and extra added vitamins in order to ensure your pet remains as healthy as possible.
On the pack, they specify that you should feed your adult hamster around 10g of this food per day.
It’s also worth mentioning there is the odd negative review reporting that their hamster doesn’t like this specific food, but in contrast, there is a lot of people that say the opposite – our recommendation would be to only buy two packets of this to ensure your hamster likes it before going OTT!
This museli and mealworm mix by Mr Johnson’s is a great option for your hamster (or even Gerbil) food. It’s also priced well for a bag of 900G.
This food offers a nutritional treat for your hamster with a blend of pulses and certain which include herbs, mealworms, peanuts, carrots and bananas – all making up a wholesome blend, and importantly a fruity aroma.
They’ve developed this specifically to suit all breeds of hamsters, so even if you have a dwarf hamster this food will be fine. The ingredients within are premium quality and offer a varied diet for your little friend.
It’s a natural and wholesome product that has a great mix of protein, oils and most importantly – it’s tasty! It encourages natural foraging for your hamster which is important to keep them entertained and enjoy their mealtimes.
Next, we’ve chosen a reasonably priced 250g pack of hamster food by the brand Beaphar Care+. This pack is the complete feed for your hamster, each pellet has the same composition so there’s no chance that your hamster will selectively feed – ensuring they get all the nutrition they need.
This feed is hardened to provide extra support for hamsters with wearing teeth. The recipe includes a balanced ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega 3 & 6 provided by corn, wheat, soy and flaxseed as well as having added protein to meet their natural nutrition needs.
You should have no problem feeding your hamster this feed, they should readily take it and the average amount you should feed your hamster daily is around 5-15g.
We’ll admit, the packaging doesn’t look the best – but what they’ve saved in packaging costs, they’ve put back into this excellent product. This product by Seedz will almost definitely make your hamster happy.
The food contains a great mix of varied ingredients and textures, all high quality, it’s inclusive of seeds, nuts and all the crunchy types of food that they love. The food centres around that crunch, which is perfect for not only entertaining your hamster but keeping their always growing teeth in good condition.
The food is also healthy, containing no fillers or powders and nothing that will cause any harm to your beloved pet. In fact, quite the opposite, it offers a large amount of Vitamin C to keep your hamster healthy, and it includes Wheat, Soya Bean Oil, Maize, Sunflower seeds and Peanuts, and not to forget, Barley.
As furthermore, when you buy this 1KG bag of goodness, you not only doing right by your hamster, but also by the planet. The brand is an eco-conscious brand, and for every purchase, they will donate 5% to the One Tree Planted Foundation, as an extra bonus.
Our final product to make the list is one by Versele-Laga, a lesser-known brand, but none the less, a great product and complete food for hamsters as well as gerbils.
This product comes in an all-in-one pellet form which ensures they can’t have selective eating behaviour, a common issue with mixed food. Why is this important? Well, it means your hamster is ingesting all the nutrients it needs and are essential to keeping it healthy, rather than just eating the bits it likes the taste of.
The source of animal protein it contains is chicken, which is further enriched with linseed and grains to support digestion and overall improve your hamsters health. The food is also further enriched with vegetables, fruit and yucca which also helps prevent any foul odours that some of the foods can give off.
That’s not all you get in these little pellets though, you’ll also find salmon oil and linseed which are aimed at providing your pet with Omega 3 & 6 to ensure it maintains healthy skin and coat.
All in this is a great choice for your hamster and it’s even suitable for dwarf hamsters.
Current best selling hamster food
Hopefully, you’ve read our breakdown of all the best hamster foods according to our opinion. Do you know what tends to be better, more current, and up to date than our opinion though? The actual current best sellers – this will ensure that you get the best deal available, no matter how old this article is.
Below you will find 3 of the hottest selling hamster food on Amazon – the majority of people must be right… right?
- Small Animal
- Mealworms / sunflower seeds / pepper / puffed rice / grapes pure & varied...
- With high-quality animal proteins
- Yucca helps to combat unpleasant odors
- The balanced composition with proteins of animal origin, added vitamins and...
- The prebiotics in this food also promote healthy digestion
Other Frequently Asked Questions
As a little bonus, we’ve looked into what some of the most popular questions people have around hamster food that we have found across the internet and with all our research across popular purchasing portal Amazon. We’ve taken the liberty of gathering them all together and answered them for you below:
How much does hamster food cost?
It really depends how much you buy, and how premium you go – but at the lower end you’re looking at around £3-4 for a 1L pack, but if you want to go far more premium you’ll be looking at around £15-20.
We honestly would recommend going somewhere between, don’t buy the cheapest food as it likely won’t contain everything your hamster needs for a balanced diet or it will mean your hamster selectively eats and only picks out the elements of the food that it likes the best, meaning again it isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs!
What do hamsters eat naturally?
We touched on this in the original post, but hamsters tend to eat a mixture of plants and insects, so you want your hamster’s food to replicate this as much as possible – a small amount of fresh fruit and veg, as well as meals worms, is what they will get their hands on in the wild. You’ll see that all of the foods that we have selected above contain things that a hamster would naturally eat.
Can hamsters drink milk?
This is actually a really surprisingly common question, actually, the answer in short is yes. Just like humans, hamsters bones benefit from milk and it actually can help cure some hamster illnesses like a cough – but on the reserve, not all hamsters like milk and some might not want to drink it.
Lactose intolerant hamsters.
Will hamster food expire?
Yes – hamster food does actually expire, so we wouldn’t recommend buying massive amounts of it in bulk to save a penny. Once the food expires it loses its nutritional value and will do very little benefit for your pet. It’s not always to see this as an issue, as it’s likely your hamster will still eat it without any real problems or illness, but if they aren’t getting the nutrients they need it’s more likely to cause longer-term damage, so please try and prevent feeding them expired food!
That being said, it does take quite a while to expire, but it is definitely worth checking the best by date.
There are lots of great hamster foods out there, but some of them, even the great ones we’ve suggested, might not work for your hamster in particular. Hamsters can be quite picky rodents, and they often become bored of their food, so it can be good to change their food every so often and perhaps try more than just one of those we have selected in the list above.
All that being said, you might be able to tell if you read the overview, but our favourite by far is the: Witte Molen Puur Hamster Food 400 g - mealworms/sunflower seeds/pepper/puffed rice/grapes pure & varied gourmet muesli – it just sits above the rest in terms of the overall food quality and is importantly, well priced. Furthermore at the time of writing it’s also an Amazon Choice product, meaning it’s one of the most popular bought, and that’s for a reason!