If you’ve got a hammy you’ve probably heard discussions on whether hamsters can eat dog food or not. Or why dog treats are okay for hamsters, but dog food isn’t.
Well, I’m going to help you figure that out, since this is something I had to learn about for my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) as well. Let’s get down to the first question.
Can hamsters eat dog food ?
No. Hamsters can’t eat dog food. This is the same whether it’s a high or low quality dog feed.
Dogs are carnivorous animals, they live off of meat, so protein and fats. They don’t need much in terms of grains or vegetables to live a healthy life. They do need them, but in a very small amount.
Hamsters are the opposite of that. Hamsters are omnivores, who maybe sometimes eat protein if the get the chance.
Aside from that, hammies need grains and veggies and a whole lot of minerals and vitamins that dogs don’t need the same.
We’ll cover this in more detail through the article, but the short of it is:
No, hammies can’t have dog food, neither wet nor dry because they have a different digestive system (and dietary needs) than dogs.
Why hamsters can have dog treats, but not dog food
There is also the way dog feed is thought out. It’s meant as a way to bring not only protein but also vitamins a mineral to your dog.
Those amounts are thought to be safe for a dog, and as such are tailored for small dogs, large dogs, senior dogs, young puppies, and so on.
So, your hamster can’t have dog food also because of the mineral/vitamin content. You might ask if there’s a thing like taking too many vitamins or minerals. Yes, there is, and giving your hammy dog food instead of his usual meals will eventually lead to a vitamin OD.
What about dog treats ? Why are those safe for hamsters ?
Well, dog treats are meant as treats. That means they’re supposed to be given sparingly, and in small amounts. This is because while they’re tasty, they’re not exactly the most nutritious for a dog, often being based on grains and a bit of soy protein.
This makes them safe for the hamster since they’re very close to what a hamster’s diet would look like. What a hamster would need to eat to be healthy.
It also depends on the dog treats you give your hamster. Milkbones for example are a good choice for occasional treats for your hamster.
However a hamster will take days to go through just one of these treats. Don’t feed them often, since the box will last you a long time, and for several hamsters at a time.
Do not replace the hamster’s usual meals with dog treats. But they can be added in as an occasional supplement.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
Can hamsters eat other animal foods ?
Your safest bet – no, don’t feed your hammy any other food than hamster food. Doesn’t matter if it’s dry food (kibbles) or wet food.
That being said, there are some small, rodent animals that eat mostly the same as hamsters. Gerbils, for example, are very similar to hamsters and may even share the exact kind of feed mix.
However other rodents often have slightly different needs.
For example guinea pigs need an external source of Vitamin C, and their pellets are infused with the vitamin. Hamsters don’t need extra vit. C, so you risk poisoning your hammy by mistake.
You might argue that it’s possible to feed your hammy pellets or kibbles from other animals, grain-based, and supplement with fresh fruit and veg and meat from your own pantry.
I honestly discourage that, since you can get the hamster’s diet wrong (the ratios and proportions of different elements) and it’s a whole level of effort that’s east to skip by letting the hamster have his own, specialized food.
Best to just opt for a commercial food mix designed for hamsters. You can find out much more about a hamster’s healthy, safe diet right here. There you’ll find the list of safe and unsafe foods you can feed your hammy from your pantry or fridge, if you want to give him a little bit extra.
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The typical hamster diet
You see in the wild hamsters have to forage for food, in ares that are mostly barren. There are some stray veggies, but mostly they’ll find grains and seeds from different plants.
Fruits are not uncommon, but they’re not found often and are a very small portion of their daily food.
And finally, hamsters do in fact eat meat and protein (bugs or worms), they just don’t find them often. And their digestive system is not meant for a meat-only kind of diet.
A hamster’s teeth will tell you a lot about what they’re meant to eat. Hammies have very large front teeth, with two pairs (upper and lower).
The lower pair is longer, and stronger, since hamsters are meant to bite into and chew on their food, which is hard.
That means grains, since they’re the ones that can stand up to the bite of a hamster. A hamster’s teeth are always growing, so if he were to eat soft food like meat, or bread, his teeth would become too large.
A word from Teddy
I hop you know now why us hammies can’teat dog food. Even if we can eat dog treats, sometimes, we don’t have the same digestion as a doggy. So please give us proper, hamster food made for our guts and teeth.
If your want to find out more about us hammies, you can read the articles below. You’ll find out more info on how to take care of us, and what we need to be happy.