Dwarf hamsters definitely top the group for the most popular hamsters in the world. They’re immensely popular all around the world, and their numbers only grow by the day. If you’re an owner of this furry species, then you have to know their dietary requirements, how much they need to eat, and what they’re eating. Your hamster is only going to trust you if you feed it properly, so this is a must.
There are many intricacies that we can notice when we’re researching this species’ feeding habits, and today, we’ll be saving you the trouble of having to do that research on your own. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at dwarf hamsters and their eating habits. We’ll be specifically defining how they eat, what they eat, etc. If you need the answers to questions like what do dwarf hamsters like to eat, what are they allergic to, how often do they need to be fed, how long can they go without food, what foods to avoid and what potential health risks do they have that are connected with food – you’re in the right place.
We’ll be answering all of those questions today. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
How Often Should I Feed My Dwarf Hamster?
You should feed your hamster daily, they require fresh food every day. However, this depends on what you’re feeding it.
If you’re feeding your hamster with Hamster Formula, then you need to feed them twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening. You also need to remove any uneaten food as it will rot quickly.
You should feed your hamster with hard treats twice a week. There’s a difference between everyday treats, (apples, for example) which you can use to reward your hamster for training and hard treats. Hard treats help your dwarf hamster keep his incisors filed down, which is good for his overall dental hygiene. This is similar to dog treats that are used for dog hygiene. You can actually use this, as well – you can let your hamster chew on small dog biscuits, commercial hamster treats, or a small branch taken from a fruit-bearing tree.
You can also feed your hamster with soft treats, once or twice a week. Soft treats include protein sources such as cooked meats; low-fat, no-salt cottage cheese, or a hard-boiled egg. You can also include wheat bread and scrambled eggs for your hamster.
Something people often overlook is to keep your hamster hydrated, as well as fed. Many people pose the question ‘How often should I feed my hamster?’, but there aren’t many people asking ‘How often should I change my hamster’s water supply?’ – we’re telling you now that it’s vital for you to change your hamster’s water bottle often.
Buy a hamster-sized water bottle with a stem and ball bearing from your local pet store. The ball regulates how much water comes out each time the hamster takes a drink. This is great because your hamster can control how much they’re drinking, but it’s important for you to change the water often – the water needs to be fresh.
Even though it takes two weeks for the water to go stale (and that’s only in case it’s not bottled but in a glass), you wouldn’t drink stale water, so why should your hamster? Change your hamster’s water every two days, and following consultation with your veterinarian, you can even add supplements to the water.
Another tip, while we’re already on the topic of water – make sure you’re using a water bottle, not a water bowl or dish. Hamsters will surely make a mess out of this and that’s heaven for bacteria and parasites.
It’s smart to feed your hamster at the same time every day, if you can, of course. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do this flawlessly every day, but you should try to maintain a schedule. Dwarf hamsters have a really strong and high metabolism, so they need food throughout the day, flawlessly. There is some debate about whether you should feed them in the evening or in the morning, though.
If you feed them in the evening, you’re feeding them when they’re most active, as hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals. However, if you feed them in the morning, you’re ensuring that they have food throughout the day. It may be best to do both, that way, your hamster will have food all day, every day.
One last tip before we move on to our next section: all fruits and vegetables that aren’t eaten within 24 hours should be thrown away.
What Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat?
Firstly, we’ll let you take a look at a list of literally all things that dwarf hamsters are allowed to eat, and following that, we’ll explain things you should focus on.
Fruits: apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, seedless grapes, lychee, mangos, melons, peaches, plums, raspberries, raspberry leaves, and strawberries.
Vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, dandelion leaves, cauliflower, clover, kale, bean sprouts, asparagus, chickweed, chicory, cucumber, corn, spinach, watercress, radicchio, romaine lettuce, turnip, peas, green beans, chestnuts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini.
Nuts, seeds, and grains: pumpkin seeds, peanuts, millet, flaxseed, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, walnuts, lentils, soybeans.
Other foods hamsters can eat grasshoppers (pet food), mealworms (pet food), boiled eggs, plain grasshoppers, plain tofu, whole grain bread, codfish (with bones removed), low-fat cottage cheese, brown pasta, unsalted peanut butter.
Now, these are all very specific foods that you can feed your hamster, but you should know that you can feed your hamster to limited amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits, or Timothy hay, but that should never exceed 10% of their diet.
The best thing to feed your dwarf hamster with is a hamster food mix. These are the healthiest option for most hamsters, as they’re made to fit and complete their daily dietary needs. The things we’ve listed can be fed to them in case you’ve run out of hamster food and you can’t yet buy some.
Here are some of the best options when it comes to hamster food that’s best for dwarf hamsters:
Kaytee Fiesta Hamster Food – this food mix is actually great for both dwarf hamsters and larger Syrian hamsters. It has natural veggies and fruits to add some variety and improve the nutrient content of the mix. This mix should definitely be enough to keep your hamster’s dietary needs fulfilled. However, an issue that’s often noticed with this food mix is that hamsters will often run to the fattier stuff and completely ignore the healthier foods until they’re full. Some hamsters don’t return to finish their meal, so you might be throwing some of this food away.
This mix is ideal for all types of hamsters and gerbils, it’s naturally preserved and it has plenty of natural fruits and veggies for your hamster to enjoy, it’s also rich in antioxidants to support your hamster’s immune system, and the shape of the food is good for their dental hygiene.
Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Mix – this is our next choice for dwarf hamster food. It has a great choice of seeds, mealworms, and other healthy treats. Mealworms are important because they bring protein into the mix, which is very important if you want to keep your hamster’s body strong. This is also great because all hamsters love mealworms, so they definitely won’t be skipping this. This food mix is great for all hamsters, and your pet is definitely going to love it.
It’s a tasty mix, and it’s the best choice for hamsters that tend to be picky. It’s nutritionally balanced, suitable for all breeds, and it has vitamins included in the mix.
Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster Food – last entry on this list, this food is great if you’re worried about your hamster’s health. If you check this product out online, you’ll notice great reviews, and it’s not difficult to see why. This mix is full of all the nutrients your dwarf hamster needs to keep a healthy body. The only complaint hamster owners have on this food is that some packs have too many sunflower seeds in them, so you have to keep an eye on your hamster’s seed intake.
It also contains omega-3 oils, and its shape supports dental care, while it also contains probiotics and it’s supporting immune health.
You should also keep an eye on what you’ll be feeding your hamster for treats. Hamsters love treats, and it’s crucial to give them treats as that’s the best way for you to reward them after a job well done, for example teaching them a trick. Take a look at some of the best and tastiest treats for your furry friend.
Tiny Friends Farm Lovelies
This is a well-known brand for hamster treats, and you can be sure that all hamsters are going to love these treats. These treats are safe for both Syrian and dwarf hamsters, and your hamster is surely going to find them satiable.
Kaytee Healthy Bits
The ‘Healthy Bits’ pack definitely won’t disappoint you. It includes honey in the food, so hamsters naturally love it. The treats are small, so there aren’t any hamsters that shouldn’t eat this because of their size, and they’re also nicely held together so they won’t fall all over the floor.
Your hamster will definitely enjoy all sorts of nuts. They’re a natural source of protein and necessary fats. Different hamsters enjoy different nuts, and we’ve already provided you with a list of nuts, seeds, and grains that hamsters enjoy, but here we’ll expand on the list of nuts hamsters love barley, cashew, flaxseed, lentils, millet, oats, peanut, popcorn, walnuts, monkey nuts.
It’s also important to add fiber to your hamster’s diet. Natural sources of fiber, such as timothy hay and alfalfa hay, are good sources of fiber.
Another thing that you should know is that Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamsters absolutely love insects, and you should feed them (not all insects) if you can. This is because insects are their main food source in the wild and they’re packed with protein and energy. This isn’t essential, so if you’re not comfortable with keeping insects around, that’s okay – but you will certainly be doing a disservice to your hamster. There are insects that are definitely worth considering: mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and grasshoppers.
You’re going to want to provide a well-balanced diet for your hamster. Use a mixture of the food suggestions listed above to create a diet that’s going to be both tasty and healthy for your hamster. It’s important that their diet is packed with energy, as hamsters are very active animals that spend a lot of energy. Choose a food mix as the main and essential part of your hamster’s diet, and then add treats, fresh fruits, and insects to this diet. The general rule is that a single tablespoon of the mix is enough, and mix that with a couple of treats. You should also try to keep it interesting for your pet.
You don’t eat the exact same meal every day, so why should your hamster? Provide your hamster with different types of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds on a daily basis. Don’t fear to reduce the sizes of your hamster’s meals if you notice that it’s gaining a lot of weight, as you don’t want it to become too fat.
When you’re feeding your hamster, it’s best to use a food bowl. The same doesn’t apply to water, as hamsters usually make a mess when they’re drinking water out of bowls, but you should definitely use a bowl for serving food. This way, all uneaten food will stay in the bowl and be ready to get eaten later. They provide a designated area for feeding and they keep all the leftover food clean. Hamsters quickly learn to check their food bowl, so you’ll notice your hamster checking the bowl every once in a while, and they’ll likely be waiting for you when you’re refilling it.
Hamsters also have the habit of filling their cheek pouches with secret stashes of food to build secret food stores near their bed. This is a natural instinct to keep food hidden away from other animals who may try to steal it. If you have more than a single hamster in the same cage, you may even find hamsters hiding food from one another.
Buy a ceramic food bowl, as hamsters are likely to topple a plastic food bowl and the mix will end up all over the place.
You should definitely observe your hamster eating – this is a great way to find out what they like and what they dislike. Hamsters, just like humans, have different taste. One hamster may enjoy something, while the other won’t. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t like a certain vegetable, replace it with another vegetable. If you notice that it won’t eat a certain fruit, replace it with another fruit – you get it. If you see that it’s getting sick from eating a certain food, then stop giving your hamster that food. For example, they can get sick from eating too much watermelon.
Before we end this section, we would like to point out that it’s bad to overfeed your hamster. Hamsters need a single tablespoon of the mixture a day and adding to that the occasional treat and fresh food – that should be more than enough. Overfeeding your hamster is bad. Many people make this mistake because a tablespoon of food is almost as big as the hamster itself, so they figure that it can’t possibly be enough for the animal, but it’s actually more than enough (and probably more than what they’d get in the wilderness).
Dwarf hamsters have very fast and high metabolisms, and they can eat just as much food as larger hamsters can. Don’t be tempted to fill your hamster’s empty bowl – we’ve already explained that hamsters often fill their cheek pouches with food and then hide it next to their bed. This means that they may empty the food bowl, but that doesn’t mean that all food is eaten. Don’t let your furry friend fool you.
We’ve just about covered the answer to the question of what can hamsters eat, but know that you can add supplements to your hamster’s diet if it’s ever necessary. This is sometimes needed because of many health concerns, but you should always speak with your vet before adding any supplements to your hamster’s water or food supply.
What Are Dwarf Hamsters Allergic To?
Hamsters, as a species, can have problems with certain foods. However, it’s also possible that an individual hamster develops an allergy to something. Let’s firstly take a look at all the things that you should avoid feeding your dwarf hamster with.
Almonds, avocado (it’s literally poisonous to them), apple seeds, chocolate, sweets, potato chips, pork, raw potatoes, grape seeds, rhubarb, tomato leaves, citrus fruits, watermelon, jam, spices, garlic, onions, chives, leeks.
There are many foods that should be kept out of your hamster’s diet as it will make your hamster sick. Watermelon, although considered healthy, can be dangerous if the hamster eats too much of it – a watermelon’s water concentration is too much for hamsters. Almonds contain cyanic acid, which can make your dwarf hamster very sick. Seeds can also be harmful, and most often are, so make sure to remove all seeds from the food before you serve it. This means that you can’t feed your hamster apples, peaches, and plums before you take out the seeds. Theobromine is a substance found in chocolate, and it negatively affects your hamster’s circulation.
Also, you should always remove uneaten food. This can be as dangerous as feeding your hamster with something that they shouldn’t be eating. Fruits and vegetables can become spoiled and moldy very quickly, and it’s especially important to take them out after 24 hours.
Something that you should keep in mind is that dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes. Their bodies are very small and it’s difficult for them to deal with high levels of sugar in their bodies. The main cause of diabetes is poor feeding habits and high-sugar treats that are provided by the owner. This means that the responsibility of keeping your hamster diabetes-free befalls exclusively on your shoulders. Provide your hamster with a healthy and balanced diet, and avoid too much sugar in the pet’s food.
You can recognize the most common symptoms of diabetes as your hamster will start to urinate more frequently and it will become quite lethargic. Consult with a veterinarian if you notice this.
A poor diet can also cause diarrhea. You will recognize this by a loose stool, and you should, once again, consult a vet.
There are also other symptoms to a sick hamster, and take note that all sicknesses can be caused by an unhealthy diet. If you notice your hamster losing weight, losing fur, breathing in distress, having a nasal discharge or skin lesions, you should take it to a vet.
Hamsters can also develop allergies just like humans do. If you’ve noticed your hamster sneezing, they may be allergic to their bedding or something in their food. It could also be microscopic dust in the air. Try switching beddings, foods, to an unscented fabric softener, and use an air filter by your hamster’s cage to eliminate all allergens in that environment. If the problems persist, you should contact a veterinarian.
There are many things that hamsters aren’t exactly allergic to, but it’s causing irritation to them. Perfumes, pine and cedar shavings, scented candles, electric “plug-in” style diffusers, scented room sprays, and even some cleaning agents can be harmful and irritating to your hamster’s respiratory canal. The best way to deal with this is to move the cage away from these fumes. Another irritant that’s definitely going to bother hamsters is cigarette smoke.
To treat an allergic hamster, firstly remove anything that might be causing the allergy. For example, if you’ve just put new bedding for the hamster and it started sneezing, remove the bedding and see if anything will change. If the pet doesn’t get better, try changing other things around the cage and observe whether it will help.
If you can’t pinpoint what’s exactly making your hamster allergic and five days have passed without the hamster’s symptoms reducing – take your hamster to the vet.
How Long Can Dwarf Hamsters Go Without Food?
So, you’re going to stay at work until late and you’re wondering whether your hamster will feel hungry? Don’t worry, hamsters can go three to four days without food, depending on when have they eaten last and how much have they eaten.
Obviously, larger hamsters that eat more are going to be able to last longer, but you shouldn’t worry about your hamster as long as you know you’ll be feeding it soon. This applies to water, as well, as it’s just as important as food to them.
To sum up, when feeding your hamster, you should know that the mixture is the backbone of your hamster’s diet – everything else is an addition that can be healthy, but isn’t really required. There are many things that you can add to your hamster’s diet that can be bad for it, we have listed all of those things in this article, and you should definitely avoid that. There are also many treats that are good for your hamster, but you should never overfeed them with treats, as they will lose their point – treats are there to reward your hamster after doing something good.
Know that each individual hamster has individual taste, just like people, so you should adapt your food to your pet. You should always keep your hamster’s water supply fresh and completely full. Know that hamsters can only live three to four days without food and/or water. You should feed your hamster twice a day, once in the morning, and once again in the evening. Your hamster should get a full tablespoon of hamster food mixture daily – so give your hamster half a tablespoon of mixture each time you feed it. Know that your hamster is going to store that food away, so don’t be fooled into thinking that your hamster’s hungry just because their food bowl is empty. Dwarf hamsters’ metabolism is fast, so they can eat just as much food as other hamsters.