Have you ever watched your hamster munching away, only to wonder if he is eating often enough – or perhaps, too frequently?
Typically, a hamster will need to be fed only once per day.
However, some hamsters require a different number of feedings. Read on to find out how frequently and what you should be serving your furry friend!
How often do hamsters need to be fed?
How many times a day to feed a hamster
Most hamsters will need to be fed just once per day. This is because hamsters habitually store food in their cheek pouches and habitat bedding.
As such, your hamster may have food stashed away that it has not yet eaten.
Allowing your pet 24 hours to consume what you have given it ensures that it has ample time to enjoy its meal before it spoils.
What time should I feed my hamster?
While you can feed your hamster at any time of day, it is recommended that you keep to a consistent schedule. Feeding your pet at a set time every day will help you care for it better.
Remember to do any other necessary tasks, such as cleaning the bowl and removing spoiled food.
Although hamsters only need to be fed once daily, they must have constant access to fresh water.
Most hamster owners prefer a detachable water bottle, but a bowl can be used if it suits your (and your pet’s) preference.
Ensure that the water is changed daily and that the bottle or bowl is clean to prevent bacterial growth.
Tap water is fine for a hamster to drink so long as it is suitable for human consumption. Otherwise, offer bottled or distilled water.
How much should I feed my hamster?
Hamsters, like any other pet, need a certain amount of food each day to ensure that it is receiving proper nutrition.
Overfeeding and underfeeding negatively affect your pet’s health and happiness.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you provide your hamster with the correct portion of food to meet its needs.
The ideal quantity
The average hamster requires no more than 2 tablespoons of a pelleted commercial diet.
However, this rule of thumb may not apply to all hamsters. All animals are individuals and have unique needs that can change throughout life.
Your hamster may require a different amount of food to meet its nutritional needs.
You can judge if you’ve given your hamster enough food by measuring its portions and monitoring the results.
If your hamster finishes all of its food and has nothing left to stash away, incrementally increase the amount.
If it is gaining weight and has a surplus of stored food, decrease its portions as needed. Keeping an eye on your pet is key to determining how much food it needs.
Feeding hamsters of different breeds
Hamster breeds vary in size, and so does the amount of food it needs.
Smaller hamsters, such as those of the dwarf variety, require less food – typically about one tablespoon per day.
Larger breeds, like golden hamsters, tend to need a bit more than the recommended 2 tablespoons to account for their greater body weight.
Special dietary concerns
In addition to size, hamsters may also need a different amount of food during certain stages of life.
A growing hamster will generally need more food to meet its needs than an older, less active one.
Another case where a hamster will need additional feedings is for pregnant or nursing mothers.
Providing additional food for a mother hamster is critical in ensuring her health and the health of her babies until the litter is old enough to be weaned onto solid foods themselves.
Consequences of overfeeding a hamster
Giving your hamster too much food is a very dangerous practice. Overfeeding can lead to your hamster putting on excess weight, which has a myriad of adverse effects on its overall health and quality of life.
An obese hamster will be less likely to engage in activities or enrichment.
Overweight hamsters are also more predisposed to several dangerous diseases, including heart problems and diabetes.
They also have shorter lifespans overall compared to hamsters of a healthy weight.
How do I know if my hamster is overweight?
A small animal veterinarian can help you determine if your hamster is overweight and offer advice on how to help your pet lose weight.
You can also keep track of your hamster’s weight at home if you have a small scale – the ideal weight range varies by breed.
The best foods for hamsters
Providing a healthy, balanced, nutritionally adequate diet for your animal is one of the most important aspects of pet ownership.
Hamsters are unique critters with their own specific dietary requirements. It is essential to research what your pet needs and offer it a varied diet to ensure your hamster receives proper nutrition.
The ideal daily diet
The majority of your hamster’s diet should consist of dry commercial feed.
These prepared pellet or seed blends are commonly available at pet stores and are an easy way to ensure that your hamster receives all the nutrients necessary for good health.
Considerations for commercial feeds
Although these feeds are specifically formulated to meet your hamster’s dietary requirements, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing one.
Seed blends can pose a problem since they are comprised of several different types of food.
A picky hamster may eat only the components he or she likes – particularly the fatty, less healthy options.
If you observe your hamster chowing down on certain vittles and ignoring the rest, it’s best to switch its diet to dry pellets, as these are all uniform in appearance and nutritional value, ensuring your hamster is getting what it needs.
Choosing a brand
It is also important to choose a high-quality brand of dry food for your hamster. With so many available on the market, this can be a difficult decision.
Choosing the right brand for your pet means researching the ingredients and nutritional content of each formula and comparing the information to find the best option.
Ensure that the brand you choose is nutritionally balanced and that the pellets or seeds are suitable in size for your pet.
You may have to try several different options before finding the one that your hamster does best on and enjoys!
Giving your hamster a special snack on occasion is an excellent way to show your love and reaffirm your bond.
However, not all foods are safe for your little friend to consume. Never feed your hamster any of the following:
- Processed or sugary foods
- Uncooked potatoes or beans
- Apple seeds
- Citrus fruit
Bits of certain fruit, such as strawberries, apples, and grapes, are a favorite snack of many hamsters.
Vegetables of different varieties also make a very healthy (and tasty) way to mix up your hamster’s diet.
Seeds are another popular treat option but are commonly provided in lots of hamster feeds. Therefore, ensure they are given in moderation to prevent excessive weight gain.
Some hamsters are additionally very fond of bugs – mealworms and crickets are commonly provided at pet stores and can make an interesting addition to your pet’s diet.
Hamsters generally do not need vitamin supplements unless specifically advised by a veterinarian. However, it will benefit from having some timothy hay added to its diet.
Timothy hay is beneficial because it is nutritionally valuable and serves as bedding and enrichment for your pet.
Hiding some of your hamster’s food or treats in the hay allows it to use its natural digging instincts to uncover its meal. An added benefit is it will stimulate your pet’s mind and prevent boredom.
Feeding your pet is one of the most important duties of caring for an animal. Making sure you have a solid understanding of this task is essential to your hamster’s well-being.
Recognizing how often, how much, and what to give to your pet are all foremost to achieving this knowledge.
Your hamster needs to be fed once per day. Hamsters will stash away food and enjoy it when they feel the need, so it is imperative to allow them some time to finish their meal before removing it.
The amount that you feed your hamster is significant. The average hamster requires two tablespoons of food, but your pet may need a different amount depending on its size and lifestyle.
What you choose to provide your hamster to eat is a considerable part of its overall health and happiness.
A commercially prepared dry food is often the best choice. Supplemental snacks are also an integral element of your pet’s diet.
Providing your hamster with balanced meals with careful consideration can help your tiny friend live a long, happy, and healthy life.
An expertly prepared bowl or thoughtful treat is a surefire way to cement your bond with your pet.