Unlike many pets, hamsters don’t have a tendency to overeat which means they’re a lot easier to take care of. But in terms of balancing out dietary requirements, hamsters are also needy.
While they are not terribly picky eaters, changing their diet too often can make them moody and unwilling to eat properly. This means that trial and error dietary changes need to be done gradually rather than suddenly.
Hamsters like and need grains, veggies, fruits, and a good amount of hay. But hamsters don’t eat as much as other rodents so they have lower daily nutritional requirements, except when it comes to proteins.
Because of this, more often than not it’s best to feed your hamster complex pellets in order to give them enough of everything and to avoid wasting food and overeating.
8 Hamster Food Suitable for All Breeds
- 8 Hamster Food Suitable for All Breeds
- 1. Oxbow Essentials Hamster and Gerbil Food (1, 2, 3lb)
- 2. Kaytee Fiesta Hamster and Gerbil Food (2.5, 4.5, 25lb)
- 3. Wild Harvest WH-83545 Hamster and Gerbil Food (4.5lb)
- 4. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Food for Hamsters and Gerbils (2.5, 5lb)
- 5. SupremePetfoods Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Tasty Mix (2lb)
- 6. Vitakraft Vita Prima Dwarf Hamster Formula (2lb)
- 7. Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster Food (3, 5, 25lb)
- 8. Oxbow Garden Select Hamster and Gerbil Food (1.5lb)
- What to Watch Out for in Hamster Food
- Hamster Care Tips
These pellets are suitable for young and adult hamsters. Depending on age and size, you can feed your hamster between 1/8 to 1/3 cups every day.
The low calcium and crude fat contents are the trademarks of a proper hamster formula. The Timothy hay pellets are also fortified with vitamins A, D, and E to ensure your hamsters get everything they need from the diet.
The high fiber content will help to keep the digestive tract functioning properly. Since the pellets are also a bit hard, they should also be good for oral health and keep teeth growth in check. The various food groups and supplements used are not as varied as in other products, so you might also want to give your hamsters some raw veggies or fruits to mix things up.
This blend has a mix of dried ingredients with varying textures, which should help with limiting teeth growth. It also allows certain fruit and vegetable flavors to dominate which should ensure your hamsters will finish their meal.
On the other hand, some hamsters may pick whichever pellets, grains, or nuts they prefer and discard or hoard the rest. There’s no guarantee so you might want to introduce this blend gradually if you’re switching to it from something else.
There are good nutritional values in this formula but the 10% fiber is only average or slightly below average. The moisture content is a bit higher to suit hamsters that prefer the kibbles to be less crunchy.
This blend may not be particularly high in fiber but the variety of grains, nuts, pellets, seeds, and dried food creates good texturing when it comes to teeth growth control and oral hygiene.
Another nice touch is the use of a flip-top container instead of the traditional bags. I like these better since their design is better suited to keep the food fresh for longer once the seal is broken. Wild Harvest does this with most of their pet foods so you might want to also consider the brand for your other small furry friends.
Now, although I like the layered texture, some hamsters may not. At least when it comes to the various seeds, so there may be some waste. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing if your hamster doesn’t need a 15% protein diet.
Higgins made a name for themselves with nutritious pet food formulas at fairly low prices. You can get this food mix in both 2.5 and 5-pound bags, although the 2.5lbs bag is probably the better option unless you’re raising two or three pairs of hamsters at home.
The formula contains a good amount of fiber, probiotics, and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. This guarantees that the digestive system has everything it needs to run smoothly. In addition, due to the wide assortment of dried fruits and veggies, there are also plenty of minerals and vitamins that help boost the immune system.
The carb content is fairly low which makes this mix very good for dwarf hamsters too. The one problem I noticed was that the use of food colorants, even though they are the natural varieties.
Although the quality of this mix is pretty good, the packaging can be misleading. There’s not as much variety in the actual mix as you see in the printed images. The blend has mostly nuts and dried veggies with very few seeds. This isn’t a huge deal because a lot of hamsters tend to leave the seeds behind anyway.
However, it does bring the protein concentration of the portions down a notch. The good news is that the formula has very little fat, just 4%, and high amounts of vitamins A, D, and E. But, if you’re looking for something that’s rich in fiber, this is not it.
With just 8% fiber, this is one hamster food that may need a good helping of Timothy hay as a fiber supplement. That being said, this is probably one of the better tasting blends on the market since it only has a tiny amount of small pellets that don’t alter the taste of the other dry ingredients.
Although suitable for other hamsters too, this formula is primarily designed for the dietary needs and restrictions of dwarf hamsters. The price per pound is good despite the specialized nature of this hamster food.
But, as with just about any hamster food blend, there are bits and pieces that your hamsters may not eat. In this case, it’s the small pellets. Although they’re made from Timothy hay, they don’t seem to have a particularly appealing taste. It could be because of the low moisture content.
All things considered, this blend has the right contents of vitamins, fats, carbs, and fiber to suit dwarf hamsters. It may not be enough for other breeds but the mix can be combined with raw fruits and veggies.
This may not be the most affordable bag of hamster food but it seems to be as tasty as they come. Maybe it’s because of the good seal or maybe it’s because the pieces are larger and more enjoyable to chew.
In any case, Kaytee’s Forti Diet Pro Health is a highly nutritious blend with many prebiotics and probiotics which manages a hamster’s health from head to toe. But if this sounds a bit too good to be true, it’s because I haven’t mentioned the seeds.
Although the dried veggies and fruits are in large chunks and the pellets are medium-sized, the ratio of seeds to everything else is quite high. It’s not that hamsters won’t eat them but they might forget about them if they enjoy chewing on the larger pieces every day.
This formula is a bit different than the other Oxbow formulas. It’s entirely plant-based which means the pellets are made from Timothy, Oat, and Orchard hay. It only comes in a 1.5lbs bag and it doesn’t come cheap.
On the surface, this may not look as balanced as most blends, but the truth is that Oxbow Garden Select contains the best ingredients to meet the nutritional requirements of hamsters and gerbils. A massive list of ingredients is often an ingredient-stacking trick employed by many pet food companies.
This premium blend of hay has great value if you’re in the mind to feed your hamsters the best, and it is also fortified with vitamins and minerals. The high protein will like as not make your hamsters gobble this up. On top of it all, all the ingredients are certified non-GMO.
What to Watch Out for in Hamster Food
A lot of blends come with a ‘Treats’ tag on the bag. This means that they’re basically enriched in the taste department to make them more appealing to hamsters. But hamsters don’t process sugar or fat very well.
This means that you have to be careful when buying from certain manufacturers so you don’t get a blend that contains high sugar or fat content. You should also feed them carrots in moderation especially if you have dwarf hamsters. They have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Yeast can be potentially toxic to hamsters. Chocolate, peanuts, and almonds are all too high in calories to be fed to hamsters in any amount. Grape seeds, apple seeds, apple skins, and sweet potato skins should also be on your list of what not to feed your hamsters.
Hamster Care Tips
If this is your first rodeo with furry cage pets, you should know that water bowls aren’t recommended. Hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits – none of them have problems drinking or learning to drink from a water dispenser. This is how you protect the water from the bedding and such so that it stays fresh for longer without contaminants.
Don’t use tap water and use filtered water instead. A high concentration of chlorine could make your hamsters sick even if you give them the best food and care.
Keep track of what your hamsters hoard or leave in the bowl. This should give you a good idea of what types of nutrients are missing from their diet and you can supplement them with either raw foods or by adding the same ingredients only from different blends.
It’s also worth noting that some breeds have stricter or at least different dietary requirements than others. If that’s the case, you may need to look up breed-specific formulas and maybe even separate your hamsters during feeding time so that they what’s right for them, except they probably won’t eat everything in one go like dogs. In all seriousness, if you have different breeds of hamsters in the same cage, just get a premium brand that’s fit for all breeds.
A Healthy Diet can Also be a Tasty Diet
Now that you know most of the do’s and don’ts about feeding hamsters, I’ll just leave you with one more thing.
Hamsters are less picky, which gives you an advantage as a pet owner. Chances are your furry pals will like your first choice in pellet or mixed blends and you won’t have to waste hours shopping online.
But if you hit it out of the park with the first bag, make sure it meets the minimum nutritional values so you can avoid having to introduce something new into their diet. The good news is that all commercial hamster foods on the market claim to be complete diets for daily maintenance of your hamsters.
Patrice has been an animal lover, right from her childhood. She’s currently enjoying the company of her cat, dog, aquarium fishes, and a few small furry companions.