Despite their small size, hamsters are voracious eaters. With that said, you still have to be careful what you feed them or they will get sick. It is essential that you provide your pet hamsters with foods that are high in nutritional value so that they can be healthy and live long, happy lives. Ideally, the best hamster food is one that is both nutritious and delicious for them to eat.
In this article, we discuss which hamster food brands provide these things. Below, we have prepared an informative buyer’s guide detailing recommended products that may be a good fit for your hamster.
Review of the Best Hamster Foods
Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster & Gerbil Food
The Oxbow Essentials pelleted food does not contain high sugar fruits, seeds, or any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Fruits and seeds can be low in nutritional value and high in empty calories. Feeding your hamster too much of these foods can result in obesity and poor eating patterns.
Fortunately, Oxbow Essential pellets provide a balanced diet that meets the nutritional needs of your hamster and will help with digestive function, dental health, and keep their bodyweight low. The secret is that it comes with a mix of oats, barley, and timothy hay with a taste that your hamster will love along with high fiber to aid with digestion. Furthermore, it is fortified with vitamin A, C and B12.
Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster and Gerbil
The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro is a mix containing sunflower seeds, pellets, what, corn, and yucca for odor control. It is further fortified with omega-3 fatty acid and DHA for heart, brain, and eye health, along with probiotics and prebiotics for better digestion. Since this product is naturally preserved, you will not find any artificial flavors or colors. This is a solid choice that provides a complete diet and will result in a healthy immune system and growth in your hamster.
Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Hamster & Gerbil Food
The Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety contains a mix of vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Each piece has a different color, shape, and texture to provide variety to your hamster. Specifically, the Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet is a blend of ingredients including sunflower, corn, peanuts, carrots, bananas and more. In terms of nutrition, it contains Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA for brain, heart, and eye health as well as probiotics and prebiotics for digestion. It is naturally preserved, meaning there are no artificial flavors or colors. Overall, the Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet provides a nourishing, balanced diet for your hamster.
Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Dental Health Mouse, Rat, & Hamster Food
The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro comes in pelleted form for your hamster to nibble on. Rodents like hamsters have teeth that grow continuously so they must gnaw and chew on things to keep them clean and trimmed. The Forti-Diet Pro gives your hamsters something to chew on and provides the necessary nutrients for good health. The pellets contain oats, peanuts, corn, and yucca for odor control.
Oxbow Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food
The Oxbow Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food is yet another pelleted food that gives a balanced and complete nutritional meal. It is made from a mix oft tomato, yellow pea, spinach, carrot, and banana. The garden fresh mix includes a three different blends of grass hay to provide variety and encourage meal enrichment. Lastly, it is farmed in the USA and is non-GMO certified.
Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete Nutrition Hamster Food
The Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete is a high-end diet that provides lots of diversity for your hamster, who may be getting bored of eating the same bland pellets everyday. To combat this, the VitaSmart comes in different textures and colors to pique your hamster’s interest once again and encourage foraging. Ingredients include alfalfa, soybean, Timothy hay, flax seed, beets, and more.
Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA help support a complete nutritional profile and good health during middle and old age. Antioxidants boots the immune system and essential fiber smooths out digestion. There are no pesticies, artificial colors, or preservatives found in this product.
Brown’s Tropical Carnival Biscuits Hamster & Gerbil Food
Brown’s Tropical Carnival are a treat and a delicious natural food. Their ZOO-Vital biscuits are packed with vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it is fortified with a mix of grains, natural seeds, fruits, nuts, and veggies and does not have filler seeds or hay. Brown’s Tropical Carnival’s antioxidant-rich baked crisps are a crunchy delight for your pet hamster. Lastly, you will only find natural preservatives; no artificial flavors or colors is used in this product.
How to Select the Best Hamster Food?
Since hamsters are highly active rodents, they need to fuel themselves with food – a lot of it. This is why they have such a high metabolism. They love to run, burrow, dig and play inside their habitat and need nutritious food to replenish their energy.
And as a loving, caring pet owner, you might be tempted to give them a generous amount of food to keep them happy. Unfortunately, this is an issue. Hamsters have an insatiable hunger and will eat pretty much anything and everything you give them. Overeating will cause your hamster to gain weight and this can lead to numerous health problems further down the line.
The Humane Society of the U.S. recommends you feed your hamster one tbsp. of seed mix or hamster food pellets every day. You are free to give them occasional treats as well. If you find measuring the food to be cumbersome or you are afraid of making a mistake, you can invest in a hamster food dispenser to help you out.
In the wild, hamsters like to eat a combination of insects, grains, and seeds. Thankfully, you don’t have to individually buy these since most hamster food brands mix all of these together for your pet to enjoy. You will have to consider the species and size of your hamster to properly determine what to feed your hamster and how much.
Factors to Consider when Buying the Best Hamster Food
Quality of Ingredients
Ensure the hamster food you purchase is made from healthy and high-quality ingredients. This means there should not be any added fillers or artificial ingredients. Avoid products that have large amounts of corn as well as those with raisins or similar dried fruits.
As for fruits, you can feed your hamster blueberries, bananas, grapes, and raspberries. However, keep these to a minimum, as their digestive system has a low tolerance for fruits.
You have to feed your hamsters with fresh food once daily, ideally around their waking time or in the evening. For each serving, give them a tbsp. of hamster food from their favorite brand. You can also give them some treats once or twice a week, but don’t overdo it. Certain species of hamster, such as the Chinese or dwarf hamsters are much smaller than the Syrian hamster, but they have a faster metabolism rate.
Like any pet food, hamster food should be formulated such that it meets the nutritional needs of your pet hamster. To ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life, which is typically 2-3 years, you have to understand how a good diet factors into this.
For instance, did you know that vegetarian hamsters will occasionally eat insects and meat? Not only that, vegetarian hamsters tend to eat more food than others. Also take into account their breed, because there are specific foods for each type. E.g. there are hamster foods specifically for Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamster.
Since hamsters are naturally nocturnal creatures, most of their activities are done at night including eating. It can be difficult to know your pet’s eating habits, but hamsters tend to hoard or hide food for later consumption. Have you ever seen your hamster gobble up food and store them in their cheeks? Yup, that’s them preparing for the future.
There are times when a hamster may get picky and only eat their favorite foods and ignoring the other pieces if you feed them a mix of seeds and pellets. Seeds tend to be a hamster’s favorite, it seems, and unfortunately solely eating seeds can result in obesity because of their high fat content.
Look for foods that contain an nutritional profile high in protein and carbohydrates with 15-25% nutrients. Some good percentages are 17-22% protein, 8-10% fiber, and only 4-6% fat. If the hamster food you are using has low-protein content, then supplement your hamster’s meals with some high-protein foods. Feed your hamster at night or around the time they wake up for best results.
Hamsters living in the wild will lick minerals and rocks containing salt. They need salt to retain water in their bodies and stay healthy. Make sure the food you feed them has salt in it, and if it doesn’t, consider putting a salt lick in the hamster habitat.
Since hamsters are such hyperactive animals, you’d think they are fueled by sugar or something. Actually, this is not the case and sugar is not necessary in their diet, at least not in any significant amounts. As a result, you should avoid foods high in sugar. Also avoid foods that contain dried fruits, since those have a lot of sugar. If you use a food mix with numerous fruits, you should consider switching to a fruitless one since their sugar concentration can be high.
High quality hamster foods should have a wide variety of ingredients. Hamsters are foragers and they love to scavenge for various ingredients and hoard it for future consumption. Some pet experts suggest that is it not enough to feed your hamster only lab blocks or pellets, though they can still be part of a healthy diet.
You can also consider feeding your hamster friend hamster food mixes, since many of them contain ingredients like seeds, barley, maize, and oats. Others include pellets, but for variety you can also use a quality loose mix that has dried fruits and vegetables as well.
Hamsters love to nibble on things. This is important because their teeth are always growing, so they need to chew on things to grind it down. You must not feed your hamster only soft foods, since this will not help them maintain their jaw strength or teeth. As a result, you should add some chew toys in their cage so that they have something to chew on any time they want.
Tips on Selecting the Best Hamster Food
A balanced diet is key if you want your hamster to be healthy and fully live out his natural lifespan. Hamsters are omnivorous creatures, meaning they can eat both meat and vegetables. This means whatever food you put into his enclosure, he will probably shove it into his mouth so you have to be careful what you put in. Hamsters are famously known to hoard food in their cheeks. When they have filled their cheeks, their head can appear to be two to three times their normal size, which is adorable and nothing to worry about.
Make sure that the food your hamster feeds contains 16-17% protein. If there is too much protein, there is a possibility your hamster will not eat it. If your hamster is picky, this can result in nutrient deficiency.
Many pet owners like to feed their hamsters using a bag of seed mix. This is fine to do so, but hamsters require more nutrients than what is found only in seed mix. In addition to the protein, hamsters also need some essential nutrients found only in fruits and vegetables. If you feed your hamster commercial seed mix, he may only eat the seeds and ignore the rest, leading to an unbalanced diet. Their favorite seems to be sunflower seeds, so be wary of that.
Good hamster food mixes will come in pelleted form with a mix of vegetables, grains, fruits, and seeds. This will satisfy the requirement mentioned above regarding sufficient protein and essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Pelleted foods are a healthier alternative since your hamster will not be able to pick out only the seed from a pellet; everything is crushed together and he will simply have to eat the entire thing.
Keep in mind not all grains, fruits, and vegetables are beneficial for your hamster. Here is what you can feed him: small pieces of broccoli, parsley, carrot, apple, turnips, and pear. Do NOT feed him: leeks, garlic, chives, lettuce, raw potatoes, and oranges.
Furthermore, hamsters can be affected by lifestyle diseases like diabetes. As a result, when it comes to feeding them fruits that are high in sugar, you have to show some restraint. When you feed your hamsters, only provide small amounts of fresh food once a daily. Make sure the portions are always small. Hamsters are hoarding, and giving them a large amount of food means they will hide the food until it rots. If there are any leftover foods once your hamster is done eating, remove it from the cage before it gets hidden and spoils.
We recommend you purchase commercially-prepared food from a top hamster food brand. Some people think they can save money by doing their own hamster food DIY, but they might mix the ingredients in the wrong ratios and do more harm than good. If your hamster gets sick, then you will have more costs to deal with than you save.
With that said, hamsters are creatures of habit and do not like changes to their diet. In fact, they don’t like change at all, such as drastic changes to their environment, as this can cause them a lot of stress. If you’ve been feeding your hamster one kind of food all of their life, especially when they are young, then we advise you to continue feeding him that same brand. Any changes you make would have to be done gradually otherwise.
Lastly, make sure you give your hamster clean, fresh water frequently. This can be done by connecting a water bottle with a tube somewhere on the enclosure walls.
Pelleted vs. Seed Hamster Food
Quality pelleted food can provide the same nutritional value as seed food. The downside of pelleted food is that they are very boring. Pelleted food is a mix of food that always looks, feels, and tastes the same with no variety at all. Your hamster may get bored of it since it does not encourage foraging, which they love to do.
Seed hamster food provides more variety and lets your hamster forage as he naturally does. However, if your hamster has specific dietary restrictions or health problems, they may not be able to eat seed mixes.