When summer comes around in the United States, stories of tourists visiting national parks often make the headlines while illegally feeding bears. Well, we can also have our own tiny version of a black bear…in hamster form…and feeding them is not only allowed, but required. These cute little hamsters, just like their teddy bear hamster and golden hamster counterparts, have a great variety of foods and treats available to them readily both from the grocery store and the pet store. Fruits, grains and vegetables make up the primary diet of a hamster and this can be supplemented with a variety of treats and timothy hay. Naturally, clean and dechlorinated water will also be a necessity when providing nourishment for a pet hamster.
The bulk of the food for your hamster will be in the family of grains. In a commercially prepared extruded or pelleted diet, the balance of proper ingredients is maintained by the formulation the producer uses but when feeding individual loose ingredients then make sure grains are solidly represented. Consider elements such as nuts or sunflowers as treats, these items should absolutely not be a part of the everyday staple diet of the hamster or it may put on significant and dangerous weight unless it is getting plenty of exercise.
Apples, strawberries, and bananas are all good examples of fruit which would be suitable to include as a part of your hamsters diet. Only about 10% of the diet should consist of fruit, so feed sparingly and make sure that after a few hours any leftover fruit is removed or the fruit may draw insects or grow mold.
Greens are going to be the best bet when it comes to adding veggies to your hamster’s diet. Dandelion greens, spinach, and romaine lettuce are all good examples of greens which can be given to a hamster to add some variety to his or her diet. Vegetables which are primarily just water with little flesh to them are not a good fit for a hamster’s diet, as they may cause diarrhea.
Timothy Hay, Timothy Hay Biscuits, and chew blocks are all very important to help keep a hamsters teeth from becoming dangerously overgrown.
A hard boiled egg, treat sticks, yogurt treats, or a teaspoon full of bird seed once each week will all make a great treat for your furry friend. These treats should all be given only in small quantities and only once or twice each week at the most. Other treats may include yeast powder found in a health food store, or a few drops of fish oil such as cod liver oil on the regular daily staple hamster food. Your hamster will be happier and healthier with the addition of these occasional treats to their diet.