Hamster Home & Food Guide

You want to give your hamster a healthy and happy life, but meeting every need of your pet can be a daunting challenge. Here are some quick tips to help you meet your hamster’s nutritional and environmental needs.

How Should I House My Hamster?

Appropriate ventilation is a must for any proper hamster’s home. A terrarium with a wire mesh top is a great choice, but metal wire cages with plastic bottoms are also fine. Just be sure, if you are considering wire mesh, to cover any exposed metal in the floor as you hamster’s feet can become caught in the mesh. Wicker mats, plastic coverings, and towels are good floor-covering choices, commonly used for just this purpose.

If you would like to offer a bit more room, you may also choose to attach a connectable cage to your hamster’s new home, allowing him to burrow between compartments. Aside from being adorable, this burrowing from place to place has an added side-benefit: it mimics your hamster’s natural habitat and may help to make your pet feel more at home.

Your hamster’s cage should be filled with a thick layer of bedding, kept both dry and deep enough to allow your furry friend to burrow. Shredded white paper and aspen wood shavings make great beddings, but be sure to avoid shredded newspaper, pine, and cedar shavings, as they are toxic to hamsters.

What Should I Feed My Hamster?

Your hamster will require a very specific diet of high-quality hamster food mix to remain at peak health, so try to avoid feeding him snacks and treats. Overfeeding is a real issue with hamsters, especially because of their desire to hoard as much food as possible. Just because your hamster may readily accept any side treats or snacks you may offer does not mean that he or she requires any additional food on top of what you feed at meals.

Store-Bought Hamster Food:  Many different mixes of hamster food are available for the many different breeds of hamster, so your pet’s particular mix may differ slightly from another’s. Check food labels or consult your local veterinarian for any dietary questions you may have. In general, however, most high-quality hamster food mixes will comprise a healthy and balanced diet for your pet using:

  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Pre-made Pellets
  • Flakes
 

Water: Be sure also to keep plenty of fresh water in a bottle in your hamster’s cage at all times, checking daily to make sure your hamster is able to remain properly hydrated – especially after any strenuous exercising.

Fresh Food: If you would like to supplement your hamster’s diet with treats, it is important to observe moderation when dolling out any food other than what is prescribed for your hamster’s meals. That being said, hamsters, like all animals, do enjoy the occasional treat. Here are some good options to feed your hamster in very limited portions:

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Some Non-sugary Cereals
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Celery
 

Water based vegetables, like the romaine lettuce and celery listed above, double as low-calorie treats that can also aid your hamster’s digestive system.

Need More Information?

If you have any more questions about the care of your hamster, consult your local veterinarian, search through our Preventive Care and Ask a Vet libraries, or click through some of the related links below: