The Right Nutrition For Hamsters – That’s How It Works

The cute little hamsters definitely wrap one or the other around their fingers with their small brown beady eyes and are now often kept as pets. However, these small rodents are quite demanding to care for, which means owners should definitely be aware that there is some work to be done. This includes not only the care of the animals and cleaning the cage, the right equipment, and from us to a little exercise. The diet should also be planned down to the smallest detail. Since the hamster has a particularly varied diet in its homeland, the diet is therefore very extensive. You can find out what is important in this regard in this article.

The dry food for hamsters

The hamster dry food is probably the most important part of hamster nutrition. An adult animal needs about two teaspoons or one tablespoon of dry food a day. Here you should look at the dosage how much your darling really needs. If there is too much food left over the next day, the portion can be reduced a little. If everything is eaten up completely, you can give a little more food next time. Since hamsters like to store food and this is also important for maintaining their natural instincts, you should let them do the same. The only thing you should avoid is having too much stock. However, hamsters that are allowed to set up a small food depot usually feel much more secure in their new home.

This should be included in a dry hamster food


Grains should be the largest component of a hamster’s dry diet and should always be balanced. You can give your hamsters the following grains:

  • oatmeal
  • oat grains
  • wheat grains
  • wheat flakes
  • millet
  • barley
  • rye
  • kamut
  • emmer wheat
  • foxtail millet
  • buckwheat
  • amaranth
  • Green Oats

Small seeds

Small seeds are also very important and offer the animals many important vitamins, minerals, and other great nutrients. The following seeds can be fed:

  • cardi
  • linseed
  • negro seed
  • Chia seeds
  • hemp
  • Poppy
  • sesame
  • camelina
  • millet species
  • dill
  • Parsely
  • alfalfa
  • daisy seeds
  • Different grass seeds

Dry vegetables and fruits

With dried vegetables and fruits you can expand the menu and offer the rodents a great change. However, it is important with the fruit that you only give a small piece a week and that you do not overdo it. You can give your hamster the following fruits and vegetables:

  • Beetroot
  • celery
  • carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • fennel
  • apples
  • pears
  • rosehips

Dried herbs

Dried herbs should also be included in the dry food in small amounts and you can easily grow them yourself and then dry them. These dried herbs are particularly well tolerated by hamsters:

  • nettle weed
  • dill
  • daisy
  • Green Oats
  • chamomile
  • dandelion root
  • hazelnut leaves
  • lemon balm
  • Parsely
  • yarrow
  • sunflower blossoms
  • Chickweed
  • blackberry leaves
  • shepherd’s purse
  • peppermint leaves

Nuts and kernels

Hamsters love different types of nuts and kernels. However, they should only be given very rarely as a small treat between meals. This is mainly because the individual nuts and kernels are often very fatty and the little hamsters can get too fat from them. Experts advise feeding no more than a quarter of a nut or pit every two to three days. You can feed these nuts and seeds:

  • sunflower seeds
  • peanuts
  • pine nuts
  • macadamia
  • walnuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds


Insects are also part of the hamster’s diet, as they are not pure vegetarians. You need animal protein to stay healthy. The following dried insects are particularly suitable here:

  • mealworms
  • freshwater shrimp
  • house cricket
  • grilling

Green fodder

Hamsters also need green fodder from time to time. This contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, so it plays a major role in health. Green fodder includes all green parts of plants. These can be bought in individual shops or collected in the wild. However, it is important to ensure that the environment is always nice and clean. In addition, the individual parts of the plant should not be collected on busy roads. Fields that could possibly be sprayed with pesticides by the farmer should also be avoided. It is important to only feed the green fodder in small amounts, as this can quickly lead to diarrhea, especially at the beginning. You can feed your hamster the following green plant parts, among others:

  • dandelion
  • cabbage thistle
  • Parsely
  • dill
  • Melissa
  • sunflowers
  • daisy
  • Different grasses such as crested grass
  • carrot cabbage
  • fennel green
  • Kohlrabi leaves

The following plants are not particularly well tolerated by hamsters:

  • Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
  • potatoes
  • clover
  • Different types of cabbage such as white cabbage or red cabbage and Brussels sprouts
  • aubergine
  • avocado
  • Allium plants such as leeks, garlic, onions
  • papaya
  • radish

These plants are poisonous to your hamster:

  • agave
  • aloe vera
  • arum
  • Bear Claw
  • wild garlic
  • henbane
  • beans
  • boxwood
  • Christmas rose
  • ivy
  • yew family
  • aconite
  • vinegar tree
  • ferns
  • thimble
  • geraniums
  • broom
  • buttercup
  • honeysuckle
  • elder
  • hyacinth
  • Calla
  • potato cabbage
  • cherry laurel
  • tree of life
  • lilies
  • lily of the valley
  • mistletoe
  • daffodil
  • daffodil
  • primrose
  • wood sorrel
  • hemlock
  • snowdrop
  • Buddleia
  • Datura
  • troll cherry


Vegetables should also not be missing from a hamster’s diet. You can give your darling a small portion of vegetables once a day. This portion should be dosed in such a way that it is eaten up quickly. Before feeding, everything should be washed thoroughly and urgently. It is important that the little ones do not bunker the food, as it can quickly go moldy. If your darling does this anyway, you have to take the vegetables away from him when he gets up. You can feed them a thin slice of cucumber, for example, or a fingernail-sized piece of pepper and a small slice of carrot. Even if most hamsters don’t like the vegetables right from the start, after a while they will grab them.

You can give your darling the following fresh vegetables:

  • paprika
  • corn + corn leaves
  • carrots
  • fennel
  • cucumber
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • pumpkin
  • Lamb’s lettuce
  • iceberg lettuce
  • lettuce


Fruit is very high in sugar and since the small rodents do not have a great need for sugar, it is important to only feed fruit once a week. The sugar could not be processed by the cute rodents, which would subsequently lead to obesity or even diet-related diabetes. Please do not feed stone fruit, as this can quickly lead to flatulence and diarrhea. Exotic fruits are also definitely not recommended.

You can feed the following fruits to your hamsters:

  • tomatoes
  • apples
  • Grapes (pitted)
  • kiwi
  • melon
  • pears
  • Fresh berries (no more than one berry please)
  • Strawberries (please no more than ¼ strawberry)

Animal food for hamsters

Animal food plays a very important role for hamsters since these little animals are not pure vegetarians. Hamsters are hunters and in the warm months, they feed primarily on insects and small mammals, for example. You should feed your hamster animal-based food three to four times a week, and it is best to give it directly out of your hand.

Mealworms are a good example. They have a high-fat content and a lot of vitamins. You can also keep these at home yourself, as keeping the small animals is very easy. If your hamster lives in a terrarium or in an aquarium, you can also use house crickets or crickets, as these are a real change for the little rodents. In addition, it is a great pleasure to watch the cuties hunt. You can also give your hamster dried freshwater shrimp or untreated shrimp.

You can also feed products with milk, bearing in mind that most hamsters are lactose intolerant. Canned milk, cream, and normal milk are therefore incompatible and should never be given. Skimmed milk yogurt, cottage cheese, or low-fat quark do, however, because the amount of lactose is very small. Due to the bacteria they contain, the individual products have a very positive effect on the hamster’s digestion, although only one level teaspoon per week is allowed here. Small bits of the hard-boiled egg are also totally good for adding variety to the typical diet.

What else is very important in the diet for hamsters?

There is also the possibility that you as a hamster owner support the dental care of your animals. Fresh branches and twigs are particularly suitable for this and also drive away boredom. You should also ensure that your hamster always has fresh water available, which you should change at least once a day. Whether in a small bowl or in a special drinking bottle to hang up is up to you.

You should only give snacks in really small amounts. The bought hamster treats are usually very unhealthy. They contain ingredients that are not actually part of a hamster’s natural diet. Experts therefore advise against these snacks. However, you still have the option of making your own little treats or grabbing vegetables and fruit.

Adventure food for hamsters

Hamsters that live in the wild spend a lot of time looking for the right food. You collect it in order to bunker it afterwards. For this reason you should not only offer the food from the normal feeding bowl. Affected animals would be more likely to become fat and sluggish.

Here are some ideas on how to use food to get exercise and activity:

As already mentioned, dry food should not be given in the bowl. They can scatter it in the cage, for example. If the hamster is used to only being served food in the bowl, you should slowly get your darling used to looking for the food by first scattering it around the bowl and gradually drawing larger and larger circles. Furthermore, the dry food can also be hidden. Whether in hay mountains, in clean boxes or in small cardboard tubes, in a wooden labyrinth or in small hiding places, there are no limits to the imagination. Hamsters also love individually assembled food skewers. For this purpose, fruit and vegetables can be skewered on metal skewers, which can be bought for this purpose, and hung up in the cage.


In order for your hamster to stay healthy and alert at all times, it is important to adapt the diet to its individual needs. But don’t overfeed him and only give him special treats in moderation and not in bulk. Provide clean water and clean your pet’s cage once a day. If you comply with everything, you will enjoy your hamster for a long time and are guaranteed to experience many great moments together.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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