When it comes to feeding a hamster, many would assume that commercial pet food would be enough to supplement their diet. However, these rodents are omnivores that require more than just store-bought food in order to thrive. To get you properly started on your journey as a hamster owner, here are 5 diet tips that’ll help ensure your critter stays happy and healthy.
1. Note the contents of prepackaged feed
Prepackaged feed tends to contain a disproportionate amount of sunflower seeds which contain high fat content. As cute as an overweight hamster may seem, it’s important to feed the seeds in moderation as obesity causes other illnesses in the long run. Pick out fatty seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds and ration them to only 3 to 5 per day.
2. Provide hard-gnawing food
Hamsters have front teeth that grow throughout their lives, and overgrown teeth will grow into the gums of their mouths, causing great discomfort. As such, it’s not uncommon to see hamsters bite their cages in order to file their teeth. But by doing this, they ingest harmful substances and on some cases, may even break their teeth. Providing gnawing food such as Apple wood or rolled oat cereals would discourage them from biting metal bars and also relieve them of boredom.
3. Offer a variety of greens
To keep your hamster healthy, fresh food should be given a few times a week. Vegetables such as broccoli pack a bunch of vitamins and minerals which are essential for their diet, and can also be given as treats. However, too much may cause an upset tummy, and unfinished food should not be left overnight – unless you’ll like to attract more creatures into your pet’s home.
Note: Stay away from citrus fruits such as lemon and oranges as they’re too high in acidity.
4. Keep them fit with protein
Just like how gym rats can’t go without protein shakes, hamsters require 12-15% of protein in their meals for proper growth and tissue building. Good sources of protein include barley, corn and even dried mealworms.
5. Supply hay for fibre intake
Besides eating commercial dry seeds and fresh food, hamsters should also be provided with grass hay. The fibre in hay aids them in digestion mobility by supplying roughage, and also acts as an extra source of calcium and protein for bone growth.
Feeding Your Hamster Correctly
Keeping a hamster may seem like a cheaper option as compared to owning a dog or cat, but it doesn’t mean that the responsibilities that come with it are easier. Be prepared for constant grocery shopping and visits to the pet store! These variety of food ensures that your little critter gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs for a good quality of life.