Hamsters are popular pets in the US due to their small size, low maintenance, affordability, and cuteness.

However, proper care for hamsters is not as well-known as it is for cats or dogs, and many people are unsure about what to feed them.

If you’re a new hamster owner and are unsure about what to serve for dinner, this guide will provide you with all the information you need about their dietary preferences.


A Brief Overview of the Hamster Diet

Despite popular belief, hamsters are not vegetarians but omnivores, meaning they enjoy occasional meat along with grains, fruits, and vegetables.

It’s important to maintain a balanced diet as hamsters tend to eat anything they can find and limiting them to a specific food can be problematic.

Fortunately, hamsters are self-regulating when it comes to food intake and can always be left with food.

However, this does not mean they cannot become overweight, and it’s essential to keep track of their diet.

Additionally, hamsters are known for hoarding food, so it may appear that they are consuming food more quickly than they actually are.


The Hoarding Habits of Hamsters: What You Need to Know

Hamsters’ hoarding habits may seem negative, but it’s an innate behavior that can’t be changed.

In fact, hamsters can become stressed if they’re not allowed to hoard, so it’s best to let them be.

Rather than discouraging hoarding, you can make feeding time fun for your hamster.

Hiding food around their cage or in paper boxes allows them to forage, which can increase their sense of security.

While they may hoard even more, it’s like socking away money for retirement.

Scattering food is also helpful when dealing with multiple hamsters, as it prevents them from becoming protective of the food bowl.


Hamster Diet: What They Eat

Hamster Pellets: A Key Part of Their Diet

Hamster pellets are made from compressed hay, barley, oats, and other grains. They’re an important source of fiber and essential nutrients for your pet.

However, pellets shouldn’t be the only thing your hamster eats. It’s crucial to provide them with a varied diet.

When choosing pellets, opt for natural-looking ones. Avoid those with dyes or other additives that are added to make the food look better to humans.

Always keep your hamster’s bowl full of pellets, and supplement with other foods occasionally.


Muesli Mixes: A Word of Caution

Muesli mixes may look tempting, but they’re a combination of healthy food and sugary treats.

Most hamsters will skip the healthy bits in favor of sugar, which can deprive them of essential nutrients and damage their teeth.

While you can offer muesli as a treat, it’s best not to make it a regular part of their diet.

There are other treats that are better for your pet and that they’ll enjoy just as much.

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is an essential part of a hamster’s diet. It is a fibrous grassy hay that helps file their continuously growing teeth.

Timothy hay is high in fiber, which helps with digestion and reduces their intake of junk food.

It can also serve as comfortable bedding in their cage. Make sure to change it out daily to prevent mold growth if it gets wet.

Fresh Vegetables


Hamsters enjoy fresh veggies, especially leafy greens like romaine lettuce, which are full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Other great options include broccoli, spinach, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, and bok choy.

Before giving any vegetables to your pet, make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or herbicides.

Although the quantity of chemicals is unlikely to harm you, your hamster is much more sensitive to chemicals.

Avoid iceberg lettuce as it contains too much water which can cause diarrhea in hamsters.

Fresh Fruits

While fruits are nutritious, they are also high in sugar and should be given sparingly to your hamster as treats rather than dietary staples.

Apples (without skin or seeds), strawberries, bananas, and pears are all popular choices among hamsters.

Avoid giving them anything too juicy or acidic, as it can lead to digestive issues.

Make sure to wash the fruit thoroughly before serving it and remove any uneaten food within 24 hours to prevent mold growth.



Including meat in your hamster’s diet is important as it provides them with the necessary protein they need and is something they would eat in the wild.

Although hamsters have been known to hunt lizards and frogs in the wild, you don’t need to bring home a bullfrog as a sacrifice.

Common options for meat in their diet are hard-boiled eggs, mealworms, cooked beef, turkey, chicken, crickets, grasshoppers, and other small insects.

However, make sure to avoid feeding them bugs that could attack them or anything that may have come in contact with pesticides.

Avoid seasoning any cooked meat that you serve your hamster.

What Not to Feed Your Hamster?

It is crucial to know what foods you should avoid giving your hamster as it is to know what they should eat.

Certain toxic hamster foods are quite apparent: Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol are all harmful, even if the hamster is on spring break. However, others may not be as evident.

Do not feed your hamster any raw meat (except insects) and avoid raw beans and potatoes. Acorns, peanuts, onions, tomatoes, and garlic are all to be avoided as well.

Another potential danger to be aware of is any food with sharp edges. Remember that hamsters often store food in their cheeks for hours, so do not give them anything that could cause injury.

What Do Hamsters Eat? Summary

Hamsters require a diverse diet but providing them with proper nutrition is not a difficult task.

High-quality pellets are an excellent starting point, and from there, you can offer your pet a variety of foods.

Fortunately, hamsters are not picky eaters, so you should be able to find many options that your furry friend will gladly consume.

If only getting your children to try new foods was as simple!