Most ailments of hamsters in captivity are directly or indirectly linked to the diet and the hamsters eating habits. Hamsters will eat or have a go at almost any food that is offered to them. They cannot decide for themselves what is bad or what is good for them, and care must be exercised when it comes to feeding your pet. Their diet is a major contributing factor in their dispositions and a correct diet is crucial for their health and well being.
Hamsters in the wild eat a diet of high fibre low fat foods, so we should try to replicate that in our pets’ diet. A pet hamster’s diet consists mainly of grains and seeds, although a small amount of vegetable fibre can be added occasionally. Hamsters in captivity today are still descendants of their wild counterparts, and their instincts remain exactly the same, as do their nutritional requirements. Although their exact nutritional requirements are still not quite fully understood, we must try and emulate that of their ancestors from what we already know by maintaining a well-balanced diet.
When feeding hamsters, keeping their food as natural as possible will increase your pet hamster’s chance of leading a long healthy and trouble free life. We strongly advise that you do not feed hamsters food that has been processed for human consumption.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are called the “Macro nutrients” all of these nutrients are necessary for life. Carbohydrates are needed to fuel the body and protein to keep the muscles and glands healthy. Fats are for hormone production and a healthy nervous system. Nuts, seeds and low starch vegetables are usually the best sources of healthy fats since low starch vegetables are primarily alkaline thus supporting the liver, the main primary organ for cleaning the blood.
An adult hamster can eat around 10 – 12g of food per day. Most of the nutrients and vitamins that are needed for his well being are to be found in a good balanced diet, with a selected and varied addition of fresh food to help keep your pet interested.
Typical ingredients of a dried hamster food mix is corn, maize, dried peas, peanuts, sunflower seeds, locust beans, wheat seed, barley, alfalfa, dried fruit. A commercially prepared hamster food mix is usually accepted better and this is a good base for the diet.
A hamster food mix can be supplemented with a limited and selected addition of human food that hamsters are able to eat, such as cheese, cereals, selected fresh vegetables, boiled egg, wheat biscuits, corn-on-the-cob, unsweetened yogurt, nuts, wholemeal biscuits, unsweetened breakfast cereal, (cornflakes etc).