Hamster Feeding Guidelines – How Often, How Much, And Everything Else

Have you just bought a hamster for the first time? Don’t know how to feed these cute little furballs? Well, don’t worry because in this thread we will discuss everything you need to know about feeding your hamster. Stay tuned till the end to learn some additional information to increase your hamster’s lifespan.
Hamster Feeding Guidelines

Does the idea of feeding your hamster confuse you because of its small size? Don’t know what to give and when to give to your hamster? You should feed your hamster only one time a day. The amount of food you should feed to your hamster totally depends upon the type of food you choose. For instance, if you talk about fruits, always keep the amount below 1 teaspoon. 

Bodies of hamsters work differently than humans and even most of the other pets. If you have owned pets like a cat or a dog previously, don’t apply your earlier knowledge here. Hamsters are completely different animals. 

Consider owning a hamster as becoming a parent for the first time. This is a whole new experience and you should be well prepared for it. A balanced healthy diet of a hamster can add a significant amount of time to your hamster’s lifespan. 

On the other hand, an unbalanced diet can lead to some very serious medical issues. Hence, in order to live longer with your hamster, understand their nutritional needs first. 

How Often Do Hamsters Eat?

In the wild, hamsters literally put their life at stake to gather food. Undoubtedly, these little creatures love food more than anything. This is because, mostly, in their natural habitats, there is always a shortage of food.

They live in deserts where filling your stomach feels like a divine blessing. This is where seemingly weird behaviors of hamsters like unnecessarily storing food come from. They do this because they instinctively believe that food will end sooner or later. 

To keep themselves active, hamsters keep eating food in small proportions almost all the time. In the daytime, they wake up from their sleep only to eat food. When it’s night and they are active, hamsters keep returning to their stashes to enjoy the meals they have stored.

Active, healthy, and young hamsters eat more than aged hamsters due to high metabolic activity. The same goes for the nursing and pregnant hamsters. These female hamsters use the extra food to nourish their young ones. 

How Often Should You Feed Your Hamster?

Once in a day. Isn’t this contrasting with the consuming routine of hamsters we just discussed? Yes, it is but this is the way how things work. We all know that hamsters are very small in size. Their stomach is even smaller. But they are not aware of this fact and often eat more than what’s healthy for them.

They are just like children. When hamsters start eating they can’t figure out when to stop especially at a young age. Therefore, you should act as a responsible parent and give them food only according to their needs.

Don’t get worried if you see that your hamster bowl is empty most of the time. Most probably he/she will be storing a good amount of food in his bedding. This just comes naturally to the hamsters. This is why you will find stashes of food while cleaning your hamster’s cage. 

You should keep an eye on the food your hamster is storing. If the hamster is not finishing the stored food and it keeps piling up then it’s time to decrease the amount of food you provide. This will help you avoid any kind of wastage and your hamster will also be eating fresh food mostly.

Should I Feed My Hamster In Evening Or In The Morning?

Now, this is a bit controversial question. Some studies say daytime is the period when hamsters are less active being nocturnal animals. Due to this reason, feeding hamsters at night feels more logical. This will provide a constant flow of energy for them to carry out all their physical activities. 

There is also a group of people who say that hamsters should be fed in the morning. Their point of view is that hamsters wake up periodically and eat food. This also makes sense. In the end, it all depends upon your preference. However, in both cases, you should feed the hamster only once a day.

How Much Should I Feed My Hamster?

The answer to this question depends upon the breed of your hamster. Take 2 teaspoons of food per day as a standard for an average-sized hamster. If you have a Syrian hamster which is considered a large breed, you can increase the amount slightly.

On the other hand, if you have Djungarian or Campbell’s hamsters, decrease the feed to 1 teaspoon per day. Even if you feel tempted to share your food with your furry friend refrain from doing so. Overfeeding can cause obesity and many other problems in the hamsters. Lastly, their lifespan is significantly decreased. 

Would you like to see your hamster suffering from painful medical conditions? Not a single hamster owner would like to entertain this idea. Hence, be very careful with the amount of food you give your hamster to eat.

Feed According To Type Of Food

The amount of feed you should give to your hamster should depend upon the type of food. If you are planning to feed your hamster seed mix then it should be no more than 1 teaspoon. 

However, if you are filling your hamster’s bowl with commercial hamster pellets, you can go for 2 teaspoons. In the case of veggies and fruits, always keep the amount less than 1 teaspoon. 

Always give a gap of at least a day before feeding veggies and fruits to your hamster once again. After a certain limit, green stuff becomes dangerous for your hamsters. Naturally, hamsters’ digestive systems are not made for digesting a lot of greenery. Excessive fruits and veggies can cause multiple complications like diarrhea in hamsters.

Sometimes, these medical conditions can lead to the death of the hamsters. Therefore, next time no matter how tempted you are to share your strawberry with your hamster, think twice.

How Long Can Food Stay In Hamster Bowl? 

Is your hamster leaving the food in its bowl as it is? Wondering how long it can remain there? Well, it all depends upon the type of food that is lying there and its condition. For instance, if veggies and fruits are in the bowl of your hamster then remove them after 24 hours. 

Cut or mashed fruits or vegetables start decaying within 24 hours. After some time, they can turn hazardous to the hamsters. In the case of mixed seeds, you can let them remain there for around 2 days. The shelf life of dry fruits is much longer than fresh vegetables and fruits. 

The same is the case with commercial pellets for the hamsters as they are dry. They can stay in the bowl of your hamster for about 2 days. Although they will be fine even after that for some time, it is recommended to remove them to be on the safe side.

The lifespan of hamsters living in the wild is comparatively less than captive hamsters. It is mostly due to the poor diet that they consume. They store food in their bedding for quite a long and keep eating it with time. But, the food starts rotting after some time which causes diseases in them.

Another reason to frequently change the food in your hamster’s bowl is that the hamsters contaminate it with their urine. Therefore, keep a keen eye on the food lying in the bowl of your hamster. If you see any signs of droppings on the food, replace it immediately. 

How Long Can Water Stay In The Hamster Water Bottle?

Providing clean water to your hamster is as important as providing healthy food. Just like all the other living beings, hamsters also need fresh clean water to keep themselves hydrated. 

Coming back to our main question, so, how long can water stay in the hamster water bottle? Not more than a day. You should replace the water in your hamster’s water bottle after every 24 days. 

Even if the water is not contaminated with food particles or urine of the hamster, it can become stale. You should also keep checking the water bottle for any kinds of leaks. Leaks can pose serious threats to the health of your hamster. It can wet the hamster’s fur which can lead to pneumonia. 

Moreover, if all of the water is spilled and your hamster is left with no water to drink, it can get dehydrated. Hence, be very careful with the selection of the water bottle because your hamster’s health depends upon it largely. 

In this regard, we suggest you use a snipper bottle. Bottles with ball bearings require a considerable amount of effort to drink from them. Due to this reason, your hamster will start skipping drinking water and will become ill ultimately. 

Which Foods Should I Avoid Giving My Hamster?

You will be amazed to learn that hamsters are omnivores. Yes, these little creatures are not herbivores as they are perceived. In the wild, these creatures eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, small insects, and even small lizards. 

You should add at least 15% protein to the diet of your hamster. Also, consider adding 5% of fat, but not more than that. This arises the debate, which foods should be fed to the hamsters and which ones should be avoided?

Following are the foods that you should avoid giving to your hamster at any cost:

  • Raw Meat 
  • Raw Eggs
  • Apple With Seeds
  • Citrus Foods
  • Bitter Almonds
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bell Pepper
  • Spicy Food
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Salty Food
  • Avacado With Pit

Although a small amount of proteins is essential for the proper functioning of your hamster but raw meat and eggs contain bacteria that can cause serious illness in your hamster. The stomach of your little furry friend is not developed to digest meat and raw eggs. Hence you should avoid these at any cost. 

It is safe to offer a small piece of apple to your hamster as treat but not with the seed. The seeds of apples contain cyanide which is poisonous for the hamsters. 

Citrus fruits on the other hand contain high levels of acid which your hamster’s stomach can’t handle. Most of the sour citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are rich in acid. Our digestive system can handle this amount of acid but hamsters can’t.

Is There A Need Of Feeding Supplements To The Hamster?

There is no need to add supplements to your hamster’s diet unless the vet recommends it. If you are giving a balanced diet to your hamster which fulfills all its nutritional needs, keep supplements away. 

High-quality commercial hamster pellets contain most of the vitamins your hamsters need. Giving supplements on top of that won’t help much. However, if your hamster is not well, supplements can help in speedy recovery. 

The best rule of thumb is to consult with your vet before adding supplements to your hamster’s diet.

Are Chew Toys Healthy For The Hamster?

Yes, chew toys are more healthy and essential than most of the new hamster owners realize. Claws and the teeth of your hamster keep growing throughout its life. They need something hard to keep their size normal. This is where the chew toys step in. 

Chew toys help your hamster keep its claws and ever-growing teeth in shape. If there isn’t any chew toy in the cage of your hamster, its teeth will grow abnormally and cause serious complications. 

Should I Remove The Stashes Of My Hamster?

Hamsters have the instinct of storing food in their bedding. It is because, in the wild, hamsters often face a shortage of food. They have kept themselves alive for centuries by storing food for the future. This also keeps them a little bit safe from predators.

This trait is also found in pet hamsters. Pet hamsters also store food around their bedding because they are hard-wired to be prepared for food shortages. Sometimes, droppings of the hamsters can contaminate this stored food. Moreover, some foods can also rot over time. 

If your hamster decides to eat such food, he can contract some serious diseases. Although hamsters are quite possessive regarding their food, removing their stash becomes necessary sometimes. 

Hamsters rely on their sense of smell to familiarize themselves with their environment. Removal of their stash can shock them. To keep them calm and mentally healthy, place a clean portion of the previous stash with some new fresh food. This will trick them into thinking that it’s the same stash they stored earlier.  


The following questions will help you figure out the best diet plan for your hamster:

Can You Overfeed Your Hamster?

Yes, you can easily overfeed your hamster by giving him more food than he needs. An empty bowl does not always mean that your hamster is hungry or he has no food. Most of the time, hamsters store their food in their bedding.

Before filling the bowl of your hamster, check if it has stashed any food anywhere in its cage. Overfeeding can lead to obesity which causes some serious health issues in the hamsters.

How Often Should You Clean The Bowl Of Your Hamster?

You should clean it every day and wash it at least once a week. Food particles left on the bowl of your hamster can decay and contaminate the fresh food. Use a paper towel and clean your hamster’s food bowl before placing new food.

When it comes to washing the food bowl, use hot water and dishwashing soap to clean the bowl. This will significantly decrease the chances of your hamster getting ill.

What Is The Best Feed For Hamsters?

High-quality commercial hamster pellets of a reputed brand are the best bet. They are specifically made for hamsters and contain a perfect balance of all the nutritions your hamster needs. However, feeding the same thing every day can frustrate your hamster.

To keep your hamster happy, you can give it treats like fresh veggies and fruits. But, keep in mind that the proportions should be small and there should be a gap of at least one day.

Takeaway From Hamster Feeding Guideline

Hamsters are cute little creatures with a lot of adorable actions and look. Taking care of them seems pretty easy at first but it requires a lot of study and understanding. They are quite different from most of the other pets. 

In this thread, we learned that hamsters eat around 2 teaspoons of food in 24 hours. Moreover, for a responsible hamster owner, it is recommended to feed the hamster only once a day. 

You can choose between morning or evening according to your preference. However, it is recommended to provide food to hamsters at night as they are nocturnal animals. They are more active at night and require more energy.

Hamsters love storing food. This brings up the question of how long can the food stay in the hamster bowl? Although dry foods are not dangerous until the hamster contaminates them with its droppings, still, it is recommended to change the food after every 24 hours. 

missed something?

a little about me
Hi, im Sofia
Hi, im Sofia

I'm a mother of 2, hamster enthusiast, animal lover, and blogger. I have had five hamsters in my life, each with their own personality!

want to know more?
Join Our Hamster Lovers Mailing List