If you’re new to hamster ownership, you may wonder about how and how often to feed your furry companion. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hamster mealtimes, including how much to feed and how to avoid any risks related to food storage.
Most pets are given two or three meals per day, just like humans. However, hamsters are different due to their cheek pouches, which they use for both storing and transporting food in the wild. So, what does this mean for feeding your hamster as a pet?
The Purpose of Hamster Cheek Pouches
For hamsters in the wild, storing food is essential for survival during food shortages. To save energy and reduce the risk of being exposed to predators, hamsters prefer to carry much more food using their cheek pouches instead of their mouth. Therefore, you’ll likely notice your hamster emptying their food bowl quickly, then packing the contents into their cheeks to transport them to their nest.
How Often to Fill Your Hamster’s Bowl
You only need to fill your hamster’s bowl once a day since their mealtimes aren’t restricted to when the bowl is filled. However, it’s a good idea to wait until your hamster has eaten most of the food in their store before providing more. This is because that food may go stale if left in the nest for too long.
It’s also essential to check your hamster’s store regularly. Suppose it’s getting more significant quickly. In that case, you may be filling their bowl too frequently or adding too much food, which can lead to obesity and related health issues.
How Much to Feed Your Hamster
The amount of food to feed your hamster depends on their size and breed. Generally, a Syrian hamster should have about two tablespoons of food per day, while dwarf hamsters may need less or more depending on their size. Robo or Chinese hamsters have smaller bodies, requiring only a single tablespoon of food per day. Therefore, it’s crucial to check with your veterinarian for personalized feeding guidelines.
Make sure to have multiple bowls ready so that you can provide daily rations in a clean one and remove the old one for washing. Bowls that are left in the cage for several days will soon become contaminated with droppings.
Feeding Fresh Food to Hamsters
If you plan to feed your hamster fresh food, such as fruits and vegetables, remember that they tend to store everything they eat. To avoid health risks, only provide small quantities of fresh foods that your hamster can finish in one meal. It’s best to wedge them to the bars so that your hamster cannot carry them back to their bed.
Cleaning Out Your Hamster’s Food Store
It’s a good idea to remove your hamster’s food store when cleaning out their cage, at least once a week. Although they may not approve, wild hamsters do not require a store, and the food stored for too long can go moldy, making your hamster ill if they eat it later on.
Avoid Overfeeding Your Hamster
It’s essential to avoid overfeeding your hamster as it can make them sick. Remember that your hamster won’t get hungry if there is food in their store, but they may become obese if it gets too big. A healthy diet, along with an exercise wheel for your hamster, will help them stay fit and happy throughout their life.
By following these guidelines and ensuring that your hamster receives adequate nutrition, you can provide them with the best possible care and attention.