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HAMSTER FRESH FOOD GUIDE

  1. Human fresh foods are generally safe for hamsters 

  2. Introduce fresh foods only in moderate amounts

  3. Always remove the seeds from fruits

  4. As a rule, avoid anything with high salt or spice content

SHOULD I FEED MY HAMSTER RAW VEGETABLES? 

As a pawrent, this might be the common questions you ask, especially if it’s your first time with your pawbaby! But no worries, questions will be answered in our Hamster Fresh Foods guide. 

In addition to their indisputable nutritional value, fresh treats are also 100% natural, readily available and very economical. However, fresh foods should be provided only occasionally as special treats for your hamster, and only in small amounts each time. Any fresh food must be introduced very gradually, as sudden large portions is likely to upset their digestive system. 

Observe your hamster closely when introducing them to new types of fresh foods. If they have a negative reaction to it, stop feeding it immediately and remove it from their diet. The recommended serving for fresh foods (listed below) is not more than two servings per day, one fruit/veggie and one protein/other per day, especially for smaller breeds of hamsters such as winter white, dwarves and robos. 

Hamsters love to hide and hoard their food, and since fresh foods decay rapidly in our tropical climate, thus, always remove any uneaten pieces of fresh foods on the same day you provided them, and do a check of their food stash for fresh items. 

WHAT FRESH FOOD IS GOOD FOR MY HAMSTER? 

Below are lists of different categories of fresh foods to try with your hamster, and tips on how to prepare them. Bear in mind that just like you, your hamster will have preferences when it comes to food and may like some better than others. Always remember to provide your hamster with your standard or unique food mix you’ve created on top of these yummy treats to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet for a healthy hammy!

THE GREENS

Hamsters are a huge fan of salads and will love the fresh greens provided, and will welcome it as a juicy supplement to their dry mix. Filled with vitamins and fiber, and very hydrating, they make fantastic hamster snacks! Here’s a recommended list of nutritious greens: 

  1. Asparagus 

  2. Artichoke 

  3. Beansprouts

  4. Broccoli

  5. Bok Choy

  6. Carrots

  7. Cauliflower

  8. Celery 

  9. Corn or Baby Corn (Did you know that even fresh plain popcorn without butter and salt are actually one of a hamster’s favourite snacks?)

  10. Cucumber

  11. Kale

  12. Sweet Potato - This can be served to your hamster but they have to be COOKED before being served! Raw potatoes cannot be fed to hamsters! 

  13. Romaine Lettuce 

  14. Spinach

  15. Squash/Pumpkin 

  16. Tomatoes (Stalk & Leaves removed as they are toxic to hamsters!)

Although Iceberg Lettuce is one of the “safe” greens for your hamster, it is not recommended as it has little nutrition value, and the high water content can cause diarrhea. 

Simply follow our recommended list of green leafy vegetables which are safe and nutritious and you won’t have to worry about watery stools!

THE FRUITS

Fruits are also high in vitamins, fiber and water content that can be beneficial for your pawbaby! Always remove the seeds before feeding any to your hamster. Seeds are known to be choking hazards for hamsters, and some kinds, such as apple seeds, even contain chemicals that can potentially be lethal to your hamster! 

NOTE: Fresh fruit should be given as an occasional treat, to avoid potential diarrhoea, as well as reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for dwarf hybrid hamsters.

IMPORTANT STEPS TO TAKE FOR FRUITS:

  1. Stick to organic or unwaxed fruits. If not, always wash the wax off with warm water or carefully wash the skin of the fruit (if edible). This will help remove any unsafe traces of pesticides or chemicals.

  2. Cut to remove any seeds, stems or leaves that may be harmful.

  3. Cut into hamster appropriate sizes for serving!

FRUITS SAFE FOR YOUR HAMSTERS

  1. Apples, Pears

  2. Bananas 

  3. Grapes 

  4. Berries - Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Elderberries

  5. Papaya

  6. Apricots

  7. Cherries (Seedless)

  8. Dates

  9. Figs

  10. Guava

  11. Honeydew Melons 

  12. Kiwis 

  13. Kumquat

  14. Lychees (Seedless)

  15. Mangos

  16. Peaches (No stone)

  17. Peas

  18. Plums (No pits)

  19. Pomegranate

  20. Starfruit

  21. Watercress

  22. Watermelon (Seedless)

  23. Tomatoes (To be fed when ripe without stem or leaves)

  24. Dried Organic Coconut

PROTEINS

Did you know that hamsters are omnivorous? You can feed your hamster meat proteins to help with their growth and development. Especially if your hamster is young, they require a higher level of protein compared to an adult hamster  (As per Pipsqueakery, <6mth 19-20%, 6-18mth 17-18%, >18mth 15%) . Listed below are some protein rich foods that you can feed your hamster.

It is important to note that most animal protein foods have to be COOKED before being served to your hamster. One should never feed a hamster raw meat or raw eggs as they contain high levels of bacteria and parasites that can be deadly to them.

Fatty meats are also discouraged as it is not a natural food for hamsters. Feeding them high quantities of fatty meats can increase the risk of obesity, heart, liver or kidney diseases.

  1. Cooked Chicken Breast (Or freeze dried ones from the pet shop)

  2. Dried crickets

  3. Eggs - Boiled (feed whites) or scrambled with no oil/milk

  4. Low Fat Cottage Cheese

  5. Mealworms (from the petshop)

  6. Plain low fat yogurt

  7. Tofu (If you’re worried, blanch it in hot water for 10 seconds before feeding your pet, a recommended serving of one teaspoon a day would be good enough)

GRAINS, NUTS & SEEDS

Nuts make super fun treats for your hamsters! Shelled nuts can provide enrichment and play time, with your hamster working out for it’s rewards. However, do take note that nuts are high in calories and fat content. Feeding your hamster one nut a day or one every two to three days is recommended, as overfeeding them nuts can lead to obesity .

  1. Bran & Wheat Germ

  2. Cooked Pasta, dried

  3. Cooked Rice, dried

  4. Dry toast

  5. Flaxseed

  6. Oats 

  7. Peanuts (ideally raw and in shell, hamsters love it as a chew) 

  8. Popped Quinoa

  9. Pumpkin Seeds

  10. Sesame seeds

  11. Soybeans

  12. Unflavoured Popcorn 

  13. Walnuts (if with shell, drill a hole for hamster)

  14. Pine nuts

PLANTS & FLOWERS

Hamsters can also snack on plants & flowers but always make sure that they are safe before feeding them to your pet. Some that are more commonly fed to hamsters include: dandelion leaves and flowers, hawthorn leaves. It is recommended to get organic plants and flowers as your normal flora from your florist might contain dangerous traces of pesticides! 

  1. Bramble leaves 

  2. Blackberry leaves 

  3. Chickweed

  4. Clover

  5. Cornflowers

  6. Dandelion leaves and flower

  7. Groundsel 

  8. Hawthorn leaves

  9. Marigolds 

  10. Michaelmas Daisies 

  11. Roses

  12. Salvias

  13. Sow Thistle

  14. Sweetpeas

  15. Wallflowers

  16. Watercress

  17. Young grass

  18. Millet Spray

CONTROVERSIAL FOOD AND FOODS TO AVOID

Some foods listed can be deadly to your hamster, or prove to be more harmful than beneficial to your hamster. Thus, we strongly warn against feeding your hamsters these foods. However, if you do decide to give your hamster a little taste of it, proceed with caution as a little too much can cause your pawbaby to suffer chronic health problems that might even lead to death. 

1. Citrus Foods - Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Pineapple

Citrus foods are sour due to the high levels of acidity in it. Your hamster’s stomach cannot handle acid, and it can lead to uncomfortable stomach problems and diarrhea for your hamster. Thus, avoid citrus foods or fruits that can be too acidic and sour. However, sweet citrus fruits are safe in small amounts.

2. Almonds

There has been word going around that almonds are not safe for a hamster’s consumption. The almonds we, humans, consume are known as sweet almonds (usually sold unblanched with brown skins intact). They are longer, and well, almond-shaped, and safe for both human and hamster consumption.

The almonds to avoid are bitter almonds are rounder with a distinctive sweet scent. They are commonly found in Chinese medicine shops and are also used in perfumes. However, bitter almonds in large amounts are unsafe for human consumption, and for hamsters, a single kernel can be considered lethal (contains chemicals that breaks down to cyanide)

3. Spicy Foods + Garlic, Onions

Spicy foods and vegetables are unsafe for your hamster and can cause serious complications! 

Onions contains N-propyl disulfide, a substance that can affect the red blood cells of a hamster. Steer clear of any spicy foods such as bell peppers. These are too abrasive and acidic for your hamster’s delicate digestive tracts. Furthermore, the nutritional value of bell peppers is minimal at best, so avoid them as far as possible.

4. Sugary or Salty Foods

Just as is the case for humans, sugar and salt can cause a host of health issues, including obesity and tooth decay. That is why it is important to always determine if there are hidden salt and sugars in your hamster’s treats, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose! If you are unsure if a snack or treat is unsafe for your hamster, always go through the ingredients carefully. It goes without saying that if the sugar or salt content is high, do not feed it to your hamster! 

5. Chocolate

Chocolate is a very contested topic in small pet communities. Ultimately, chocolate is perfectly safe, however many owners still feel an initial knee-jerk reaction. Since the active ingredient in chocolate (theobromine) is toxic to dogs, many pawrents feel uneasy giving it to their hamsters, even though hamsters present no adverse reactions to theobromine.

6. Avocado

Based on research, avocado flesh is safe for your hamster, but not the pit or the skin. Should you want to feed your hamster some avocado, carefully remove the flesh and ensure there are no traces of the pit or skin on it.

Avocados have a very high fat content, so feed it to your hamster in moderation only.

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What a balanced diet might look like

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