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Properly Feeding Your Hamster

Some hamster owners’ instinct is to refill an empty bowl whenever they see it. This isn’t a good idea, though—a never-ending bowl of food will only make your hamster obese. Portions, type of food, how to serve it, treats… there are lot of questions involved when it comes to hamster feeding time. Here, a Farmington veterinarian provides some answers.

How Much Should I Feed My Hamster?

One tablespoon of commercial hamster food (pellets or seeds) per day will be enough. That may not sound like much, but when accompanied with treats it will suit your hamster just fine. Hamsters are small animals with large metabolisms—they may gobble up the food quickly, but that doesn’t indicate a need for more and more food. Talk to your Farmington veterinarian about food portions or if you feel your hamster is putting on too much weight.

What About Treats?

You should supplement your hamster’s regular diet with treats. Treats come in two forms: natural veggies and hard snack treats.

Natural treats include greens like lettuce, spinach, parsley, etc. Be sure to consult your Farmington veterinarian before feeding your hamster any greens that are out of the ordinary. Keep the portions of these greens small, and only provide them once a day. You can also try slices of apple, raisins, or a small bud of cauliflower.

Commercially-available hard treats can also be given. Limit these to a once-a-week regimen. Treats like these can be helpful for wearing down your hamster’s teeth so they don’t become overly long and sharp. Your Farmington vet can give you a recommendation for brand and type.

When Should I Feed My Hamster?

There are two times you can feed your hamster: in the evening, or first thing in the morning. Since hamsters are nocturnal creatures, an evening feeding time lines up nicely with their activity patterns. However, hamsters may wake up periodically during the day and munch on whatever is around, so some owners may choose to provide food in the morning for this reason. Either approach will work, as long as the animal has enough food and water. Your Farmington vet can advise you further on the right feeding time for your pet.

How Should I Serve Food?

Serve food in a small bowl—it will help reduce the tendency to feed too much, and will take up less cage space. Ceramic dishes are always best, as they can’t splinter apart from chewing or rough handling. Clean your hamster’s bowl and water dish regularly.

Remember, hamsters are hoarders—they may stuff food or treats in their cheeks and save it for later. They also might stash food in their cage, away from their dish. Refilling a food bowl every time it’s empty will only encourage unnecessary weight gain. Talk to your Farmington veterinarian for more information on what, when, and how to properly feed your hamster.

 

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