These cute furry friends might not look like they need a lot to keep them going, but their diet can be complex than you think. Still, it’s not going to take a lot of work to make sure they get a balanced food intake so they can live a happy life. Hamster ownership means you get the benefit of playtime and holding these miniature-sized pets but you still need to give them the right vitamins and minerals. We’re going to take a look at this, and other ways you can keep your hamster healthy and happy.
Food That Hamsters Should Eat
Although it can be tempting to slide a small piece of your lunch through their cage if you are going to feed them any type of human food, make it something that has some nutritional benefit. Fresh veg is a good start but any fresh fruit should be limited in case it causes diarrhea. Any nonspecific hamster food should be kept to a minimum and not represent more than 10% of their food intake.
Some of the foods that are safe to feed a hamster as a treat include broccoli, carrots, apple (without the seeds), grapes, peas, kale, lentils, pumpkin seeds, cucumber, spinach, cooked potato, bananas, and cooked brown rice among others.
Because they are packed with balanced nutritional ideal for hamsters, pellets are some of the best food you can give them. By feeding them pellets, a hamster doesn’t get to pick and choose so they are getting a bit of everything. A particularly fussy eater might turn their tiny nose up at pelleted food after a while if it starts to get a bit repetitive so it can be good to mix it up.
Although they are tiny, and their stomachs even smaller, hamsters can be picky eaters so don’t be surprised if they leave some fo the food mix behind that they find less inviting. However, it can be nice for them to pick and choose although if you want them to get a balanced diet, don’t top it up until they have finished the bowl. Switch between this and pellets from time to time.
What Food Should A Hamster Avoid?
If you are looking to give your tiny pet something different now and then, check that it is safe for them to consume first. Some of the most common foods to avoid passing through the cage include apple seeds, garlic, chocolate or sugary food, raw potatoes, citrus fruits, and junk food in general to name a few. If you are unsure, it is best to check before feeding a hamster what you have left on your plate.
Other Ways To Take Good Care Of A Hamster
Make Sure They Have Space
There is no such thing as a cage too big for a hamster but the opposite is not a good idea. You might be limited for side space but you can buy multi-level cages so they have room to explore. Anything of 24 x 12 inches is a good starting point but where you can purchase something bigger, it is better. Syrian hamsters might be small but they like to run so they need the toom to stay active. Give them room to climb as well and make sure the height of the cage is tall.
Give Them Things To Play With
A hamster wheel feels like an obvious place to start but they are a great way of allowing them to stretch their legs and save a little space. Other toys like tubes can be fun and multiple levels with different activities keep both their minds and bodies active. Toilet roll tubes can be put to good use ina hamster cage as they can squeeze through or chew them.
Clean Their Cage Regularly
This is a good time to try out their hamster ball but can also allow them to live hygienically as you kill bacteria which can cause illness. Although a hamster will usually have a designated area to relieve themselves, things can get messy before too long so giving their cage a proper clean with fresh sawdust and bedding is a good idea. Also, it will make the area smell a lot better.
Their toilet area will require daily cleaning and their bedding will need to be replaced weekly as a minimum.
Pick A Quality Bedding
This is all down to the material but hamsters love to burrow so make sure they have plenty of it. Cedar shavings are commonly available but might irritate so they could be one to avoid depending on how your hamster reacts. Paper fibers are among the better options as they feel soft but are free from. dust and kind on the skin.
Careful Placement Of The Cage
One of the major mistakes first-time hamster owners make is in the placement of the cage. These tiny critters need to be kept out of the sun and certainly not on a radiator or a cold floor. As long as they are safe from an area where their cage can be knocked off and are kept at a sensible temperature, you should be fine.
Top Up Their Water
Not only this, make sure the hamster has easy access to the water so it is fixed onto the side of the cage properly. Also, when it comes to cleaning, rinse the container and all parts so that bacteria doesn’t grow, do this weekly.
A new hamster will be understated nervous around their owner at first so to make sure you become famous friends, take your time and don’t overdo your interaction. After carefully lifting them from the cage, hold them in your hands for a short time before returning him gently. They can be keen jumpers but make sure they don’t from too great a height or they could seriously injure themselves. Be sure to do this every day, increasing the amount of time you hold him.
Although they are famed biters, they are less likely to do so if you don’t lift them as they sleep or handle them after touching other pets.