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A typical hamster diet consists of seeds, grains, nuts, vegetables and some fruits.

How much food should I give my hamster?

Once a day feeding is quite fine, preferably in the late afternoon or evening. A small handful of vegetables and a small handful of hamster mix should be enough. The latter can be bought in pet stores. If the hamster does not eat it all and leave something, give it a less amount next day. If everything is eaten, try to give more next day. Prior to that make sure that your little cutie does not hoard in the cage.

Is one kind of food sufficient?

No, food must be various. Even though hamster mixes provide a well-balanced diet based on grains, seeds, and nuts, hamsters need some raw food such as vegetables, both root and green. However, introducing any new food has to be gradual.

What vegetables and fruits can I give my hamster?

Vegetables and fruits commonly used for feeding hamsters are as follows:

Vegetables:
- turnips
- carrot
- chicory
- spinach
- cauliflower (outside leaves and stalk)
- parsley
- cabbage (small amounts only)
- brussels sprouts (small amounts only)
- lettuce (not iceberg lettuce; small amounts only)
- maize
- cucumbers (small amounts only)
- capsicum annuum
- pumpkin
- tomato (small amounts only)
- endive
- paprika

Fruits:
- apple
- pear
- peach
- melon
- berries
- banana

All fruits must be given in pieces and in small amounts. Remember to remove all pits before feeding because they contain the toxic salicylic acid.

Remember that fruits decay rather fast, so do not leave them in the cage for more than one day. In fact, it is better to remove any fresh vegetables and fruits that have left uneaten. Vegetables and fruits that you give your hamster must be raw and well-washed.

Is there any forbidden food?

Yes, rather a lot. Hamsters must never be fed anything sweet, salt, smoked, sour, bitter, fried, or spiced. Also, never give your hamster citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, etc), buttercups, onion, garlic, rabbit mix (it contains antibiotic ingredients), raw kidney beans, potatoes.
Hamsters yonger 2 months old must never be fed apples because of the risk of hydroperitonea.

Special food requirements?

Once a week you can give your hamster food full of proteins such as white bread soaked in milk, boiled chicken without salt and spices, curd cheese (quark), eggs (boiled or scrambled), cooked fish, or yoghurt without any flavours.

Additional vitamins and minerals?

Even though a good diet provides enough vitamins, you can always buy vitamin drops for small animals at your local pet store, if you think that your hamster lacks them. Some hamster owners give their pet a "mineral lick" and salt blocks.

How much time can hamsters be left alone?

If you are going somewhere for more than three days, take your hamster with you, or ask your friend to come and feed it. Less than three days is okay for a hamster to stay alone, provided that you have left it enough food and water.
NOTE: Always check that there is enough fresh water for your hamster to drink (not only when you leave). Remember to fill up the water bottle from time to time.

See also: Dangerous Foods for Hamsters