Hamster Diet: What can Syrian hamsters eat?

syrian hamsters

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Are you curious about the hamster diet and food preferences? If you have a Syrian hamster, you might be asking What can Syrian hamsters eat? Those cute little hamsters will eat anything, however, not all foods are suitable for Syrian hamsters.

In this article, we will cover what Syrian hamsters should and shouldn’t eat and how to provide them with the best diet possible.

Hamster Diet: What can Syrian hamsters eat? 1

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Syrian Hamster Diet

Wild hamsters simply eat whatever types of seeds, grains, grasses, and bugs are available in the area they live in. Hamsters are omnivores so they eat both meat and vegetation much the way that people do. And, since domesticated hamsters are closely related to their wild cousins, their diet is similar. 

What is a Syrian hamster diet?

Your hamster should eat a pelleted hamster mix that is specially made for their dietary needs. Look for one that does not have artificial colors as that won’t be as good for them. 

Hamsters also enjoy eating fruits and vegetables as treats. But, the majority of their diet should be a pelleted hamster mix. It’s important that you not overfeed your pet hamster.

You may notice that their cheeks are stuffed full off food while they are eating. But, it’s important to know that they don’t eat everything they put in their cheeks.

They hide some of the food under their bedding to eat in the future.

How much should you feed your hamster?

Experts recommend that your Syrian hamster eat a hamster diet of about 1/8 cup of pelleted hamster food per day. This is for a standard-sized Syrian or teddy bear hamster.

Of course, each hamster has a different appetite and different metabolism. So, it’s important to monitor what they eat to be sure you aren’t over or underfeeding them.

What food we recommend

We find Oxbow Essentials Hamster and gerbil food is really liked by our Syrian Hamsters. Here is a link to Amazon.com where you can purchase it online and have fast delivery to your door.

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Product Description

While hamsters and gerbils love seeds and fruits, they can be high in calories and low in nutritional quality. Consuming too much of these foods can cause finicky eating patterns and obesity.

Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster & Gerbil Food is a complete diet balanced with nutrients that help maintain proper nutrition, weight, digestive function and dental health.

It contains a blend of timothy hay, oats and barley to provide vital nutrients that support daily function and performance in hamsters and gerbils.

Key Benefits

  • Specially formulated to mirror a hamster/gerbils diet. This will ensure that your pet lives a healthy lifestyle. Completely balanced and nutritious.
  • Fortified with stabilized Vitamin C, A and B12. This helps ensure that your pet’s health and immunity system are in tip-top shape.
  • Includes high-fiber Timothy hay meal that promotes healthy gastrointestinal health. Keep your pet’s health at optimal level.
  • Hamsters and gerbils are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plant material.
  • This product uses farm-fresh timothy hay to provide the fiber content necessary to maintain intestinal health and prevent digestive upset.


What time should I feed my Syrian hamster?

The time of day you feed your hamster doesn’t really matter. Hamsters will eat the food when they’re hungry. And, it will hide food around the cage to snack on throughout the day. 

While you can leave some pelleted hamster diet mix in their bowl, it’s important that you not leave any food that might rot. Any uneaten fruits and vegetables should be promptly removed from their cage.

How should I introduce a new food to my hamster?

If you’re not sure what your Syrian hamster will eat besides the traditional hamster diet, start out slowly. Offer only one new type of food at a time.

And, be sure to offer them only a very small piece. This way, if your hamster doesn’t like the food, you haven’t wasted it.

And, if it upsets their stomach or causes diarrhea, you won’t have given them a large amount. 

As long as your hamster likes the small test piece and it doesn’t make them sick, you can offer them a larger piece next time.

While these are foods that many Syrian hamsters enjoy eating, every hamster has its own dietary preferences. So, yours may not like something that another hamster likes.


What can Syrian hamsters not eat?

Here are just a few things that your Syrian hamster should not eat.

  • The leafy part of the tomato
  • Chocolate or candy
  • Potato chips or other junk food
  • Uncooked beans, potatoes
  • Onions, garlic, peppers
  • Almonds
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apple seeds
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Rhubarb or rhubarb leaves

So, what can Syrian hamsters eat besides hamster mix? As I mentioned above, Syrian hamsters can have fresh fruits and vegetables cut in tiny cubes as a treat.

While they enjoy a variety of different types of fruits and veggies, it’s important to watch the sugar content when you give them these.

Here are answers to common questions about what can Syrian hamsters eat.

Can hamsters eat bread?

While hamsters can eat very small amounts of brown bread, they should not eat white bread. Bread is not good for them and white bread is the least healthy option. This should only be offered to them rarely, if at all.

You should not feed them things like cookies, crackers, cakes and other baked goods or snack foods. These are very high in fat, salt, and sugar. And, they would not be part of a wild hamster’s diet.

If you’re wondering what to try first, keep their diet as close to their wild cousin’s diet as possible.


Can hamsters eat carrots and other vegetables?

If you’re asking what can Syrian hamsters eat, you might be wondering about carrots. Carrots can be a wonderful treat for your hamster because it is good to gnaw on.

Plus, it is a tasty treat that is high in fiber. Rather than giving them a huge chunk, cut the carrot in smaller cubes or offer a baby carrot for them to chew on.

They may also enjoy vegetables like cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, peas, and even dandelion greens. 

Remember that carrots and other vegetables do contain small amounts of sugar. And, any fruit or vegetable should only be used as an occasional treat.

You should not offer them treats every day. A majority of any hamster diet should be a pelleted hamster mix.

cute picture of a hamster

Can a hamster eat banana and other fruits?

Yes, bananas are a great choice for any hamster including Syrian hamsters. But, because bananas are so sweet, they should only be given a 1/4 teaspoon of banana at one time.

And, you should only feed them banana once or twice a week. While it may look like a tiny amount of food to you, it’s just perfect for a hamster.

Hamsters can also eat grapes, apples, watermelon, pears, peaches, and strawberries. Make sure that you remove any seeds so that your hamster doesn’t choke.

And, you might want to peel the grape and the apple to make it easier for your hamster to eat. If you choose to offer your hamster a grape, make sure that you quarter it before you give it to them.

Syrian hamsters eat a wide variety of fruits as an occasional treat.

Can hamsters eat cheese?

Yes, because hamsters are omnivores, they can eat very mild, low-fat cheeses. Be sure that the cheese is unflavored. Any mild, low-fat cheese will work as well as cottage cheese.

This should only be given to them once every week or two as a treat. And, you should only offer a small cube or curd of cheese.

Do not offer them Blue cheese as this is toxic to hamsters and to other small animals. And, be sure that you offer them real cheese and not processed cheese foods like American cheese or cheese spreads or loaves.

Can hamsters eat meat? 

Because Syrian hamsters are omnivores, their diet would normally include meat in the wild. Wild hamsters would eat insects. And, protein is an important part of any hamster’s diet. 

The closest thing that we can offer our hamsters would be mealworms or crickets. You can purchase freeze-dried crickets that your hamster will enjoy snacking on.

Or, if you’re not too squeamish, you can offer them a live cricket as well. These are very popular options for Syrian and dwarf hamsters.

If you would rather not offer them insects, you can give them other types of meat like beef or chicken. The meat must be well cooked and it must be unseasoned.

That means you cannot add pepper, salt or any type of seasoning when you prepare it.

Another meat option for Syrian hamsters is canned dog food. Again, make sure that it is not seasoned. And, be sure that it does not have any ingredients listed under the foods that hamsters cannot eat section.

Can Syrian hamsters eat milk?

Milk is not toxic to hamsters so technically, they can drink milk. However, it is not good for them. Too much milk can cause diarrhea. And, it can be difficult to feed a hamster milk.

If you leave it in a bowl, there is a risk that the bowl may tip over and make a mess. And, milk and other dairy products go bad quickly.  So, you never want to leave this out for your hamster to enjoy at a later time.

It’s far too likely that it will spoil and make your hamster sick.

The best diet for Syrian hamsters

The best diet for Syrian or other types of hamsters will be a pelleted diet that is specially made for hamsters. If your hamster doesn’t enjoy pellets, you can look for a hamster seed mix instead.

Or, you can often find a hamster diet mix that is a combination of pellets and seeds. 

Treats such as meat, fruits, vegetables, and cheese should only be given occasionally – not more than once a week. This is important because you don’t want your hamster to fill up on treats and not get the nutrition they need from their pellets. 

In Summary: What can Syrian hamsters eat?

If you’re still wondering what can Syrian hamsters eat, here’s the bottom line. Syrian or teddy bear hamsters should eat a diet that is primarily an approved hamster diet pellet mix.

For an occasional treat, you can offer them very small pieces of brown bread, a small cube of many types of fruits or vegetables, a little piece of cheese, or freeze-dried crickets.

Treats should only be offered at the most once a week so that they get adequate nutrition from their pellets.

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