What can I feed my hamster if I run out of food? 


What to feed your hamster when you have run out of food

Sometimes life gets in the way and with all the best intentions you’ve run out of pet food. Like I just have, and it got me thinking.  

What can I feed my hamster if I run out of food? Can she last a couple of days on something else? 

What can I feed my hamster if I run out of food? 

Hamsters are Omnivores and can live on a variety of foods which we also eat. Good examples are broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, whole grain bread, sunflower seeds, boiled potatoes, bananas, strawberries and apples. You can also give it crickets or mealworms and seeds and nuts (not almonds). While it isn’t recommended to feed your hamster this for a long period of time, it is OK as an emergency meal until you have replaced your hamster’s normal food. 

How long can your hamster last until you replace their normal food?

While it really is better to stick to a feeding schedule in which hamster pellets are the main staple food and other foods are added to this, your hamster will be fine on other foods for 3-4 days.  

However, you will need to make their diet as diverse as you can in this period to ensure high vitamins for your little pet.  

So, in a perfect world, you don’t run out of hamster food. In a nearly perfect world, you buy new food as soon as you run out. And in a normal world where lots of other things take up our time, our little hamster can sometimes be overlooked and run out of food. Focus on vegetables and seeds and if you can, mealworms or crickets. While fruit is good, hamsters can’t have too much sugar, and dwarf hamsters in particular, are prone to diabetes and health issues related to sugar. So only very small amounts of fruit are recommended. 

Do hamsters get an upset stomach because you change your hamster’s normal food?  

It is a good idea to give your hamster ‘human food’ as part of their everyday diet. And if you do so, the transition when you run out of food is actually not that big. Stick to variety where you offer grains, seeds and vegetables mainly. Smaller amounts of fruit can be offered as well. Remember to buy their normal hamster food as soon as you can.  

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What that at best foods to feed your hamster? 

In short, its best to feed your hamster dry food, fresh fruit and vegetables and some protein. It is best to stick to store bought pellet food specifically for hamsters. All the important vitamins and minerals will be in this food to ensure your hamster stays as healthy as possible.  

You can then add some small treats to this like vegetables, grains, seeds or fruit. 

A list of good foods for hamsters are: 

  • Broccoli 
  • Romain lettuce 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Dandelion leaves 
  • Clover 
  • Spinach 
  • Artichokes 
  • Carrots 
  • Watercress 
  • peas 
  • Bok choy 
  • Sprouts 
  • Pears 
  • Peanut butter 
  • Banana 
  • Strawberry 
  • apple 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds  
  • Boiled egg 
  • sweetcorn 

Can you give your hamster fruit? 

Yes, you can give your hamster fruit in small amounts in addition to their normal pellet food. Because of the high sugar content in fruit, it’s important to only give very small amounts at a time. You will need to remove your hamsters food store at least once a week as rotting fruit will create dangerous bacteria which can make your hamster ill. Fruits hamsters particularly like are bananas, strawberries, pears and apples (but don’t give the seeds of the apple). 

Which vegetables are good for your hamster? 

Green vegetables are really good for hamsters and are great addition to store bought pellet food. You can offer broccoli, romaine lettuce leaves, carrots and carrot tops, spinach or garden grown dandelion or clover. Other vegetables you can offer your hamster could be artichokes, chicory, cauliflower, spinach and peas. 

 Which foods are dangerous for your hamster? 

There are some foods which are just really not good for your hamster. They need a good balanced diet with vitamins and minerals. If you start messing with their diet, they might become imbalanced and in turn become ill.  

Certain foods will also make them ill.  

Here is a list of foods which you shouldn’t give your hamster, not even when you have run out of hamster food. 

  • Onions 
  • Garlic 
  • Celery 
  • Chives 
  • Leeks 
  • Raw potatoes 
  • Almonds 
  • Chips 
  • Avocado’s 
  • Uncooked beans 
  • Apple seeds 
  • Grapes or raisins 
  • Sugar 
  • Chocolate 
  • High fatty foods 
  • Caffeine 
  • Alcohol 

This list is not exclusive and if you’re not sure, it’s always best not to offer the food to your hamster. 

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Can you give your hamster homemade food? 

The good thing with homemade hamster food is that in theory you never run out as you can always make more. There are many reasons why you might like to give your hamster homemade food rather than store bought pellets. While most vets will recommend dried pellets from the shop, there is no reason why you can’t create your own hamster food. The dry pellets have been tested for vitamins and minerals, and this is why they are recommended by veterinarians as the best food for your hamster. 

Some hamster owners would like to know what they feed their hamster and prefer to make their own food rather than pellets which don’t actually look like food. The main thing will be to make sure the food you make is varied and contains all the vitamins and nutrients your hamster needs to be healthy and happy. 

How do you make homemade hamster food? 

The main food groups your hamster needs are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. 

The basis of your homemade hamster food should be dried food. This can be nuts, seeds, grains, dried corn, peas, and dried fruit. As hamsters are omnivores, you can add mealworms and crickets as well. Added to this are fresh vegetables and fruit.  

Pesticides are really bad for hamsters so either wash the vegetables vigorously or go organic. 

Make sure you don’t add any foods which contain salt or sugar either as they can make your hamster ill. 

Homemade hamster food is brilliant to feed your hamster if you run out of food. You might even find that you’ll stick to homemade food for your hamster once you try it! 

What can I feed my dwarf hamster if I run out of food? 

Dwarf hamsters love green vegetables like romaine lettuce, carrot tops, broccoli and spinach. If you have dandelions in the neighborhood, your hamster will love these too. Otherwise, you can offer unsalted seeds, though really sparingly, or grains. If you have fruits like banana or strawberries, then you can give tiny amounts too, however due to the sugar content, this should not be the main replacement for the missed meal, more like a little dessert. 

What to feed a hamster if you run out of food 

You probably feed your hamster treats like vegetables, fruit and seeds. If you don’t have any food for your hamster, you can give her these until you have replaced the normal hamster food. It is advised that the staple of your hamsters meal is high quality commercial pellet as all the vitamins and minerals a hamster needs are included in it, therefore it’s important to keep stock of your hamster food so you don’t run out too often or for too long. 

What human food can a hamster eat? 

Hamsters can eat most vegetables, grains and seeds which humans also eat. It’s important to only give food without sugar or salt added. Hamsters can have small amounts of fruit as well. If your cupboards are bare your hamster will also like low sugar cereals and old bread. 

Can hamsters survive without food? 

No, a hamster cannot survive without food. If you don’t give your hamster access to food it will die within 4 days, but probably sooner. It’s cruel and illegal to let a hamster die by not feeding it. Causing serious harm to a living mammal is a federal crime since 2019. 

How Long Can an Escaped Hamster Survive?  

You will need to find an escaped hamster as quickly as you can. They are unlikely to survive more than 3-5 days. Read more about escaped hamsters here.

How long can hamsters go without food? 

Hamsters can go without food for about 2-3 days. But even though they can survive without food, your hamster will be suffering. So, it’s best to make sure your hamster is well fed and never without food for too long. If you run out of hamster food it’s better to give some human food like vegetables, seeds, bread or cereal, rather than not giving any food at all.  

What to do if you run out of Hamster Food? 

Most importantly, don’t panic! If you run out of food for your hamster, have a look what you have in your fridge and cupboards. Good sources of food for your hamster are vegetables and seeds. You can also give dried out bread, cereal or crackers. Just don’t give anything with sugar or salt and your hamster will be ok until you replace the normal hamster food your hamster is used to. 

Did I starve my hamster to death? 

It is possible to starve your hamster to death if you don’t feed it often enough. There is a common misconception that hamsters can last without food for over a week or longer. This is NOT the case. Hamsters can die from starvation within 4 days, sometimes even earlier especially if they are being fed small amounts at a time. So, if you have left your hamster without food for 3 days or more, there is a chance you starved your hamster to death. 

How long does it take for a hamster to starve to death? 

It will normally take less then 4 days for a hamster to starve to death, often shorter than that. If you feed your hamster a couple of teaspoons of food per feeding, they will not have any reserves and die quicker. If your hamster has some reserves, it can last longer. But overall, without access to food, expect your hamster to die in 3 to 4 days tops. 

Do hamsters stop eating before they die? 

Yes, many hamsters stop eating before they die, and if you have an older hamster this is often the first signal that your hamster will be leaving you soon. 

What causes a hamster to stop eating? 

There are several reasons why a hamster stops eating for example; 

  •  Your hamster is sick 
  • Your hamster is injured 
  • Your hamster is stressed 
  • Your hamster is bored with its food 
  • You have started giving new food which your hamster doesn’t like 
  • Your hamster is not used to its new home yet and is too nervous to eat 
  • Your hamster is dying 

Check if your hamster is really not eating before you take him to the vet. It could be that your hamster is eating but you are not aware of it. It could be eating from its food store, or it could be eating at night or when you are not around. Check for hamster droppings in the cage. If you find some, your hamster is eating. If you don’t find any then change food. If it doesn’t improve, you’ll need to take your hamster to the vet. 

Conclusion: 

What can I feed my hamster if I run out of food? Luckily you can feed your hamster lots of human foods so there will always be something in your kitchen your hamster will like, especially:  

  • Grains, seeds and nuts 
  • Vegetables 
  • Fruit 

Look out for food which can harm your hamster and make it sick. If in doubt, do not give the food to your hamster. Stick to safe foods and give the food in small amounts.  

Remember no salt, sugar, alcohol or caffeine and organic is best. If that’s not an option, wash the food well.  

If you are scared to run out of food for your hamster, you can make homemade hamster food instead. Just stick to the right foods and quantities to make sure your hamster gets all the vitamins and mineral needed.  

Remember that hamsters are not vegetarian, but are indeed omnivores, meaning they eat all kinds of food including insects. This means mealworms and crickets are a real treat for your hamster. 

Lastly, don’t leave your hamster without food, not even when you run out as hamsters starve to death much faster than most people realize. And besides that, you don’t want your hamster friend to go hungry, right? 


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