Dwarf hamsters have slightly different dietary needs than larger hamster species like the Syrian or teddy bear hamster. They have higher metabolisms than larger hamsters and need more protein. But dwarf hamsters are not picky and will eat just about anything they can stuff in their mouths, so it is up to you make sure that the food they are stuffing is as nutritious as possible.

Basic Diet

Pet rodents have teeth that grow continually throughout their lives, so they need access to treats, toys and food that helps wear their teeth down. If the front teeth get too long, the hamster can't eat. Therefore, basic dwarf hamster food should be hard, such as commercial pellets, seeds and washed fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cucumber. Avoid sunflower seeds or pet rodent mixes with sunflower seeds as these are far too high in calories. Also, avoid nuts except as an occasional treat as these are also way too high in calories, although they do help give a quick protein boost to pregnant dwarf hamsters. A mealworm, small bit of cheese or hard boiled egg is also recommended as a weekly treat for dwarf hamsters.

Feeding Habits

Dwarf hamsters will eat the food they find the tastiest. It doesn't take long to fill their small stomachs. They then stash extra food in their cheek pouches and scamper off to bury it for later. If you feed fresh food, be sure to remove it after 24 hours because it will begin to rot. You only need to feed a tablespoon per hamster per day, although your pets may seem to be telling you otherwise by always emptying their dishes. They are just burying most of their food. Be sure to remove these stashes when cleaning their cages or tanks because they may begin to rot or sprout. All hamsters instinctively bury part of their meals for winter or hard times. There is no use explaining to them that with domestication comes a steady supply of chow. Just be prepared to have to throw away some of their diet and treats.

Special Note

Unfortunately, Russian, Chinese and winter white hamsters are prone to getting diabetes. Although there is no cure for diabetes and no way to give insulin injections, the diabetes can be treated with diet given in small meals several times a day and constant access to fresh water. Avoid feeding any commercial hamster food or treats that contain sucrose, corn syrup or any sugars. Also avoid fruits as they may be too high in sugar.

You can learn about the Chinese dwarf hamster, and get more information and resources about hamsters at dwarf hamsters

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