Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.


A Staple Diet

      Hamsters are omnivores though specifically they are mainly grainivorus. In the wild they will eat grains, seeds, nuts, green plants parts, shoot, roots, insects and fruit. Hamsters should be fed a diet that meets their nutritional requirements; an inadequate diet can lead to health problems later down the road. It is vital that your hamster is fed a mix specifically designed for hamsters. Some good brands include Harry/Hazel Hamster mix, Burgess Supahamster Harvest (they have both a Syrian and a Dwarf mix) and Care Fresh Complete brand mix. [Carefresh Complete: Warning!]  Seed mixes are full of fattening foods that need to be limited. Foods such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and peanuts need to be picked out and given sparingly. Hamsters should only have 4-6 sunflower seeds a day and peanuts and pumpkin seeds can be used as treats, a couple of times a week. It doesn't take long to pick these foods out of the seed mix as you feed your hamster. Keep in mind not to simply dump these foods they are still part of the mix and they need to be fed over time. I've found that with the Hazel/Harry Hamster mix that they do not overload the mix with such fattening foods and so I no longer pick any of these foods from my mix. Lab blocks can also be used in place of a seed mix; some good brands include Living World's Hamster Extrusion Blocks, Mazuri Lab Blocks, Oxbow and Harlan Teklad Lab blocks. If it's possible for you, then using both a seed mix as well as a couple of lab blocks daily is giving the hamster the best of both worlds. Seed mixes or lab blocks are the staple diet and they should be given some each day. A couple of teaspoons of seed mix or three or so lab blocks a day is plenty. Many also recommend mixing in some bird seed mix as well (one with just seeds, not anything such as pellets or ingredients intended solely for birds). It is also recommended, especially for roborovski dwarf hamsters, that some freeze fried insects (such as meal worms) are added to the mix in order to provide an appropriate level of protein. 

Fresh Foods

     Hamsters should also be given a variety of fresh foods including fruits, vegetables, meats and other foods. I try to give some sort of fresh food every day; whether it's some sort of vegetable, some plain cooked chicken or some plain yogurt. New hamsters should be weaned onto this diet, too many fresh fruits and vegetables can cause diarrhea and too many new foods at once can cause an upset stomach. Each hamster will have different tastes and not all will like the same thing, experiment with different foods to see what your hamster enjoys. Also keep in mind that fresh foods aren't an optional treat, they are a requirement for a hamster's nutrition so don't skip on it!
Here is a list of good foods for your hamster to try as well as bad foods you should avoid:

Safe Food ListSafe Food List ContinuedUnsafe Food List
Apple (seedless)
Baked/Steamed, unseasoned Turkey/Chicken
Bean Sprouts
Bok Choy
Brussel Sprouts
Baby Food (no onion, garlic, or preservatives)
Bran or Wheat Germ
Brown rice (cooked, plain)
Cabbage (in small amounts)
Cooked, unseasoned ground beef (lean)
Cottage Cheese
Crickets (from pet store only)
Cereals (low sugar)
Dandelion flowers and leaves
Dog Biscuits (with no onion/garlic ingredients)
Eggs (boiled, scrambled, plain)
Flax seeds
Grasshoppers (from pet store only)
Green Beans
Green Pepper
Honey Dew Melon
Mealworms (from pet store only)
Orange Pepper
Oatmeal (cooked or dry; in soy milk or water; not instant)
Potatoes (cooked)
Pasta (cooked, plain)
Peaches (no pit)
Plums (no pit)
Peanuts (plain)
Popcorn (plain)
Pumpkin seeds
Red Pepper
Romaine Lettuce
Sesame seeds
Soybeans (roasted, salt-free)
Squash Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss chard
Sweet Almonds (not bitter)
Star Fruit
Tofu (plain)
Toast (whole wheat)
Water Chestnuts
Water Cress
Yellow Pepper
Yogurt (plain)
Buttercups (flower)
Chocolate (toxic)
Onion (possibly toxic in some animals)
Garlic (possibly toxic in some animals)
Peanut Butter (can get stuck in pouches)
Sandwich meats (contain too much salt, high nitrates)
Apple Seeds
Canned foods and other processed foods
Candy/ Junk Foods
Potatoes (raw)
Kidney Beans
Fool’s Parsley
Grape Seeds
Raw Rhubarb
Tomato leaves
Citrus fruits (including orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc)
Fruit pits/ most fruit seeds
Bitter Almonds (contain cyanide in the peel)
Campbell Early grapes & Kyoho grapes (due to high concentration of acidity)
Greens from a mustard plant
Mustard seeds

Dwarf/ Diabetic Diet

      If your hamster has diabetes or if you have a Russian Campbell, Winter White, Chinese hamster or hybrid dwarf than he or she will need a special diet. These species of dwarfs are highly prone to Type2 Diabetes. They can be tested using Urine Test strips at your local pharmacy and they should be checked every few months. I like to play it safe and keep all of my hamsters of this species on a strict diet. This diet means that they cannot have corn, carrots, sweat potatoes, fruits or any store bought treats. These foods are high in sugar. Most hamsters that do have diabetes can be just fine with this strict diet. If you want to learn more about diabetes in hamsters and their diet please click here: Diabetes in Hamsters.

A few Extra Tips

* If you find bugs in your hamsters food then it best to throw away the food and replace it. Storing the food in the freezer prior to using it will kill any insects and parasites.

* If you see your hamster eating it's feces, don't panic this is normal. Hamsters have a different digestive system than humans. Hamsters produce two types of excrement -- one that's partially digested containing lots of nutrients, and one that is just waste. Hamsters practice coprophagy, eating the nutrient-filled feces to get the nutrients from it that was missed on the first round. In my experience as long as they are kept on a healthy diet, they don't do this very often.

* If you are unsure of what brand of food to use then try checking the Health Information, for example you need a food with the fat content to be at least 4-5% and the protein must be about 16%.

* Avoid foods with the preservative Ethoxyquin as it is known to cause cancer. This is not believed by all though it is no longer aloud to be used for human consumption in the US. Technically it is more the build up ethoxyquin over time but one can never be too careful.

* When introducing new foods, take it slow and only give small portions. Not all hamsters like everything that you will offer them so keep an open mind and make sure that there is plenty of variety.

* Hamsters are omnivores and in the wild they eat insects. So feeling brave? The why not grab a cricket or a meal worm from the pet store and let your ham hunt for his tasty and nutritious snack. But do not feed any insects found outside or around the home as they may have traces of chemicals or something that can harm your hamster.