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Best Hamster Foods 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove

hamster eating up close

One of the most important things you’ll need to do when caring for a hamster is to select the right hamster food.

Despite being rodents, hamsters need to follow a very strict diet and nutrition schedule. Failure to do so can lead to illnesses such as GI infections, diabetes, or worse — death.

Hamsters are omnivores and require a delicate balance of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and protein. The real challenge is ensuring you get the proportions right for their little bodies. Too much of any one element can lead to a bevy of complications.

Fortunately, you won’t have to handcraft your hamster’s diet. There are plenty of suitable hamster foods available for purchase that have taken these rodents’ dietary needs into careful account.

But with so many options to choose from, how can you know which is the best food for your hamster? It can be a pretty tough choice between so many different options. However, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of reviews for the best hamster foods. You’re sure to find the best choice for you and your hamster here.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food
  • Hamster-specific food mix
  • No artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives
  • Made with real all-natural ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food
  • Cheap and bulk buy options are available
  • Provides omega-3 fatty acids
  • Hamster-specific food
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Oxbow Garden Select Hamster Food Oxbow Garden Select Hamster Food
  • Non-GMO
  • Complete and balanced mix
  • Has yellow peas, carrots, banana, and spinach
  • Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster Food Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster Food
  • Assorted hays and grains help to maintain hamster digestive health
  • Fortified with extra essential vitamins
  • Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Hamster Food Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Hamster Food
  • Full of variety
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • The 10 Best Hamster Foods – Reviews 2021

    1. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food – Best Overall

    1Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Gerbil & Hamster Food

    When it comes to taking care of your hamster’s nutrition, we trust Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food to do the trick.

    It tops our list for a few reasons. First, it’s an all plant-based food blend full of assorted flaked fruits and veggies, seeds, hay, and pre-cooked legumes. This provides healthy DHA omega-3 fatty acids that your hamster needs to maintain tip-top health.

    Second, there are no artificial preservatives or flavors. That way you can feel confident giving this food to your hamster daily. Also, there’s a good textural mix between pellets and seed mixture to ensure that your hamster stays engaged. Hamsters can be extremely picky eaters, and this mix seems to target and eliminate that issue.

    And lastly, this mix is affordable. It comes in a 2.5-pound bag that will last a single hamster a very long time.

    Pros
    • Hamster-specific food mix
    • Made with real all-natural ingredients
    • No artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives
    • Flaked veggies and fruits designed for hamster hands and mouths
    • Full of plant-based DHA omega-3 fatty acids
    • Affordable

    Cons

    • Some bags have too many seeds


    2. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food – Best Value

    2Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Gerbil & Hamster Food

    If you’re looking for the best hamster food for the money, you’ll find it with Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food. You can buy a single 3-pound bag for cheaper than most other food mixes at less weight. Or you can buy in bulk if you’re raising a large number of hamsters with their 25-pound bag option.

    This hamster food also provides great nutrition for your little furballs. The food is fortified with healthy omega-3 fatty acids to promote good brain, heart, and eye health. Each component within the bag has an easy-to-eat texture for all hamsters as well.

    Pros
    • Cheap and bulk buy options are available
    • Provides omega-3 fatty acids
    • Hamster-specific food

    Cons

    • Has artificial food coloring


    3. Oxbow Garden Select Hamster Food – Premium Choice

    3Oxbow Garden Select Gerbil & Hamster Food

    Your hamsters deserve the best you can give them. So, it doesn’t hurt to provide them with a premium option every now and then. That’s when we turn to Oxbow Garden Select Hamster Food.

    It’s specially formulated hamster food that gives your little guys a completed, balanced meal. Each flavor is picked in order to simulate a natural foraging environment. It’s non-GMO certified and fully developed in the United States.

    However, there’s a couple of reasons this food is only for special occasions.

    First, it’s expensive. A 1.5-pound bag costs more than our top pick which comes in a 2.5-pound bag. And secondly, its number one ingredient is Timothy hay. Timothy hay is more of a filler ingredient. And for the price point, we believe that there should be less filler.

    Pros
    • Non-GMO
    • Has yellow peas, carrots, banana, and spinach
    • Complete and balanced mix

    Cons

    • Too much filler
    • Expensive


    4. Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Hamster Food

    5Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Gerbil & Hamster Food

    This is our second selection from Oxbow on this list. This food has been crafted to mirror a hamster’s diet out in the wild. It’s a blend of Timothy hay, oats, and barley to help maintain a hamster’s proper nutrition and digestive function.

    It’s also been fortified with vitamins C, A, and B-12 to boost your hamster’s immune system.

    While this mix is pretty good, we found it to be just a bit lacking. It’s primarily made up of Timothy hay like the other Oxbow on this list. However, the Healthy Handfuls blend doesn’t incorporate the extra premium ingredients along with it.

    Pros
    • Assorted hays and grains help to maintain hamster digestive health
    • Fortified with extra essential vitamins

    Cons

    • Number one ingredient is Timothy hay
    • Needs supplementing to ensure proper nutrition


    5. Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Hamster Food

    4Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Gerbil & Hamster Food

    If you have a picky hamster, this might be the best option for you. Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet hamster food is chock full of variety that will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Hamsters enjoy variety in their diets in the wild. And that fact carries over into domestication.

    This particular blend contains sunflowers seeds, peanuts, bananas, corn, and much more. It’s all naturally preserved and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids hamsters need for healthy heart and brain function.

    However, this exciting blend isn’t necessarily hamster-specific. This is more of a good general mix for all rodents.

    Pros
    • Full of variety
    • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids

    Cons

    • Food blend only varies slightly from rat food


    6. Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Food

    Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Food

    Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Food is another great place to turn if your hamster is a picky eater. It’s got a very wide variety of different components to its blend. This includes dried maize, peanuts, seeds, peas, and pumpkin.

    It’s also good for diabetic hamsters as there’s no added sugar. Obese hamsters can also take advantage of this.

    However, this particular blend needs a little help in the nutrition department. You’ll need to supplement this food with protein blocks in order to ensure your hamster gets everything they need.

    Pros
    • Great variety for picky eaters
    • No added sugars

    Cons

    • Lacking in nutrition


    7. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Food & Treat Hamster Food

    6Brown's Tropical Carnival Gerbil & Hamster Food

    As far as your hamster is concerned, this may be the most delicious food on this list. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Food & Treat is advertised as an all-in-one combo with all the essential vitamins and minerals needed. And while this is sure to tantalize almost any hamster, it is more of a treat than real food.

    This blend has some added beneficial bacteria to help support proper digestion along with vitamins and nutrients to make this healthier than other treats. However, you may be turned off by the use of artificial coloring agents and dyes used in this mix.

    Pros
    • Great for picky eaters
    • Lots of variety

    Cons

    • More treat than food
    • Uses artificial dyes


    8. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Natural Fortified Daily Hamster Food

    Brown's Tropical Carnival Gourmet Gerbil & Hamster Food

    Brown’s Tropical Carnival Natural Fortified hamster food is a pretty decent option for your little furballs. Unlike the previous Brown’s entry on this list, it’s more food than a treat. And it doesn’t contain any filler seeds or hay.

    Instead, the mix contains ZOO-Vital biscuits that have been crafted with natural antioxidants and nutrients. And it doesn’t contain any artificial dyes or flavors.

    However, there is a huge amount of sunflower seeds in this blend. Sunflower seeds are high in fat and can be attributed to hamster obesity.

    Pros
    • Fortified food blend
    • ZOO-Vital biscuits with antioxidants

    Cons

    • High in fat


    9. Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete Nutrition Hamster Food

    Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete Nutrition Natural Foraging Blend Hamster Food

    Vitakraft VitaSmart Complete Nutrition isn’t necessarily the most attractive or interesting hamster food. It’s a more generic blend that might not appeal to picky eaters. However, it has plenty of great fiber that your hamster needs.

    The real issue with this hamster food is a large lack of protein. You must supplement this food with lab blocks in order for your hamster to receive the proper nutrition.

    Pros
    • Lots of fiber

    Cons

    • Not good for picky eaters
    • Large lack of protein


    10. Kaytee Food From the Wild Hamster Food

    Kaytee Food From the Wild Hamster Food

    This is a hamster food that claims to be inspired by a hamster’s ancestral feeding habits. Kaytee’s Food from the Wild blend is said to feature hand-selected rose petals, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, and more. And the price tag agrees — it’s a relatively expensive hamster food.

    That’s why it’s so disappointing to see that it’s mostly dusty pellets. There’s very little variety in shape, color, or ingredient in this mix.

    Also, in an attempt to keep things “all-natural”, there’s too little protein and too much fiber. But on the other hand, there are no added sugars, which could make this a suitable food for diabetic hamsters.

    Pros
    • Good for diabetics

    Cons

    • No variety
    • Not enough protein
    • Too much fiber
    • Expensive

    divider-hamster


    Buyer’s Guide

    Hamsters can be super tricky creatures to buy food for. You’d think that, being rodents, they would eat just about anything. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

    They can be extremely picky eaters. If something isn’t shaped just right or tastes a bit off, your hamster will outright ignore their food. And some will do this to the point of starvation. Other hamsters will throw their food around if they don’t like it.

    So, how do you know which food they’ll really enjoy? It’s tough to pinpoint exactly the right sustenance for your hamster, as each and every one is different. But let’s take a look at some of the different types available and what makes up a good hamster food.

    Different Types of Hamster Food

    There are two primary types of hamster food you should be aware of when shopping around.

    Hamster Pellets

    Pellets are a pretty standard option when it comes to feeding your hamsters. They’re preformed to fit comfortably in your hamster’s hands and textured to entice eating. However, they lack the variety that many hamsters crave. This could turn hamsters off from eating them. But pellets can be your best bet for ensuring your hamster gets all of their daily nutrition. Because they are a single pellet, there is no chance for hamsters to pick and choose certain food mix components. And that means they’re guaranteed to get the intake they need.

    Seed Mix

    These can be great options for more selective eaters. They often provide a wide variety of seeds, nuts, hays, and other nibbles for your hamster to enjoy. There’s bound to be at least one component of seed mix your little fella will take to.

    But that’s the problem with seed mixes. When eaten in its entirety, seed mixes can provide great nutrients to your hamster. However, if your hamster only picks through and eats certain components, they will not receive the proper intake. As a matter of fact, they may eat too much or too little of particular dietary requirements. For example, your hamster may overload on fats, but not fulfill their protein intake requirements.

    hamster eating commercial food
    Image Credit: Frenjamin Benklin, Unsplash

    What To Look For In A Hamster Food?

    What makes a good hamster food great? Well, there are several factors that you should be on the lookout for when shopping for your next hamster food.

    Protein

    This is the primary factor you need to look out for when selecting food for your hamster. And it’s also the most likely determinant in whether your hamster will actually eat. Hamsters need at least 16-17% protein in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle. But there’s a problem — hamsters are more likely to reject higher protein food, so you have to find a way to sneak it into their diet.

    Fat

    Hamsters also need a little bit of fat in their diets. If proteins are the hardest to get your hamster to eat, these will generally be the easiest. Fat can be found within nuts and seeds that your hamster is more likely to gravitate towards. Try to make sure that their intake is limited. Obesity in hamsters can lead to health problems.

    Fiber

    In order to help keep your hamster’s gut health in check, they’re going to need a healthy amount of fiber. This is particularly important for older hamsters. Fiber is commonly eaten in the form of hay, alfalfa, or oats.

    hamster
    Image Credit: Cindy Parks, Pixabay

    Salt

    You may think that hamsters need to minimize their salt intake. However, it’s absolutely crucial that they have a daily salt intake. Salt actually helps your hamster retain water, so you should find a food that has salt in it. If you opt for salt-free food, you need to equip your hamster’s cage with a salt lick to help them stay healthy.

    Sugar

    Hamsters are actually prone to diabetes, with some breeds being more susceptible than others. That’s why you need to be careful in regulating their sugar intake. The biggest culprit of sugar is fruit. Fruit is generally regarded as healthy, but you need to make sure that it’s only given to your hamster in moderation.

    Variety

    In the wild, hamsters thrive on many different types of food. They’re omnivores, which means they’ll eat both plants and meat. Most hamsters enjoy having a large variety when they eat. It’s reminiscent of how they forage in nature. Choosing a hamster food with good variety may encourage your hamster to eat more than blends with little to no variation.

    divider-hamster

    Conclusion

    Hopefully, we’ve been able to give you a little insight into what type of food is best for your furry friend. Our top overall pick, Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Hamster Food, stands to give the most to your hamster, while the Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster Food is the best value for your money.

    But there’s no guarantee that your hamster will like either of them. That’s part of the joy of owning a hamster. They each have their very own temperaments and personalities. The tricky part comes when you’re trying to balance their proper nutrition with their individual tastes.

    Use these reviews and buyer’s guide as a starting point for locating that perfect match. Finding the right food for your hamster can be a lot of trial and error. But by understanding your hamster’s personality, you may be able to make quick work of locating the best hamster food for your little munchkin.


    Featured Image Credit: justus_joseph, Pixabay

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.