We can thank English naturalist George Robert Waterhouse for bringing hamsters to the attention of the Western World. It inspired zoologist Israel Aharoni to bring the rodents back from their native Syria to become the beloved pet we have today. The history is relevant because it offers clues for the best treats for your animal companion.
Hamsters are omnivores, consuming a wide variety of foods. While you may think of them as strictly seed eaters, they also consume insects and nuts. Therefore, their dietary needs differ from other small animals, such as guinea pigs and chinchillas. Our guide covers what you need to know to provide your hamster with the best treats based on our detailed reviews of our favorite products.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Oxbow Simple Rewards Freeze-Dried Treats||
|Best Value||Vitakraft Bursts Wild Berry Snacks||
|Premium Choice||Kaytee Baked Apple Biscuit Small Animal Treats||
|Vitakraft Crunch Sticks Peanut & Honey||
|Brown's Tropical Carnival Natural Treats||
The 10 Best Hamster Treats
1. Oxbow Simple Rewards Freeze-Dried Treats – Best Overall
|Protein content:||10.5% min|
|Fat content:||2.0% min|
While we picked the Oxbow Simple Rewards Freeze-Dried Strawberry Small Animal Treats as our top pick, the manufacturer produces eight other flavors in 10 sizes. You’re sure to find something your hamster likes. The nutrient content will vary with the form you choose. Timothy hay adds fiber and dental health benefits. It’s our choice for the best overall hamster treats.
The manufacturer is known for its specialized diets. That’s particularly critical for animals with special nutritional needs. It also ensures you’re getting the right treat for your pet. The company goes the extra yard, making any choice from them a good choice.
2. Vitakraft Bursts Wild Berry Snacks – Best Value
|Protein content:||10.0% min|
|Fat content:||3.0% min|
The Vitakraft Bursts Wild Berry Snacks is a tasty treat with a high fiber content to make it a healthier choice. Blueberries and raspberries provide great nutrition. There’s no doubt your hamster will love these treats. However, it’s essential to give your pet no more than five treats. That’s especially true given that corn syrup is the product’s first ingredient. That means it leads to its caloric contribution.
Nevertheless, the treat is an excellent choice because it’s highly palatable. Its affordable price makes it our pick for the best hamster treats for the money. However, it only comes in one size, and it’s small for a hungry hamster.
3. Kaytee Baked Biscuit Small Animal Treats – Premium Choice
|Protein content:||14.0% min|
|Fat content:||7.0% min|
The Kaytee Baked Apple Timothy Biscuit Small Animal Treats start out right with its hay content. It is the best source for optimizing protein and fiber intake. The apple seals the deal. Your hamster will like this snack. The crispiness of the biscuits provides dental health support to help keep a hamster’s teeth trimmed. After all, that is the benefit of giving your pet timothy hay in the first place.
The protein content is high, which is another health benefit for animals that need higher amounts. It can also help prevent obesity by making your hamster feel sated. The treat is more expensive, but the advantages it offers outweigh the added cost.
4. Vitakraft Crunch Sticks Peanut & Honey Hamster Treats
|Protein content:||10.5% min|
|Fat content:||6.0% min|
We have to admit that the sound of the name of the Vitakraft Crunch Sticks Peanut & Honey Chew Sticks Hamster Treats even sounds good to us. It seems like the best of both worlds, with a high protein content that is highly palatable. Your hamster is sure to like this treat. Your pet will get ample protein, along with a lot of fat.
There’s no doubt it comes in a convenient form. The package even includes a clip to attach it to your pet’s cage. Given its fat content, we would hesitate to make it a free-feed treat. We’d rather break it up and control its consumption.
5. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Natural Treats
|Food form:||Seed mixture|
|Protein content:||21% min|
|Fat content:||22.0% min|
Even the name of Brown’s Tropical Carnival Natural Treats promises something tasty. Sunflower, pumpkin, squash, cantaloupe, and watermelon seeds provide a protein-rich treat. They also explain the high fat content of this product. It even exceeds the recommended range. Nevertheless, your hamster will enjoy this product with its seed variety.
The seed content makes the treat good to eat. It also adds to the cost. It’s more expensive than many comparable products. That puts it in the category of a special reward and not an everyday offering.
6. Exotic Nutrition Yogu Drops with Blueberries
|Protein content:||5.6% min|
|Fat content:||18.0% min|
The Exotic Nutrition Critter Selects Yogu Drops with Blueberries will certainly get your hamster’s attention with its good smell and tasty ingredients. You can think of it as candy for small animals. That’s a perfect description since it’s high in fat and relatively low in protein. It is the definition of a treat. Some ingredients are USA-sourced, and the product is packaged stateside.
The palm kernel oil probably accounts for a lot of the fat. We wouldn’t dismiss this treat, but we’d also keep it on the occasional list instead of a regular part of our hamster’s diet.
7. Sweet Meadow Farm Dried Papaya
|Food form:||Dried papaya|
|Protein content:||0.1% min|
The Sweet Meadow Farm Dried Papaya is simply dried fruit. It epitomizes the definition of a treat. It offers some nutritional value without fat and a minimal amount of protein. Your hamster will like its flavor even if it’s not the healthiest of goodies. The feeding instructions are conservative, given this information. It can add interest to your pet’s diet with something new and tasty.
Hamsters eat a varied diet. However, fruits typically don’t play a significant role. Your pet may or may not like these treats. However, long-haired hamsters may benefit from a food that can help prevent wool blockages.
8. Kaytee Food from the Wild Natural Snack Hamster Treats
|Food form:||Food blend|
|Protein content:||16.0% min|
|Fat content:||18.0% min|
The Kaytee Food from the Wild Natural Snack Hamster & Gerbil Treats doesn’t contain a lot of ingredients, but the choices are nutritious. It offers high protein, along with the fat that accompanies seed-based foods. The rice, seeds, and dried flowers provide a healthy mix of foodstuffs. Omnivores like hamsters will enjoy this treat for the different textures and flavors it offers.
The mix is an excellent choice for encouraging foraging behavior, which can, in turn, provide vital mental stimulation. We recommend limiting how much you give your hamster because of its high fat content.
9. Higgins Sunburst Freeze Dried Fruit Small Animal Treats
|Protein content:||2.9% min|
|Fat content:||10.9% min|
The Higgins Sunburst Freeze Dried Fruit Pineapple Banana Small Animal Treats is another product that lives up to its name. It doesn’t have a lot of protein, nor is the fat content out of line. Nevertheless, your hamster will probably enjoy it even if you have to limit how much he should get. That’s not unusual for an animal that eats insects with their high protein content.
You’ll probably like the smell of these treats. What’s there not to like? The treat is tasty despite its low nutritional value. However, it is USA-made, so you can feel good about giving it to your pet.
10. Ware Critter Pops Small Animal Fun Chew Treats
|Food form:||Puffed rice pops|
|Protein content:||6.0% min|
|Fat content:||0.01% min|
The Ware Critter Pops Small Animal Fun Chew Treats are a great treat on several fronts. They are incredibly low in fat with a modest amount of protein. It has a different texture, which your hamster may enjoy while providing mental and physical enrichment. They probably won’t last long, given the ingredients. You should probably limit it to an occasional treat.
Spoilage won’t be an issue with this product. Your hamster will likely devour them as soon as you give them to her. We like hearing hamsters munching on them, but it could irritate some people.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Treats for Your Hamster
Surprisingly, hamsters can become obese like other pets that have more than benefited from their association with humans. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. Commercial pelleted diets do an excellent job of replicating the nutritional needs of these omnivores. The purpose of other treats is to supplement their diet and serve as training aids. It’ll help you bond with your hamster in a positive way.
You’ll find a broad spectrum of treats available, which can understandably make choosing the best product confusing. Perhaps knowing what to give a dog or cat is easy. A rodent is a different matter. The size of the animals is another factor. Therefore, we strongly urge you to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for offering treats to your pet, particularly the amount.
You’ll find many forms available. They range from dried fruits and vegetables to sticks and blocks. Convenience is an overriding consideration, particularly when it comes to monitoring how much food your hamster gets. We suggest sticking with small packages of treats, particularly those containing ingredients with shorter shelf lives. Many nutrients, such as vitamin C, break down quickly when exposed to air and light when you open the packs.
You’ll see some seemingly odd forms, such as hay, flakes, and insects. Remember that these animals are omnivores. They often eat things in the wild we wouldn’t necessarily think of with this kind of diet. After all, humans are omnivores who may not include some of these foodstuffs.
The label of hamster treats includes nutritional information that can help with comparison shopping. These animals should get roughly 20% protein from their diet. The fat amount isn’t well-defined. However, they will thrive with 4–20%. Remember, these products don’t have to adhere to these recommendations. That’s what the pet’s main diet provides. They are supplements. Fat is probably the greatest concern with obesity.
Carbohydrates fill the remainder of their caloric intake. Hamsters are prey species. Having ample energy stores that are easy to metabolize is an adaptive advantage. Play replaces this caloric need. It’s worth noting that fat isn’t always bad. It serves as raw material for connective tissue and offers a richer source of available energy.
A hamster’s diet supplies many health benefits. However, that doesn’t mean treats can take a similar standing. One way that can become essential is with dental health. The teeth of these rodents grow throughout their lives. Food doesn’t only keep the animals fed. It also helps to keep them in check so they don’t grow too long and interfere with the animals’ eating. Some treats offer this additional health benefit.
After compiling our reviews, the decision was apparent. The Oxbow Simple Rewards Freeze-Dried Strawberry Small Animal Treats tick off all the boxes we like to see in these products, with lots of choices on the menu. The Vitakraft Bursts Wild Berry Snacks is a tasty treat your hamster will undoubtedly enjoy. That makes it an excellent training aid.
Featured Image Credit: appledeng, Pixabay