Hamsters need a good muesli hamster mix to stay healthy, with the correct amount of protein (18% to 20%) and ideally sugar free - hamsters can get tooth decay like humans! They particularly need the right levels of protein in their first year. A muesli mix is better as it allows them normal foraging behaviours. It doesn't matter if they don't appear to eat all of the food in the bowl, because they pouch it generally and eat from their hoards when they feel like it, in private. Hamsters actually eat very little but become anxious unless they have a good hoard somewhere - just in case.

Like many things since the pandemic and Brexit, the choices in hamster food have become more limited. Harry Hamster is available widely and contains everything needed - suitable for Syrian hamsters. There are mixes with more variety of ingredients however. Bunny Nature Dream Hamster food is one and Rodipet in Germany also do their own mixes, including organic ones. Both of those are a bit low in protein but could be mixed 50/50 with Harry Hamster, or used on their own and the protein supplemented with additional fresh food (eg nuts, freeze dried chicken pieces or cooked fresh meat etc) as treats or extras 2 or 3 times a week.

Dwarf hamsters can also eat Harry Hamster, but do better with a dwarf specific hamster mix. Again Bunny Nature Dwarf Hamster Dream Expert or Rodipet make dwarf specific mixes. These have smaller pieces in and a lot more small seeds, which dwarf hamsters like.

As well as hamster mix daily (about a rounded tablespoonful daily for Syrians and a rounded teaspoon a day for dwarf hamsters), a piece of fresh veg a day is good for hamsters. Just a very small piece - no bigger than their ear. So they actually eat it and it doesn't go off in the cage. They tend to eat fresh food straight away rather than hoard it, as it's more exciting. There is a section on the forum listing safe fruit and vegetables.

Apart from Roborovski hamsters, most Dwarf hamsters are hybrids - a hybrid mix of Winter Whites and Campbells. Almost all dwarf hamsters are hybrids unless they have a pedigree from a breeder that shows they are pure Winter White or pure Campbells. The main thing to be aware of with hybrid dwarf hamsters is that they are prone to develop diabetes - so it's important they have a sugar free diet to try and help avoid them developing diabetes. This also means no fruit as that contains sugars as well. But veg is ok.

All in one pellet mixes aren't a good option for hamsters although there are circumstances when they are! For example very old hamsters who have difficulty eating hard food can have Science Selective pellets (an all in one food) soaked in a bit of water, and they find it easier to eat.

Update: There are some new mixes available in the Uk now called "Little One" which are very good. There is a dwarf specific one and a Syrian specific one. They have good ingredients but are quite low on protein, so the protein would need to be supplemented if using these. Check out the forum section on diet for more information regarding that. And also see our article on Safe and Unsafe foods for hamsters with links.