HAMSTER DIET : COMMERCIAL FOOD
There is a vast amount of hamster food available on the market these days. Choosing a brand which is both healthy and natural can prove to be difficult despite the wide variety to select from.
Many owners are starting to make the switch to a more natural diet for their hamsters. Unfortunately branding of these hamster foods can be very misleading, and despite many of the products being described as 'natural', 'complete food' and 'prevents selective feeding', when you take a look at the composition and additives in these foods, you may be surprised to realise they are not so healthy and natural after all.
Hamster foods on the market generally contain too many bulking agents (usually in pellet form) which are often left out by hamsters and contain little nutritional value. Wheat is often used as the main component of the food as this is a cheap bulking agent and as a result the food lacks variety of other nutritious ingredients.
The majority of hamster food contains many artificial additives, most likely as a result of the food being overly processed, so additives are added to compensate for the nutrients lost in the manufacturing process. In reality if a hamster is receiving a well balanced diet and a nutritious, natural and minimally processed feed mix then additives are not needed in their food.
It is becoming more popular that brands are switching to a complete pellet feed which claims to prevent selective feeding and contain everything they need in order to be healthy. It is much more stimulating for a hamster to be able to select the individual components that they require, rather than consume the same pelleted formula everyday. The more variety of natural, healthy ingredients, the better! Many brands claim their food is 'complete' however fails to mention the importance of other feed components such as feeding fresh vegetables and herbs.
Sugary ingredients such as molasses (a byproduct of the sugar industry) are also commonly added which can be detrimental to their health, not only due to the dental problems it can cause, but can also lead to an overweight hamster. Many brands also add a high percentage of dried fruits - despite fruit being natural and minimally processed, the sugar content is still too high to be part of the daily diet and should remain a treat.
Ideally, the food should contain a variety of grains, pseudo cereals, seeds, herbs, flowers, leaves and a small amount of other healthy components such as nuts, cereal flakes, roots and additionally a protein source which can be given separately. The food should closely replicate what they would be consuming in nature.
On our shop we stock a range of hamster foods which contain a large variety of ingredients including many organic grains and seeds, as well as herbs, flowers leaves, roots, cereal flakes. The composition of the foods have been carefully put together to ensure your hamster receives a well balanced diet which closely resembles their natural diet. We never include any additives, artificial ingredients or syrups/molasses, and our blends contain are large variety on ingredients to ensure they are receiving plenty of variety.
DIABETIC PRONE HAMSTERS
Campbell's and hybrid hamsters are prone to developing diabetes. Nutrition plays an important role in their overall health, therefore you should ensure they are receiving a healthy diet for optimum nutrition and to help minimise the risk of developing diabetes. Many foods on the market claiming to be suitable for these species, or just 'dwarf hamsters' in general often contain ingredients which can be harmful. Even though some of these ingredients may seem natural and healthy that doesn't necessarily mean they are suitable.
The dwarf blends on our shop are both suitable for diabetic prone hamsters!
Foods to limit/avoid completely with diabetic prone hamsters
Dried vegetables - contain much more sugar than fresh vegetables as they are highly concentrated (occasional treat is ok)
Pet shop treats - usually contain unhealthy ingredients which may cause glucose in blood to peak
Sugar/honey/molasses - these ingredients can be found in commercial foods, so avoid them where possible with any hamster species
Extruded pellets - high glycemic! Encourages a blood sugar spike
Potato starch - often found in commercial hamster food but not suitable for diabetes prone hamsters