Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
If you own small mammals you know that sometimes it’s difficult to find them the right food. Pet stores cater so heavily to dogs and cats that sometimes our small friends get glossed over. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone to a pet store and they are all sold out of hamster food, or specific toys, or there are stores that don’t regularly stock small mammal stuff causing you to have to wait for them to do a special order or having to search for another store.
So what happens if your local store doesn’t have any hamster food? Are there any substitutes? Can you feed them human foods? Can you substitute for Guinea Pig Food?
Is Feeding A Hamster Guinea Pig Food Safe?
While it’s true that some small mammals can share food, this is not true of guinea pigs and hamsters. Guinea Pigs and Hamsters have very different nutritional needs, so feeding your hamster guinea pig food isn’t a good substitute.
How Guinea Pigs & Hamsters Eat Differently
Food needs to be made differently for both of these small mammals due to the fact that Hamsters store food in their cheeks, while guinea pigs don’t. Hamsters will hoard as much food as they can in their cheeks filling them up to double or triple the size of their head. Crazy, eh? Because of this, we have to make sure that the Hamster’s food doesn’t have anything sticky or anything that will go bad or rot after being in their mouth for a while. (This includes fresh vegetables such as carrots. kale, strawberries and bananas.
How Are Guinea Pigs & Hamsters Similar?
Both have “open-rooted” teeth, which means that their teeth never stop growing, so both will need food that’s rough enough to grate their teeth down.
What’s the Difference between Guinea Pig and Hamster Food?
Guinea pigs, like hamsters, will want to eat a lot of hay, so their pellets tend to include a lot of it. This is something that hamsters will not need. Hay is considered a fibre supplement for Hamsters but is not a necessity. Hamsters are omnivores, which means they eat vegetables, fruits and meat. This means that they’re going to need pellets that have higher protein and less fibre. Hamsters will need a food that has at least 15% Crude Protein. Hamsters are going to want seeds, grains and some dried fruits and vegetables.
*Brands of Food to Recommend for Hamsters
Is there anything harmful in Guinea Pig food, or is it just not optimal?
Unfortunately, feeding guinea pig food can be harmful. It contains a high amount of vitamin C which can ultimately hurt your hamster. Some folks even warn that guinea pig food harms the inside of hamster’s mouths because it wasn’t designed to be kept in a pouch.
Can you feed Hamsters Hay?
Absolutely, it provides fibre, but unlike other small mammals, they do not need it. You can supplement it if your hamster is having digestive issues or if a vet recommends it! I recommend Kaytee Timothy Hay or our personal favourite Oxbow Western Timothy Hay.
Since Guinea Pig Food Isn’t Ideal, is there something I can feed my Hamster?
You can feed your hamster small amounts of well cooked and unseasoned beef or chicken. Do not feed your hamster any pork. You can also grab some mealworms, grubs or even crickets! Although not required, it is recommended to treat your hamster with some of these to promote better health.
Ultimately, there are no benefits to feeding your hamster guinea pig food. It will lead to your hamster getting sick and you have a much better shot feeding your hamster some fresh-cooked meat and veggies!