Choosing healthy treats for your hamster is very important to keep your little furry fit and happy, but it can be hard to figure out which ones are actually good for your hamster. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the best hamster treats currently on the market.
You will also find a buyer’s guide to all of the most frequently asked questions about hamster treats, such as why your hamster needs treat, what ingredients are good for hamsters, and which ones you need to avoid, all the different type of hamster treats there are. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
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- 10 Best Hamster Treat Options Available On The Market
- 1. Kaytee Baked Apple Timothy Biscuits
- 2. Oxbow Simple Rewards Oven Baked Apple & Banana Small Animal Treats
- 3. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Fruit & Nut Small Animal Treats
- 4. Ware Manufacturing Rice Pops Small Animal Chew Treat
- 5. Kaytee Fiesta Blueberry Flavored Yogurt Dipped Treats
- 6. Vitakraft Hamster Treat Stick – Apple And Honey
- 7. Ecotrition Yogies Hamster Treats, Cheese Flavor
- 8. Vitakraft Drops Mini Banana & Cherry Hamster Treats
- 9. Vitakraft Mini Pops Treat for All Small Animals
- 10. Peter’s Apple Slices Small Animal Nature Treats
- Why Are Treats Important For Hamsters?
- What Are a Hamster’s Dietary Requirments When It Comes To Treats?
- Ingredients To Look For in Hamster Treats
- What Type of Treats Can A Hamster Eat?
- How Often Can I Give Treats to My Hamster?
- DIY Hamster Treat Examples
10 Best Hamster Treat Options Available On The Market
The Kaytee Baked Apple Timothy Biscuits are an excellent option if you are looking for a chew treat that will keep your hamster busy for an affordable price. These biscuits are made with timothy hay, which is beneficial for your hamster’s teeth. The biscuits are formulated with protein, fiber, and additional vitamins and minerals to help keep your hamster healthy all around.
Furthermore, each treat contains baked apples. Apples contain a number of different nutrients like fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients, calcium, and potassium. However, too many fresh apples can lead to your hamster eating too much sugar, so these biscuits will be able to provide your hamster with the benefits of apples without sugar overload.
The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that the formula does contain soy. Soy is not necessarily bad for hamsters, but some small animals have trouble digesting it. If this ends up being the case for your hamster, no need to worry; simply stop using these treats.
- High in fiber, protein, and added vitamins and minerals
- Promotes dental health through chewing and removing tartar and plaque build-up
- Keeps hamsters busy to help relieve boredom
- Contains soy which can be hard for some hamsters to digest
The Oxbow Simple Rewards treats are one of the best options for your hamster’s overall health.
There are a total of four different all-natural flavors for you to choose from: apple and banana, cranberry, carrot and dill, and bell pepper. Additionally, each treat is formulated with timothy hay to help promote chewing and decrease boredom.
Each different flavor comes with its own nutritional benefits. In the carrot and dill flavor, the carrots are good for reducing cholesterol levels, and the dill aids your hamster’s immune system. Cranberry is also healthy for your hamster’s immune system, and it benefits the digestive system. Bell peppers are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals such as calcium. Finally, apples and bananas both reduce the likelihood of diabetes, which many hamsters are especially prone to.
- Several different flavors for you to choose from (or get them all for extra variety)
- Lots of nutritional benefits
- Includes timothy hay to promote chewing and dental health
- Low in protein, so not the best way to add more protein to your hamster’s diet
Ingredients like real fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are all great treat options for your hamster. The Brown’s Tropical Carnival Fruit & Nut mix contains all of these healthy things in small, bite-sized pieces that are the right for small animals, including hamsters.
The colorful mix will also promote foraging, which is an instinctual behavior for hamsters and will help prevent your hamster from getting bored while in the cage.
The one thing to keep in mind is that some of the ingredients are a little higher in sugar and fat. For instance, one of the ingredients is dried pieces of pineapple which is only suitable for hamsters in very small amounts due to the sugar content. For this reason, you should only use this treat mix occasionally, and it is definitely not meant to be your hamster’s primary diet.
- Lots of variety and color promotes foraging and decreases boredom
- Many natural ingredients like fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts are all healthy options for hamsters
- Comes in an 8-oz resealable bag, so it should last you a while
- Some of the ingredients are things like pineapple, which is really high in sugar
These colorful rice pops might not look edible, but they are actually a good option if you are looking for something that your hamster can chew on all day long if he wants. They are crispy, crunchy sticks that are colored with completely safe dyes that even a human could eat.
The main ingredients (rice and corn) are both perfectly safe for hamsters. However, they do tend to crumble in the cage, which can be frustrating to try and clean out.
You can get these rice pops in two different sizes, but only the smaller one is suitable for hamsters. If your hamster does not seem to eat them very fast, you might want to cut them down in even smaller bits because they do tend to go stale rather quickly. Nevertheless, for most hamsters, these are a good, long-lasting snack that can relieve boredom and provide your hamster with some additional protein and fiber.
- The rice pops are an additional source of protein and fiber
- Chewing on these sticks promotes both tooth and gum health
- Helps to minimize boredom.
- The rice pops do tend to go stale if left out
The Kaytee Fiesta Blueberry Flavored Yogurt Dipped Hamster treats are made of fortified corn, wheat, flaxseed, and more that are both crunchy and good for your hamster’s health.
These bits were then dipped in a blueberry yogurt coating which gives each bite a sweet, blueberry flavor that hamsters love. Many owners have found that even their pickiest small animals love these treats.
However, while these treats are a good option for adding a little variety to your hamster’s diet, they should be used sparingly. Your hamster is going to love the yogurt coating, but unfortunately, it is not the healthiest because it is quite high in sugar content. Nevertheless, you can give your hamster one a day to add a little variety and sweetness to your hamster’s life.
- Made with things like corn, wheat, and flaxseed which offer plenty of health benefits
- Coated in blueberry flavored yogurt that even picky hamsters enjoy
- Each bite is fortified with extra nutrients
- The yogurt coating is high in sugar, so you cannot give many to your hamster a day
The VitaKraft Hamster Treat Stick looks just like a granola bar meant for hamsters. This snack is made out of healthy ingredients like whole grains and has added flavor through yummy ingredients like honey and yogurt. However, you should only give your hamster small bits of these sticks at a time because the honey and yogurt do cause it to have high sugar content.
One of the interesting things about this stick is that it has a clip that attaches it to the side of your hamster’s cage for easy access. However, people have found that the clip is not always durable, so your hamster might just end up ripping it down anyways.
Finally, while the stick is baked three times to ensure that it is extra crunchy, which is good for grinding down your hamster’s teeth. However, it is not going to be an effective teeth-cleaning treat due to the honey and yogurt.
- Triple baked for extra crunch to help keep your hamster’s teeth ground down
- Had added vitamins and minerals to keep your hamster healthy
- Comes with a clip to attach the stick to the side of your hamster’s cage
- Ingredients like yogurt and honey cause it to have a high sugar content
eCOTRITION has two main flavors: fruit and cheese, but these are just flavors as the main ingredient is real yogurt. That means there are some artificial ingredients for both the flavor and the coloring, but these treats are still really easy for hamsters to digest.
As far as health benefits, these treats are an excellent source of fiber which is a vital part of your hamster’s health. They also work for a foraging or gathering game to help keep your hamster mentally stimulated and not bored.
The downside to these treats is that they are not effective at cleaning teeth, are not a good source of protein, and are higher in fat content. Because of this, you do not want to give these treats to your hamster all that often. However, once or twice a week for a game or training is just fine.
- Two flavors that most hamsters love (fruit and cheese)
- Work for foraging or gathering games and training
- A source of fiber that is important for a hamster’s overall health
- Does include artificial coloring and flavors
If you are looking for a way to add more protein to your hamster’s diet, consider the VitaKraft Dropa. These drops are made out of a milk byproduct called whey which is an extremely good protein source. VitaKraft drops are especially good for young hamsters that are still growing because each treat is high in amino acids.
The Vitakraft Drops are also flavored with real fruits and fortified with a variety of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, and calcium.
The only downside to these treats is that they are a little high in fat which can be detrimental in large quantities.
- Made from whey which is an excellent protein source
- Contains lots of amino acids which aid in growing
- Fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals
- It is a bit high in fat which can be problematic in large quantities
These fun treats by VitaKraft are exactly what they look like: miniature corn on the cobs for your hamster to chew on. Each corn is approximately 4 inches long, so it should last your hamster a while.
You can give the cob to your hamster unpopped to promote chewing and help your hamster grind his teeth down, or you can throw it in the microwave for just 15 seconds to pop for an extra fun treat. Just make sure you allow it to cool completely before giving it to your hamster.
You might not think of popcorn right away when you think of a nutritious snack, but that is because we usually smother it with butter. Popcorn by itself is actually a really good, nutritious treat for hamsters. Plus, it can be a lot of fun to watch your hamster eat them.
Just keep in mind that it can be a bit messy when you pop them in the microwave.
- Unpopped cobs promote chewing to help keep your hamster’s teeth ground down
- Really quick and easy to pop them in the microwave for a fun treat
- Popcorn is a healthy, nutritious treat for hamsters and other small animals
- Popping in the microwave can be a bit messy
If you do not want to spend a lot of time reading ingredient lists to make sure a treat is good for your hamster, then you should consider Peter’s Apple Slices. There is only one item on this treat’s ingredient list: dehydrated apples.
There are no added preservatives or flavorings that could be problematic for hamsters. Plus, the simplicity of this treat decreases the chance that your hamster will have an allergic reaction to it.
Apples have lots of healthy nutrients for hamsters, such as potassium, fiber, calcium, and other vitamins. Additionally, because the slices are dehydrated, they are crunchy enough to encourage chewing, which will keep your hamster’s teeth ground down and healthy.
Just keep in mind that apples still contain sugar, though it is natural sugar. That means too many of these treats can lead to obesity or other health problems in hamsters.
- The one-item ingredient list is easy to understand and good for your hamster
- Apples have lots of healthy vitamins and nutrients
- No added or artificial preservatives or flavorings
- Too many apple slices can lead to obesity or health problems
Why Are Treats Important For Hamsters?
Caring well for your hamster means that your furry should be getting most of his nutritional needs from his regular hamster food. A high-quality hamster food should have enough nutrients on its own to ensure your hamster is getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.
However, treats can be a great way to sneak in a few extra nutrients to your hamster’s diet. Sometimes, storebought treats will specifically include certain vitamins to help your hamster with his digestion, immunity, hair, skin, etc.
However, even if you do not feel the need to sneak in some extra nutrients to your hamster’s diet, he will still likely enjoy a couple of treats. By giving your hamster a couple of different types of treats, you will be able to easily (and relatively inexpensively) add some variety to your hamster’s diet.
By putting the treats in certain toys, you may also be able to add some extra mentally stimulating play to your hamster’s diet.
What Are a Hamster’s Dietary Requirments When It Comes To Treats?
When it comes to your hamster’s nutritional needs, you need to be concerned with the type of primary food you are giving your hamster. The primary food should be meeting most, if not all, of your hamster’s dietary needs on its own. When it comes to the treats, you mainly need to be concerned with whether or not the treats are healthy for hamsters.
For the most part, you want to look for treats that are low in fat and sugar. Certain fruits and nuts are fine, but you do not want to be giving your hamster things like honey or yogurt drops. On the other hand, you do want to look for foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates, especially early on in your hamster’s life, to fuel their activeness.
After you ensure that a treat is healthy for hamsters, you can move on to consider any added benefits. For instance, some treats include things like Omega-3 fatty acids to help with your hamster’s coat health. These nutrients are not necessarily required in treats, but they can be helpful.
Ingredients To Look For in Hamster Treats
- Grains. Grains will likely be one of the main ingredients in your hamster’s primary food because grains contain a lot of the nutrients that hamsters need to be healthy and happy. Because of this, any store-bought treats (or hamster treat recipes) that have grains, especially whole grains, as one of the primary ingredients will be good for your hamster.
- Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a really healthy option for your hamster. Your hamster will absolutely love munching on things like fatty peanuts and sunflower seeds. However, these treats should be given sparingly because they are so high in fat and can promote obesity.
- Vegetables. While you might not always enjoy munching on some leafy greens, your hamster definitely will. Things like romaine lettuce, carrot tops, spinach, dandelion greens, broccoli spears, and artichokes are excellent to add some healthy variety to your hamster’s diet.
- Fruits. Your hamster would absolutely love it if you added a couple of pieces of fruit into their diet every once in a while. Most hamsters especially love things like apples, strawberries, pears, and bananas. However, just like nuts and seeds, fruits should be given in moderation because they are so high in sugar.
- Meat. Hamsters are often mistaken to be herbivores, but they are actually omnivores, and protein is a really important part of their diet. If you are looking for a really healthy treat (especially if your hamster seems to be putting on weight), bits of cooked fish, lean meat, and hard-boiled eggs are great options. However, please keep in mind that these treats will not be enough protein for your hamster on their own, so you should make sure there is enough protein in their regular food too.
Ingredients To Avoid
Just like there are certain foods that make excellent treats for your hamsters, there are certain foods that you should be sure to avoid altogether. Things like chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol can be especially dangerous and cause major, even fatal, health problems for hamsters.
You want to avoid foods that have a really high-fat content. For instance, you do not want to be giving your hamster any of your french fries, no matter how badly he seems to want one.
You also want to avoid foods that are too high in sugar. This includes things that are high in natural sugars in addition to foods that are high in artificial sugars like ice cream and cookies. For instance, while we mentioned previously that fruits make convenient treats, you want to avoid certain fruits that have a very high sugar content like pineapples, apricots, peaches, and citrus fruits.
What Type of Treats Can A Hamster Eat?
There are different types of hamster treats you can use. Some owners decide to use entirely storebought while other owners only use bits of whole ingredients they already have in their kitchen as treats. On the other hand, you can use a combination of different types of treats to add even more variety to your hamster’s diet if you want.
- Storebought: Storebought treats are one of the easiest/most convenient options when it comes to hamster treats. Just like dog or cat treats, you can buy pre-made, packaged hamster treats, and the good news is there is a variety of high-quality options.
- Homemade: It can take a bit more time, but it can end up saving you money to make your own hamster treats. There is a bunch of healthy hamster treat recipes online, and we have even included two great options under the subheading DIY treat examples.
- Whole Ingredients: If you are looking for a middle ground between store-bought treats and homemade treats, you could consider whole ingredients. This looks like giving your hamster bits of things like apples, pears, sunflower seeds, spinach, etc. You can put these things in with his regular food or give them to your hamster at separate times.
How Often Can I Give Treats to My Hamster?
How often and when you give your hamster treats is really up to you. Some owners decide to give their hamsters all of the day’s treats with their primary food either in the morning or the evening. On the other hand, some owners decide to give their hamsters treats throughout the day.
However, no matter how often or when you give your hamster his treats, they should never comprise more than 10% of your hamster’s diet, even less if all of the treats that you give your hamster are high in sugar or fat. If you notice that your hamster is starting to put on too much weight, it could be a sign that you need to decrease the number of treats you are giving him.
DIY Hamster Treat Examples
If you are looking to make your own hamster treats at home, here are two healthy recipes that your hamster will likely love.
1. Hamster Cookie Treats
- 1/4 cup oatmeal
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix together the water and flour. Once combined, add the oatmeal and then the peanut butter last. Roll the dough into small balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 18 minutes, turn off the oven, and let them sit in the oven until it cools.
2. Peanut Butter and Banana Treats
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup mashed banana
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the banana, peanut butter, and egg. Slowly add the flour and then mix in the oats last. Roll the dough into small balls and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Resources and references:
- Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995.
- Protein Nutrition of the Golden Hamster, Charles A. Banta, Richard G. Warner, James B. Robertson
- Protein requirement of hamsters fed a natural diet, L R Arrington, C B Ammerman, D E Franke
- Interaction of dietary fat and protein in spontaneous diseases of Syrian golden hamsters, D F Birt, P M Pour