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Can Hamsters Eat Dog Food? What You Need to Know

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Hamsters Eat Dog Food

Can Hamsters Eat Dog Food? What You Need to Know

If you have recently purchased a hamster and have a pet dog in your home, you may wonder if your dog and your new hamster can share the same food. The short answer is no, they can’t, but keep reading to see if there are any exceptions to this rule and any specific brands you can use for both animals.divider-hamster

Is Dog Food Bad for My Hamster?

There are a few reasons that you shouldn’t feed your hamster dog food, and we’ll look at each of them now.

dog food-pixabay
Image Credit: Lernestorod, Pixabay

Natural Diet

The biggest reason to avoid feeding your hamster dog food is that dogs and hamsters have different natural diets. While both animals are omnivores capable of eating plants and animals, dogs are much closer to the carnivorous side. They have only become omnivores from living with humans. Up to ⅔ of the dog’s diet can be animal meats and proteins, with vegetables and grains making up only a tiny part. In contrast, the hamster will eat next to no animal proteins and spends most of its life happily consuming Timothy hay, grass, vegetables, and other grains.


The protein content in dog food is typically a little higher than what you will find in hamster food. Brands like Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food have 20% protein or more.  Hamster food like Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Gerbil & Hamster Food only contains about 15% protein, and this food only makes up a small part of the hamster’s diet.


By looking closer at the two brands we’ve mentioned earlier, you can see that the dog food has a much higher fat content than the hamster food. This higher fat content can lead to heart disease and obesity in hamsters. Because being overweight can reduce your hamster’s lifespan, it’s best to avoid foods with high-fat content and stick to Timothy hay, grasses, and vegetables.

Albino Hamster eating carrot_Milton Buzon_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Milton Buzer, Shutterstock


Another difference you can notice between the two brands above is that the dog food does not contain nearly as much fiber as hamster food. Hamsters require plenty of fiber in their diet, and they can get constipated if they don’t have enough.divider-multipet

Things Your Hamster and Dog Can Both Enjoy

Corn and Soy

While most wet and dry dog food brands have too much fat and animal protein to be suitable for your hamster, dog treats make a great occasional treat for your pet. A dog treat like Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Beef & Filet Mignon Recipe Dog Treats is suitable for your hammy because they usually contain many fillers like corn and soy. These ingredients may not be great for your dog, but your hamster will love them, and they are closer to the ingredients they naturally eat.

Chew Toy

Dog treats also tend to be very hard, and they can help your hamster wear down its front teeth, so they don’t get out of control. Timothy hay is the primary way your hamster will wear down its teeth, but it will appreciate tasty food like a dog treat on occasion.

Vitamins and Minerals

Many dog treats like the Milk-Bones we mentioned earlier also contain some vitamins and minerals that can benefit your pet. There is vitamin A, D, and E included in the ingredients as well as calcium and phosphorus, which can help your hamster develop strong bones. Vitamin B12 can boost our pet’s energy levels and help fight obesity and promote a strong metabolism.

male and female hamster
Image by: polya_olya, Shutterstock

How Can I Feed My Hamster Dog Food?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, dog food isn’t suitable for a hamster in either the wet or dry form because it tends to be too high in fat and animal proteins. However, several dog treats are suitable, so while they can’t share the same food, they can bond over a great snack.

Unlike your dog, who can eat several treats in the blink of an eye, your hamster will nurse a single treat for several days. If only provided occasionally, these treats can add some variety to their lives while still providing something to chew. We recommend giving dog treats to your pet no more than once per month to ensure it stays healthy and doesn’t put on additional weight. In between treats, make sure they eat plenty of Timothy hay to make sure they get the fiber they need.


Summing Up

If you caught your hamster munching down on some of your dog’s food when you weren’t looking, it should be fine. However, you should not give your hamster dog food on purpose because it’s not in line with your pet’s nutritional needs, and it could quickly lead to health problems if provided regularly. You could give your hamster the occasional dog treat, but it’s probably better to stick to food that hamsters are supposed to eat, like Timothy hay, grass, fruits, and vegetables.

Featured Image Credit: ariesa66, Pixabay

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