FEEDING YOUR HAMSTER, GERBIL, GUINEA PIG, MOUSE OR RAT (PET RODENTS)
What do pet rodents eat?
All of the pet rodents can be fed a good, high quality rodent chow (pelleted
food) available at pet stores. Many veterinary surgeons suggest also offering
hay to rodents; but first check with your veterinary surgeon. The diets containing
seeds and nuts ARE NOT RECOMMENDED. If offered these good-tasting seeds
and nuts which are high in fat, many rodents will eat these instead of the formulated
How often should I feed my pet rodent?
Fresh food and water should be available at all times.
Do I need to give my rodent vitamins?
No, pet rodents do not require extra vitamins.
Can I offer my rodent treats?
Seeds and nuts can be offered as an occasional treat (less than 10% of the
daily diet). Fresh, well-cleaned vegetables and occasionally a small amount
of fruit can be offered as well. Leafy green vegetables (not lettuce or celery)
can be offered, as well as yellow and orange vegetables. The total daily amount
of these "human foods" should not run more than 10 % of the diet. Thus, the
pets should eat mainly pellets (90% of the diet), 5-10% vegetables and fruits,
and occasionally a few seeds or nuts as treats. Many owners offer the food in
heavy, spill-proof ceramic dishes, although feeders can be purchased and attached
to the cage. Offering hay (such as alfalfa cubes or clover) free choice to the
pets as a source of fiber is also acceptable (as long as your veterinary surgeon
Do guinea pigs require their own special food?
Guinea pigs, unlike most pets, do not make their own Vitamin C. For this reason
they should be fed guinea pig chow (pellets), which is supplemented with Vitamin
C or better still a diet of green foods naturally containing vitamin C. If you
feed guinea pig pellets do note that the Vitamin C only lasts about 90 days
from the time the food is made, not from the time you purchased it. Therefore,
if you feed an artificial diet like this Vitamin C should be supplied in the
drinking water. A simple way to do this is to take 200-1000 mg of Vitamin C
and crush it into a powder. Mix the powder in 1 liter of water. Make this fresh
DAILY and use it as the pet's drinking water. Offering fresh green vegetables
is the natural, and therefore the preferable way to supply supplemental Vitamin
What about water?
Fresh water should be available 24 hours a day and is usually provided in
sipper tubes available at pet stores, although it can be placed in spill-proof
dishes. The water should be replaced DAILY and the tubes (specifically the end
the pet drinks from) inspected daily for blockage that can develop if the pets
spits food into the sipper tube.
Chew toys can be offered to help prevent overgrown incisors; anything suited
for dogs is fine. Many owners offer their pet rodents wood sticks to chew, which
helps control overgrown incisors.
to Rodent Information Index