Written By : M Samy

13 reasons why your hamster is not eating [Understanding Hamster Appetite]

13 reasons why your hamster is not eating

My Hamster is not eating ?

Your hamster may not be eating due to stress, illness, or dietary issues. Observing its behavior closely and consulting with a veterinarian can provide insights and solutions to address the underlying cause.

This article will delve into the various factors contributing to hamsters’ lack of appetite and provide solutions to encourage eating.

Lets discover the common reasons why hamsters refuse to eat and learn how to address these issues effectively and show you some expert tips on encouraging hamster appetite.

1- New Hamster may not eat 

When bringing your hamster home, it may take a couple of days for them to feel comfortable eating. This is a normal behavior in hamsters and it’s due to the stress of adjusting to a new environment.

Give them time to settle in, and they’ll likely start eating again within a day or two. However, it might take up to a week for them to fully adjust.

Even minor changes to the cage layout or sudden noise can disrupt their eating habits, so try to maintain a calm and familiar environment. Patience is key during this transition period.

So to help Your New Hamster Adjust to Eating in Its New Home, you have to think about reducing stress in your hamster’s environment, as stress can impact their eating habits, this is why managing hamsters stress is crucial for ensuring they maintain a healthy eating habit.

Reasons why hamsters won't eat

2-Your Hamster may refuse to eat in your presence

It could be that your hamster is not hungry or eats but you do not see it because it eats during the night, when you sleep, or simply took its food in its nest or it stores and feeds without you seeing it do so.

As you know hamsters are nocturnal and sometimes, while you’re sleeping the hamster empties his food bowl but you never see him eat, you may have to think about taming him if you haven’t already done so.

If your hamster is avoiding you and feeds without you seeing it, you will find feces in its enclosure. If you have the idea of checking its nest to make sure he/she is storing its food, wait until he wakes up and comes out of its nest, never wake your hamster up.

3- Your hamster does not like its New food (switched diet)

It could be that you have bought a hamster that is used to eating only pellets and you never offer him that! Or the opposite, maybe your hamster is used to eating balanced food, composed of a mixture of seeds, and plants and you only give him pellets.

It is always a good thing to ask the seller when you buy your hamster to give you a sample of his usual food so that you do not change his diet suddenly and risk making him sick or completely refusing to eat his new food.

Finally, it’s essential to consider your hamster’s food preferences when introducing new foods into its diet and to encourage your hamster’s appetite, try offering a variety of fresh foods and treats to entice it to eat

4- Your hamster won’t eat because of Switching diet

If you change your hamster’s ( switched food ) brand or introduce a new food, he may not eat because he may get sick.

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In this case, your hamster will eat the food he has stored in his nest and will not touch the food you put in his bowl.

When you want to change your hamster’s food, do it gradually, over a period of about 10 days or 2 weeks, abrupt changes are dangerous for the hamster. So, remember when making dietary changes for hamsters, it’s crucial to do so gradually to avoid digestive upset.

5- A sick hamster may stop eating and drinking

One of the symptoms of common hamster illnesses is when it stops eating. A hamster that has the flu, wet tail, stress, constipation, diarrhea, a toothache, an abscess, etc. will automatically stop eating and he will need special care and help to eat and drink.

Abscesses are also known to be behind this behavior. hamster abscesses that are located around the mouth and cheeks are the ones that usually prevent hamsters from feeding.

You will need to find the source of the infection and treat it, in order to get rid of the abscess and then disinfect it so that your hamster can start feeding again. Here’s some other Conditions that can encourage your hamster to stop feeding:

  • Respiratory infections or allergies can affect a hamster’s ability to smell or breathe properly, which may decrease their interest in food.
  • Digestive issues such as gastric torsion or blockages can cause discomfort to hamsters and reduce their appetite.
  • External parasites like mites or internal parasites like worms can cause discomfort and decrease appetite in hamsters.
  • Conditions such as diabetes or thyroid problems can impact a hamster’s metabolism and appetite.
  • Physical injuries or trauma, such as falls or fights with cage mates, can result in pain or discomfort that affects a hamster’s eating habits.
  • Finally, some medication side effects , since certain medications prescribed for other health issues may have side effects that may impact your hamster’s appetite.

It’s important to be vigilant in identifying hamster illness, as changes in appetite can be a sign of underlying health issues.

If your hamster is not eating because of illness, you will also notice one or more of these hamster diseases symptoms:

  • He will become a bit aggressive, may start bare biting and hyperactivity
  • Loose stools and/or diarrhea
  • Vomiting and weight loss
  • He may become nervous and suddenly afraid of you.
  • Neglected coat or excessive scratching

Finally, If a hamster stops eating and the cause is not readily apparent, consulting with a veterinarian experienced in small animal care is recommended for proper diagnosis and adequate treatment.

Why and what to do when a hamster ignores his food?

6- A hamster with Oro-Dental Problem will not eat

If your hamster suddenly stops eating and you don’t see any other external reason or symptoms of illness and you haven’t changed its usual food, you should know that it is either its teeth that have become too long or maybe an irregular growth.

Your pet hamster may also have a wound or gash inside its mouth, a broken tooth because it chewed something hard, or an abscess inside its mouth because of an infected tooth.

You can grab your hamster behind the neck and gently pull its cheeks while gently squeezing your fingers to encourage it to open its mouth and let you look inside to check it out.

Poor dental health can significantly impact a hamster’s ability to eat, so regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining their overall well-being.

7- A Dying hamster will also lose its appetite

Unfortunately, when it’s an old hamster and it stops feeding and you see no reason for it, know that it may be a sign that your old hamster will soon leave you.

There are other signs that you should check too, like the complete stop of the activity, your hamster will stay in a corner and not move anymore…

See also  Do Hamsters die with their eyes open ?

If you understand that your hamster is dying, don’t make it difficult for him and it’s not worth taking him to the vet except to relieve his pain if he is suffering and make his passage to hamster heaven sweeter.

8- Your hamster is bored and wants a new diet

Your hamster doesn’t want to eat anymore because he wants some enrichment a new food, the food you give him bores him and he doesn’t want it anymore!

This is often the case with people who feed them exclusively pellets, hamsters need to eat something else, a really good and well-balanced hamster food, they will feel the need to eat seeds, plants, fruits, … etc to satisfy their nutritional needs.

If your food does not meet the nutritional needs of the hamster, it will stop eating. You must also vary the food of your hamster and avoid giving him always the same thing.

Create a schedule and your hamster should have one or more different vegetables each day, for example, along with its usual dry food ration.

Vary also his protein food, one day a mealworm, the other a piece of boiled egg and the other a cricket … etc

9- Heat can be the reason for your hamster’s loss of appetite

When it is too hot, hamster suffering from heatstroke may stop eating, especially dry food and seeds that contain oil, so you need to cool your hamster’s enclosure down, and then give more fresh food to your hamster so that it has some nutrients and vitamins and also hydrates not to risk a heat stroke.

Give your hamster foods that contain a lot of water like a small piece of watermelon or a square of apple, you will reduce the risk of heat stroke. Also, consider giving him fresh water and try to gradually lower the temperature of the room.

10- Poisoning or poor housing

Hamsters may stop eating if the food is spoiled or if they have eaten spoiled food that they found in their food supply.

A pet hamster spends a lot of time each day cleaning itself, poor cage hygiene can also cause hamsters to stop eating, so always check your hamster’s nests, especially in hot weather, to remove food before it develops bacteria and makes your hamster sick, you can replace its bedding as well.

If your hamster shows signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or muscle stiffness, be aware that it is not eating because it has eaten something that has poisoned it and made it sick.

A visit to the vet may be necessary if the situation lasts more than 48 hours.

11 – Constipation may be the reason your hamster refuses to eat

A hamster that is suffering from constipation will stop feeding or will not eat as much as usual. If your hamster is constipated, you will still find some small than usual, hard and dry feces in his enclosure and will often have a bent back and in severe cases, a tubular structure that protrudes from the anus.

You will try to give him a few pieces of high-fiber veggies, such as spinach, lettuce, and pears, and also encourage him to drink more water and if he keeps refusing to eat, you will have to seek veterinary help.

12 – Your hamster refuses to eat because of his cage mate

Hamsters are solitary animals, that need a big enclosure; except during the mating season and for a short period only.

They are very territorial, so if you put two or more “adult” hamsters in the same enclosure and one of them doesn’t eat, be aware that his companion won’t let him go near the food bowl.

It is recommended to put only one adult hamster per cage to avoid conflicts over food, enrichment, wheel, and toys.

13 – A hamster can stop feeding because of the cold ( Torpor )

In cold weather, hamsters will need special care and diet. They also can suddenly stop feeding and begin to prepare to enter a state of torpor, similar to hibernation but often interrupted.

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This can happen on very cold winter days and if your hamster seems to be sleeping all the time and his food bowl stays full most of the time, you should know that he is hibernating.

You will need to bring him out of this state of torpor slowly and then try to keep the room above 40°F / 4.5°C.

What to do when a hamster refuses to eat?

If you notice that your hamster is not eating, you’ll want to pay closer attention to its behavior, to try to detect other symptoms.

Look for signs of illness in your hamster so that you know whether to take it to the vet.

But you should not let your hamster starve to death, you will mostly give him water with a 1ML syringe and give him baby food or boiled pasta.

If your hamster is fed exclusively with pellets, which of course I do not recommend, you can soak its pellets in hot water, wait a little and take them out, crush them and make a paste easy to chew by your hamster.

Do not hesitate to take your hamster to the vet if you see these signs :

  • If your hamster seems lethargic and weak
  • If this situation goes on for a day or more
  • If your hamster has severe diarrhea (wet tail)
  • If your hamster huddles all day and night in a corner of its cage and does not move.

A hamster that doesn’t eat is a hamster that can’t regulate its body temperature anymore, so you should use an electric heating pad for example to make sure your hamster stays warm while waiting to be checked by a vet.

My hamster refuses to drink

If your hamster refuses to drink water, it is not uncommon that it is a disease, wet tail or diarrhea are the diseases that usually cause this.

Some hamsters are used to using the bottle to drink but when they get old or injured, they may not be able to use the bottle anymore and a bowl of water should be added to the enclosure.

To prevent your hamster from dehydration, you will take him to a vet but before, you can give him water or some Pedialyte Electrolyte.

Final thoughts

Finally, understanding why hamsters may refuse to eat is crucial for their overall health and well-being.

From stress and illness to environmental factors and dental issues, various reasons can contribute to a hamster’s loss of appetite. By recognizing these potential causes and addressing them promptly, hamster owners can help their furry companions regain their appetite and thrive.

Additionally, seeking advice from reputable veterinary sources and conducting further research can provide valuable insights into maintaining optimal hamster health. Ultimately, a proactive approach to monitoring and addressing eating habits ensures that our beloved hamsters receive the care and attention they deserve for a happy and healthy life.

Some Useful Resources:

  1. Explore potential reasons why hamsters may lose their appetite. VCA Hospitals – Loss of Appetite
  2. Learn about anorexia in hamsters and when to seek veterinary care. PetMD – Anorexia
  3. Discover research on factors impacting food intake in hamsters. PubMed – Food Intake
  4. Gain insights into the mechanisms of anorexia in hamsters. ResearchGate – Understanding Anorexia
  5. Learn about appetite disorders in hamsters and diagnostic approaches. Vetfolio – Appetite Disorders
M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More