Hamster without food

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food And Water?

Hamsters are interesting pets that will eat to their fill and carry the remaining food in their cheeks for future use. They have pouches in their mouths that can grow as big as their shoulders when full.

You may find all the food missing after filling up their bowl and think that you have one small greedy animal of a pet. That’s not the case and do not always refill the bowl if you find it empty because they have just stored and not eaten it all.

Because they can store some food for those uncertain days, you may be curious to know how long they can stay with you not feeding and offering them water.

Or maybe you have to leave town and would like to know how long your pet can survive in your absence. Well, keep reading to find out more on the topic.

How long can a hamster go without food and water?

A hamster can go for as long as 3-4 days without food and up to a week without water. This is mainly because they tend to hoard food and store it away for those ‘dry’ days. Although they do not hoard much, the food they hide away is enough to feed them for a few days. They can last even longer without water if they are feeding on vegetables and fruits as both foods are hydrating. The main factors affecting how long they can go are their age and health condition.

How Does A Hamster Diet Look Like

Hamsters are omnivores which means that they can feed on both plant and animal matter. In the wild, a hamster will eat grains, grass, wild fruits, and insects.

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Their diet as pets should closely resemble what they would eat in their natural habitat. Their diet consists of:

Hamster Pellets

Hamster pellets can be bought from a pet store. They are a mixture of well-balanced pellets that provide the nutrients that your hammy requires.

When purchasing pellets, avoid the muesli types of mixes. This is because your small furry friend will only choose the sugary bits and leave out the fiber dense bits.

This is dangerous for them because they will gain weight and become obese. The sugar will also damage their teeth leading to painful teeth problems.


Vegetables are nutrient-dense and they supplement a hamster’s meal well. However, they should be fed in moderation because a lot of veggies at once can lead to issues like diarrhea.

Ensure that you wash them very carefully before feeding. Some healthy veggies for your hammy are carrots, spinach, sweet peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, and broccoli.


Fruits are also great but due to a lot of sugar that could lead to diabetes, they should be offered in very small quantities too. Avoid citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits when it comes to hamsters.

You can give them crunchy tasty fruits like apples, pears, and watermelons.


We all love herbs. Not only do they make food more delicious, but are also very healthy.

Hamsters enjoy herbs too and you should offer them some. Add herbs like coriander, basil, and sage to their diet.

Timothy hay

Timothy hay is full of fiber content. Hamsters have constantly growing teeth and they should wear them down to prevent painful overgrowth.

Offering fresh Timothy hay will give them something to regularly chew on and keep their teeth in check.

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Protein Treats

You should provide your pet with protein-based treats occasionally. They can be some pieces of boiled egg, nuts, or even mealworms.

Feeding Ideas

Your hamster should have a food bowl for their food. However, you can make things more interesting by scattering the food all over the cage sometimes or hiding it in tunnels.

This will make your hammy search for it themselves like they naturally forage in the wild and they will enjoy it.


Hamsters do not usually drink a lot of water. They can drink about 10ml per day but it will depend on their size.

The reason they will not need to drink much is that they get most of their water from their food. They can stay for as long as a week without needing to directly drink water.

Factors that affect how long your hamster can stay without food

Hamsters require great care especially when they are very young. This helps them to grow into healthy mature adults.

If your hamster is going to survive in your absence, that will depend mostly on two factors:

Their health

A hamster in healthy conditions will be okay on their own for a couple of days as long as they have enough food. A sickly one though may have a hard time on their own.

Their age

Baby hamsters and older hamsters need extra care. If your hamster is in this category, they may be unable to survive in your absence.

What to do if you are leaving town?

If you are leaving town for a few days, ensure that your pet has enough to feed on and drink in your absence. The best thing to do would be to leave mostly dry foods like pellets.

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Dry foods will not go bad fast or grow mold like fresh veggies. You can give around 2 teaspoons of pellets for each day you are away.

Fill up their water bottle with fresh water. Check it for any leaks and if it’s working well.

The temperatures should be at least 20°C. Low temperatures make hamsters go into hibernation which can be dangerous for them as they may be unable to hibernate properly.

You could ask a relative or neighbor to check up on them for you especially if you will be away for more than two days.


Hamsters can last for 3-4 days without food and about a week without water. This is because they know how to hide away some food for days when they don’t have any.

A hamster diet consists of pellets, hay, veggies, fruits, and some protein like mealworms. If you are going away, leave mainly dry foods like pellets.

A hamster’s health and age will affect how well they manage in your absence. Although they will be fine on their own for a few days, you can ask someone to check up on them if you will be gone for long.

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