How long can a hamster go without eating or drinking?

How long can a hamster go without eating or drinking?

Hamsters are small and adorable creatures, making them perfect pets for those who live in confined spaces. But hamsters have special needs that need to be taken into consideration and food and water are two of the most vital elements for hamsters to remain healthy and happy.

How long can a hamster go without food and water? A hamster can survive between 2 and 4 days without food, depending on age and size. Dry pellet food is recommended as it helps hamsters to stay healthy and hydrated. Regular water changes are essential, so make sure to keep their water bottle full.

This article will explore how long hamsters go without food and water to ensure they live a healthy life. We will also discuss the best type of food to feed hamsters and how frequently their water should be changed.

What are the reasons why a hamster will go without food or water?

The most typical reason a hamster will go without food is if their environment has changed, and they no longer recognize their food and water source. This can be caused by switching to a new type of pellet, changing their food bowl or moving your hamster’s cage.

Stress can also lead hamsters to become inactive and not eat or drink enough. It’s important to provide hamsters with a comfortable environment, away from loud noises and other sources of stress.

When your Hamster is feeling ill, such as when they are suffering from an infection, they may need more frequent feedings and additional hydration to help them recover.

Hamsters can also stop taking food and water if their environment is too hot or cold. The ideal temperature for hamsters is between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius, so keep an eye on the temperature of your hamster’s environment.

How many days can a hamster go without water?

Hamsters were originally desert animals, so a hamster is able to go up to three days without water, but it is recommended that they have continuous access to water for them to remain healthy. A hamster’s water should be checked daily and changed every two to three days.

As hamsters are such small animals, dehydration occurs quickly when they are deprived of water. This can cause hamsters to become dehydrated and weak and sometimes even lead to death.

Although water may seem to some like a boring choice of drink for your hamster, it is all they require. In the wild, other options such as milk would not be available to them, and too much richness can massively affect their little tummies.

Therefore, it is essential that hamsters always have access to clean, fresh water and their water bottle needs to be regularly checked for any signs of dehydration or illness.

For information on the best water bottles for hamsters, please check out our review guide.

How many days can a hamster go with food?

A hamster can go without food for two to four days, depending on age and size. Smaller hamsters will require more frequent feedings than older hamsters as they need more energy.

A hamster should always have access to dry pellet food, which provides them with the necessary vitamins and proteins for healthy growth and development.

It is important to monitor your hamster’s eating habits and note any sudden changes, such as a decrease in appetite or not eating. This could indicate that the hamster is ill, stressed, or may need their food changed.

Providing hamsters with fresh vegetables and fruits as occasional treats is also recommended. This helps give hamsters essential nutrients and vitamins they may not be getting from their pellet food alone.

If you are unsure of which foods are best for your hamster, then take a look at our guide to the 5 best pre-bought hamster foods.

Should you encourage your hamster to eat and drink?

When hamsters are not taking their food and water, it is important to give them extra attention and care. Make sure their environment is comfortable and free from loud noises and other sources of stress such as other family pets.

Also, check for any signs of illness or dehydration, as this could cause your hamster’s decreased appetite. Signs of dehydration in hamsters include dry, sunken eyes and wrinkles on the skin.

Offering your hamster a variety of food and treats can also be beneficial. This helps to keep their diet interesting and encourages them to eat more. Additionally, hamsters need constant access to water at all times, so ensure to keep their water bottle is full.

How much food is enough food?

Providing hamsters with the right amount of food for their size and age is important. Generally, hamsters need between 2 and 3 tablespoons of pellet food per day, depending on their body weight and activity level.

It’s best to provide hamsters with various dry foods to meet all their nutritional needs. Additionally, hamsters should be offered fresh vegetables and fruits as occasional treats to provide them with essential vitamins and minerals.

Monitoring their eating habits is important to ensure your hamsters get enough food. Hamsters typically eat several small meals throughout the day and will hoard food, so even if you notice their food bowl is empty, it may be that they have buried a nice stash for later. Our hamster Oscar used to do this the minute we filled up his bowl, even taking a few slices of fruit or dry biscuit and hiding it away for a later time. Hamsters that need to eat more, will generally speaking appear thin and limp.

Is worth keeping both dry and wet food out?

It is beneficial to provide hamsters with dry and wet food. Although most hamsters primarily need to eat a variety of dry foods to get the nutrients they need, hamsters also enjoy a variety of wet foods. Wet foods include canned fruits and vegetables, cooked eggs and meat, and commercial hamster food treats and bars.

Wet foods provide hamsters with essential minerals and vitamins they may not get from their pellet foods. This is especially important for hamsters that are picky eaters and may need more variety of food.

Additionally, wet foods can provide hamsters with a much-needed source of hydration, especially during warmer months. Wet foods can also help hamsters maintain healthy coat and skin conditions and keep their teeth from becoming overgrown.

It is important to always provide hamsters with fresh water in addition to wet foods. Water bottles should be checked daily and changed every two or three days to ensure hamsters stay hydrated. Additionally, hamsters should only eat a portion of wet food rather than dry food, which could lead to malnutrition and other health problems.


Hamsters are resilient creatures so can go without food and water for a few days. Therefore if you happen to be away on a weekend trip, providing you have left more food than normal and enough water, and your hamster is in good health, then they should be fine whilst you are on vacation.

However, it is important to ensure hamsters have access to fresh water and pellet food at all times to provide them with the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Additionally, hamsters should be given wet foods as occasional treats to provide them with essential minerals and vitamins.

Monitoring your hamsters eating habits is important to ensure they get enough food and water. If hamsters appear lethargic or thin, it may be a sign of malnutrition or dehydration and should be addressed immediately. By providing hamsters with the right amount of food, water, and occasional treats, will ensure that they remain healthy and happy.

Want to learn more about what your hamster can and cannot eat? Check out these articles:


We started this website to share our experiences with owning and looking after hamsters. Read our blog for tips and advice to help make your hamster happy.

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