For how long can a hamster not eat? In general, hamsters can go without food for 3 to 4 days, but this depends on a number of things.
Include how old, big, and healthy your hamster is.
It’s important to have a plan for your hamster’s care if you’re going on vacation.
And if your hamster gets out, it might be a good idea to put food in different rooms until you can find it so it doesn’t starve.
Let’s look at what hamsters eat and how long they can go without eating.
On top of that, we’ll talk about the dangers of not feeding your hamster and help you figure out how to take care of your pet when you’re not there.
So how much can a hamster survive without food or water?
The short answer is that hamsters can live for about three to four days without food or water.
So, if your hamster just ate and drank on Monday morning, you’ll still find him in good shape on Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon.
Don’t let your hamster go without food or water for longer than that. Without proper care, they can get sick.
Obviously, this depends on a lot of things, like how old the hamster is, how well you’ve taken care of him, whether or not he’s sick, how hot the room is, etc.
All of this is great to know, but let’s look at why your hamster can only live for so long without food or water and what you can do to make his life easier.
How long can a hamster live without food?
We learned a lot from Teddy about how to take care of a hamster, and when it comes to food, we now know that hamsters are hoarders.
It might look like your hamster ate everything you put in his little bowl, but when you clean his cage, you’ll find a nice stash of food in his house or hideout.
Hamsters hide food so they will have enough if the world ends. But they can’t live on that stash for more than a couple of days.
What kind of food you give your hamster also makes a difference.
We gave Teddy grains and pellets, pieces of vegetables, and small amounts of boiled chicken, boiled egg white, bread, grapes, etc.
Your hamster can eat all of these things for different amounts of time. Protein-based foods will keep your hamster full longer than vegetables, but grains and pellets will keep him full the longest.
So, if the last thing your hamster ate was grains, seeds, or pellets, he can go 3–4 days without eating again. During this time, he will eat everything he has at home.
Check out my article on what to feed your hamster if you want to know what it can eat.
I’ll also tell you what foods to stay away from and talk about food mixes that are already made.
Do Hamsters Store Their Food?
Many hamsters will put food away, especially if you feed them too much during the day.
You might not be able to tell where your hamster is putting their food, especially if they put it near where they sleep.
Hamsters can keep both pellet food and fresh food that you give them.
Fresh food will go bad and mold much faster than pellet food, so keep an eye on your hamster’s cage.
Eating food that has gone bad and has mold on it can be bad for your health.
How long can a hamster live without water?
The amount of water a hamster needs is hard to say because it depends on how big it is.
In general, it is about 10 ml (0.33 fl oz) per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of hamster, per day.
So, if your hamster is like Teddy, a fully grown Syrian hamster that weighs about 170 g, he would need 17 ml of water every day.
So, a hamster that weighs 6 ounces needs 0.57 fluid ounces of water every day.
If your hamster last drank water this morning, he would be fine for only about two to three days. This is without any food because they can also get water from their food.
Dry pellets and grains don’t give them much or any water, but vegetables and fruits do. Without a water tube, hamsters can live for about a week on vegetables and fruits.
If your hamster got out and is now wandering around, he is pretty good at finding condensation on pipes or a small puddle to drink from.
It’s not good for him, but if he needs to find them quickly, he can.
But if he is in a small cage, he has less chance of living.
Check out the article about water needs if you want to know how much water to give your hamster.
I’ll also tell you what to do if your hamster doesn’t drink any water and how to check if his water bottle works.
If you want to know more about how to take care of your hamster, here are 15 important steps.
How Long Can I Leave My Hamster Alone?
Even though many hamsters can go without food for 3–4 days, you shouldn’t leave them alone if you don’t have a plan for their care.
If your hamster is used to being around people, leaving it alone for too long can set it back.
For example, it might be more nervous and stressed when you try to hold it again.
Many hamsters will be fine if you leave your house for the weekend or even a long weekend. As long as you feed them enough and give them a lot of clean water.
But you shouldn’t leave your hamster alone for more than this length.
If you are going to be gone longer than this, try to have a friend or neighbor come to feed your hamster and check on their general health and well-being while you are gone.
The Risks of Leaving Your Hamster for Too Long
We know that 3–4 days is the answer to the question, “How long can a hamster go without food?”
But leaving your hamster alone is not only dangerous because it might not have enough food. Among other worries:
- The temperature in the room
- Disease or sickness
- Lack of water
- Disruptions in their cage (eg. fallen water bottles or wheels)
- Increased nerves when being handled
If you’re not at home, you might not notice that something is wrong until it’s too late.
Even if you leave enough food and water for your hamster, they might not get enough if they get hurt or sick.
When you won’t be home for a while, you should try to get someone to come to check on your hamster.
So, if something seems wrong with your hamster, they can take it to the vet and keep an eye on the room temperature and the amount of food and water.
So, most hamsters can go without food for 3–4 days.
But you shouldn’t leave your hamster without food at any time.
If you’re going on vacation, make sure to leave your hamster with plenty of food and water.
If you can, ask someone to check on your small pet often while you’re gone to make sure nothing else goes wrong.