Why Is My Hamster Not Eating? (Causes+What To Do)

It can be a major concern for Hamster owners if their little one stops to eat. It is important for Hamsters to eat healthy and regularly to keep their gut strong and moving. Food is essential for their survival. But why are they not eating? Let’s find out!

If your Hamster has not been eating for a long time, then there is definitely something wrong with them. It could either be stress, old age, or other health complication like overgrown teeth, respiratory problems, or intestinal blockage. Some other causes include fluctuation in temperature or sudden change in their diet.

A Hamster’s healthy diet includes a perfect blend of Hamster pellets, fruits vegetables and some occasional treats.

Hamster Essentials
Hamster Essentials

If your Hamster has not been eating for a long time, then it might stop their gut movement and can lead to other intestinal blockages.

You must understand that your Hamsters health can deteriote in no time if they are not give proper attention or medical care.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

What Does It Mean When My Hamster Doesn’t Eat?

If your Hamsters are not not eating their regular diet, then there is definitely something wrong with them. It could either be a mental trauma or a physical one.

There can be a lot of reasons that may lead to loss of appetite in Hamsters. We need to look out for the possible causes to find out a viable solution.

Not all the problems can be dealt by the owner, most of them needs immediate medical attention.

Some of the common reasons why your Hamsters might not be eating are:

  • Dental Problem: One of the most common health complications in Hamsters includes dental pain and other dental problems. These problems hinder their ability to eat and drink. Overgrown teeth can be a major problem.
  • Stress: Your Hamsters will stop to eat or drink if they are under a lot of stress. They will start to hide more and lose their appetite. Loud noises, changes in the environment, etc. can cause stress in Hamsters.
  • Change in food: a new brand of pellets or treats can be one of the factors affecting your Hamster’s diet. Each Hamster has its own choice of food. Therefore, you need to experiment to find the best food for your Hamster.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Some problems such as constipation and GI stasis can affect your Hamster’s food consumption drastically. It might slow down their gut movement, or even lead to blockage of poop.
  • Respiratory Infection: If your Hamster has any kind of respiratory infection, then it could impact your Hamster’s eating habits. It could even lead to heavy breathing. In some cases, Hamsters might even lose their life due to the blockage in the nasal passages.
  • Fluctuation in temperature: The temperature should be around 68°F-74°F (22°C- 24°C), as this is the ideal temperature for our Hamsters to stay healthy as well as happy. If anything goes beyond, your little one might turn aggressive and anxious. Therefore, it is crucial to main the temperature around your Hamster’s enclosure.
  • Dehydration: Sometimes, dehydration can lead to loss of appetite in Hamsters. You will see that your Hamster barely eats.

Have a look at these best-selling, ‘Hamster Food Bowls’ I found on Amazon. My Hamster loves them, yours will love them too.

What Do I Do If My Hamster Won’t Eat?

It is very important to pay attention to your Hamster’s eating habits. If your Hamsters are not well or have not been eating for a while, then do not leave them to recover on their own. The problem could get worse in no time.

If medial treatment is not provided to them on time, then it could lead to severe health complications including organ faliure.

Observe your Hamster intently if they have not been eating for a while. Do they look sick? Are they in pain? Are they happy? Are they stressed out?

You must look out for all the symptoms and gather the necessary details to let the vet understand the situation quickly.

Hamster Not Eating Or Drinking

If your Hamster is neither drinking nor eating at all, then there are high chances that they might be suffering from some kind of health problem.

In these cases, your Hamster needs medical care, and thus you make take an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.

You must keep in mind that, a Hamster’s health can deteriorate in no time, therefore you must take all the necessary steps as soon as possible.

Some of the common health complications that can impact your Hamster’s eating and drinking habits are overgrown teeth, and other digestive problems.

Have a look at these best-selling, ‘Hamster Water bottle’ I found on Amazon. My Hamster loves them, yours will love them too.

Hamster Not Eating And Losing Weight

Your Hamter will start to lose weight, if they have not been eating for a while. 

Loss of appetite in Hamsters could lead to a lot of health problems in them. Some of them are dental issues and repiratory infections.

You will have to look out for visible changes in your Hamsters, and take them to a vet. You can syringe-feed your Hamsters till you reach the vet.

Consistent weight loss can be fatal for your Hamster and it directly implies that they need some nutrients immediately.

Hamster Not Eating Or Moving Much

There are high chances that something is wrong with your Hamster, if they are not eating or moving at all.

There can be a lot of reasons behind the same. Your Hamster might be suffering from a severe health complication like denatl problems, respiratory issue, or something even more critical.

If your Hamster has not been eating for a long time, they will turn weak and will unable to move due to lack of nutrition in their body.

In such situations, immediately take your Hamster to a vet. Your vet will do the needful.

Hamster Not Eating Or Pooping

There might be a blockage of poop in your Hamster’s gut, or the gut movement have slowed down, if your Hamster is not eating or pooping.

There can be a lot of reasons behind the same. If you change your Hamster’s diet frequently, or even some health issues like GI stasis could be the reason behind the same.

Weigh and note down your Hamster’s weight regularly to observe if there is any changes in their weight. 

In such cases, your Hamster needs immediate medical attention. The vet will do some x-ray or radiotherapy to find the cause of the blockage to treat it accordingly.

Hamsters, like any other living being, cannot survive for long without food. Therefore, it is important to take immediate action. Do not treat such medical conditions at home, you could worsen your Hamster’s health.

Hamster Not Eating And Breathing Fast

If your Hamster has difficulty in breathing, then it indicates that there is some health complication.

They could have an allergy from some pellets. It could turn to something worse like an upper respiratory infection, if not taken care properly.

If your Hamster has not been eating from a long time and facing difficulty in breathing then their health could detoriate in no time.

Lack of proper health checkup and treatment can lead to health complications in the future. With proper guidance from the vet, you could try to syringe feed your Hamster.

Hamster Not Eating Pellets/ Dry Fruits/ Treats

By now you must have know, Hamsters are very picky when it comes to food.

While some Hamsters love to eat veggies like cabbage and carrots, while others might not even touch it,

You need to experiment and find out the best and the most suitable food for your Hamster. There is no way to feed your Hamster forcefully.

If you have just bought a packet of new pellets or treats and your Hamster does not like it, they you might need to throw them away or give it to someone else and get that particular brand which your Hamster usually eats.

I personally, always buy a new packet a week early and include these in their regular diet gradually, this makes them used to the new food. If they still don’t like it, there is nothing much we can do.

For veggies, try a different vegetable till you find what your Hamster enjoys and what they don’t. After that, make a diet plan for them accordingly.

Hamster Not Eating And Hiding

If you have just got yourself a new Hamster, then they will tend to hide often in the first few days. They need time to adjust to their new environment.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

One of the most significant factor that affect of Hamster’s diet are fear and anxiety. Try to build a bond with your Hamster by petting them and handfeeding them their favorite treat.

Sit beside your Hamster’s cage and talk to them for some time to make them feel at home. This will encourage them to come out and explore.

Also, enquire their previous owner about their diet and continue the same for a few days. Then slowly, you can make changes in their diet with passing days.

New Hamster Not Eating!

New Hamsters require a few days to settle in the new environment to get comfortable.

In the first few days, you will rarely see your Hamster eat or drink. Mostly they come out of their hiding area only when no one is around as they are feeling quite unsafe and insecure in the beginning.

Whey you get yourself a new Hamster, try to make your Hamster feel at home. Start by feeding them the same food they were fed before. Then slowly with passing days, you can make changes in their diet.

Old Hamster Not Eating!

Older Hamsters spend most of their time sleeping or just hiding. They are much more lethargic and inactive as compared to the younger ones.

If your Hamster is old, then give them more of soft food than hard food. Older Hamster enjoy soft food.

Also, check for Hamster’s teeth. Overgrown teeth in Hamsters make it difficult for them to eat or even drink.

Syringe-Feeding Your Hamsters

In some cases, it is important to syringe feed your Hamsters to help them recover.

Although no Hamster owner would like to experience this, it is crucial to be prepared for the same.

Listed below are a few steps that you need to follow to syringe feed your Hamsters:

  • Get an appropriate sized syringe(about 5ml-50ml). A bigger syringe will be more convenient. I personally love curved dental syringe for my little one, it makes the work a lot easier. Before using, chop off the edges with the help of scissors and sand out the rough edges.
  • Mix some grounded pellets along with some fresh greens with some water. You can also add some Vitamin C supplement in the mixture.
  • After filling the syringe, bring the tip of the syringe close to your Hamster’s mouth. Then, slip it behind their front incisors and slowly press the plunger. Do not hurry, give your Hamster some time to swallow.
  • You can feed this mixture every 3 hours or as suggested by the vet. This will ensure that their gut movement. It will also provide your Hamster enough strength to recover.
  • After feeding for a couple of times, observe your Hamster intently. If they still show disinterest in the food, then encourage some movement and play. Activity promotes gut movement, they encourage them to play at least 15-20 mins every 6 hours.

If nothing works, the best advice would be to take your Hamster to a vet.

Can My Hamster Die From Not Eating?

Yes, your Hamsters can die if they have not eaten any food for more than 48 hours. Eating a healthy diet is important for your little one’s survival.

To keep their gut moving, it is important for Hamsters to eat something every few hours.

If Hamsters stop to eat, their digestive system will start to slow down. Within a few hours, their system can stop processing and result in GI stasis in them.

If this continues, in no time your Hamster will start to lose weight, and by the time you realize what’s happening, it will be too late. Sometimes, in these cases, Hamsters even end up losing their lives.

If you have suspicions about your Hamster’s health or if your Hamster has not been eating for a long time, it is advised to take them to a vet.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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