How Long Can Hamsters Go Without Water and Food?

You might want to leave your little furball at home for one trip and thinking, “how long can hamsters go without water and food” as you don’t want to inconvenience anyone to take care of it for you. 

Maybe you are just wondering your little fluff ball does miss you when you are gone and how you can provide it with resources to deal with that. 

In this guide, we will help you with all of that information, so keep reading. 

How Often Do They Need Water & Food? 

By nature, these little hamsters are desert animals, and this is the precise reason why they end up hoarding food inside their little hamster house. 

Therefore, you won’t have to worry if you leave them for three to four days on their own. Your little friend will already have stashed some food for a time like this when you won’t be around. 

It’s in their nature, but you still have to feed your hamster regularly. It might have stashed food for about a couple of days, but we will discuss this in more detail in the following text. 

Guidelines for feeding your hamster

Your little hamster thrives on that pellet food that you need to provide regularly. When you feed them with this food, they won’t have to search for their favorite pieces. This way, they are left with a single food, providing all their bodies’ nutrition. 

Apart from this, they can have real food as well. But you should only give them perishable food that they can chew within four hours. If there is some food left inside their cage during that period, make sure you remove it. Else, it will go rancid and become dangerous for your hamster’s health. 

So, here’s what you need to do daily to feed your little hamster:

hamster eating food
  • You need to fill three-quarters of their bowl with pelleted food daily. 
  • Feed them with dark leafy greens. This should be done with a gap daily, and it should be around 15 percent of their bowl. 
  • Fruits like melons, bananas, and apples only once a week should be only 5 percent of their bowl size.
  • You can provide them with other treats only once or twice a week, and that should be only 5 percent of their bowl size. 

If you maintain this diet, you will be able to feed your hamster with proper and well-balanced nutrition daily. You can further discuss this matter with your vet if you want to be 100% sure. Hamsters are different from one another in terms of their physical needs. 

Guidelines for watering your hamster

You need to provide your hamster with fresh water at all times. If you own a bigger hamster, it will need more water. Giving water to your hamster in a bottle is much easier, and it needs to be attached to their catch. 

A metal tube should be inserted into the cage. There needs to be a little ball right at the end, and it should move as your hamster licks it. This will allow only a small amount of water when your little fluffy licks it. 

As long as the water that comes out of it is clean, your hamster can keep using it. You will only have to refill it when it gets low. Cleaning the water bottle regularly and filling it when it’s low will provide your hamster with enough for its daily consumption. 

So How Long Can I Leave My Hamster Alone?

You can leave your hamsters alone for a week. Some hamster owners have done this, and they returned to their little friend in good condition. But you will only have to do this if there is no other option left. Your little friend is used to you being around. 

This will make him miss that social element in his life if you stay away from it for a while. But keep in mind that your hamster can also get itself into trouble if you leave it alone for too long. 

It might try to escape its routine if you leave it alone, so you will have to take some precautionary measures in this regard. For instance, you can put your hamster in a bathtub so it can’t chew itself free from the cage. 

If you plan to leave your hamster for a few days or even a week, you need to take some precautionary measures and provide it with enough food and water to sustain itself during this period.

Leaving Enough Food and Water While You Are Gone

hamster eating broccoli

As far as leaving enough food and water for your hamster while you are gone is concerned, it would be a better idea to install two water bottles right onto the cage of your hamster. This will make sure there is enough water for your friend. 

It will also serve as a backup if one of the bottles breaks or dispenses any water. And for food, you need to provide your hamster with plenty of protein sources. So, make sure they don’t go bad even if they sit in the cage for the entire time while you are gone. 

You can fill up the food bowl with such food that is rich in protein. Then, your hamster will stash some food within his house and for sustenance for a little longer. 

You can provide them with some dehydrated foods such as grains and some wet foods such as melons and cucumber. With this wet food, your hamster will get some more water in your absence. Also, leave a biscuit-type food in their cage on which they can chew slowly during the days that you will be gone.   

You need to think whether your hamster portions out food when you feed it or is he greedy and gobbles everything as you give it to him. Then, based on the temperament, you need to decide how much extra you should leave for him.

How much food and water should you leave?

In most cases, a hamster will drink about 10% fluid of its total body weight. So, if your hamster weighs around 170 grams, it will consume at least 17 ml of water daily. 

This water consumption quantity will increase or decrease based on what type of food you leave your hamster with. For example, if you leave your hamster with fruits and vegetables, most of them have water. So, it won’t need much water to consume because it is getting some from the fruits and vegetables. 

The story will be very different if you leave it with grains or nuts because they don’t have much water. And your hamster will need more water to consume separately. 

Will It Miss Me While I’m Gone? 

You might be thinking your hamster will feel lonely in your absence and miss you. Of course, this depends on the hamster and its mentality. But by nature, these hamsters are solitary animals. 

Therefore, if you leave your hamster alone for long periods, they will not suffer from any lack of attention. But if you have developed a bond with it by showing affection and love, they might miss you when you are not around. 

So, it entirely depends upon what your hamster’s routine is with you. If you show it some love and affection daily and all of a sudden it all stops, your little friend will miss you.

But if you leave your hamster alone for long periods regularly and leave it for a more extended period, it might not affect the hamster that much. It all depends on how much you interact with your little friend. 

But if you do it regularly, your hamster will surely miss that social aspect in its life and will be anxious to see you again around it. 

Signs of Distress Your Hamster Might Show When You Return

After returning home from your trip, you want to check on your little friend and confirm that it is still happy and healthy. 

You need to look him over and provide him with water and food right away. You might notice that your hamster might feel a little peaky right away, but this will improve as soon as it gets its nutrition boost. 

If your little friend is showing all these signs, you should visit your vet immediately.

  • Wheezing.
  • Bald patches.
  • Runny nose.
  • Overgrown front teeth.
  • Foot sores.
  • Irregular drinking or eating. 
  • Blood in its urine.
  • Loose stools.

These signs of distress are not good if they remain active for too long. 



There you have it. Now you know how long can hamsters go without food and water. So, you can leave them for a week at max. However, this will only be possible if you leave them with a proper amount of water and food. 

A better practice is to leave someone behind to look after the hamster for you. Then, they will keep a check on it only once or twice. Doing this will ensure that you’ll return to a happy and healthy hamster waiting to have fun with you. 

Hamsters are hoarders by nature, and they hoard food within their cages. So, they might have a food supply for at least a day or two as well. And this is going to be the case even if you provide them with regular food daily. 

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