Can My Hamster Eat My Food?

All pet owner knows that their pets are part of the family, but is it healthy for them to share our diet, as well as our living space? If you have a hamster of your own, you can testify to this species natural curiosity, and willingness to try out new foods. Our hamsters are entirely reliant on us to meet their specialised needs, and It is our responsibility as pet parents to ensure that we feed our pets a healthy and balanced diet, so what treats are suitable to share with your hamster this summer?

 

Hamster Friendly Summer Eats

As the days grow longer and the sunshine is here for more and more hours of the day, most of us are spending the weekends in the garden, with an increasing number of us enjoying BBQ food as a summer treat. Summer berries are in season, and tomatoes from the garden adorn the salads that garnish our hamburger and hot dogs. Which of our food items can hamsters have as a treat, and what foods should be avoided?

 

Salads

Nothing makes us feel like summer than fresh, crisp salad enjoyed with friends in the summer sun. You may think that everything we put in our salads is OK for our hamsters to eat, after all, it’s good for us, right? There are a few foods to watch out for that may harm your hamster that may surprise you!

Can My Hamster Eat My Food - OK for our hamsters to eat, after all/

Nothing makes us feel like summer than fresh, crisp salad enjoyed with friends in the summer sun. You may think that everything we put in our salads is OK for our hamsters to eat, after all, it’s good for us, right? There are a few foods to watch out for that may harm your hamster that may surprise you!

SAFE
Asparagus, bok choy, lettuce, corn, cucumber, peas, spinach, green beans and bell peppers all make great healthy treats for your hamster and should be offered to your hamster at least every other day

RARE TREAT
Carrots are high in sugar, and should only be given as a rare treat.
Boiled egg and pieces of tuna from your salad will also be appreciated and enjoyed by your hamster – in small portions!

TOXIC
The leafy part of tomato plants can be fatal to hamsters
Avocado contains cardiac glycosides and should be avoided
Onions can cause stomach upset as hamsters cannot digest them easily

Seasonal fruit

For hamster, All fruit is high in sugar, and should not make up the bulk - Seasonal fruit

All fruit is high in sugar, and should not make up the bulk of your hamsters diet. When introducing new fruits to your hamster, monitor their poop to ensure they do not develop diarrhea, as some fruits can upset sensitive stomachs!

SAFE
Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, peaches and cantaloupe are all great treats!

RARE TREAT
Grapes are very high in sugar so should only be given in moderation.
Watermelon is high in water content, so is therefore not very nutritional for your hamster.

TOXIC
Apple cores (as the seeds contain arsenic).
Citrus fruit is likely to cause stomach upset, so should be avoided 

BBQ Meat

It may surprise you to learn that your hamster can enjoy small portions of meat with you at the BBQ table. Giving meat to your hamster does not increase the risk of “hamster cannibalism” where one hamster will eat another. This is, in fact only common behaviour when their environment is overcrowded, unclean, and/or there is a scarcity of basic resources.

Meat can be given as a rare treat, but unseasoned chicken and vegetable burgers are a healthier option for your hamster!

SAFE
Unseasoned BBQ chicken is a safe treat for your hamster and most enjoy it!
Small pieces of vegetable burger can be given, but avoid products containing onion or garlic.

TOXIC
High fat meats are very unhealthy and should never be fed to your hamster.
Pork products should also be avoided as they are easily contaminated.

Meat can be given as a rare treat, but unseasoned chicken and vegetable burgers are a healthier option for your hamster!

Summer plants and flowers

Summer plants and flowers can make great summer treats for your hamster, but should be sourced from an area free of harmful pesticides. You should also be able to positively identify the plant, and if in doubt do not take the risk and do not feed to your hamster! Thoroughly wash any harvested wild greens, just as you would your own salad!

Can My Hamster Eat My Food? - Bramble leaves are an easy to find and delicious treat for your hamsterBramble leaves are an easy to find and delicious treat for your hamster

SAFE
Dandelions, cow parsley, watercress, hawthorn and bramble leaves, clover and groundsel are popping up on lawns worldwide at this time of year and your hamster will love them!

TOXIC
Speedwell, buttercup, bindweed, bluebells, ragwort, elder, hemlock and privot are common garden plants that are toxic to hamsters. You can see photos of each species here.

Bramble leaves are an easy to find and delicious treat for your hamster

 

Herbs

Hamsters can enjoy a wide variety of herbs, most of which are easy

Mint is a healthy treat - save some for your hamster when making mojitos!

for you to grow at home. Consider creating a small herb garden on your windowsill so you hamster can enjoy herbs all year round! Safe herbs for your hamster to eat are mint, parsley and sage.

Mint is a healthy treat – save some for your hamster when making mojitos!

 

It’s important to consider portion sizes when giving your hamster any novel food items – a centimeter cube, or raisin sized piece of food, is more than enough for a hamster to sample a new food item. Any extra treats given should be part of a balanced diet, and you should monitor your pets to ensure they do not put on any excess weight while you are giving them extra treats this summer!

Whatever treats your hamster gets this summer, ensure he gets adequate exercise so he stays at a healthy weight, and monitor his poop to ensure the new food is not causing any stomach upset. With this in mind, you and your hamster can enjoy safely all the treats of summer and if any of your friends ask you “can my hamster eat my food?”, you can be confident in your knowledge and your reply!

Why Is My Hamster Crawling Up The Walls?

Why does my hamster climb the bars of his cage? At first glance, this behavior can be frantic and funny. But if it persists then it can quickly become concerning for pet owners. Hamsters have a wide variety of behaviors, and can be very entertaining to watch. You may have seen your hamster climbing the walls of his cage, before falling or “back flipping” down, repeating this behavior for several minutes, or even up to an hour. But what does this mean? Is it something to worry about?

My hamster crawling at the wall

Why does my hamster climb the bars of his cage? At first glance, this behavior can be frantic and funny, but if it persists then it can quickly become concerning for pet owners

If you have a habit of laughing at, stroking or otherwise praising your hamster for his athletics, then he will soon learn that crawling the bars is a good way to get your attention. The best way to stop a hamster doing this is to cease reinforcing the behavior by ignoring your hamster when he is engaging in wall climbing, therefore not rewarding this behavior. He will soon find other ways to get your attention! This technique can be used to any animal, and is the best “punishment” you could use for any animal.

 

Stress from other hamsters or pets

If your hamster lives with another hamster, then he may be climbing the walls as a means to escape. Syrian hamsters are solitary, and they are likely to fight when kept together. If you notice any signs of aggression between hamsters alongside the cage climbing behavior then you should try separating the hamsters to see if the behavior stops. If you own Russian dwarf hamsters, who live together, then adding more places for your hamsters to hide from each other should help reduce aggression.

Sometimes, a hamster may develop escape behaviors because they are in sight of our other pets. Hamsters are prey animals, and naturally want to escape the presence of predator animals. When confined to a cage, they cannot escape, and can feel trapped and endangered when your cat is in the same room.

On a biological level, the stress of being in close proximity to predators effects every organ in the body. When a hamster is stressed, their body will have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and consistent high levels or cortisol in the blood causes extra stress on the internal organs and reduces the efficiency of the immune system, making your hamster more likely to get sick. Keeping your hamster enclosure well out of reach and sight of other house pets is a recommendation for this reason, even if you hamster is not actively behaving stressed.

 

Stereotyped behavior

A stereotypy is “the constant repetition of certain meaningless gestures or movements”. This explanation is the most likely if your hamster repeatedly climbs the walls.

Stereotyped behavior is popular in captive animals, and is caused by boredom. Zoos and Sanctuaries decrease and eliminate stereotyped behavior by using a comprehensive enrichment program where many different novel items are given to each animal every day to ensure they do not get bored. This approach works great for your hamster too!

There are lot of different ways to keep your hamster stimulated, from different textures to dig in (hamsters love to make tunnels!), to freezing or hanging novel food items, to toilet roll tubes, socks and other new bedding materials. It can be entertaining to you, as a pet owner, to make these and watch your hamster enjoy them, and even the youngest members of your family can help too.

Sometimes, stereotyped behavior can be so ingrained and self rewarding. It can be difficult to break the cycle of behavior, however hamsters are highly adaptable creatures and normally respond well to improvements in their habitat when it comes to reducing stereotyped behaviors, such as wall climbing and bar chewing.

Bar chewing is a common stereotyped behavior found in hamsters

Is Wall Crawling Really A Problem?

The behavior in itself is not cause for concern, but is definitely an indicator of an underlying issue. Therefore, we should be identify the cause where possible. Some negative behaviors can trigger others, and in extreme cases lead to self mutilation. By addressing the causes early on, you can reduce and even reverse any negative effects this may have on your hamsters’ mental and physical well being.

 

In summary, if your hamster has started to crawl the walls and bars of his cage, don’t panic! It doesn’t take much time or effort to take steps towards improving your hamsters living conditions. Ensuring they have lots of toys to keep them mentally stimulated and spending more quality time with your pet! After a long way, you can hopefully stop any wall crawling behavior and have a happy and healthy hamster!

 

Have you managed to stop wall crawling behavior in it’s tracks? Let us know your success stories, or ask for advice in the comments!

6 Hamster Bedding Mistakes Everyone Have Made

Hamster has become a popular pet lately. In fact, despite its popularity, some owners still make common hamster bedding mistakes that might lead to the suffering of your hamster, or even worse, death.

There is no need to worry! Having a hamster at home is a piece of cake.

Let’s find out what you have to avoid when preparing the living environment for your hamster.

What is Hamster Bedding?

Hamster bedding, or you might know it as a substrate, is simply what you use to cover the bottom of your dear hamster’s living environment.

Overall, the main function of hamster bedding is to help your little hamster adapt well to the domestic environment in your home.

How to Choose Hamster Bedding

The selection of hamster bedding is important but very tricky as you have to take several factors into consideration.

Comfort

Of course, one of the most important factors is the level of comforts for your hamster. Normally, discomforts will come from rough surfaces or any spiky materials you choose for bedding.

Instead, you should go for smooth and soft materials that provide your hamster with an ideal environment to live.

Absorption

Urination happens fairly when you have a hamster. Therefore, it is necessary to choose some materials that absorb excess moisture very well.

Not only does it help your hamster to feel comfortable, but it also prevents possible health issues that occur to your hamster.

Price

Raising pets is somehow similar to having a baby; you have to be committed. However, financially speaking, you had better choose hamster bedding that matches your budget the best.

Scent

Many people claim that hamsters are scent-free, but it is not true. In fact, their urine might result in an uncomfortable smell, especially if you do not clean it after weeks.

Therefore, it is better if you choose some bedding materials that help to reduce their urine’s scent significantly.

Safety

Cheek pouches seem to be the cutest feature of hamster and also one of the main reasons why many people want a hamster for their own. Besides, hamsters use cheek pouches to consume foods and even bedding material as well.

The fact is that most hamsters will swallow or chew some of their bedding, which drives you to select the material very carefully. Otherwise, your hamster is likely to suffer from health problems.

This article will shed light on this problem by showing you top hamster bedding mistakes.

Top 6 Hamster Bedding Mistakes

Thorough research is important to make the best nest for your hamster. However, the sad fact is that most of us understand it but hardly do it. As a consequence, your hamster usually suffers from uncomfortable bedding.

To avoid this scenario, you should know what to avoid in choosing hamster bedding.

Newspaper

The newspaper is the first thought of many people when it comes to choosing bedding mistakes. The first advantage of the newspaper is that it is very economical and environment-friendly.

Nevertheless, this is one of the biggest hamster bedding mistakes you might have ever made. The main reason is due to inks.

As mentioned above, hamsters usually chew or swallow some parts of their bedding. As a result, they often tend to eat newspaper if you use this material for their bedding.

Newspaper can be considered as toxic because of its inks that people use to print. In fact, we are also warned that inks in the newspaper might pose threats to our respiratory system and suggested not using it to cover foods.

The same effects might happen to your little hamster. Thus, you should avoid using newspaper to protect your hamster from health problems.

Cedar and Pine

Even though wood shavings are accepted to be one of the best materials for bedding, you had better not use cedar and pine wood shavings. They should be prohibited at all costs.

In fact, the use of these two materials for hamster bedding has been a controversial issue for a very long time. Although there is no conclusion from experts, most pet owners recommend not using them for the following reasons.

The first and also most important reason is that cedar and pine put your hamster in the danger of phenols. This substance is found in cedar and pine and is believed to result in respiratory and liver problems.

You can smell phenols immediately, as soon as you open the bag. Some might like its aroma, but it is a problem indeed. Although the main function of phenols is to eliminate moths and insects, they do have negative impacts on other animals as well.

Besides, the eyes and nasal passages of your hamster are exposed to irritations due to phenols as well. Phenols cause weakness in your hamster and stimulate the bacteria’s growth which eventually results in fatal pneumonia.

If your hamster digests cedar, the likelihood is that it will experience digestive problems.

So in general, countless problems result from the use of these two materials, and there is no doubt that they are the most serious hamster bedding mistakes you should avoid.

Unfortunately, many people who have not done research on the potential risks of cedar and pine are often attracted by their low price and purchase them for hamster bedding. This needs to be stopped now!

Fluffy Bedding

Softness, as mentioned above, is an essential factor to consider. Understanding this very well, many people choose fluffy bedding to create the fullest softness. However, it seems to be counter-productive.

Artificial fibers are the main ingredient used to produce fluffy bedding, and they cause harmful effects when being digested.

Also, hamster’s legs are usually fragile and small. If you buy fluffy bedding, the probability is that your hamster might get injuries.

Scented Bedding

Do not misunderstand what we just mentioned above! The hamster bedding should be good at absorbing uncomfortable smells from urine. It should not be scented.

Scented Bedding is one of the most common hamster bedding mistakes. It is the main reason for hamster’s breathing difficulty.

Furthermore, many toxic chemicals are found in scented bedding, and the consequence is that your hamster suffers from various health problems.

Corn Cob

Corn cob is among top hamster bedding mistakes, mainly due to the producer’s false advertisement. Corncob creates a favorable condition for molds to develop easily and they will attack your hamster and cause health problems.

As it is very tough to digest, your hamster will experience digestive problems. Moreover, impaction is the real danger for your hamster when it eats corn cob. Common symptoms of impaction are constipation, abdominal pain and bloating.

Cat Litter

Like other hamster bedding mistakes, the selection of cat litter for your hamster’s nest probably leads to digesting issues.

Also, we also need to pay attention to some harmful substances that cat litter might contain and their unwanted effects on your little hamster’s health.

Conclusion

Overall, these are some common hamster bedding mistakes. The level of severity might vary from a mistake to another, but they all pose threats to your hamster.

Thus, you are recommended to keep these materials far away from your hamster’s home. Whenever choosing a suitable material, you need to check whether it contains mites or insects so as to protect your hamster from harmful enemies.

I hope that considering all information in this article; you can come up with the most suitable choice of hamster bedding. This not only makes your hamster live healthily but also helps you enjoy the raising of your hamster to the fullest extent and minimizes the medical expenses.

Let’s share this article so that more and more pet owners avoid preventable problems in the future!

Source

https://www.pbspettravel.co.uk/blog/hamster-bedding-every-pet-owner-know/

http://animals.mom.me/cant-hamsters-cedar-shavings-1318.html

http://thehamsterhouse.com/hamster-care/hamster-cages/hamster-bedding/

How To Prepare The Best Bedding For Your Hamster This Summer

Summer is coming. While you may enjoy the warm temperature during the months, your hamsters may not. Hamsters thrive best in temperatures between 69 and 72 F (20 – 25 in Celsius) and over-heating can be fatal for your hamster! It is vital we to be sure that their home’s temperature is well monitored. Since hamster bedding can help a lot in managing temperature, and having the right one may help our hamsters get over the heat!

Tip: You may wish to invest in a small thermometer to keep near the enclosure to monitor the internal temperature of the cage. Temperatures can rise quickly, and vary throughout the day, which can make your hamster unwell.

At the end of the day, your hamster relies on you to meet his or her needs as the temperatures outside starts to soar, so how do you prepare the best bedding for your hamster in the summer? In this article, Myspet will introduce some good and bad ways to organize your hamster’s home.

 

How Important Is Bedding To Hamsters Anyway?

Let’s look at a typical hamster cage. In your hamsters cage there should be a bedding and a substrate. Substrate is what lines the bottom of the cage, and bedding is a (normally) softer texture that should help with absorbing smells.

As in the wild, hamsters spend a decent amount of their time to dig around their environments, and build nest. In our human environment, it is their bedding that help replicate their natural environment. The closer to their natural environment, the better and happier they live.. Not to mention that wise bedding also help manage the heat and the smell.

Hamsters are most active in the evening and at night time, and will therefore should be sleeping through the hottest parts of the day. It is important that you chose a bedding that helps him or her keep cool, and provide a suitable hamster home throughout the summer.

Best and Worst Hamster Bedding for summer

What materials for hamster bedding should I AVOID in the summer?

  1. Pine and cedar wood shavings
Don't use Pine and cedar wood shavings for hamsters in summer

Don’t use Pine and cedar wood shavings for hamsters in summer

These bedding options should NEVER be used for hamsters. They are small and sharp, and can cause injury and splinters to your hamster. They can also react to the urine of hamsters, giving off toxic fumes. Wood shavings are often very dusty, and you hamster can inhale these small particles and develop respiratory problems. Avoid these bedding materials this summer for your hamster!

  1. Pet Shop “Fluffy” Bedding

It is important to make your hamsters home a safe environment, and the fluffy, synthetic nesting material sold at most pet shops does just not fit the bill. It is not digestible and can cause serious problems for your hamster if eaten, and the fibers can easily get wrapped around tiny feet causing injury.

  1. Cat Litter

Cat Litter - Bad bedding for hamster

Although Cat Litter is a great way to absorb the smell, it can be very dangerous to your hamster. Cat litter contains chemicals and cannot be digested by your hamster if they accidentally eat some. It can even get stuck into your hamster’s fur, which can be painful and difficult to remove. Cat Litter is not a viable option for your hamster, so if you have already purchased some, give it to a friend with a cat!

What are my options for hamster bedding in the summer?

No matter what bedding you chose, you should clean out any dirty bedding every week, and do a total change of bedding every month. Some bedding is more absorbent than others, and some hamsters will chose one type over the other. It really is down to your budget and personal choice as to which bedding you choose as summer bedding for your hamster home!

  1. Aspen Bedding

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Aspen is essentially hard wood chips. They do not retain any heat, and therefore is perfect for those days when the temperature feels like it won’t stop rising.

Aspen bedding is widely considered the best bedding, no matter what the weather. It is important that you purchase from the pet store, as the hamster bedding is dust free and will not cause respiratory problems, and nor should it contain any invasive mites which may harm your hamster.

  1. Paper Bedding

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Paper bedding can be both home made or shop bought. If you decide to make your hamsters summer bedding at home, then chose paper which does not contain any ink or coating. These option can both be toxic to your hamster. You can feel the paper to see if it has any coating, as it will feel shiny, and don’t use paper containing inks! It is best to buy from a pet shop, or use plain tissue paper torn into small pieces if you are making it at home.

You can shred the paper into strips by hand, or use an electronic shredder. The main disadvantage to using paper is that it does not disguise any unwanted smells, so must be changed more regularly than other bedding choices.

  1. Sand

Sand is a great way to bedding your hamster

Sand is a great bedding for your hamster this summer. It will stay cooler than the surrounding environment, and your hamster can dig to reach cooler spots in the sand. Make sure the sand is several inches deep in places and is a child safe sand which does not contain any added chemicals or cleaners.

If you have a Syrian hamster, then sand is your pets natural environment! He will love burying around in it and it looks great too! Sand is also very easy to spot clean, and absorbs smells well. Have sand all over the cage, or kept in dishes!

  1. Hay

 
Best and Worst Hamster Bedding for summer

Hay is a natural and aesthetically pleasing bedding that your hamster will love. It should always be purchased from a pet store, and not be collected from the garden. This may contain mites which can harm your hamster.

Do not confuse hay with straw! Straw is much sharper and can harm your pet if he tries to put the straw into his cheek pouch.

Hay is soft and comfortable, but will allow adequate ventilation for your hamster this summer.

How Else Can I Help My Hamster Cool Down This Summer?

ceramic to help hamster get better in summer

You can also help your hamster cool down with very little effort. Consider the following options this summer, your hamster will feel much more comfortable in the heat!

  1. Ceramic

Ceramic does not heat up as easily as other materials and equipment in your hamsters cage. They can offer respite from the heat for your small pet.

Tip: 

  • Take a ceramic tile, and put in the freezer for an hour, put it in your hamster cage.
  • Or purchase ceramic rodent housing from your local pet shop
  • Your hamster will love those this summer!
  1. Frozen Food

Giving your hamster frozen fruits and vegetables this summer will not only help him cool down, but will make his food much more interesting too!

Using an ice-cube tray, cut small portions of your hamsters favorite treats and half fill the tray. Top up with clean water and then put into the freezer over night. Do not feed too many with other treats, or your hamster may get fat!

  1. Desktop fan

Small USB fans are ideal for your hamster! However, your hamster should have the opportunity to escape the air flow if possible. An over-windy house can make them sick.

Point the fan on one corner of the enclosure. Your hamster will decide when he needs a little bit of a breeze to cool down!

What ever you do, keep in mind that your hamster relies on you totally for a happy and healthy life. If the temperature is too cold, your hamster may fall into a hibernation like state, and too hot and they can fall sick with heat stress which can be fatal.

Keep a keen eye on your hamster this summer and you should both be able to enjoy the sunshine! If you do have other tips for keeping your hamster cool, or have discovered a great hamster bedding for the summer, let us know in the comment below or join our Facebook group today!