Can My Hamster Eat My Food?

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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!

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