Can Hamsters Eat Cheerios?
We get why people may consider giving their hamsters Cheerios. We love our pets. Therefore, we want to share things with them, including what we eat. The rationale for including Cheerios among that list is clear. To answer the question, yes, hamsters can safely eat Cheerios, but they probably shouldn’t.
To understand why, you need to learn about what they contain.
Ingredients in Cheerios
There are several flavors of Cheerios. We’re going to stick with the original formula as a basis for reviewing the other ones.
According to the manufacturer, the base ingredients are:
- Whole grain oats
- Corn starch
- Tripotassium phosphate
- Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), added to preserve freshness
At first glance, everything seems safe enough for hamsters – and humans! Hamsters are omnivores, so the oats are okay for them. They are nutritious and add fiber, which benefits both humans and hamsters.
Sugar and salt are sometimes problematic. The concern is whether they exceed the daily requirements for hamsters. While the product doesn’t have much of either, feeding your hamster Cheerios as a regular diet isn’t wise.
How Much Cheerios Should Hamster Eat?
Cheerios are high in sugar and salt, and just like in humans, eating foods high in these ingredients can put one at risk of a plethora of diseases.
The catch, therefore, is to give hamsters as treats and to avoid the flavored ones altogether.
The flavored cheerios contain other ingredients, including preservatives and food coloring, that their bodies cannot process or excrete.
One or two plain cheerios are more than enough for them in a week if they must eat cheerios as treats.
What are the Health Benefits of Cheerios for Hamsters?
Cheerios contain minerals and vitamins such as sodium, fiber, potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A, D, C, and B6.
These vitamins and minerals are absorbed and utilized by humans because we eat large amounts of cheerios. The only benefit for our dear hamsters is that it may improve their digestion in the long run.
This is to say that cheerios have little or no nutritional benefits for hamsters, so why bother giving it to them?
Some of these added supplements, which are healthy for humans, are likely to be overwhelming if not dangerous for small pets like hamsters. Moderation is key.
The Problems With Cheerios
Hamsters do best with a commercial hamster diet that contains a mix of dried fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. Fresh foods like fruits and vegetables can cause GI distress if given in large quantities. The sugar that Cheerios contain can cause issues with species that are more vulnerable to high levels of sugar because of their tendency of getting diabetes.
Therefore, the problems with Cheerios are the calories and sugar.
The other thing to bear in mind is that animals like hamsters evolved eating foods found in nature. Cheerios isn’t one of them, despite the ingredients.
The other concern is obesity. You may not think about this with an animal like a hamster. However, it’s effects are real.
You must also consider dental issues. The standard diet of hamsters encourages the regular wear of their teeth. Like all rodents, their teeth grow throughout their lives. Their diet is a vital part of keeping them in check.
Unfortunately, Cheerios don’t make the cut.
Final Thoughts About Giving Hamsters Cheerios
Cheerios aren’t a problem when considering whether they are safe for your pet. They can eat them. The question is how many you should give your hamster.
We suggest limiting Cheerios as a treat. The sugar content can cause spikes in their blood sugar, which take them off the table as a regular food.
Share them occasionally, but don’t make them your pet’s regular diet.
If you’re looking for different foods to feed your hamster as a treat, add a comment below to let us know!
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