Can hamsters eat grapes?
You might be preparing tasty fruits for your hamster and be wondering whether it’s okay to add grapes into the mix. If you have other pets like dogs, cats, and rats, then you may already know that grapes are toxic to those particular pets. The difference is that grapes aren’t harmful to hamsters, but you do have to be careful about how to prepare them and how often you feed them to your small furry friend.
Let’s find out everything you need to know about how to safely feed grapes to your hamster.
What’s good about grapes?
Grapes are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They’re high in vitamins K and C, as well as being rich in phosphorous, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Vitamin K is used by your hamster’s body to aid blood clotting. Vitamin C is essential to maintain a healthy and strong immune system. Phosphorous and calcium help your hamster build and maintain a strong skeletal system.
Hamsters can suffer from vitamin C deficiencies, so grapes can boost their dietary intake of this vitamin.
Grapes also contain fiber, which can help your hamster’s digestive system function correctly. They also have a high water content, helping your hamster stay hydrated in hotter weather.
Hamsters love the sweet taste of grapes, but of course, this can also be seen as a negative aspect because sugar isn’t an essential part of your hamster’s diet and can lead to issues.
What’s bad about grapes?
Too many grapes in one serving could give your hamster gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pains and diarrhea.
Grapes are also high in sugar, so too many grapes can cause health issues, including diabetes and fatty deposits on their livers. Eating too many grapes can also cause your hamster to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
While grapes aren’t toxic to hamsters, your hamster may be allergic to them.
How to feed grapes to your hamster safely
If you’d like to try feeding grapes to your hamster, start with a very small amount, just as with any other new food. We recommend only feeding an eighth of a grape to start with and increasing the quantity to a quarter of a grape once or twice a week.
Hamsters should only have a teaspoon-sized serving of fruit twice a week. So, one grape counts as over half their weekly allowance! It’s a good idea to peel the grape and chop it up into quarters or eighths.
Keep an eye on your hamster’s behavior to check that they aren’t suffering from an allergic reaction or a gastrointestinal upset. Things to look out for include:
- This is when hamsters eat something with no nutritional value, like their bedding or a piece of cardboard. It can be used as a self-soothing behavior, so it may be a sign that something they ate, like a piece of grape, is causing them discomfort.
- If your hamster develops loose stools or diarrhea, do not feed them any more grapes. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration if not quickly resolved.
- If your hamster seems to lack energy after eating a new food, they may be struggling to digest it.
- Lack of appetite. Another sign that a new food like grapes hasn’t agreed with your hamster’s digestive system is if they aren’t keen on eating their usual food.
If any of these symptoms carry on for over 48 hours, it’s a good idea to call your vet and make an appointment for them to see your hamster.
Hamsters under 4 weeks of age shouldn’t be fed grapes.
Can hamsters eat grapes with seeds?
The seeds of grapes are large enough to cause a choking hazard for your tiny hamster. So, while you can feed them grapes with seeds, be sure to remove the seeds first.
This can be tricky, so choosing to use seedless grapes is the easier option.
If someone accidentally feeds your hamster a piece of grape without the seeds removed, you may want to contact your vet for peace of mind. While the seeds shouldn’t be toxic, it may create a blockage in your hamster’s digestive tract.
How many grapes can a hamster eat?
The majority of your hamster’s nutrients should be coming from their pellets and daily helping of vegetables. Fruits, including grapes, can be used as the occasional treat but shouldn’t form a regular part of your hamster’s diet.
If your hamster is fed a high-quality pellet, then grapes won’t provide any nutritional benefits that they don’t already get from their existing diet.
Can hamsters eat grapes with skin?
The skin or peel of a grape isn’t toxic to hamsters, but you may decide to remove it to reduce the risk of your hamster being exposed to pesticides. You can also thoroughly wash the grapes instead of peeling them.
What kind of grapes can hamsters eat?
Hamsters can eat both green and red grapes. Try both (peeled and de-seeded) and see which one your hammy prefers!
What fruit can hamsters eat?
Hamsters should only be offered a teaspoon of fruit twice a week. You may decide to offer them grape on its own, but given its high sugar content, it’s probably better to mix it with other fruits, including:
A note on Chinese Dwarf Hamsters
If your hamster is a Chinese Dwarf Hamster, then it’s probably best not to feed them any grapes at all. The high sugar content of grapes can trigger diabetes in this breed, an illness that they’re already at a very high risk of developing.
Campbell’s hamsters are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes, so while the risk isn’t as high as for Chinese Dwarfs, you might still decide to avoid grapes as a snack for this type of hamster.
If you’re not sure what type of hamster you have, it’s best to ask your veterinarian to help you identify them before you feed them any grapes. Syrian and Roborovski hamsters are at a lower risk of developing diabetes.
Wrapping it up
Hamsters can have grapes, but they should only ever be offered very small portions, twice a week at most. Grapes do contain antioxidants and vitamins but don’t provide any nutrients that your hamster can’t get from their regular portions of hamster pellets and vegetables.
Grapes are high in sugar, so if you’re going to feed them grapes, these should be combined with other fruits that are lower in sugar. Too much sugar can cause your hamster to become overweight or even develop diabetes. Certain varieties of hamster, like the Chinese Dwarf, are at very high risk of developing diabetes so should never be fed sugary foods like grapes, even as an occasional treat.
You should peel and de-seed grapes before cutting them up into very small pieces to offer to your hamster. If they show any signs of digestive problems, don’t offer them anymore.
If you’re still not sure about feeding them as a snack to your hamster, we recommend calling your vet for a chat first.
For more general questions about feeding your hamster, add a comment below to let us know!
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