Do hamsters need vitamin drops?
A hamster that has a balanced diet, a good mix of seeds, fresh vegetables, dried herbs and occasionally nuts and fruits, does not need vitamin drops, it gets its daily dose of vitamins from its food. However, if the vet detects a vitamin C deficiency in your hamster, you can administer it by injection or increase its ration of foods that contain more vitamin C, until it regains its balance.
What vitamins does my hamster need?
Given that hamsters are mammals, they have similar vitamin needs to all other mammals.
The essential vitamins required by hamsters are vitamins A, D, E, and K, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid.
The hamster only needs to eat a well-balanced diet to get all the vitamins and molecules it needs for good health, so don’t let all these technical terms intimidate you.
Because of how well-designed nature is, the hamster only needs farmers, not chemical factories, to obtain its vitamins.
So, just make sure your hamster is getting enough to eat.
What about vitamin C, is it necessary for my hamster?
Yes, hamsters need vitamin C, which, like nearly all mammals, they are unable to naturally synthesize.
A hamster breeder claims that a Syrian hamster needs an average of 10 mg of vitamin C per day, and a dwarf hamster may only need half that amount.
As long as you follow the suggested rations and varieties of mixed seeds and cereals, fruits and vegetables, fresh and dried vegetables, and herbs, your hamster can easily find his vitamin C needs in his daily food.
How do I know if my hamster has a vitamin C deficiency?
First of all you should know that your hamster is at risk of contracting scurvy, skin problems, blood clotting and joint problems if it has a vitamin C deficiency.
The signs that your hamster needs to have more food rich in vitamin C are:
- He will shed easily and his coat will become dull and lose its luster
- He will be lethargic
- A difficult walk (limping) because of swollen joints
- Weight loss, loss of appetite
- He will not like you to touch him and will squeak every time you do
- The vet will notice subcutaneous bleeding
How can I be sure my hamster is getting his daily dose of vitamin C?
Here are some foods high in vitamin C that your hamster needs to eat:
- Brussels sprouts that haven’t been cooked
- Sweet peppers
- Garden peas
- Green beans
- Raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
- As well as a small piece of chestnuts
Your hamster will get for example:
- 1.9 mg of Vitamin C from dried pumpkin seeds
- 1.9 mg from sunflower seed
- 1.6 mg from pistachio nuts
- 1.1 mg of C vitamin from hazelnut
Additionally rich in vitamin C are plain branflakes, which you can also give your hamster as treats along with vitamin-enriched dog biscuits.
In almost every supermarket, you can also find bags of mixed salad and other vegetables.
Since vitamin C dissolves quickly in the air and in water, vegetables should be as fresh as possible and shouldn’t be boiled (potatoes should only be boiled in a small amount of water).
If I have to give vitamin C to my hamster, what is the best way?
When your hamster has a vitamin deficiency, the best way to treat it is with a balanced diet or vitamin-rich foods.
However, if the veterinarian advises giving your hamster a vitamin, do not add it to its water because it will quickly degrade and the hamster won’t drink it because the water will taste foul and change color.
Apply the same procedure you would to give a guinea pig vitamin C.
The best option is to give him injections made by a veterinarian, of course, or directly in the mouth with a syringe without a needle, of course, on a plate of vegetables in front of him.
How to avoid vitamin deficiency for my hamster?
Take care of the following conditions to protect your hamster from vitamin deficiency, especially those known to be essential for him, primarily vitamin C and B:
- Provide a varied dry food, vegetables and fruits, protein food, and herbs to your hamster.
- Avoid stressing your hamster because the more stressed a hamster is, the more vitamins it will require.
- Vitamins are known to deteriorate quickly, so make sure the vegetables you feed your hamster are always fresh.
- If you notice any signs of vitamin deficiency (I mentioned some above), contact a vet. You can also give a supplement of debittered brewer’s yeast (this is only a temporary solution, see a vet), which is known to provide what your hamster is lacking, especially vitamin B.
- Young and old hamsters, weak hamsters and sick or convalescent hamsters, pregnant females, are the hamsters who will require the most of these vitamins, so pay special attention to your hamster’s diet if it falls into one of these categories.
❖ Here is what your hamster risks depending on the vitamin it may lack:
- Hamsters grow at a normal rate and attain normal mature weights on simplified rations. The list of vitamins in the simplest satisfactory diet includes A, D, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid.
- If vitamin E is omitted from the diet the animals collapse and die in 4 to 18 weeks. They may be rescued shortly after collapse by administration of vitamin E.
- If vitamin K is omitted from the diet the rate of growth is irregular but the animals reach maturity in nearly normal time. During the period of arrested growth the animals develop small hemorrhagic areas.
- If vitamins E and K are both omitted from the diet the animals apparently die from the vitamin E deficiency but they are also severely hemorrhagic.
- A high percentage of females bore at least one litter on simplified diets that contained nicotinic acid, choline, and inositol, in addition to the vitamins required during growth. The data are insufficient to decide whether biotin or p-aminobenzoic acid are essential for the hamster. 6. Few females bore a second litter and it was concluded that the hamster requires at least one unrecognized vitamin for reproduction.
Hamsters do not need vitamin drops, they will get all the nutrients and vitamins they need from their daily food.
If you only feed your hamster pellets or poor seed mixes that are not varied, and especially no herbs or vegetables, your hamster will surely suffer from vitamin deficiency in this case.
The best source of vitamin is fresh vegetables, give your hamster every day a piece of vegetable as big as your little finger (rotate each day a different vegetable or small cubes of each vegetable).
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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