Hamsters are lovely pets, and you want to feed something tasty to satisfy those chubby cheeks. Hamster nutrition is important to maintain optimum health, but there are some treats you can give to your little friend. Various foods are safe to eat, and some that are better than others. We’ve researched some choices so you can make hamster treats at home.
It is important to feed hamsters a balanced diet with adequate nutrition. You may supplement the hamster’s pellet or seed mix with up to 10% of healthy human foods. Hamsters can safely eat the following foods:
- Fruit – apples (without seeds), bananas, blackberries, blueberries, coconut, cranberries, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi fruit, mango, melon, peach, pear, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.
- Herbs – parsley, marrow, mint, and sage
- Homemade hamster “cookies” – a mixture of hamster safe fruits or veggies mixed with flour or wheat germ into small pellet treats or “cookies”
- Meat/Protein – beef (cooked), chicken (baked or steamed), cod, cottage cheese (low fat), crickets, eggs, grasshoppers, lentils, soybeans, tofu (plain), whole grain bread, and yogurt (low fat, plain)
- Nuts – acorns, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts
- Vegetables – asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, peas, sweet corn, turnip, rhubarb (cooked), potato (cooked), and kidney beans (cooked)
These foods are safe for hamsters with varying levels of nutrition. We will give some recipes that you can follow to make safe, and healthy hamster treats at home. It is recommended that you stick with a balanced pellet or seed mix to meet a hamster’s nutritional needs. You may provide some treats or rewards around one-tenth of the hamster’s total diet in moderation. Please keep reading as we discuss specific foods and their nutritional value to hamsters. This post will also list the foods that are not safe for hamsters to consume.
What Foods Should Hamsters Avoid?
There are many different kinds of foods hamsters can safely enjoy. Be cautious when deciding to feed hamsters processed food that is not made specifically for hamsters. Many human foods contain extracts and spices that fall on this do not feed list. Here are some foods that you should not feed to your hamster:
- Apple seeds
- Citrus fruit
- Foods with lots of sugar or salt
- Onions, leeks, scallions, and chives
- Potatoes (raw)
- Rhubarb leaves and raw rhubarb
For more tips on what to not feed your hamster, please read, 14 Foods That Are Dangerous To Hamsters.
How To Make Hamster Cookies
If you want to cook your hamster something special, you can make these tiny, sweet “cookies.”
The recipe calls for:
- a cup of powdered milk
- a cup of wheat germ
- half a cup of oats
- one egg white
- 100-gram jar of berry baby food
Mix all ingredients and add just enough water to get a sticky dough. You can buy some strips to test your hamster’s urine for glucose. Then, mix the juice with some flour, oats, and water to make a slightly sticky dough. Store the cookies in an airtight container or a freezer-safe container in the freezer.
This recipe can be adapted by using other kinds of baby food or replacing the baby food with smaller chunks of fruits and veggies from the safe foods list. If you choose to try another baby food, do not use anything with onion or garlic related food additives.
How To Make Healthy Hamster Treats
This recipe has more ingredients you will probably find in your kitchen. You just need some flour, oats, and fruit or vegetables. Any kind of flour is safe and okay to use in this recipe, but buckwheat is the most nutritious for hamsters. Blend whatever fruit or vegetables you use to create a juice. They finish quickly because they are tiny. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. If it is not at all sticky, add a little bit more water.
Then roll out the dough and create small pellets to place onto a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. You can use tiny cookie cutters or just make tiny pellet size balls. You may choose any fruit or vegetable on the approved list. Some common flavors for hamster treats include berries and carrots.
What Other Treats Are Available?
Merchants and pet stores offer treats for herbivores. The package will say the treats are suitable for small animals, including chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters. They are all small herbivores that have similar nutritional needs. Your pet will like these treats in the way a dog likes dog treats. They are usually not intended to be more than 10-percent of the hamster’s total diet, so give sparingly.
- Kaytee Country Harvest Treat Blend
- Kaytee Yo Chips
Can You Overfeed A Hamster?
Hamsters do not overeat. They frequently eat throughout the day, and that is healthy, but they are not genetically capable of overeating. With that said, giving you hamster too many treats or too much food can be a problem for another reason.
Hamsters like to store food away for later. Check out, Why Hamsters Put Food In Their Cheeks (And What You Need To Know About Hamster Cheek Care). Fresh food snacks can go bad quickly, so it is a good idea to take away snacks if your hamster hasn’t eaten it after a day. Hamsters may also urinate on their food to mark it as their own, and urine can quickly degrade the quality of food.
Can Hamsters Get Diabetes?
While hamsters cannot physically or genetically overeat, they are at risk of getting diabetes. This can happen from a diet high in carbs and fats, so treats should be given sparingly. Dwarf hamsters are at a high genetic predisposition for diabetes, although not all dwarf hamsters will get the disease. Syrian hamsters are not really at a genetic predisposition, but it is still possible for them to get diabetes.
What Are The Signs Of Diabetes?
If your hamster is showing some symptoms of diabetes, you can do a test from home. Symptoms include weight loss, excessive urination, eating more than usual, and drinking more water than usual. Pre-packaged popcorn contains many additives and preservatives that may not be healthy for your hamster.
Never treat your hamster for diabetes until you confirm a diagnosis through a vet. You will then make small pellet size pieces on a lightly oiled sheet and bake at 350-degrees for about 8-minutes. When you compare it to the chart, you can see how likely your hamster has diabetes. If you suspect your hamster does have diabetes, then consult a veterinarian for treatment.
- Ketone Test Strips
Can Hamsters Eat Human Foods?
It is best to limit human foods that contain no nutritional benefit to hamsters, but there are some safe treats you probably have in your pantry. When choosing a food for the hamster, always choose plain over flavored options. Flavored processed foods are more likely to contain extracts that are usually not safe for your pet to take.
Can Hamsters Eat Spaghetti (Or Raw Pasta)?
Spaghetti and pasta hold no nutritional value for hamsters. It is safe for them to eat, but only feed a small amount of raw or cooked pasta. Less than one noodle is plenty for a trconsume. Since hamsters do not overeat, filling them up with food with no nutrition will leave them lacking in important nutrients.
Can Hamsters Eat Cheerios?
Hamsters can safely eat plain cheerios in small amounts, such as two to three pieces per day. Do not feed hamsters other kinds of cheerios because they have extra sugar and additives. Plain cheerios are safe for hamsters but contain no nutritional value. Cheerios could be crushed and mixed in place of flour for the healthy hamster treat recipe above.
Can Hamsters Eat Popcorn?
Plain white air-popped popcorn is safe for hamsters to consume in small amounts. Like cheerios and spaghetti, popcorn has no nutritional benefit or value for hamsters. You may also notice a sugary smell in the hamster’s urine. It is recommended only to feed your hamster popcorn if you make it yourself using kernels on the stovetop.
Can Hamsters Eat Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter must be fed with caution and in moderation. Since peanut butter is sticky, it is a potential choking hazard in the event that you give a hamster too much. You can put a small, thin amount on a piece of wood. You may also place a small amount of peanut butter on a tiny piece of bread.
Peanut butter is high fat, so it should not be given to hamsters more than two times per week. Plain, organic peanut butter without added sugar or salt would become the best option to use.
Can Hamsters Eat Grass?
Grass is safe for hamsters to eat, but it must gradually be introduced into the diet to avoid digestion problems. It should be fed only in moderation end up beingcause it is not nutritionally beneficial for hamsters. Other herbivores can get nutrition from grass, but the hamster digestion system cannot process these nutrients. If your hamster eats too much grass, it can trigger upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. Grass and lawns are often treated with chemicals and pesticides. Be sure only to provide grass to your hamster if you know that it has not been chemically sprayed or treated.
Hamsters like a tasty treat, just like any other domesticated mammal. A balanced diet is essential for a healthy pet, and the primary seed or pellet mix should comprise 90% of your hamster’s diet. They will not overeat in total but are at risk of diabetes if they eat an excessive amount of fat, carbs, and sugary foods. You can make your own hamster cookies to delight your little furry friend but do so in moderation. There is an abundance of safe snack options for you to choose from, or you can make your very own from home.