You want to feed your hamster something fresh and healthy but aren't sure exactly what will be safe for your fuzzy friend. There's so much information available on how to best care for your pet, and sometimes that information can be overwhelming. You love celery and want to know if it is something you can share with your pet hamster. We've done some research for you and have the answer.
Celery is a wonderful, beneficial, tasty snack for your hamster. As with every snack, it should be provided in moderation. There are numerous health advantages and very few negatives regarding feeding your tiny buddy this healthy vegetable. Hamsters love to eat fresh vegetables and will live longer with a diet rich in nutrients. However, you must be careful in preparing this vegetable, specifically the stalks, before giving it to your pet.
Now that you're aware, celery is an excellent snack for your hamster, read on to find out how to get the most out of this vegetable and ensure your hamster's safety.
Why is Celery Good for Hamsters?
Celery contains a multitude of vitamins that benefit your hamster's wellbeing. Specifically, celery contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. That's a powerful vitamin punch. Because of all these essential vitamins, celery provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support. Celery also aids in digestion! It contains polysaccharides, which can ease tummy upset and boost your hamster's immune system. Additionally, celery aids in cardiovascular health due to phytonutrient compounds that regulate normal heart function.
On top of all the support a hamster gets from the vitamins in celery, crunching on this veggie helps maintain your pet's dental health. Gnawing on the fibrous pieces of celery helps file down those overgrowing teeth. We all know how much hamsters love to chew and how necessary it is.
How Do I Prepare Celery Before Giving it to My Hamster?
Preparing the celery is a critical step to ensure your hamster's health. The celery stalk has long, fibrous stalks. Those fibrous stalks are the part we, as humans, generally eat. Before giving your hamster celery, be sure to cut the stalks up into small pieces and remove the fibers running through the celery as much as possible. Giving the hamster the full celery stalk could become a choking hazard due to the stalk's long strands.
As far as the leaves are concerned, they are packed with nutrients. Feel free to offer these leafy greens to your hamster. Be aware, however, they might reject them due to their strong taste. The taste is due to the concentration of nutrients in the leaves. If you can get your fuzzy friend to eat them, great! They are the healthiest part of the celery.
Could Celery Ever Hurt My Hamster?
As briefly mentioned above, the strands in the celery stalks could adversely affect your pet. There are a few other precautions to consider before diving headlong into feeding your hamster celery.
Overall, celery is exceptionally healthy for your hamster. It's important to remember, though, that too much of a good thing can have an ill effect. When introducing new foods, especially if you've just begun feeding your hamster fresh veggies, it is important to do so slowly. Start with just a piece or two to see how the hamster reacts. New foods can cause stomach upset, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. Celery should be an occasional treat and limited to a few nibbles per week.
Selecting the best celery is also essential. When purchasing celery, ensure the stalks in the bunch are close together. You could even try growing your own fresh vegetables for you and your hamster to enjoy. Store the celery in the refrigerator in a crisper drawer, as airtight as possible. When preparing the celery, the stalks should have a healthy snap sound when pulling them apart. Wash the celery thoroughly before giving it to your hamster as any residue from pesticides can make your hamster sick. Pay close attention to the grooves in the celery stalk as they hold dirt and pollutants.
Remember, although it is essential to feed your hamster fresh vegetables, its primary diet must still hamster food.
What is Toxic to Hamsters?
Many foods we may enjoy as humans can be toxic to hamsters. Just because it's something you enjoy doesn't mean your tiny companion can tolerate it. Always do your research before trying a new food variety, and always start in moderation.
Onions and its close relations garlic, leeks, and chives are toxic to hamsters. These foods cause severe stomach irritation and can lead to gastroenteritis, which can be fatal. Anything with caffeine should also be avoided, as it can cause the hamster's heart to race.
Chocolate, especially, can be toxic because it contains both caffeine and theobromine, the latter of which is poison to a hamster.
Additionally, avoid potatoes, beans, tomato leaves (and tomatoes in general as under-ripe tomatoes can poison your hamster), avocados, almonds, apple seeds (nibbles on the apple flesh are okay), and citrus fruits. We also advise avoiding iceberg lettuce unless in tiny quantities. It can cause diarrhea. Try other leafy greens instead.
Can Carrots Kill Hamsters?
Carrots will not kill a hamster unless, as with other foods, they are given in abundance. If a hamster eats carrots every day and all the time, they could potentially develop diabetes due to the high sugar content. Dwarf hamsters are especially susceptible to this potentially deadly disease, so take care and feed in moderation.
As with celery, carrots should be given in small pieces as an occasional treat in strict moderation. If you own a dwarf hamster, consider other vegetables with lower amounts of sugar. Moreover, if you have carrots on hand and are preparing some for your dinner, consider offering the leafy green tops to your hamster. These are packed with nutrients and don't have the sugar content of the orange carrot body.
What Vegetables Can Hamsters Eat?
There are no shortages in the types of vegetables a hamster can eat. Leafy greens are ideal because they provide nutrients and keep your fuzzy friend hydrated. Consider trying bok choy, spinach, dandelion leaves, kale--any dark leafy greens. As mentioned above, iceberg lettuce doesn't offer many nutrients and can cause upset tummy for your hamster, so stick to the darker leaves.
Hamsters also love broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, even cucumber. Be careful when feeding your hamster cucumber because its high water content can cause diarrhea if overfed.
Each time you try a new vegetable, remember to start with a tiny piece and wait a few days before feeding more to your pet. Consult a veterinarian if any adverse effects appear.
Are There Commercially-Made Treats that Contain Fresh Fruits and Veggies for Hamsters?
If you want to give your hamster a treat but find yourself without the time to prep fresh vegetables, there are many pre-packaged options to give your pet. Most commercially made products are fruit and nut-based, as these are the most popular things a hamster enjoys eating. There are various options, and all are affordable, but be sure to read the packaging for ingredients and feeding recommendations. Want to know more about what treats you can give your hamster? Read more about that in this article, "What Treats Can I Give My Hamster?"
Celery makes a healthy, fortified treat for your hamster. Make sure it is clean and fresh, and free of pesticides. Ensure the pieces are small and edible to prevent your hamster from choking. Overall, your little buddy's health is the essential thing, so always ease them into dietary changes. You want your pet around as long as possible!