Maybe you are starting to experiment with new treats for your hamster. Are you considering coconuts and coconut products for your pet? Coconut has many perks and some limitations when feeding as a treat. We've researched and put together this guide with all you need to know about the relationship between your hamster and coconut.
Hamsters can eat coconut. You can give them all parts of the coconut, including the shell, skin, and meat. This delicious nut offers your pet a variety of health benefits when fed correctly.
Keep reading as we go in-depth about the health risks and benefits coconut offers your hamster. We will provide guides for making your very own treats at home and touch on what foods should be avoided in your pet's diet.
Your Hamster and Coconuts
If you are a new hamster owner, you are probably worrying about keeping your pet healthy and happy. Coconut shells and meat are completely non-toxic to hamsters. While parts of the coconut will enrich your furry friend, it should be used only as a treat.
Ensure your hamster is on a healthy, balanced diet alongside treat giving. You can read more about hamster diets on our blog post, "How To Feed Hamsters - A Guide For Beginners."
Health Benefits of Coconuts
Even though coconuts are deemed a treat food, they do offer many health benefits for your hamster. Coconut contains the following:
Each of these nutrients will add a specific perk to your hamster's life.
Added fiber in your hamster's diet promotes a healthy digestive system and overall health. Feeding coconut on a regular basis can prevent constipation and other digestive issues. Increased fiber intake will prevent obesity and high blood pressure.
Zinc can treat your hamster for diarrhea. This mineral will keep the immune system strong, lowering the chance of your hamster contracting a disease or illness.
The potassium in the coconut will help keep your hamster's heart healthy. Added potassium will lower risks of your pet suffering from cholesterol, blood pressure and general heart disease.
Iron will add benefits to the blood, preventing blood clotting issues in the future.
Coconuts are rich in saturated fats. These fats can aid in keeping your hamster's skin smooth and their fur healthy. Saturated fats will help keep the brain and nervous system in good shape as well, if given the appropriate amount.
Health Risks of Coconut
There are, unfortunately, health risks for your hamster if coconut is not fed appropriately. The fats in this scrumptious snack make it so nutritional that it can be dangerous if fed excessively.
Too much of the coconut's saturated fats can cause obesity and subsequently put your hamster at risk for other diseases that are life-shortening. You want to have the proper feeding methods down to get all the juicy benefits coconut has to offer.
How much coconut should I feed my hamster?
Dwarf hamsters can only eat a small piece of coconut (1/2-inch long) once every two weeks. Syrian and Roborovski hamsters can be fed 1-inch pieces of coconut once or twice a week. If you are unsure what breed of hamster you have, stick to the smaller portion to be safe.
Make sure to check for any leftover or hidden pieces of coconut when you clean your hamster's home. This will ensure your hamster doesn't overeat or snack on a rotting treat.
To learn about more healthy snacks for your pet, please read, "What Treats Can I Give My Hamster?"
Can I put a coconut shell in my hamster’s cage?
You absolutely can put a coconut shell in your hamster's cage. Due to the hard nature of a coconut shell, your hamster can use it to bite and sharpen their teeth. The shells can be used in your cage as "hidey homes" or props for your hamster to dig and burrow under. Check out the video below for a tutorial on creating a coconut hideaway for your hamster.
Can hamsters eat coconut oil?
Hamsters can eat coconut oil. Like raw or dried coconut, coconut oil can be given as a treat and offers just as many health benefits. Coconut oil contains fatty acids that give the oil immune-boosting properties and improve your hamster's ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections.
In addition to eating it, coconut oil can be helpful to your hamster's skin. Coconut oil can be used on minor scrapes and skin infections or as a moisturizer for their skin and fur.
Antifungal and antiparasitic properties allow you to use coconut oil as a flea and tick preventative as well. Just rub a small amount on the affected area or throughout your hamster's fur to apply.
How should I feed coconut to my hamster?
Coconut can be fed to your hamster raw, dried, or mixed into larger treats. Whichever way you are feeding it, ensure you are sticking to the recommended amount to feed. Coconut oil can be fed on a spoon or mixed in with your hamster's usual diet.
Want to bake a homemade treat for your hamster? Check out this link to view vet-reviewed recipes and learn how to bake a fruit cake or banana treat.
The video below will show you how to create DIY coconut macaroons for your furry companion. Your hamster will enjoy eating these treats just as much as you'll enjoy making them.
Maybe you don't have time to bake your own treats or prepare a fresh coconut. No worries! You can buy pre-made coconut treats for your furry friend. You can find these coconut delights in trail mix, chewing sticks, or dried pieces.
Can hamsters eat bananas?
Your hamster can eat bananas. Bananas will provide a large amount of vitamin C, vitamin B, and fiber. Just like coconut, you should give banana as a treat and in moderation.
A small amount of banana can be given to your hamster no more than twice a week. You can often find treats that contain both banana and coconut for your hamster.
What can't my hamster eat?
Now that you are spoiling your hamster with treats, you should be aware of what your hamster cannot eat. Hamsters are curious rodents and will nibble on just about any food in front of them; it is up to you to protect your pet and be informed on foods that can be toxic to them.
What foods are poisonous to hamsters?
Foods that are toxic to your hamster include:
- Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks
- Beans and potatoes
- Chocolate and caffeine products
- Citrus fruits
- Apple seeds
- Potato chips
- Raisins or grapes
Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks
These vegetables can cause gastroenteritis or involved digestion issues. These conditions can even lead to dehydration and death. It is best to avoid these ingredients all together in your hamster's diet.
Beans and potatoes
Beans and potatoes put your hamster at risk for severe diarrhea leading to dehydration. This happens from too much fiber contained in these foods.
Chocolate and caffeine products
Theobromine and caffeine are found in chocolate products. Caffeine is not healthy for your hamster in any amount. Theobromine, in particular, is lethal for your hamster. Consumption of chocolate can lead to the poisoning of your pet.
Citrus fruits are very high in acid. This property is helpful to us humans but can cause stomach irritation in your hamster. Avoid giving citrus fruits to prevent unnecessary discomfort for your pet.
Apple is safe to give to your hamster but make sure to clear out any seeds. Apple seeds contain cyanide. Your hamster is a tiny creature, and the amount of cyanide in apple seeds is enough to make them deathly ill.
It may be tempting to give your hamster a crunchy treat but avoid potato chips altogether. Potatoes on their own will cause issues for your pet, but when fried, chips will contain a large amount of fat and salt. This can put your hamster at risk for obesity and other health issues.
Avoid giving your hamster avocado or their skins, pits, and leaves. Avocado contains a toxin called persin that can be detrimental to your hamster.
Like apple seeds, raw almonds contain cyanide and could poison your hamster. All almonds are high in fat, making them a risk to give to your pet. If almonds are in your hamster's diet, you should be feeding a sliver of a roasted organic almond once a week.
Raisins or grapes
The seeds in raisins and grapes are toxic to hamsters. You will want to stay away from even seedless grapes due to their high sugar content and choking hazards.
Can grapes kill hamsters?
Grapes can kill hamsters. Grapes and raisins will cause renal failure in your pet, meaning their kidneys will not function properly. Chronic or acute kidney failure can be managed with special diets and medications initially but will inevitably lead to the death of your pet.
Learn more about foods that are dangerous to hamsters by reading "14 Foods That Are Dangerous To Hamsters."
Go nuts for coconuts!
You now have all the information you need to start adding coconut to your hamster's diet. Take advantage of all the great properties the coconut supplies to your hamster's well-being. Who knew so much goodness could be packed into a delicious treat.