One of the most fun parts of having a small pet is being able to feed them all different foods. However, you must make sure that the food you offer is safe. If you have a hamster and a penchant for fast food, you might be wondering if you can feed your hamster french fries. We've done the research to answer this for you.
Hamsters cannot eat french fries. Not only are they unhealthy, but some ingredients in french fries are harmful to hamsters. Here are some of the reasons why:
- They are too fatty
- They contain oils
- They contain salt
- They have too many additives
- They are fried
If you wonder why these particular ingredients are harmful to hamsters, stick with us. We will explain each of these reasons, so you know why they aren't a good addition to your hamster's diet.
Why French Fries Are Harmful To Hamsters
French fries are harmful to hamsters for several reasons. Keep in mind that while these reasons are why french fries are unhealthy, other foods containing these ingredients should also be kept out of your hamster's diet.
French Fries Are Too Fatty
Hamsters need food that contains protein, fats, and fiber, just like most every animal species. However, hamsters should get their fats through foods designed explicitly for their nutrition, not human food.
Not only do french fries contain too many fats for even human consumers, but they also contain harmful fats such as trans fats and saturated fats.
Since hamsters have a significantly smaller digestive system than humans, it is difficult to determine how much of these fats are safe for consumption. A single french fry that contains an acceptable amount of fat for us can have a harmful amount of fat for smaller animals.
French Fries Contain Oils
Believe it or not, some oils are okay for hamsters. For example, peanut butter naturally contains peanut oil and is a healthy way to add fats to your hamster's diet. Fresh coconut is also healthy for hamsters, and they naturally contain oil as well.
However, oils used to make french fries are not among those hamsters should consume. While hamsters' occasional or accidental consumption of oils wouldn't be toxic, continued consumption could lead to obesity and other health problems.
French Fries Contain Salt
Salt is misleading because almost any pet store you go to sells salt licks for small pets. However, they aren't as healthy as the packages claim. Too much salt can lead to kidney stones in hamsters. So keep the salt licks out of your hamster's cage and refrain from giving them any foods that contain salt.
Again, if your hamster happens to get a hold of some salt, or you've given them salt licks before, don't fret. Just be careful not to continue to allow it.
Too Many Additives
Unless you cut your own potatoes and make homemade french fries, the french fries you want to feed your hamster are loaded with preservatives. Many of these ingredients aren't healthy for humans, let alone the sensitive digestive systems of hamsters.
When feeding people food to your hamster, it is best to stick to whole foods that are not processed. It is easier to keep track of what your hamster is consuming this way, and you don't have to work about them accidentally ingesting an ingredient an otherwise safe food contains.
French Fries Are Fried
Fried foods aren't healthy for hamsters for many reasons. We've already discussed the oil that the fries are cooked in and the additives found in fried, processed foods. Additionally, many fried foods are also breaded, which further increases the potential of your hamster to consume unhealthy ingredients.
Keep in mind that if you are frying french fries in the same oil as other foods that are unsafe for hamsters, you run the risk of cross-contamination.
Can A Hamster Eat Potatoes?
After learning all the reasons that french fries are unsafe, you might think this answer is a resounding no. But believe it or not, hamsters can eat potatoes. There are a few rules that need to be followed, however. Here are the most important ones to remember:
Cooked Potatoes Only!
When you feed your hamster potatoes, you must ensure that they are fully cooked. Raw potatoes contain a toxin called solanine, which is harmful to hamsters. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, this toxin can even be deadly.
Keep It Plain Please!
You may enjoy your potatoes with lots of butter, salt, and sour cream; however, your hamster cannot tolerate seasonings the way you can. Like humans, hamsters can suffer from heart disease by consuming too much fat or cholesterol.
Moderation Is Key
While adequately prepared potatoes aren't harmful to hamsters, they aren't healthy for them either. If your hamster likes potatoes, give them as an occasional treat. Too much potato can harm their digestive tract or cause them to ignore the food they need to be consuming.
If you haven't given your hamster potatoes yet, or your hamster doesn't like them, they aren't missing out. If your hamster does eat potatoes, make sure you are giving them other foods to meet their nutritional needs.
Can Chips Kill A Hamster?
If your hamster accidentally nibbles on a chip that has fallen on the floor, don't worry. Even a small amount may upset his or her tummy, but your hamster is likely to pull through.
This does not mean that chips should be fed to your hamster, though. First and foremost, potato chips are processed, containing harmful chemicals to hamsters. They also contain salt, oil, and other natural ingredients that can cause health problems.
What Foods Are Bad For Hamsters?
You can be reasonably sure that you are feeding your hamster the correct diet if you stick to grains, fruits and vegetables, and hay. However, there are foods in these categories that need to be avoided. Here are a few:
Avoiding oranges, lime, and other citrus fruits will save your hamster some tummy troubles. Because these fruits are highly acidic, they will cause diarrhea and disrupt a hamster's digestive system.
Be sure to keep other highly acidic foods out of your hamster's diet.
Bland and composed chiefly of water, you may think that celery would be safe for a hamster's sensitive stomach. However, it is the texture of celery rather than what it is made of that can potentially cause a problem.
Hamsters can choke on the strings in celery if they are given the stalks. If you want your hamster to try celery, you can offer the leaves. They are safer for hamsters to consume without choking.
Grapes And Raisins
While some fruits are okay for hamsters, grapes are an example of one that is not. Grapes are too high in sugar, which can cause diabetes and other health issues.
Raisins are even worse for hamsters because they are even higher in sugar than their natural, undried counterparts. Stay away from offering any dried fruits to your hamster, as their sugar contents are often high.
For more information on harmful foods for hamsters, take a look at "14 Foods That Are Dangerous to Hamsters."
While feeding your hamster new foods can be fun, it is imperative to remember that they are not humans. Some of the foods you may eat regularly provide no nutritional value for a hamster at best and can be fatal in a worst-case scenario.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, and grains are the best foods for hamsters. Stick with these food groups, and you can still have fun introducing your hamster to new foods without compromising their health.
If you want to make mealtime more fun, look at how you are introducing foods. Instead of classic bowls, look for puzzle feeders and foraging boards to make feeding more interactive.
For more information about feeding your hamster, take a look at these articles: