Skip to Content

Can Hamsters Eat Pretzels?

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Would you like to know if your can hamster can eat pretzels? Well, we have researched this question and have answers for you. It is vital to know if hamsters can eat pretzels so you can ensure a healthy life for your hamster.

Hamsters can eat pretzels, but they aren't very good for them. Pretzels are mostly just carbs which are empty calories, and the salt on pretzels can also tax their kidneys.

In this article, we will learn if hamsters can eat pretzels. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as how many pretzels you can give hamsters and good snacks for hamsters. Keep reading to learn more.

Three delicious pretzels on the chopping board, Can Hamsters Eat Pretzels?

Can Hamsters Eat Pretzels?

Hamsters can eat pretzels, but they probably shouldn't. There is nothing in a pretzel that will immediately harm your hamster, and they are sure to love them. Pretzels are, however, like junk food for your hamster.

Pretzels have no vitamins and are mostly just carbs. While your hamster can eat them, they won't satisfy their nutrition needs.

Hamsters and humans eat to nutrition which means that if your hamster eats food that doesn't provide the proper nutrition, they will still feel hungry. This can lead to your hamster overeating and becoming overweight. If your hamster is overweight, it can lead to them having a less happy shorter life.

Pretzels are also high in salt, which, while vital, in large amounts can be damaging to their kidneys. Kidneys filter salt out of the blood and send it to the bladder.

Kidneys have a lifespan, and every time they filter salt, that lifespan becomes a little shorter. Over a lifetime, once a certain amount of salt has been filtered, the kidneys will shut down, leading to death.

So, just like junk food for people, pretzels will taste good for your hamster but shorten their life. It would be best to limit pretzels for your hamster to ensure they live a long, happy life.

How Many Pretzels Can You Give Hamsters?

If you decide to give your hamster pretzels, you may wonder how many you can give them. Because pretzels aren't very healthy for your hamster, it would be best if you only gave them one pretzel at a time.

The salt in a pretzel can be taxing on your little friend's kidneys. Any more than one pretzel at a time can lead to your hamster becoming dehydrated. To compensate for water being pushed out of their cells, they will need to drink a lot of water. Drinking all this water can lead to an upset stomach for your hamster.

Also, as mentioned before, pretzels are mostly just carbs. Giving your hamster multiple pretzels can lead to them having a weight issue. While they will try to eat other food to supplement their nutrition, their stomach is only so big.

If your hamster fills its stomach with pretzels and can't eat more nutrient-dense food, he may miss out on essential vitamins. If you feed your hamster multiple pretzels often, it can lead to him having nutrient deficiencies.

These nutrient deficiencies can lead to a whole myriad of health problems for your little friend. If your hamster doesn't get enough calcium, he can develop weak bones. Without enough vitamin B, your hamster can become stressed.

To correct these nutrient deficiencies, ensure that your hamster only has healthy hamster food to fill himself instead of pretzels.

How Often Can You Give Your Hamster Pretzels?

An up close photo of delicious pretzels

If you do decide to give your hamster the occasional pretzel, you may be wondering how often you can do so without harming them. If you are only giving them one pretzel, you can be sure they are still getting enough nutrients, but the main concern will be salt.

Any amount of salt a mammal eats will shorten how long their kidneys have left to function, and this means that regularly giving your hamster pretzels will shorten their life.

It is still okay to give them a pretzel as long as it isn't so often that their kidneys shut down long before they were meant to die. It would be best if you limited giving your hamster a pretzel to once a week.

Giving your hamster a pretzel once a week should be infrequent enough to ensure that your hamster's kidneys aren't in danger.

It would be better to space pretzels further apart or remove them from their diet altogether, but, at once a week, your hamster is likely to die of something other than kidney issues before their kidneys decide to fail.

Are There Risks Associated With Giving Pretzels To Your Hamster?

A cute Syrian hamster climbing the sides of his cage

As discussed previously, there are risks associated with giving pretzels to your hamster, and one of the main risks is kidney failure.

As your hamster filters salt through their kidneys, they use up their kidney's lifespan. This isn't a problem exclusive to hamsters, kidney failure due to filtering too much salt affects animals with kidneys, including humans.

A hamster eating pretzel is very similar to a human eating french fries. Just like the hamster will love the taste of pretzels, people love the taste of french fries for the same reason; they are full of carbs and salt.

The reason that salt and carbs taste so good is that they are essential for life. This may lead you to think that they are healthy, and while they are to an extent, you can over-consume them.

If your hamster over consumes salt, his kidneys will be damaged. If your hamster over-consumes carbs, they can become overweight and even diabetic. This leads us to the other risk of giving pretzels to your hamster.

The other risk of giving pretzels to your hamster is weight issues and diabetes. Since carbs are the body's number one source of energy, hamster and humans will seek carbs excessively.

Carbs are complex sugars, and the biochemistry of how a hamster's body, and yours, handle sugar is responsible for excessive carbs leading to diabetes.

When sugar enters your hamster's bloodstream to maintain homeostasis, their body releases insulin from their pancreas to force sugar into cells. If a large amount of sugar enters their bloodstream, then a large amount of insulin will need to be released to balance it.

The problem is that cells can become resistant to insulin if exposed to too much. To compensate, the pancreas will release more and more insulin to try and force the sugar into cells. Much like the kidneys, when the pancreas releases insulin, it uses up its lifespan.

Once the pancreas uses up its lifespan, it will cease working. When this happens, it is known as diabetes. Without injections of insulin, this will be the end of your hamster's life.

Since hamsters are so tiny, there is no way to give them insulin properly, so if your hamster gets diabetes, it will mean the end of your pet's life.

What Are Good Snacks For Hamsters?

Different kinds of nuts and dried fruits photographed up close

Now that we understand the risks associated with giving your hamster pretzels let's learn about some healthier alternatives for your hamster.

One great snack for your hamster is strawberries. Strawberries are not only sweet but full of vitamins to keep your hamster healthy. Since strawberries are high in sugar, you will want to limit how many you give your hamster but, they are far more nutritious than pretzels.

Any other fruit will make a great occasional snack, such as berries, bananas, and apples.

Another great snack for your hamster is vegetables. Vegetables like carrots or cucumbers can be cut up for your hamster to enjoy. Vegetables are also lower in sugars, making them healthy to give to your hamster more often than fruit. Your hamster can enjoy other vegetables include squash, broccoli, and artichokes.

Different kinds of fruits and other nuts on wooden bowls

You can also give your hamster seeds and nuts for another great snack. If you do give your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are raw nuts, as roasted nuts often have large amounts of salt added to them to make them more flavorful to humans.

Great seeds and nuts for your hamster include sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazilian nuts, and peanuts.

Ensure that any seed or nut you give to your hamster is shelled as the fibers in the shells of seeds and nuts can choke your hampers.

Final Thoughts

Three delicious pretzels on the chopping board

In this article, we learned that hamsters could eat pretzels as long as it isn't too often and you don't give them more than one at a time. We also learned that there are many great alternatives to pretzels for your hamster to enjoy as a snack, such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.

Remember to only give your hamster unsalted shelled seeds and nuts for their health.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts.

Are You Overfeeding Your Hamster?

Why Does My Hamster Lick Me?