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What treats can I give my hamster? Hamsters, like most animals, possess delicate systems and constitutions, and simply cannot indulge in the same amount or varieties of treats that humans do. In this article, we will offer you some general guidelines regarding how to ‘treat’ your hamster; educating you about those essential edibles that make the very best hamster treats.
Here are a few treats that you can safely give in moderation to healthy adult hamsters -
- Some fresh veggies such as cucumbers (avoid tomatoes and anything spicy)
- A few pieces of fruit such as apples and pears - without the seeds
- Quality commercial hamster treats
- Nuts and seeds - in very small amounts
- Grasshoppers, crickets, and mealworms.
- Boiled eggs
- Plain tofu
Keep in mind that the simple answer to the question, “What treats can I give my hamster?” is actually not simple at all. The answer will vary slightly according to the health and constitution of your individual pet.
It is always best to consult your veterinarian regarding the exact makeup and nutritional requirements of your animal’s diet. In general, though, owners can trust in and depend on the value and nutritional content of those good ol’ reliable snacking standbys; those treasured treats just bound to ensure immediate and absolute hammie happiness.
Read on now for the complete guide to Hamster Treats, as it applies to virtually all species of hamsters, including Syrian, dwarf/Roborovski and Siberian.
Why should I give my hamster treats?
If you nourish your hamster via a steady and sensible diet, why should you give them treats as well? Well, a few of the reasons include….
- A treat is a surefire key to ultimate hammie happiness. A treat is a sign of affection and appreciation for your precious hammie; a small token that, much like a toy, can deliver big happiness to your furry little friend. Don’t believe us? Just take a moment to watch as your hamster accepts and devours his/her next treat. See their whiskers twitch, hear them squeak, and watch them cuddle into your palm with the warmest appreciation.
- A treat is a reward for a job well done. If your hamster is an affectionate, well-behaved pet, then a sumptuous treat is an excellent way to say thank you.
- The right treat can be an essential part of a well-balanced diet. A hungry hamster can be listless and irritable; so in addition to regular meals, an occasional treat will help to nourish your hammie and curb their hunger.
Ah, but what exactly constitutes a healthy hamster treat? We are so glad you asked!
Can I Buy Hamster Treats?
Concerned pet owners are sometimes reluctant to feed their hamsters any type or variety of human food; preferring instead to purchase prepared treats custom made for the bodies and nutritional requirements of hammies.
And while you can consult your veterinarian or visit your local pet supply store for specific recommendations, some of the most popular varieties of hamster treats available include:
- Fruit Treats. Often prepared with yogurt, these sweet fruity treats are easy to digest and a solid source of calcium for your hamster.
- Chewy Treats. Hamster chew treats are actually prepared with fortifying ingredients such as apple wood, which your hammie can nibble and gnaw upon to their heart’s content; strengthening their teeth and overall dental health in the process.
- Treat Sticks. The very best hamster treat sticks are prepared with the most wholesome of the earth’s ingredients, including honey, oats, corn, etc.; thus helping to boost your hammie’s brain, heart, and visual health.
Can Hamsters Eat Human Treats?
Um, that all depends (You hate it when we say that, don’t you?) The fact is that many ‘human foods’ are indeed acceptable and beneficial for hamster consumption; providing, of course, that these edibles are served in their purest and most natural forms. These include:
- Fruits. In general, hamsters can eat fruits that include blueberries, apples, strawberries, figs, plums, bananas, and pears. Just be sure that all seeds have been removed from the fruits before they reach your hamster’s mouth.
- Vegetables. Hamsters can enjoy many kinds of fresh veggies, such as spinach, carrots, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkin.
- Seeds, nuts and grains. While nuts and seeds are perhaps the most popular hamster snacks, they should be given in moderation—this owing to their fatty content.
- Hay. Timothy hay, in particular, makes for a rich and nutritious hammie snack.
- Low-fat cottage cheese.
- Low-fat yogurt.
- Boiled egg.
- Plain tofu.
Regardless of the specific treat that you choose to feed your hamster, be sure to wash and clean every piece of food that goes into their mouth. Also check the expiration dates on your hamster’s treats, ensuring that they never get a hold of spoiled food.
Make sure you read our post about foods that you should NOT be giving your hamster too. Don't assume that just because it's safe for human consumption, it's also good for your hamster. Some things can actually be toxic for our little pet rodents, while others will just give them an upset tummy, or make them overweight.
Can Hamsters Eat Treats that Humans Won’t Touch?
In a word, oh yeah (OK then, two words). Hamsters, who originated in the wild, eat things that humans would be horrified to put into their mouths; ‘treats’ that you can purchase en masse online or at your favorite pet supply store.
They do include, believe it or not:
Altogether, now: Yum, yum!
Can Hamsters Eat Sweets?
In a word, nope.
Much like dogs and cats, hamsters cannot and should not consume chocolate, candies, and other processed sweets intended only and solely for human consumption. Sweets of any kind and quantity can be toxic to a hamster’s system. Also avoid garlicky foods of any kind, citrus fruits, snack and potato chips, canned foods, fatty meats such as pork, onions, etc.
How Many Treats Should I Feed My Hamster?
Much like human beings, hamsters should restrict the number of between-meal treats that they consume. They should be given their veterinarian-allotted diets of pellets and nutritional supplements, and of course water, to sustain their health and energy. Beyond the basics, any and all treats should be given on an occasional basis.
Many experts recommend that hamsters be treated between one and three times a week, in quantities of only a half teaspoon to one full teaspoon.
How Can I Avoid Overtreating My Hamster?
As much as you would love to indulge your hamster every time they beg for treats, please know that the seemingly innocent act of overeating or overtreating can be hazardous to their health. With this in mind, here is how to avoid ‘overtreating’ your hamster:
- Learn to Resist the Look. If your hamster’s eyes are begging for a treat, give him/her a toy instead.
- Clean their cages. To ensure that your hamster is not hoarding treats, clean their cages on a regular basis.
- Do not treat mindlessly. Just as people sometimes snack mindlessly, sneaking sweets as they read or watch TV, they also might find themselves treating their pets frequently and absent-mindedly. Choose an appointed time to treat your hammie, then put the treats away. C’mon, you can do it!
When your hamster stares at you with wide, woeful eyes and all but begs for a treat, of course, you want to indulge them. At the same time, you don’t want to give them foods that are too fatty, too sweet, or that otherwise might endanger their health.
So yes, you can feel free to spoil your pet with a treasure trove of treats; tasty edibles intended to enhance their contentment—and yours as well, because we all know that happy hamster means happy human! Yet, as hamsters can’t precisely watch what they eat, you need to do it for them; to ensure that every morsel passing through their mouth is safe and healthful.
Once you learn how to ‘treat’ your hamster, then you are sure to enhance further your already special relationship with your very happy hammie!
Always careful of what treats you will give to your pet. Check out 7 Hamster Health Issues Every Owner Needs to Know About, Be aware of the health issues of hamsters.