A lot of people consider hamsters to be the perfect pets. They’re pretty easy to take care of, get enough exercise by running in their cage, and are cuddly and cute.
And as a pet owner, you probably know about the best types of food to give your hamster, so what can hamsters not eat?
Keep reading to learn more about the types of food that can be dangerous or even fatal to your cute and cuddly pet, so you can avoid them.
Hamsters need a mixed diet of their special pellets, some seeds, and some fresh foods to provide their little bodies with the required nutrients. Additional treats will also keep your little pet well-nourished and happy.
But can you just give your pet hamster any leftover food you have in the kitchen?
As a matter of fact, several types of food can be hazardous to your hamster. Some of them don’t contain the essential nutrients that this animal needs, and others can cause diarrhea, choking, or an internal blockage that leads to inflammation and even death.
Here’s a list of foods that hamsters shouldn’t eat.
Don’t get this wrong, as hamsters eat vegetables and fruits without washing them in their natural habitat.
But here, we’re referring to chemically contaminated veggies and fruits that can literally kill your little pet.
Even the slightest amount of chemicals, pesticides, or insecticides can make your pet hamster extremely sick and eventually kill it. This is why you need to wash your veggies and fruits well before giving them to your pet.
You should also opt for organically grown produce because it’s safer.
Commercial hamster food usually contains small amounts of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and corn kernels. So, you might think that giving your pet hamster some seeds as a snack should be fine.
Yet, not all seeds are good for your cuddly pet.
Fruit seeds like cherry, pear, and apple seeds contain tiny amounts of cyanide. Our bigger human bodies can tolerate these trace amounts, but the small bodies of hamsters can’t.
This means that it takes a few seeds to actually kill your pet.
Moreover, even the safest seeds should be used as an occasional treat because they contain too many fats, and some of them can also represent a choking hazard.
Onions and all the members of their family should be avoided at all costs. This includes shallots, chives, leeks, and garlic.
Onions and similar vegetables are toxic to hamsters and other pets like guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, and dogs, so you shouldn’t ever give your hamster raw or cooked onion.
These vegetables contain certain chemical compounds that affect the health of the red blood cells in the hamster’s body and can make it very sick.
Potatoes are rich in nutrients that work for our bodies as humans, but they won’t work for your pet hamster. So if you think about giving your pet some leftover cooked potatoes or chips, think again.
The high content of starch in raw potatoes will only make your hamster gain unnecessary weight, leading to obesity that affects its movement. Raw potatoes are also difficult to digest and can lead to an internal blockage.
Instead, you can offer your pet hamster some boiled potatoes, but make sure that you only offer a small amount. Potatoes act as a filler in your hamster’s diet, so instead of eating good food, it will be full without gaining the necessary nutrients that support the functions of its little body.
Flavored chips and fries can be fatal to your hamster because its body can’t process these seasonings.
Hamsters love fresh fruits like grapes, bananas, berries, and apples, but you should never give them oranges, limes, lemons, or any other citrus fruits.
Citrus fruits contain citric acid, which upsets the hamster’s delicate digestive tract. It leads to an upset stomach and diarrhea and can make your pet extremely sick.
Leafy greens are suitable as occasional treats for your pet hamster, but the light-colored ones aren’t that beneficial.
Light-colored leafy greens don’t contain too many nutrients and will only make your pet hamster feel full too soon. So instead, pick darker leafy greens.
It’s true that hamsters need fresh food, like fresh veggies that provide their bodies with vitamins and minerals, but celery isn’t one of them.
Although celery is a healthy vegetable, the stringy texture represents a choking hazard, so it might kill your pet. However, you can cut celery into smaller pieces if you want them to be safe for your hamster.
Yet, a lot of people choose to substitute them for other fresh vegetables like romaine lettuce, kale, carrot tops, and raw spinach, which are tasty and safe.
Hamsters have delicate digestive tracts, and even barely seasoned or spicy food can irritate their stomachs and intestines.
This is why you should avoid giving your pet hamster any dinner or lunch leftovers because the irritation can lead to diarrhea and then dehydration. Even a little salt and pepper wouldn’t be suitable for your pet hamster because this is nothing like what they eat in their natural habitat.
If you see some almonds on a tree, don’t pick them up and feed them to your pet hamster. These might be bitter almonds and not sweet almonds.
Unlike sweet almonds that are perfectly safe for hamsters, bitter almonds are toxic and even fatal to your cuddly pet.
Bitter almonds contain hydrocyanic acid or cyanide, so even the smallest amount can kill your hamster.
Sweet almonds are safe, but they should be an occasional treat because they’re too fatty and can make your hamster gain unnecessary weight.
Whether they’re cooked or raw, you shouldn’t feed your pet hamster kidney beans. These legumes are healthy for humans, but hamsters are unable to digest them.
Raw kidney beans can lead to the formation of gas and bloating, which can be extremely painful and even fatal to tiny hamsters. Although kidney beans become easier to digest when cooked, hamsters can’t digest them well in both cases.
Just like us, hamsters will pick chocolate or candy over any healthy treat. This is why you should avoid feeding them processed sugars.
The bodies of hamsters aren’t designed to process sugars, unlike us. So feeding your hamster chocolate or any other sweet treat will make it gain weight.
Moreover, chocolate doesn’t provide the hamster’s body with any essential nutrients.
Tomatoes are safe for hamsters under certain conditions.
They need to be ripe and given in very small amounts because they can cause an upset stomach. So, you might want to skip tomatoes altogether to avoid making your pet hamster sick.
However, under any circumstances, you should never feed your little hamster the leaves and stems of the tomatoes.
These are dark leafy greens, so you might think that they’re safe, like carrot tops. Yet, the leaves and stems contain tomatine which is toxic to hamsters and might kill your pet.
In their natural habitat, wild hamsters are omnivores, and they eat insects. So, you might think that feeding them some raw meat would be fine.
You can definitely add some dried crickets or mealworms to your hamster’s food or even feed it some cooked beef, turkey, or chicken to provide it with the necessary proteins.
However, raw meat can be too dangerous for your pet because it contains parasites and bacteria that can be deadly to your furry hamster. Moreover, raw meat is more difficult to digest.
Instead, opt for a nutritious protein source like boiled eggs or some scrambled eggs with no butter or any flavors.
Hamsters are easy to take care of and don’t have complicated dietary needs.
Yet, you should be careful about what you feed your pet hamster because these animals’ little bodies can’t tolerate a lot of food types that can be safe for humans and other pets.
You should avoid giving your pet hamster dinner leftovers because they’re packed with fats and unhealthy flavors. Even fresh produce and seeds might not be safe for your little pet, so make sure that you only pick the safest options that won’t make your cuddly pet sick.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.