Hamsters love to taste new foods. If you let them roam around the house, it is very likely that you’ll find your pet munching on something out of the garbage or left laying around. Sadly, many hamsters end up being sick because of something they ate. You might not realize that a popular food is harmful to your pet, so be sure to check before feeding your rodent anything new. While it’s fine to offer some treats to your pet from time to time, be careful to avoid the following foods:
Anything with caffeine in it should be kept away from hamsters, but chocolate is one of the worst offenders. It has caffeine and theobromine, both of which can cause issues in animals. Caffeine can stimulate your hamster’s heart and cause it to race, but theobromine can actually poison your pet. Feeding your hamster chocolate may result in stomach and digestive problems, heart problems and even seizures.
2. Potato Chips
Potatoes are not very good for hamsters in general. When fried, they are even worse. The amount of fat in a potato chip is likely to give your rodent digestive problems, which can be unpleasant for everyone involved. Also, junk food like potato chips are high in calories and can end up making your pet obese if you feed him too much. Weight problems are likely to cause other health issues.
Since beans are packed with fiber, they can give your pet diarrhea, which may lead to dehydration. It doesn’t take a lot for small animals to dehydrate to a dangerous point. Be very careful when feeding beans and never give your pet uncooked beans.
Onions are on the bad food list for most pets. The vegetables may be tasty additions to human food, but for animals, the chemicals in the vegetable can be toxic. These compounds can cause damage to red blood cells, resulting in anemia, as well as gastroenteritis. It can take a few days for the effects to become noticeable, so you may not realize that your pet has even ingested onions. Any plant from the same family is dangerous, including garlic, chives, and leeks.
All citrus fruits have a high acid content. Too much acid can be harmful to your hamster’s stomach lining and cause discomfort. While not deadly, citrus fruit can make your pet rather uncomfortable and may cause stomach upsets. It’s best to just avoid anything with citrus in it.
6. Apple Seeds
While an apple is a completely acceptable and healthy snack for your pet rodent, you should be careful with the seeds. They contain cyanide, which is a poison. The amount of poison in each seed is not enough to affect a human, but a smaller creature can end up quite ill. Skip apple seeds and stick to the fruit.
Celery may seem like a nice fresh vegetable to offer your rodents, but it carries two dangers. First, celery contains high amounts of sodium. If an animal ingests too much sodium, it can end up bloating with water. Water retention may lead to other health problems. In addition, celery is a choking hazard because of the long strings in it. You can avoid this problem by offering very small bits of the vegetable, but it’s best to limit the amount your pet eats.
8. Grapes or Raisins
Seedless grapes or raisins are often recommended for little critters, but they can be dangerous. These sweet treats have been known to cause kidney failure. While your hamster may be fine if he eats grapes, you can’t guarantee the fruit won’t affect him. The symptoms can take a while to show up, so you may think your pet is fine until he’s not. It’s not worth the risk when there are so many other good foods to offer.
Every single part of the avocado contains a toxin called persin. It is not safe for any rodent, so avoid giving your hamster a taste of your guacamole and don’t let your pets play with the avocado pit or shell. It’s possible for your hamster to ingest a small piece of shell and become sick from the amount of persin in it. The avocado leaves are the most toxic, but the fruit is also to be avoided.
Common sense goes a long way when it comes to feeding your hamster. Don’t feed your pet anything new without doing a little research. While seeds and other common treats are fine in moderation, table food is usually a bad idea for small pets. You can give them individual pieces of vegetables and fruit instead. Going with pieces instead of a spoonful of your food will help avoid hidden toxins. You might not even realize that there is onion powder in a dish, for example, until your hamster becomes ill.