What Foods are Dangerous (Toxic) for a Hamster?

There are foods that are harmful to hamsters. Although hamsters are omnivorous and their diet is pretty diversified still there are things they should not eat. What will happen if you give the food you shouldn’t to your hammy? Is he going to die? Not necessarily, but certain fruits or nuts can seriously damage your pet’s health.

The hamster shouldn’t eat red meat or seafood like octopus, calamari, and crabs. Avoid feeding the hamster with food that is rich in fat like mature cheese. Never share your chocolate with your hammy, it’s toxic for your pet. Avoid lettuce, onion, or garlic totally in your hamsters menu. Almonds are not good for hamsters, same as all citrus fruits. If you enjoy junk food, never ever share it with your hamster as it contains too many things your hamster should not eat like sugar, salt, spices, oils/fat …

Some treats you take on a regular basis can jeopardize the hamster’s delicate system. Further on, if you give some, for you, quite normal food, your hammy can die. That is why it is really important to learn as much as possible about the hamster’s diet and what things he should not eat.

Keep reading our text and find out everything you need to know about a list of things your pet’s diet should not include.

Can Hamster Eat Dairy Products

The reply to this question is a little bit more complicated, sorry, no YES-NO answer in this case. Generally, dairy products are safe for hamsters but …

Cheese – hamsters like it and you can give it to your hammy but not on a regular basis, more like once in while treat. It is ok to give a mild or cottage cheese now and then( once or twice per month) in very small quantities ( like your fingernail ).

Mozzarella or goat cheese are also safe. Avoid cheese with mold. Also avoid very salted cheese high in fat.

It is not good to give your hammy smoked cheese, Parmesan and other mature types of cheese, cheese with onion or garlic.

There is another threat when it comes to cheese. Hamsters like to hide and save food for later. Cheese gets spoiled easily if it remains at room temperature. It is not recommended for your hammy to eat rotten food.

If you give too much cheese to your hammy the risks are the following :

  • The gain of weight- cheese is full of calories
  • Constipation – cheese is low in fibers
  • Increased cholesterol numbers – cheese is high in fat
  • Lack of energy – due to the fact that cheese is rich in fat and calories

Yogurt – most of the hamster owners say that their pets love yogurt. Of course we are talking about plain alternative here. Forget about sweetened, fruit yogurts, these are not healthy for your hamster. Few drops a week will be just fine.

Just ask yourself if your hamster lives in the wild, would he eat cheese or yogurt? Of course not, that is why consider dairy products only as treat once in a while.

Can Hamster Eat Chocolate and Other Candies?

Absolutely not! Chocolate is literally poisonous for hamsters.

There is a chemical called Theobromine found in chocolate and although not dangerous for humans, animals digestive system is not able to metabolize it so it remains in their bodies for 24 hours or even more.

Only a few grams of chocolate can provoke theobromine poisoning in hamsters and signs are excessive energy, thirst, epileptic seizures, convulsions, heart attack.

Dark chocolates have 50% more theobromine than milk chocolates so they are more toxic. White chocolates contain the least percentage but still you should not give to your pet.

Avoid any kind of chocolate-based food and drinks – cakes, biscuits, cookies, cereals, chocolate milk.

Candies in general are not proper food for your hamster. Hamsters should not take any sugar or sugar-based food which consumption may lead to different kinds of health issues.

What Vegetables are Not Good for Hamster ?

Although hamsters enjoy in different vegetables there are few that should be avoided.

Onion – one of the spicier vegetables, contains substance N-propyl disulfide which affects the hamster’s red blood cells. Avoid it.

Garlic – same as onion, too spicy for the little furry ball. It also contains a lot of calcium, phosphorus and acidic content ( much more than one hamster can handle) so absolutely inappropriate food for a hamster.

Pepper – in general you can give some pepper to your hamster, but only the bell pepper. Avoid peppers with spicy taste as no good for hamsters.

Tomato when given in small quantities ( like a single spoon) then it is ok but if your hammy eats too much of this beautiful red and tasty food, it can end up with some stomach issues such as diarrhea due to large percentage of acidic content.

Although a little piece of tomato may not be a big problem, tomato leaves are toxic, even if eaten in small quantities. Avoid them completely.

Potatoesrich in starch which is not good. Too much consumption may lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Your pet may look very weak, with no energy. You may notice that your hammy is losing hair or his skin loses its elasticity. Dehydration is really dangerous as can be fatal. If you notice any sign of it, rush to your vet.

One more thing about potato- if served raw and remains some time hidden at the room temperature somewhere in your pet’s cage, may become toxic. This will not happen with cooked potato but still, you should avoid both feeding your furry ball with potato, especially with its skin on.

Kidney Beans – also rich in starch, uncooked are toxic to hamsters, avoid them completely.

Do not mix kidney beans with green beans or black beans because both of them are safe for hamsters. Regarding black beans ( always feed your hamster with cooked version) – you can give let’s say one or two pieces 3 times a week to your Syrian hamster. If you have some smaller hammy then modify the quantity.

For example if you have Campbell’s Dwarf, serve him only one piece of cooked black bean weekly, same as to Winter White or Chinese or Robo Dwarf hamsters. Black beans could be a nice treat for your hammy as it contains fibers, Vitamin B, folate and potassium.

Lettuce- Iceberg not recommend food for hamsters, mostly made of water, low in nutrition and can cause diarrhea and liver problems. Better to avoid it. Other types of lettuce relatively safe to your hammy but in very small quantities ( for Syrian hamsters one-third of one leaf and for other smaller hamsters one-third of the portion for Syrian )

One more thing about vegetables ( applies to fruit as well) – only well-washed vegetables and fruits are safe for your hamster. Unwashed food can contain pesticide and other chemicals and even a small amount can seriously harm your pet’s health

Can Hamster Eat Meat ?

Yes, but only the lighter versions. The hamster should eat chicken only but not often. Avoid any kind of red meat or big size bird meat. Do not feed your hamster with beef, pork, turkey, duck, goose, deer. These kinds of meat are simply not natural to the hamster and its digestive system cannot cope with them.

Consumption of these sorts of meat could cause different health issues such as obesity, heart problems, upset stomach… If you give him chicken meat on rare occasions, should be cooked and bland, no salt, no spices, no additional oils. You should not give any cold cuts made of chicken meat though.

What about seafood?

You can give either fish like salmon ( cooked, without any salt or spices and no bones) or shrimps meat. Avoid any other kind of seafood such as crab meat, calamari rings, octopus

Can Hamster Eat Almonds ?

Yes but only sweet almonds. Bitter almonds contain prussic acid ( Cyanide ) so they are toxic to hamsters. If you would like to know more about this topic and nuts in hamster’s diet in general, do read our article ‘What Nuts and Seeds Can Hamster Eat’

Can Hamster Eat a Junk Food ?

Absolutely not! Do not give your hammy any kind of junk food. Potato chips, chocolate muffins, cookies, candies, cakes… Your hammy should not take any salt, sugar ( as well as any sugar substitute – maltose, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, golden syrup, monk fruit, evaporated cane juice…), spices, fat and oils… all the stuff that junk food is abundant of.

Can Hamster Eat Fruit?

Yes but not all kinds of fruits. For example Citrus fruits are not recommended as very acidic and can harm the hamster’s sensitive gut and digestive system.

On the other hand other fruits are less safe for hamsters but not too often, especially if you have any Dwarf version of a hamster. These little ones are prone to diabetes and as fruits are rich in sugar, you should be careful about this.

Also Dwarf hamsters are much smaller than Syrian hamsters so you should adjust the quantity you are giving to your furry friend. It is ok to give one small piece ( in size of a peanut ) of apple to your Syrian hamster but to Dwarf you need to give smaller portions.

Final thought

As we concluded at the beginning- Healthy hamster is happy hamster. Heath of your little furry pal depends on the food he takes. You can help him take great variety of food rich in vitamins and other elements he needs and skip the food that would harm him. I hope this article helped you get a picture what food to avoid and why. The more you know about the topic, the more you will be relaxed and ready to enjoy with your pet.

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