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What Foods Can a Hamster Eat?

  • Hamsters

Hamsters can eat a lot of different types of foods, but there are many times of foods they shouldn’t eat because they can cause digestive and other health issues in their little bodies. But it’s hard to know what a hamster can and can’t eat, which is why in the following article we’re going to discuss a variety of foods and whether your furry friend can eat them.

A healthy diet is so important for a hamster because it can literally mean life or death. Foods that pose internal health issues, choking hazards, and more should absolutely be avoided. But it’s also important to diversify their diet with snacks, treats, and other delicious foods.

There’s a lot of food covered in this article, so if you have a specific food in mind, feel free to use the links below. However, we recommend reading through the entire article to know what you can and can’t feed your pet hamster.

Table of Contents

    Can a Hamster Eat Popcorn?

    A hamster can eat popcorn, but it should only be provided as a rare treat, without any salt or sugar, and cut up into very small pieces to prevent choking. It’s a great treat, but you need to take precautions if you’re going to give it as a delicious surprise.

    Can a Hamster Eat Popcorn

    Popcorn isn’t very nutritious or has a lot of flavor, so it’s very common for companies to add lots of salt and sugar to improve the taste and make it more appealing. However, this can be harmful to your hamster by causing obesity, high cholesterol, and other health issues. In addition to the health issues, popcorn is also a choking hazard because hamsters are so small.

    So if you are going to give popcorn as a treat, make sure it has no added salt, sugar, or other additives. Absolutely plain popcorn is best. And make sure the popcorn is cut up into small pieces.

    But at the end of the day, popcorn should be a rare treat and not as a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and specially designed pellets that contain the necessary nutrients. Ensure that you are monitoring their weight and any abnormalities in their behavior to ensure they are staying healthy.

    Can a Hamster Eat Peanut Butter?

    Hamsters can eat peanut butter, but it should be reserved as a rare treat because it’s high in fat, calories, and potentially sugar or fat depending on the brand, thus making it a delicious, but unhealthy snack.

    Can a Hamster Eat Peanut Butter

    We all love peanut butter, but if we’re being honest, it’s an unhealthy treat. It’s high in fat and calories, which can lead to obesity and other related health issues for your hamster, including heart disease. Some brands also add sugar or salt to make it sweeter, but unfortunately makes it more unhealthy as well.

    If you are going to serve peanut butter as a treat, ensure that you are getting a type of peanut butter that doesn’t contain any extra fats, salt, or sugar. Not that there is a healthy peanut butter, but try to use one that doesn’t look egregiously unhealthy.

    Because peanut butter is so unhealthy, it should be reserved as a rare treat and only served a small amount each time. To serve it, you can smear a tiny bit on their food bowl. Start out with a teaspoon or less and see how your hamster reacts to it to ensure they like it and there are no adverse side effects.

    Just remember that while hamsters can eat peanut butter, every hamster is different and you should monitor their eating habits and health to ensure there are no issues.

    Can a Hamster Eat Cheese?

    A hamster can eat cheese, but it should be given as a rare treat because it is not the healthiest of foods. Cheese is naturally high in fat and salt and thus a relatively unhealthy treat for your hamster.

    Can a Hamster Eat Cheese

    Cheese is safe for hamsters to consume in moderation, but it should not be given regularly because it can cause health issues from the excess fat and sugar content. But small amounts won’t cause any harm. So if you want to provide a small piece of cheese once or no more than twice a week, you likely won’t see any issues.

    But there are a few things to keep in mind. First is that soft cheeses are better than hard. A soft mozzarella is preferred over a hard cheddar just because the harder cheese will be more difficult to eat and is a choking hazard. Second, make sure the cheese is cut up into small pieces for your hamster to hold. This will avoid any potential choking hazards.

    Cheese is safe for your hamster to consume, but it should not be a staple of their diet. Keep it reserved for occasional treats to avoid any ongoing health issues.

    Can a Hamster Eat Crackers?

    A hamster can eat crackers, but they aren’t the healthiest of foods so they should be reserved for occasional treats. Crackers from most brands are high in sugar and salt and can cause health issues if they are consumed regularly.

    Can a Hamster Eat Crackers

    Crackers should be given as an occasional treat to your hamster and only in small amounts. While we don’t generally think of crackers as sweet treats, they aren’t as healthy as vegetables or balanced pellet food. Consuming a large amount of crackers can cause health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and other health issues in your furry friend.

    But if you are going to give your hamster crackers as a rare snack, make sure to choose a cracker that is as healthy as you can find. That means no added salt nor flavoring. And ensure you are breaking the cracker up into small pieces to avoid choking hazards. While your hamster may love crackers as a treat, consider it like an ice cream sandwich for a person. You wouldn’t eat a ton of ice cream sandwiches ever day would you?

    And finally, when you first give your hamster a cracker, you should watch them to ensure there are no immediate issues. If you notice any immediate or potentially long-term health issues, contact your veterinarian to get a professional opinion. It’s a fine line between providing a sweet treat and avoiding any potential health issues.

    Can a Hamster Eat Bread?

    You should not give a hamster bread because it is not a natural food for them to eat. Bread is not high in nutrients that a hamster requires and it can cause health problems, such as gastrointestinal issues, blockages, and other health issues.

    Can a Hamster Eat Bread

    Bread is not very easy for hamsters to digest and it can cause them to become bloated and induce other health issues. It is a naturally starchy food and is generally high in carbs, which will lead to digestive issues and can lead to weight gain. Bread should never be a main part of a hamster’s diet because of these reasons.

    Now, hamsters may love to eat bread and consume it as quickly as you can get it in their cage, but they have a hard time knowing what is healthy and unhealthy. That’s why it’s important for you as their owner to discern what is an appropriate diet for your furry friend. Ensuring that they are eating healthy is a commitment to the longevity of their life.

    As a result, it’s best to go with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and food created specifically for your hamster that requires the necessary nutrients for them to lead a healthy and comfortable life.

    Can a Hamster Eat Almonds?

    Hamsters can eat almonds, but because they are high in fat and not the healthiest of foods, they should be given in moderation as an occasional treat and not a part of their regular diet.

    Can a Hamster Eat Almonds

    Like most other foods in this article, almonds can be given to your hamster, but they aren’t a particularly healthy food and therefore should be given in moderation. Almonds are naturally high in fat and contain a lot of calories, which can lead to obesity and other weight related issues if eaten regularly, especially for a small hamster.

    However, if you are going to give your hamster almonds as a treat, there are a few things you should know. First, always give your hamster any unsalted and raw almonds. While we mentioned almonds aren’t naturally healthy for hamsters, when they are coated in salt or sugar, they become much worse. Salt, sugar, and other flavoring or oils can cause dehydration and other digestive issues.

    Also, make sure to cut up the almonds into very small pieces for your hamster to consume. It’s a naturally hard nut and hamsters may try to eat larger pieces if they can’t break it up, but these larger pieces can be a choking hazard.

    Finally, if you give your hamster almonds, you should monitor their consumption, behavior, and health to ensure they are responding well. If they are showing any signs of distress, digestive issues, or dehydration, stop giving them almonds and consult with a professional to get their opinion.

    Can Hamsters Eat Basil?

    Hamsters should not be given basil to eat because it can be toxic and harmful to their little bodies. While basil is safe for human consumption, it contains compounds that are potentially toxic and can lead to serious health issues. Therefore it is advised not to give your hamster basil.

    Can Hamsters Eat Basil

    We all love giving our hamster occasional treats and foods that we may regularly eat, but it’s important to know that a human’s digestive system is different than a hamsters. And in the case of basil, it’s drastically different. Their drastically different digestive system can’t handle basil like people can and it’s important to respect their little bodies. So even though a hamster will likely eat the basil you put in their cage, you shouldn’t give it to them.

    Hamsters have sensitive digestive systems and are so much smaller than most other animals. So even the tiniest bit of a potentially toxic food can cause serious health issues. While some types of basil may be safe for your particular breed of hamster, it’s best to avoid the plant completely to avoid any digestive or stomach complications.

    If you are looking for treats to give your hamster, try other foods, such as fruits or vegetables and just avoid the basil completely. Also, ensure that you are giving your hamster a full and balanced diet consisting of the nutrients they need. Treats should be reserved as a rarity in their diet and not the norm.

    Can Hamsters Eat Parsley?

    Parsley is safe for hamsters to eat, but only in moderation like most other foods that people consume. While it does have positive health benefits, large amounts of parsley can be potentially toxic to hamsters.

    Can Hamsters Eat Parsley

    Parsley is another food that may be safe or hamsters to consume in small amounts, but adding a significant amount to their diet can cause unexpected health complications. These may include digestive issues, stomach irritation, and toxic reactions at higher consumption levels.

    As a rule of thumb, if a food can cause serious health issues when a lot is consumed, it’s generally best to avoid it altogether. So while hamsters can consume parsley as an occasional treat, there are other treats out there that won’t be as dangerous.

    However, if you have consulted with a veterinarian regarding your specific situation and hamster’s breed and they give the go ahead, there are a few things you should know. First, ensure that the parsley is fresh and clean. This means washing (without soap) and drying it before putting it in their cage. And ensure that you are only giving them a small amount and monitoring their behavior and any potentially adverse reactions. Catching an issue early on is the best way to avoid any serious complications or long-term issues.

    As always with any new food you want to give to your hamster, consult with a veterinarian first to ensure it is safe for your hamster to consume. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in these situations.

    Can Hamsters Eat Bird Seed?

    Bird seed is perfectly safe for hamsters to eat, however it should be reserved as an occasional treat because it is high in calories and can lead to health issues, such as obesity.

    Can Hamsters Eat Bird Seed

    Hamsters can eat bird seed and it’s not particularly bad for them because it contains a lot of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for hamsters. Unfortunately, bird seed is often high in calories however and a hamster’s caloric intake should be monitored to prevent weight gain and other related health issues.

    Hamsters require a balanced diet for a healthy and comfortable life, which means they can’t eat just bird food. They need a diet consisting of various fruits, vegetables, and food pellets specially designed for your furry friend. But bird seed can absolutely be given to them as a treat once or twice a week.

    Just make sure to give them bird seed that is organic, free of pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. Just as you wouldn’t want to eat food riddled with pesticides or chemicals, your hamster deserves that same type of food. This is especially important because their bodies are so small and more susceptible to chemicals. Some types of bird seed that are suitable include canary seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

    Can Hamsters Eat Rabbit Food?

    Rabbit food isn’t inherently dangerous or toxic to hamsters, but they shouldn’t eat it regularly because it often contains lots of hay, which can cause digestive issues. Also, rabbit pellets are naturally larger than they should be for a hamster, which can cause your hamster to choke.

    Can Hamsters Eat Rabbit Food

    While a hamster can eat food meant for rabbits, the primary issue is that the food is specially designed for rabbits and not hamsters. That means it will likely contain more hay than is good for a hamster. Rabbits and hamsters have different digestive systems, so a surplus of hay can cause gas and other digestive issues in your hamster, which you want to avoid.

    Hamsters receive the most benefit from diets that are specifically tailored to them, including the actual size of the food. While you can potentially give rabbit food to a hamster in a pinch, you should really strive not to because you don’t want to cause any unnecessary issues. And you don’t know how their body may react, so it’s best to just avoid the situation completely.

    Food designed for hamsters is best supplemented with fruits and vegetables with occasional treats to make them a happy little critter. If you can, avoid giving a hamster food that can cause them health issues.

    Can Hamsters Eat Chia Seeds?

    A hamster won’t have any problem eating chia seeds, but they should be reserved for treats and not as a staple in their diet because chia seeds can cause health issues if more than an appropriate amount is consumed.

    Can Hamsters Eat Chia Seeds

    Much like bird seed, chia seeds are naturally high in vitamins and minerals that hamsters require, including protein. However, they are also high in fiber and calories that can lead to unnecessary and unhealthy weight gain. That’s why it’s important to only offer chia seeds as a rare treat and not include the seeds in their daily diet.

    If you do want to start providing chia seeds as a treat, start with a small amount and see how they react. Do you notice any changes in behavior that is potentially concerning? If so, ensure that you consult with a veterinarian since every animal is different and your hamster may have an unexpected adverse reaction.

    And ensure that you are giving them chia seeds that are organic, natural, and free of pesticides since those can harm their furry little bodies.

    Can Hamsters Eat Salmon?

    Hamsters can eat salmon, but they shouldn’t because it contains a lot of oil, which may lead to digest issues in your furry friend. It’s best for hamsters to stick to a balanced diet of vegetables and food specially created for their digestive systems.

    Can Hamsters Eat Salmon

    Just because hamsters can eat salmon, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. Hamsters are omnivores meaning they can eat both meat and plants, but some plants or meat can cause digestive issues. Salmon does contain some beneficial nutrients, such as protein, but the downsides outweigh the positives. Hamsters can get protein from a variety of other, safer foods.

    The best approach for a hamster’s diet is to feed them food that is specifically created for their bodies, which contains all the necessary nutrients and minerals. You can supplement that diet with vegetables and occasional treats listed in this article, but it’s best to stick with what will cause the least amount of issues.

    In conclusion, salmon is generally a healthy food for humans, but it’s not a great choice for hamsters because it can cause those digestive issues mentioned earlier. Stick to a diet consisting of hamster food, vegetables, and the occasional treat.

    Can Hamsters Eat Chicken?

    Hamsters can eat chicken, however it should be reserved as an occasional treat because there are better foods that are more suited for their digestive system and part of their regular diet.

    Can Hamsters Eat Chicken

    As mentioned earlier, hamsters are omnivores, which means they can eat both meat and plants. While chicken is a good source of protein, it shouldn’t be a core staple of their diet. But it can be given as a treat once or twice a week to supplement their regular diet.

    It’s important to know that when giving chicken to a hamster, you should ensure that it’s thoroughly cooked and not seasoned with anything. Plain, cooked chicken is best for their digestive systems to avoid any potential issues. It should also be boneless and cut up into small pieces to avoid any choking hazards.

    As with all new foods, you should watch them eat it the first couple times and monitor for any odd or unusual behavior for a few hours after they consume the chicken. And if you notice any issues, contact your veterinarian right away to ensure there are no harmful side effects. However, chicken is generally safe if consumed in small amounts, every hamster is different and you should be cognizant of any potential issues.

    Can Hamsters Eat Coconut?

    Hamsters should not eat coconut because it is not a natural food for them and they don’t have the digestive systems to safely and comfortably process the food. Coconut can cause digestive issues, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and even serious inflammation.

    Can Hamsters Eat Coconut

    It makes sense that hamsters can’t and shouldn’t eat coconut because their bodies haven’t evolved to process the food since hamsters and coconuts live in two different ecosystems. While coconut and coconut oil is healthy for humans, it can cause serious issues in hamsters. Not to mention that coconut is tough to chew and swallow for their little bodies, which can be a choking hazard.

    While some sources may say you can provide coconut as an occasional treat to your furry friend, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid the food altogether. There are many other treats you can provide that are safer and less of a risk to their health so it’s best to not even risk any potential health issues.

    If you accidentally fed your hamster coconut, monitor their behavior and health for a few days to ensure there is nothing serious going on with them. They will probably be okay, but if you notice anything serious, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian who has experience with small animals and can provide the most accurate and timely advice.

    Can Hamsters Eat Mushrooms?

    Hamsters can eat mushrooms because they are rich in protein, however you should avoid any seasoned, raw, and wild mushrooms since those can cause digestive issues and even death if the mushrooms are naturally toxic or hallucinogenic.

    Can Hamsters Eat Mushrooms

    Like most other unconventional foods, mushrooms can be given to your hamster, but it’s not recommended as a regular part of their diet because mushrooms aren’t a part of their normal diet in the wild. While mushrooms are naturally high in protein, which is beneficial for your hamster, too many mushrooms can cause digestive and other health issues.

    However, if you do decide to give your hamster mushrooms as an occasional treat, ensure that you are only giving them white button mushrooms. Avoid shiitake and oyster mushrooms since those are not recommended for their digestive tract. Also, only give them a small amount, cut up into tiny pieces, and cook them thoroughly before. Raw mushrooms can cause additional and unexpected issues.

    And finally, wild mushrooms should be avoided at all costs. Just as you would never eat a wild mushroom because it can be potentially toxic or hallucinogenic, you should never feed your hamster wild mushrooms for those same reasons.

    Can Hamsters Eat Flowers?

    While hamsters can eat flowers because they are omnivorous, some flowers aren’t edible which can cause digestive issues and in extreme causes they can even be fatal. Therefore it’s generally recommended to avoid giving your hamster flowers as a treat.

    Can Hamsters Eat Flowers

    While hamsters can eat both plants and meat, it would make sense that they can safely consume flowers. And while they can consume flowers, not all flowers are edible or safe to consume. Therefore it just makes sense to avoid flowers completely since it may be hard to discern what is safe and what isn’t. If a flower isn’t edible it can cause serious digestive issues and in the worst scenario, even death if the flower is toxic.

    Also, some flowers are treated with pesticides that can be toxic and potentially fatal to your furry friend. And many times it’s not clear if the flower has been treated so it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid flowers completely.

    And finally if you aren’t convinced yet, not all flowers provide the necessary nutrients and balanced diet that a hamster needs. If you want to give your hamster flowers as a special treat, there are better options out there that are safer and ones that your hamster may find more delicious, such as cheese, peanut butter, or crackers.

    Can Hamsters Eat Dandelions?

    Dandelions are a safer flower for hamsters to consume, however they should be given in small amounts and not be a part of their regular diet since too many dandelions can cause digestive issues.

    Can Hamsters Eat Dandelions

    Contrary to the previous section where it was noted that flowers shouldn’t be given to your hamster, dandelions are actually a safe flower for your furry friend to consume. The reason it was said not to give flowers is because not all flowers are safe, but on the contrary dandelions are one of the safe flowers to consume.

    And dandelions aren’t only safe, they’re surprisingly packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that are beneficial for your hamster’s digestive system. However like many other foods that aren’t specially designed for hamsters, too many dandelions can cause digestive issues and therefore dandelions should be consumed in moderation and not a staple of their diet.

    Also, it’s important to note that the dandelions should not be treated with any pesticides or chemicals since those can be toxic and potentially fatal to your hamster. This is true for all foods, but flowers are commonly treated with chemicals and you should be cognizant of that if you are going to give your hamster dandelions.

    As a result, yes you can give your hamster dandelions, but ensure that you are only providing it as a rare treat and you monitor your hamster for any irregular behavior or digestive issues.

    Can Hamsters Eat Hay?

    Hamsters can and should eat hay as a regular part of their diet because it helps keep their digestive system running smoothly and functioning properly. Hay is also rich in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals that keep them happy and healthy.

    Can Hamsters Eat Hay

    Hay is the only food in this article that should be consumed as a regular part of a hamster’s diet because of the health benefits. However, you should be sure that the hay you’re providing is specifically meant to be consumed by hamsters. That means it won’t be treated with pesticides, generally low in dust, and it may contain additional vitamins and minerals to supplement their diet.

    When you give your hamster hay as part of their diet, make sure that it is placed in their food bowl. Some owners may think using it as a combined bedding and food source is sufficient, but it’s important to make the distinction clear between their food and bedding. This will help your hamster avoid any issues with them consuming potentially unsafe bedding.

    In conclusion, you should be giving your hamster specially formulated hay as a regular part of their diet. Hay is important for a healthy and functional digestive system, which will give your furry friend a happy and healthy life.

    Additional Reading

    While we covered lots of different types of food in this article, there’s even more out there that you should know about. So check out these related articles that can help keep you up-to-date on all the different types of foods that are safe for your furry friend.


    And there you have it! That was a lot of great content and information to help give your hamster the safe, healthy, and delicious diet they deserve. It’s important to give your hamster a delicious diet and sporadic treats, but the priority is to make sure the are happy and healthy.

    As always and before you give your hamster anything, you should confirm with a veterinarian that the food is safe for your hamster to consume. There are always changing diets and new information being discovered daily and it’s important to get a professional opinion.