Can Hamsters Eat Chocolate? 5 Things to Consider
Small rodents like hamsters have short lifespans and are susceptible to diseases. As a pet owner, you should feed them well to boost their immunity system and maximize their lifespans.
Quality pelleted dishes, known as rodent blocks, have the highest nutritional benefits for hamsters.
Other than these, you should include water, vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains, and cereals in your pet’s diet in moderation a few times weekly.
A few treats now and again are also important to keep your hamster’s diet interesting. With this realization, some pet owners are giving their hamsters chocolate.
Hamsters should never eat chocolate or any products that contain cacao. Hamsters are attracted to chocolate thanks to its great smell and taste, however chocolate is harmful for hamsters and even a small amount can kill your pet.
In the following, you will learn, why you should not offer chocolate to your pet hamsters and what treats to give them instead.
Is Chocolate Toxic To Hamsters?
Yes, chocolate is toxic to hamsters due to the Theobromine (3, 7-dimethylxanthine) and caffeine in it. Theobromine is an alkaloid in the cacao plant from which chocolate is made.
Humans will easily digest this alkaloid and benefit from an improved mood, alertness level, respiratory health, and blood flow. Owing to their small sizes, hamsters will metabolize Theobromine far more slowly than humans.
This means that the hamster’s body will deal with a large amount of circulating Theobromine that essentially poisons it.
Some signs associated with Theobromine poisoning in hamsters are increased urination, heart attacks, seizures, and internal bleeding.
Though caffeine is not as toxic as Theobromine in hamsters, it affects the central nervous system. In humans, it causes increased alertness and productivity.
However, in hamsters, caffeine can cause a life-threatening increase in the heart rate.
Besides caffeine and Theobromine, chocolate contains high levels of fats and sugars that can not only cause gastrointestinal issues but have also been linked to unhealthy weight gain in hamsters.
Is White Chocolate Harmful To Hamsters?
Yes, white chocolate is less harmful than dark chocolate. If a hamster gets its paws on chocolate, you should hope it is white rather than dark chocolate because the latter is a more concentrated chocolate form.
White chocolate contains 10-50% solid cacao, cacao butter, vanilla flavor, milk, and sugar. On the other hand, dark chocolate has 50-90% cacao solids, sugar, and cacao butter.
There is more cacao in a square inch of dark chocolate than in the same amount of white chocolate. This translates to a higher concentration of Theobromine in dark chocolate.
The Theobromine levels in dark chocolate are ten times higher than those in milk chocolate.
For instance, while dark chocolate contains 22mg of Theobromine per ounce, white chocolate has 6mg per ounce. This makes white chocolate less toxic to hamsters than dark chocolate.
Can Hamsters Die From Eating Chocolate?
Yes, your hamster can die from eating chocolate, more so dark chocolate. If your pet accidentally consumes the chocolate, you can give it vegetables, water or porridge to ” dilute” the effects of the toxins in its body.
Hamsters rarely throw up but can have diarrhea to flush their body systems depending on how much chocolate they consume.
Even if the hamster does not die after ingesting chocolate, there is a high possibility that it will suffer untoward health effects. With quick intervention, you will minimize the severity of the effects.
How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Hamster?
Pet care experts do not recommend the ingestion of any chocolate by hamsters. Even a few grams of chocolate can cause fatal side effects in your pet.
This prohibition encompasses all types of chocolates, including milk, dark, semi-sweet, and baker’s chocolate. In fact, baker’s and semi-sweet chocolate is more lethal than dark chocolate.
This is a huge concern as the toxicity levels of dark chocolate are quite high.
Can Hamsters Eat M&Ms?
No, hamsters cannot eat M&Ms because they contain chocolate. M&Ms are button-filled candies in different colors with an M on either side of the candy. The original M&M candy featured a milk chocolate filling and was branded the plain option.
There is also a peanut variety that features a peanut filling with a milk chocolate coating and a candy shell. The chocolate in M&Ms is as toxic as that in plain chocolate bars. This makes the candy a harmful alternative for your hamster’s snack.
Can Hamsters Eat Nutella?
No, hamsters cannot eat Nutella. Nutella is a brand name for sweetened hazelnut cocoa manufactured by an Italian company. The product is a spread that contains palm oil, sugar, hazelnuts, skimmed milk, and cocoa solids.
It is marketed as a hazelnut cream in some countries and contains soy products in the U.S. Nutella comprises 58% processed sugar and 10.5% saturated fat by weight.
The fat and sugar in Nutella make it an unhealthy option for your hamster as they can lead to obesity.
Its high cacao content in cocoa solids means exposing your hamster to Theobromine and caffeine like you would when giving it chocolate. Nutella is something you should thus negate from your hamster’s diet.
Your hamster has no money or the ability to walk into a candy store to buy chocolate. This does not mean that your hamster is effectively protected from the harsh effects of chocolate. Leaving chocolate in different places around your home exposes your hamster to this toxic treat. To guarantee that chocolate does not poison your pet at home, the following steps might help:
- Have a designated spot for the storage of chocolates such as a jar or cabinet. This way, your household does not leave chocolate leftovers lying around, and the cabinet or jar can be secured, so the hamster does not get to it.
- Ensure your kids, and everyone in the house knows the dangers of chocolate to a hamster.
- Supervise the kids when playing with your hamster.
With these guidelines, you now know what chocolate can do to your hamster and can take the necessary steps to protect your pet.
Be vigilant when considering the ingredients in the snacks and commercial treats you include in your hamster’s diet to negate those with chocolate.