The nutritional profile of a wild hamster includes nuts, insects, roots, vegetables, and sometimes small lizards. While a high-quality commercial hamster pelleted feed will go some way in ensuring your pet gets all the nutrients it needs, diversification is a good idea.
Hamsters should not eat candy or foods that have high sugar content. When you own a hamster, one of the things you might wonder is how to avoid anything that can affect your voracious little friend.
Like humans, your pet will love an occasional treat. Below are a few answers to the questions you might have on why sugar and candy, along with other treats that have a lot of sugar, are not ideal for your hamster.
Why are Hamsters Attracted to Sugary Food?
Your hamster will no doubt love candy and other sugary treats that you give it. This makes most pet owners give them these treats so that they endear themselves to their pet rodents.
Sugary foods are largely absent in a hamster’s natural habitat. As such, the furry rodent will be attracted to them primarily because they introduce new tastes to the diet.
Is Sugar Toxic to Hamsters?
No, sugar, unlike chocolate, is not toxic to hamsters. Though the sugar will not instantly kill your hamster like the theobromine in chocolate, it has several long-term effects.
For instance, the empty calories in sugary treats predispose your hamster, more so dwarf hamsters, to diabetes and obesity. Type II diabetes in hamsters, just like in humans, is lifelong and requires several medications, as well as lifestyle changes, to manage effectively.
It might be evidenced in your hamster by an increased appetite, excessive thirst, hyperactivity, increased urination, and a sweet urine scent.
When unmanaged, diabetes leads to cataracts, kidney failure, and heart issues in your hamster. In addition, the sugary treats might affect your hamster’s teeth.
Remember that sugar masquerades under different names, and you might erroneously include it in the diet of your furry friend. These include galactose, sucrose, panocha, golden syrup, and treacle, among others.
Be on the lookout for these names on the ingredient list of the foods you feed your hamster so that you avoid the harmful effects of sugar consumption.
Can Hamsters Eat Candy Cane?
No, your hamster should not eat a candy cane. Candy cane contains a considerable amount of sugar that will increase the risk of diabetes and obesity in your pet. If, however, the hamster accidentally eats a candy cane, refrain from giving it sugary foods for some time after this, including sweet fruits.
This will give the sugar from the candy cane time to flush out of the hamster’s system. When you start feeding sugary treats to your hamster, do so in moderation. Even so, if the animal shows any signs of sickness after it eats even a small piece of a candy cane, have a vet check it up.
Can Hamsters Eat Haribos?
No, hamsters cannot eat Haribos. Haribos are gummy candies that are very sweet and sticky. They are sometimes combined with things like marshmallows and chocolate to boost their flavor profiles.
The stickiness of Haribos not only makes them unsuitable for the hamster’s dental health but can also make this treat a choking hazard for your small pet. Their high sugar content places your pet at significant risk of diabetes and obesity.
There are some sugar-free gummy bear alternatives on the market. While these might seem safe for your hamster, remember that they are still sticky and can choke your pet or affect its dental health.
Can Hamsters Eat Cotton Candy?
No, hamsters cannot eat cotton candy. Cotton candy is made through the heating and liquefaction of sugar to produce a spun-sugar confection resembling cotton. Some manufacturers add food coloring or flavoring to the candy to make it attractive.
The high amounts of sugar that cotton candy contains are excessive for your little hamster, and the empty calories they introduce mean a high risk of obesity or diabetes for your pet.
Though it might look harmless, even a small amount of cotton candy poses considerable long-term health risks for a hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Nut Candy?
No, hamsters cannot eat nut candies. Nut candies contain different nuts and a lot of sugar. Because of the addition of nuts to their recipes, most hamster owners assume they are healthy options for their pets.
Even so, their high sugar content makes them unhealthy treats. Moreover, the nuts only comprise small amounts of the overall ingredient in the candy and will thus not make much of a positive difference to your hamster’s diet.
What Sweet Things Can a Hamster Eat?
The exclusion of candy, chocolates, and other dangerous sweet treats from a hamster’s diet does not mean that your pet should stick to a bland diet. There are several sweet but healthy treats you can include in its diet. These include:
- Unsalted nuts
- Baked or sweet potatoes
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
When serving the apples and grapes or other fruits that have seeds, ensure you get rid of these seeds. Though tiny, the seeds can choke your hamster. Furthermore, some of them contain cyanide, a potentially fatal chemical when ingested by a hamster.
Treats are essential to keep your hamster happy, and reward it for a well-done job, more so when training it. Though most do not have any nutritional values, the right treat can make up part of your pet’s well-balanced diet.
The answer to the kinds of treats you should give your hamster is not very simple. The ideal treats for it will depend on its health, exercise levels, and body constitution.
You might have to experiment with a few foods before getting the right ones and knowing the right amounts for your pet. Even so, sugary treats are best excluded from your hamster’s diet irrespective of the circumstances.
The tidbits above have hopefully helped you understand why sugar is harmful to your hamster and know some of the sugary treats you should avoid.