Hamsters are the cutest, furriest little balls of fluffs that we can ever imagine having around as a pet. However, the downside of having a hamster as a pet is that they have a short life span and are also prone to diseases such as obesity and heart problems. As a result, it is essential to know what we should and what we shouldn’t be feeding our furry friends.
A lot of times, we unintentionally end up feeding our hamsters the wrong kinds of food. So to avoid leading your hamster down an unhealthy lifestyle, you must equip yourself with the right information about what to feed your pet.
A lot of food that is healthy for us isn’t necessarily healthy for your hamster. To narrow down what food to avoid and what foods to encourage as part of your hamster’s diet, we’ve compiled a guide of foods for you!
Lettuce and Hamsters:
We’ve all seen cartoons where hamsters are being fed lettuce. So a commonly asked question is: did TV get it right and can we feed our hamsters lettuce?
The short and simple answer to the question is, yes you can. Contrary to common misconception, lettuce is not toxic for hamsters. So if you’re worried that you might have poisoned your furry friend by feeding them lettuce, rest assured you haven’t. But if it isn’t toxic, does that mean this leafy, nutritious green should be a staple part of their diet?
Like we’ve said before, just because something is healthy for us humans, doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy for our pets. Lettuce is actually a pretty healthy thing to feed your hamster. Rich in minerals and vitamins, it will keep your hamster healthy.
What are the health benefits present in lettuce?
Lettuce is rich in Vitamin C which eliminates active oxygen, Vitamin E helps to keep your hamster young and potassium helps to eliminate excess sodium from the furball’s system and also helps improve kidney function.
Are all kinds of lettuce okay for hamsters?
Now here’s the catch. To say that lettuce is healthy for hamsters is a blanket statement that is too overgeneralized to be considered as proper instructions. There are numerous kinds of lettuce and you’ll have to know which are actually healthy and which kinds are empty calories for your hamster.
Other than empty calories, the wrong kind of lettuce will also cause digestive issues and the last thing you want is for your hamster to have a loose tummy.
To start with, all unwashed lettuce is a bad idea to give the little furball. Pesticides and other chemicals that may be present on unwashed lettuce can prove fatal for their health. Hamsters have a very fragile system and even a small amount of foreign material on their food can cause them health issues.
Another big no-no in lettuce feeding is iceberg lettuce. This kind of lettuce is mainly only just water and offers no nutritional value, in terms of minerals and vitamins, to your hamster’s diet and thus there is no point in adding it to their diet.
In fact, instead of having any nutritional value, it will most likely cause health problems. Hamsters that have iceberg lettuce as a part of their diet are more prone to liver issues. Similarly, they are likely to end up with a case of the wet tail as well. Since iceberg lettuce is low in fiber and high in water, it can also cause diarrhea.
However, while it is advised that you avoid iceberg lettuce, you can feed the pellets to your hamster. The pellets have more nutrients comparatively.
While one may argue that they give their hamster’s iceberg lettuce as a form of hydration and they won’t be wrong in doing so, the best source of hydration is always water.
If you absolutely must feed your hamster iceberg lettuce, do so in small amounts and once in a blue moon.
Since we’ve ruled out iceberg lettuce, the question is: what kinds of lettuce can we feed them? Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and dry leaf lettuce such as butter crunch and bib are safe to feed to your hamster. However, even if these are safe options they shouldn’t be a part of your hamster’s staple diet and should be given as a treat once in a while.
And exactly how much lettuce should be given depends on the age of your hamster. Young babies should avoid lettuce altogether and older hamsters should only get one piece of the lettuce leaf, the size of the hamster’s head.
Why are lettuce and too much water bad things for hamsters?
Generally, in the wild a hamster’s diet is mostly dry foods. And since lettuce is mainly water, it’s not something that their fragile bodies can accept easily.
How can I introduce lettuce to my hamster?
Hamsters seem to love eating lettuce and it’s most probably because the texture of this leafy green appeals to them. Now just because they like it doesn’t mean you should overfeed it to them. First introduce the vegetable to them in a small serving, which is more or less half of the recommended full serving. Then monitor to see if their body has accepted it. If there’s no diarrhea, you can serve the full portion next time as a treat.
Another tip to take into consideration while feeding your hamster lettuce is to offer them the leaf which is the drier outer portion instead of the central stalk. The reason for this is, the stalk is where all the water is stored in this plant and so to avoid too much water consumption, avoid the stalk altogether.
An important part of being a pet owner is to be a responsible well, informed pet owner. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what is good and bad food for your pet and your pet will be by your side for much longer!