If you own a pet hamster you probably know that just like their human owners, hamsters are omnivores. Which means they enjoy both greens and meat. You’ve also probably understood that they love fruits and vegetables. The average lifespan of a hamster is usually 3 years and so to ensure our furry friends spend a long and healthy life by our side we need to know exactly what fruits and vegetables are safe to feed them. Most owners make the mistake of believing that all fruits and vegetables can be fed to their hamsters because they’re healthy food! However, that’s not necessarily the case.
Being a pet owner is much like being a parent and our pet’s health lies wholly in our hands so it’s important to know what should make up their regular diet, what can be counted as a treat, and what should be avoided at all costs. Another part of being a pet parent is having to practice the art of moderation. It’s easier said than done because when we see our fur babies enjoying themselves, we want to indulge them and sometimes we end up overindulging them and causing health problems for them. This is especially the case with hamsters because they are picky eaters and so if they like something you’ll want to keep feeding it to them.
Strawberries for your hamster:
We all love eating strawberries. These juicy red fruits are great and healthy fruit to snack on. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, they are great for battling heart diseases, cancer, and inflammation. But just because all these health benefits apply to us humans, do the same extent to hamsters?
The answer is that strawberries are safe to feed your hamster, in limited quantities. Strawberries for most of the parts are safe to feed your hamster but there are certain things you need to know about the fruit itself.
For one, strawberries have high quantities of sugar and so they shouldn’t become a part of your hamster’s regular bite. A few bites or a mouthful, once or at most twice a week, is more than enough for your hamster.
Health benefits for your hamster:
Strawberries are rich in health benefits for both humans and your hamsters. If fed in the right amounts, they can help your hamster lead a healthy life.
Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and the health benefits of these antioxidants aren’t limited just to us humans. They are great for hamsters as they help keep their digestion in check. They also help prevent cancer in your hamsters especially oral cancer and prevent excessive cell proliferation as well as new blood vessel formation.
The vitamin C present in strawberries is also important to help restore and repair the cells in your hamster’s body. They also encourage quick wound recovery. Vitamin C is also important for your hamster’s system as it helps keep their immune system healthy and aids their body in fighting off diseases.
Vitamin K is also present in strawberries and is important for the normal blood clotting process in your hamsters’ bodies.
Strawberries are rich in fiber. Fiber works on improving your fur baby’s digestion while also regulating the blood sugar in their system.
The folic acid present in strawberries helps fight anemia and encourages the formation of red blood cells in their system and is also a great aid for their reproductive systems.
Potassium is also found in strawberries and is an important mineral and electrolyte which is needed to keep your hamster’s muscles functioning, maintain their blood pressure, regulate their heartbeat and breathing as well as their water balance.
Other benefits of strawberries for your hamster include:
They help fight diseases such as atherosclerosis, which is a disease that causes fat to build up in your hamsters’ arteries.
The fruit also promotes your hamster’s eye health by improving their vision.
It works wonders on your hamsters’ fur. So, if you notice their fur getting dry or dull, strawberries are a good solution to that problem.
They are also great in encouraging weight loss (though this shouldn’t be the first resort) and help cure constipation.
Health risks of overfeeding strawberries:
Just because strawberries are laden with health benefits doesn’t mean you overfeed your hamster’s strawberries. All these health benefits can easily be achieved with the once-a-week feeding of the fruit. If you do end up overfeeding their strawberries, there are problems that your furry friend will face.
The most common issue they will face is an upset digestive system. That means an upset tummy and diarrhea. If you notice this symptom occurring when you feed them the fruit, stop feeding it to them, and monitor the symptoms. If they persist, take your hamster to the vet immediately.
Similarly, since strawberries are rich in sugar, overdoing them in your hamster’s diet will cause them to gain unnecessary weight and can also lead to diabetes in your hamster.
Which hamster breed can have strawberries:
There are different hamster breeds, and each is as different as the other. This is why it is important to know which food is suitable for which breed.
Syrian hamsters can have strawberries as an occasional treat. The nutritional value is high enough to be considered a healthy snack for once-a-week feeding but the acidic and sugar content is also high and thus making it unsuitable for regular feeding.
Roborovski hamsters must be fed very tiny pieces of strawberries and even more rarely than what you feed Syrian hamsters. This is mainly because the hamsters themselves are so tiny and if the pieces are too big, they might become choking hazards.
Shouldn’t be fed strawberries:
Chinese hamsters are prone to developing diabetes and thus the high sugar content in the strawberries is not a healthy snack for them. The same applies to Russian Campbell Dwarf Hamsters as well as winter white dwarf hamsters.
Other things to be cautious of:
Make sure that the strawberries you feed your hamsters are pesticide-free. Chemicals present on the fruit will cause health issues and your hamster can quite possibly develop a disease. So make sure you thoroughly wash the fruit.
Also, keep an eye out on both your hamster and the cage when you feed them fruit. If your hamster hasn’t eaten the strawberry and it isn’t removed from the cage, it can lead to the fruit rotting and getting moldy and if your hamster ends up eating the bad strawberry, they will fall sick. Similarly, make sure your hamster is actually eating the strawberry and not simply storing it away in their cheek pockets which they often do. If kept in their mouths for too long, the high sugar present in the fruit can lead to oral decay.
What if my hamster doesn’t like strawberries?
It is completely okay if your hamster rejected the fruit and refuses to eat it. Since the fruit is more of an occasional snack, by not including it in their diet you aren’t depriving them of anything.
Thus in conclusion, just like all other foods for your pet, strawberries are a fruit that should only be fed to your hamsters in moderation.