If you own a pet hamster, you’re probably well aware of the fact that most seeds found in fruits are toxic for your pet hamsters. Seeds from fruits such as apples and pears contain cyanogenic acid which can prove to be fatal for your little fur baby. That probably leaves you in a bit of a fix. Hamsters seem to love seeds and there are quite a few packages of seeds for hamsters commercially available, so what are they made off? You’re also probably wondering if you can feed seeds such as sunflower seeds, rather than buying the pouches.
It’s always good to be careful about what you feed your pet hamsters. These little furry beings have a sensitive digestive system and owners often find that they are picky eaters so they fall prey to wanting to feed them whatever the little hamsters like, without knowing just how much and whether what is being fed is safe or not.
Before we answer your question about sunflower seeds, one thing you must always remember as a pet owner is the fact that whatever you feed your hamster, irrespective of it being safe and healthy for them, you must do so in moderation. Feeding your pet hamster in moderation keeps them safe from a plethora of easily avoidable health problems. So to maximize the years, you spend with your little buddy, make sure you don’t overindulge them when it comes to food and snacks.
Can I feed my hamster sunflower seeds?
As it turns out, sunflowers are a safe choice when it comes to feeding your hamster. In fact, they seem to be a popular treat to give hamsters overall. They can be fed as seeds or can also be mixed into the food. Sunflower seeds are a perfect source of vitamins and the required fats for your pet. And if added to their regular Alfalfa pellet diet they will be added nutrition.
What are the health benefits attached to sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are rich in good fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. All of these are essential components of a hamster’s full and healthy diet. These are all vital nutrients to keep your hamster in the best shape.
The outer crunchy shells make for an enjoyable snack for the little furballs as it allows them to hold the seeds and use their teeth on them, which is not only just enjoyable but also great for a hamster’s oral health. As hamster owners know, hamster’s teeth are constantly growing and need to be maintained otherwise they grow too long. Overgrown teeth are very painful for hamsters and hinder them from eating their food. One way to maintain their oral health is to allow them to chew on wooden toys and another is to feed them sunflower seeds which are hard enough to be chewed for long periods of time which is beneficial.
What are the risks of overfeeding sunflower seeds to your hamster?
Like we mentioned before, moderation is key and so even if sunflower seeds are safe for your hamster, if fed too much there are risks attached.
Sunflower seeds have high-fat quantities and thus shouldn’t be offered to your pet too much. Hamsters with diets that have high amounts of fat are at risk of a shortened life span and other associated risks such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Hamsters seem to love eating food that is rich in fat so they will prefer eating sunflower seeds over other foods so it’s best not to get them too used to them. Excessive amounts of sunflower seeds may also cause vitamin deficiencies in your pet hamster especially if they start rejecting their usual food in favor of sunflower seeds. Even if you feed your pet commercial seeds pouches, they will end up picking up their favorite bits which will be the seeds, and leave behind the healthier bits. To avoid selective eating, it’s best to feed the furballs nuggets or pellets.
Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin C which may not seem like a bad thing for hamsters but too much of it can cause diarrhea.
As far as the effects of overfeeding on different breeds are concerned, dwarf hamsters are more likely to become diabetic than the Syrian breed. So they should be fed lower amounts.
How many seeds can I feed my hamster daily?
The perfect quantity to feed your hamster is 3 seeds a day.
What kind of sunflower seeds should we feed our hamster?
The most found sunflower seeds are striped and are safe for hamsters to eat. Similarly, black oil seeds are also a good option. Shelled and unshelled are both safe. However, the one precaution you’ll have to take is to make sure that the seeds are unsalted and without any other flavors.
How do different breeds respond to sunflower seeds?
In small amounts, sunflower seeds are beneficial for Syrian hamsters and Roborovski if they are plain.
For Campbell dwarf hamsters, too many seeds can cause them to suffer health issues such as diabetes and obesity. Especially since dwarf hamsters are more at risk of developing diabetes. The same goes for Winter White hamsters.
Sunflower seeds are especially beneficial for Chinese hamsters as it provides with a wide range of nutrients.
However, the one common factor for all breeds of hamsters is that they should not be overfed the sunflower seeds as it will only lead to health risks.
Sunflower seeds are a healthy snack for your pet hamsters if they are fed in moderation. Laden with nutrients and beyond internal health they are also great for your hamster’s external oral health. However, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of overfeeding your hamster the seeds because once they start eating they won’t stop and will start rejecting their staple diet. Also, when buying your hamster the seeds make sure there aren’t added flavors or salt either. Happy feeding.