Most hamster owners know one thing and that hamsters can be picky eaters. Which is a huge headache for the owners because they are constantly wondering what can they feed their little furry friends to keep them healthy. And it’s often tempting to go through trial and error with foodstuff you most commonly have lying around at home. After all, if your hamster seems to be enjoying it, it shouldn’t matter if you add a little bit of that food into their diet to convince them to eat food.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. You’ll be surprised to learn for even pets such as hamsters there are lists of foods that a health risk for your furry friends. And to complicate things even more, just because a food is safe doesn’t mean you can include it as a staple in your pet’s diet. Even safe foods have specific quantities you can feed your hamster.
In our attempts to gain our pet’s affection we become prone to well-intentioned ignorance. As it is small pet rodents such as hamsters already have a short life span and our feeding mistakes can knock a few more years off. To avoid that mistake, it’s always a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge about your hamster’s dietary requirements and especially when it comes to common food we have at home.
A frequently asked question is if it is safe to feed our pet hamsters crackers. So, we’ve compiled a list of answers and other useful information for you about your little furry friends eating habits.
What do hamsters usually eat?
Hamsters, much like humans, are omnivores. This means their diet is a nice mixture of both plants and meats. As far as plants are concerned, they seem to enjoy fruits and vegetables. For proteins and meat, their source is usually insects such as mealworms. They also eat timothy hay which is a special kind of hay packed with fiber and ideal for small pets.
Fruits that are suitable for your pet hamster include apples, peaches, melons, and pears. Their seeds, however, must be avoided at all costs because they can prove to be fatal for hamsters. Try to avoid citrus fruits such as lemon and oranges. Vegetables include carrots, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and cucumbers. You can also feed them herbs such as basil, sage, parsley, and coriander.
Other than these foods you can also feed them commercial hamster pellets too. Make sure to avoid the muesli type mixes because hamsters can be real-time sneaks and will leave out the high fiber bits and eat up all the sugary bits. Too much sugar is bad for their teeth and can make them gain way too much weight.
And speaking of being sneaks, hamsters love hoarding food. They even store food in their special cheek pouches and keep them in their cages for later use. So, feeding them too much is a trap to avoid at all costs.
Can hamsters eat crackers?
Fortunately, you can feed your pet hamster crackers. There is nothing to suggest that crackers contain any toxic substances that will affect your hamster’s health in any way. At least most of them don’t, you just must be careful about which ones you choose to give your hamster.
One thing you must remember is that while there’s no harm in the occasional cracker as a dessert treat, you shouldn’t go overboard with the feeding. Over excess of anything can lead to health problems in the furry beings with their sensitive digestive systems.
Are there any health benefits to crackers?
Irrespective of whether they are safe or not, owners must remember that hamsters’ crackers are considered junk food and thus should be an occasional snack. If your hamster is healthy, then a cracker occasionally will not make a difference. However, for hamsters with sensitive stomachs or other health problems, try to avoid this junk food treat.
In terms of just how healthy crackers are, there isn’t a solid argument to suggest they have any health benefits. Baked in refined flour, at best they are like white bread as far as nutrition is concerned. Sure, they’re healthier than potato chips and have high fiber and lower fat, and lower calories and are easier to digest, but that’s how far the nutritional benefits go.
Whole-grain crackers are rich in fiber which is important for your hamster’s overall health. Fiber is important for the digestive system in two ways: it regulates the fluid in your hamster’s colon and also by adding bulk to the stool making it softer and fuller and encouraging regular bowel movements. Fiber is also helpful if your hamster is prone to constipation.
Whole-grain crackers also have bits of iron and vitamin B which are necessary for red blood cells. While they don’t have enough to solve any deficiency issues, they are a good option for healthy treats as they can aid better health for your hamster by boosting the minerals and vitamin amounts even by a little bit.
Are there any health issues related to crackers?
Overfeeding your hamster crackers puts them at risk of health problems. Crackers have high carbs and are missing the vital nutrients your hamster needs to thrive and so are unnecessary calories. So, in essence, your hamster is just eating without gaining any of the vitamins, amino acids, and minerals it requires. And in the long run, too many calories and not enough nutrients puts your hamster at risk of malnourishment.
To summarize, crackers in comparison to other snacks are a healthy option as an occasional snack. While there are some health benefits such as fiber, vitamin B, and iron, it is not enough to make it a part of their staple diet. If you overfeed them too many crackers, they won’t gain anything from all the empty calories, and it will end up affecting the quality of their life. So again, moderation is key.