Hamsters are delicate animals. There are certain foods they can easily ingest and some that they can’t. It’s important to give hamsters a suitable diet to avoid complications.
If you are wondering if can hamsters eat cabbage, the answer is yes, they can, but in moderation.
Hamsters are omnivores and hence gain nutrition from both animal and plant sources. Wild hamsters usually feed on grains and vegetables.
Hamsters usually love eating cabbage. You can include cabbage in moderation in your hamsters’ diet, which shouldn’t cause a problem. But too much cabbage can be detrimental to hamsters.
So, if you are a hamster owner here in the United States of America, feed your hamster cabbage in small quantities.
Read more: Can Hamster Eat Bell Peppers
Hamsters and Cabbage
When fed in moderation, cabbage can be quite beneficial for hamsters. It contains high levels of nutrients such as vitamins C, and K, fibers, and antioxidants.
Hamsters usually absorb antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins from organic sources daily. As cabbage is so nutritious, it is a great supplement to a hamster’s diet.
But you should only feed hamsters cabbage once or twice a week. More than this can give your hamster an upset stomach, diarrhea, and bloating.
The hamster’s breed also determines how much cabbage it can tolerate. For example, Syrian hamsters are the largest hamster breed and can tolerate more cabbage than other breeds. You can feed your Syrian hamster around half a teaspoon of cabbage twice a week.
Smaller hamster breeds should be given a lesser quantity. Breeds such as the Winter White, Chinese, and Campbell’s Dwarf hamsters can be fed cabbage every ten days. Also, please do not feed them more than one inch of cabbage.
These hamsters are smaller than Syrian hamsters, so their digestive system can tolerate a smaller amount. When feeding hamsters cabbage, make sure the cabbage is uncooked.
Feeding raw cabbage in the quantity mentioned above and frequency can be quite beneficial for the little critter. It can benefit the hamster’s oral health and teeth. It also contributes to acquiring healthy bones.
As cabbage also contains high levels of fiber, it will aid the hamster’s bowel movements. It can decrease the chances of diarrhea and constipation.
Cabbage also contains sufficient levels of calcium and phosphorous. Both these nutrients are essential for hamsters. They help keep tissues ad cells in good condition and help save energy.
But the most benefits hamsters receive from cabbage is high levels of vitamins C and K.
How to Feed Hamsters Cabbage?
When introducing a new type of food to their hamsters’ diet, hamster owners must be careful. This is because hamsters have sensitive digestive tracts.
When feeding cabbage, the first few times, start with very tiny pieces. Take a tiny cabbage leaf and split it in half. Feed it to your hamsters and wait a day or two to see how it responds.
If your hamster responds well to cabbage, you can give a small whole leaf. But it’s always better to chop the leaf up to prevent choking.
If cabbage suits the hamster, you can include it in its diet at the frequency mentioned above.
Also, adjust any other fruits and vegetables you give your hamster. You don’t want to feed the critter too many fruits and vegetables and cause a nutritional imbalance.
If your hamster is new to consuming fresh vegetables, start slowly. Introduce vegetables such as spinach and cucumbers first and in small quantities.
Keep an eye out for any gastric discomfort, such as diarrhea.
If your hamster keeps well, raise the number of fresh vegetables slightly. You can feed your hamster cabbage in small portions in the following weeks.
Also, don’t feed your hamster cabbage with other vegetables that might cause flatulence. Such vegetables include broccoli or cauliflower. Also, avoid items with sugar at this point.
Risks Attached to Feeding Hamsters Cabbage
As mentioned above, cabbage should not be fed to hamsters frequently. Feeding too often can cause inflammation, diarrhea, and other gastric disorders.
Cabbage is also a diuretic and can cause your hamster to urine too much, thus causing dehydration.
If the cabbage is unwashed, it can contain harmful pesticides that can be harmful to your hamster. Even if your hamster likes eating cabbage, ensure you only feed it a small amount.
As mentioned above, large pieces of cabbage also cause a choking hazard in hamsters.
Preparing the Cabbage to Feed Your Hamster
Begin by purchasing organic and fresh cabbage. Also, avoid buying cabbage from the supermarket. This is because those vegetables usually contain pesticides and chemicals that can harm your hamster.
Take off the outer layer of the cabbage to remove bruising. Then wash the cabbage thoroughly with clean water from the tap. This will wash away the bacteria.
Next, chop the cabbage in half and remove the stems. Take one leaf and cut it into tiny pieces. Chopping the vegetable will make it easier for your hamster to consume it.
It’s best to give cabbage to your hamster as a snack. You can give it alone or combine it with another vegetable.
Read more: Can A Hamster Eat Watermelon
Hamster Diet in Detail
When living in the wild, hamsters mostly consume an omnivorous diet. Wild hamsters usually feed on plants, grains, seeds, and insects. If a wild hamster came across a cabbage, it would probably love to eat it!
Here are some snacks to feed your hamster that help maintain good health.
- You can feed your hamster hay if you want to try something new. Even though feeding fresh hay is not a requirement, your hamster will like the taste. Hay also helps hamsters in more than one way.
- You can add fresh hay to the hamster’s cage; they love digging through it. As they dig, they also occasionally nibble on it.
- Feeding your hamster one tablespoon of bird seeds weekly is a great idea.
- Fruits and vegetables are great for hamsters to snack on. You can also include fruits and vegetables in your hamsters’ main meals. But only give your hamster as much as it can consume in a single meal.
- If there are any leftovers, clean them up immediately from your hamster’s cage. If your hamster gets a chance to hoard the leftovers, they can catch mold and rot.
- Always make sure your hamster has fresh water to drink. Wash and refill your hamster’s container every day. Ensure your hamster has an unrestricted supply of fresh water to consume daily.
- You can also feed your hamster peanut butter, but be careful when doing so. As peanut butter is sticky it can get stuck in their cheek pouches and cause a major problem. One way to feed your hamster peanut butter is to place a thin layer on a piece of wood and feed it to your hamster. But do be cautious when doing this too.
- Dwarf hamsters are also prone to diabetes, so it’s best not to include sugar in their diet. Therefore, also avoid feeding them fruits altogether, even as a treat.
- You can include human food as a part of your hamsters’ diet but do so in moderation. Don’t feed hamsters junk food like chips and crackers. Instead, feed them healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Treat bought from the store, such as flavored yogurt and honeyed treats, are too sweet for hamsters and should be avoided.
- It’s also a great idea to feed your hamster seeds. You can get seed mixes with grains and dried vegetables. When feeding your hamster this, ensure it empties its food bowl before you put more. This will ensure the hamster eats everything, not just items it likes, from within.
- You can also feed your hamster a pelleted diet. This diet resembles small biscuits and cookies. This diet can be monotonous, too, and hamsters can often refuse it. But a pelleted diet ensures your hamster gets a balanced diet
- With essential nutrients. You can also supplement pelleted food with an assortment of seeds, fruits, and vegetables. But make sure the bulk of the portion is the pelleted diet.
So, when it comes to whether hamsters can eat cabbage, the answer is yes but in moderation. You can include cabbage in your little critters’ diet as a snack. Don’t overfeed your hamster cabbage, which can cause digestive problems like diarrhea.
Ensure you feed enough cabbage to your hamster as it can digest it. As Syrian hamsters are the largest hamster breed, they can digest a larger portion than other smaller breeds.
You can feed your Syrian hamster cabbage twice a week. If you have other smaller hamster breeds, feed them once in ten days. The quantity of cabbage should also be minimal.
Make sure you never give your hamster cabbage as a meal. This vegetable is better suited as a snack. Also, monitor your hamster after feeding it cabbage the first few times.
If your hamster does not show any digestive problems, you can continue feeding it.
If your hamster is new to eating fresh vegetables, start with safer vegetables like cucumbers. Introduce cabbage after a few weeks after your hamster is more accustomed.
Cabbage is a great addition to a hamster’s diet as it contains many essential minerals and vitamins. But it should be fed sparingly as a tasty snack.
As hamsters are sensitive creatures, feeding them the right diet is important. Many foods suit these omnivores, and many don’t. Do thorough research about hamsters’ diet before you decide to become a hamster owner.
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more