Nothing can keep your furry friend away from the sweet scent of juicy fruits like blueberry. While it makes sense for you to enjoy this fruit in your yogurt and oatmeal, a hamster’s dietary requirements can vary. So, can hamsters eat blueberries?
As a pet owner, nothing seems more important than determining the nutritional value of an item you’re planning to feed your hamster. Here’s everything you need to know about whether blueberries are a worthy addition to their diet.
The Origin of Blueberries
You will be surprised to find out that this fruit has been a part of people in the United States for nearly 13,000 years. Since the fruit is native to North America, many Americans are well aware of the health benefits associated with it.
Despite this, its cultivation within the region began in the 19th century. Before that, it was only considered a wild crop.
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Can Hamsters Eat Blueberries?
Hamsters love eating a variety of vegetables and fruits. Fortunately, blueberries also often make it to the list. Since they’re omnivores by nature, their dietary requirements revolve around meat, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. So, yes, your hamster can eat blueberries.
The chances are they won’t be able to resist the sweet smell as soon as it makes its way into their territory. In a nutshell, blueberries make a perfect little snack for your furry friend.
Are Blueberries Good For Your Hamster?
Speaking of their nutritional value, blueberries are a safe addition to your hamster’s diet. They are low in sugar and calories and filled with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins B6, C, K, and E. It’s safe to conclude that blueberries are good for your furry baby but only when fed in moderation.
Benefits of Blueberries
For one, they play a crucial role in regulating a hamster’s bowel movements. A good dose of these berries can also help their body fight against factors that lead to cancer onset.
Furthermore, blueberries facilitate better weight management and lower the chances of high cholesterol. Here are some more benefits of consuming blueberries for your pet Hammy.
They Keep Your Hamster Hydrated
Nothing affects your hamster’s health more than sudden bouts of dehydration. Thanks to the high water content in this fruit, it keeps your hamster hydrated for a long time. Additionally, vitamins B6, C, E, and K keep their bodies functioning well.
They Improve a Hamster’s Internal Functions
Antioxidants and fibers in blueberries help smoothen a hamster’s internal functions. Hamsters are naturally prone to catching illnesses due to their delicate bodies and weak functioning. This is why feeding them a diet consisting of fiber is extremely important.
From regulating their bowel movements to fighting oxidation that causes cancer, ingredients in blueberries can do wonders to improve their internal functioning.
They Serve As a Perfectly Healthy Treat for Your Hamster
Occasional treats can do wonders in lifting your hamster’s mood and making it more active. Hence, you want to ensure that only healthy treats are a part of the deal.
Conditioning them to have unhealthy treats can have repercussions in the future. Blueberries certainly top the list of treats you can offer your pet every once in a while.
They Don’t Cause Obesity
Unlike other sweet and juicy treats, blueberries do not contribute to the onset of obesity in hamsters. Not many treats have this quality.
For this reason, blueberries are a wonderful addition to your hamster’s diet if you want to control their weight effectively. Due to low calories, they’re unlikely to make your furry friend obese. Furthermore, the low sugar content also ensures that your pet doesn’t suffer from diabetes, which can get lethal over time.
They Strengthen a Hamster’s Bones
Now you may be wondering, how can blueberries strengthen a hamster’s bones since they aren’t a significant source of calcium?
Even though they aren’t very rich in calcium, they contain other important nutrients such as zinc, manganese, magnesium, and iron. A good dosage of these minerals is essential to make your hamster’s bones strong. Furthermore, these components also improve joint and bone elasticity.
They Repair Damaged Tissues
Yes, you read it right. Vitamin C found in blueberries can play a vital role in repairing damaged tissues and encouraging the growth of new body tissues. It also keeps your hamster’s skin from getting damaged due to smoke and pollution.
Vitamin C is a versatile component that heals different wounds and also improves their overall immunity.
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Are All Blueberries Safe?
Mind you. Not all blueberries are safe for your hamster. You particularly want to keep your pet away from varieties that contain tannins. Tannins can make your hamster extremely sick and may also contribute to its early death.
Furthermore, you also want to steer clear of blueberries with long stems. Not only do they have high tannin levels, but they’re also smaller in size.
Sometimes, it gets hard to distinguish safe varieties of blueberries from dangerous ones. This is why you want to pay close attention to their color and appearance. You should avoid blueberries with deep purple color at all costs.
Additionally, Alpine and Sunset are two species you want to avoid. However, the quest doesn’t end here. There are more factors to consider before you declare certain blueberries safe for your hamster.
One of those factors is freshness. Old and rotten blueberries are as toxic to your hamster as Alpine and Sunset varieties. Not only are fresh varieties easier to eat, but they’re also easier for your hamster to digest.
Risks of Eating Blueberries
They Can Cause Intestinal Inflammation
Salicylate is a chemical found in high quantities in blueberries. The same chemical is also found in medications across the United States that reduce pain, fever, and inflammation.
A hamster can be allergic to this chemical. As a result of overfeeding blueberries to it, you may notice your hamster undergoing a number of problems in no time. Some of them include diarrhea, skin rashes, and intestinal inflammation.
In the Worst Case Scenario, They Can Cause Wet Tail
While blueberries aren’t as unhealthy as many other treats, they’re certainly high in sugar. This means your hamster’s teeth can go bad in no time.
Furthermore, if the balance of good bacteria in the hamster’s gut goes wrong, then there’s a good chance that it will undergo gastrointestinal issues. As a result, there could be indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to a “wet tail,” which is a very serious condition for rodents.
Too Much of Certain Nutrients Can Make Them Sick
While fiber has many benefits, too much of it can cause bloating and gas issues. Similarly, vitamin K is generally beneficial, but too much of it can cause bruising and internal bleeding in your hamster. To improve your hamster’s health, don’t go overboard, or you may end up doing the opposite.
How to Ensure Portion Control
Remember, hamsters will eat whatever you feed them. They have absolutely no idea about portion control, and they don’t know when to stop eating.
This is where your role as a pet owner comes in. You must limit the number of blueberries you’re feeding them after considering their species. The right portion depends on a hamster’s weight and size.
You don’t want to give more than two medium-sized blueberries to a Syrian hamster, the largest of all hamsters. Then, there’s the dwarf hamster, smaller than a Syrian hamster, so you want to reduce the portion size even further.
Do not give them more than half of the blueberry weekly. Understand that portion control exists for a reason, and do not attempt to go beyond a specified limit when feeding something to a hamster.
Their bodies aren’t wired to deal with sudden dietary changes and the impacts of different diseases. Your best bet is to ensure that there’s no risk of overfeeding involved.
Are Cooked Blueberries Safe for Your Hamster?
While it isn’t unsafe to feed them cooked blueberries, there’s a good chance that cooking them will scrape off their essential nutrients. The antioxidant capacity also reduces the more you cook blueberries. So, it’s better to feed the fruit to your hamster raw instead of experimenting with it in different recipes.
What Is the Right Way to Feed Them Blueberries?
Organic blueberries are your best bet if you’re wondering how to feed them to your hamster. Anything that isn’t organic can have pesticides in it. So, you want to wash your blueberries properly and remove every hint of pesticides from them.
It’s best to cut the blueberry into tiny pieces so you can make it easier for your hamster to bite and digest it. Make sure to remove extra or uneaten pieces within the first 24 hours, or they may create a mess.
It’s important to note that while blueberries are a good source of hydration, they’re not enough to keep your hamster hydrated. Remember not to treat them as an alternative to water.
Do not make blueberries a part of your hamster’s daily diet. They’re only good if used as an occasional healthy treat.
Can hamsters eat blueberries? Yes, they can. Like many other fruits and vegetables, you should also feed blueberries in moderation. Most hamsters cannot resist the sweet smell of this fruit, so they can gulp down a huge quantity of it in no time.
They may have no clue about how much to eat and when to stop. As a pet owner, you want to ensure they receive a well-balanced diet. While using blueberries as treats isn’t bad, you do not want to surpass the recommended quantity every week.
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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