Everyone loves strawberries. However, can the same be said for your small, furry friends? Can hamsters eat strawberries?
Even though hamsters can eat strawberries, they should only be consumed in small amounts once or twice a week. However, this depends on the kind of hamster you have. For example, Dwarf hamsters should not be given any strawberries because they are vulnerable to diabetes.
Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
Hamsters love eating strawberries. They are healthy and, if included in a moderate diet, are no cause of concern for hamsters. In fact, strawberries have loads of benefits and are nutritious fruits that hamsters should consume.
Fruits like strawberries, grapes, apples, watermelons, blackberries, cranberries, lychees, and cherries are great for hamsters to feast on. However, a hamster should never be given a whole slice of fruit, as this can become a choking hazard. Instead, it is recommended to chop the fruit up into small bits so that the hamster can easily swallow it.
Remember that even though most hamsters can eat strawberries, this also depends on their breed. Strawberries are safe to consume for Roborovski and Syrian hamsters, as long as the fruit is given to them occasionally and in tiny amounts.
Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, cannot eat strawberries. This is because they are born with an inherent risk of diabetes. Strawberries have high sugar content, so you should avoid feeding them to your Dwarf hamster. You should also limit the number of strawberries you give to Campbell hamsters as they are more susceptible to diabetes. If you are unsure what breed your hamster falls under, ask your vet the next time you go!
Why Hamsters Should Eat Strawberries
Strawberries are not only great for humans but are also great for hamsters. They have loads of health benefits and can keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
1. Loaded with Dietary Fibers
Strawberries are filled with dietary fibers, allowing hamsters to maintain great overall gut health. These fruits soothe bowel movements in hamsters, allowing them to pass stool easily and preventing sickness.
2. Wonderful Source of Vitamin C
Every adult knows that strawberries are a great source of vitamin C. The same logic applies to hamsters. Just like humans, the body of a hamster does not make its own vitamin C; hence, an external source of the vitamin needs to be consumed.
Strawberries are loaded with vitamins, especially vitamin B9 and C. By consuming a healthy number of strawberries a few times a week; a hamster can remain healthy. The best part is that the vitamins in strawberries can also help strengthen a hamster’s immune system, ensuring it does not fall sick often.
3. Great Source of Phosphorous and Calcium
Phosphorous and calcium are essential for a hamster’s health as they allow their teeth to grow, strengthen teeth, allow steady development of bones, and complete all nervous system requirements.
Phosphorous can also help fight inflammation in a hamster, making it crucial for their overall diet.
4. Low Sugar Content
Even though strawberries should not be consumed by certain hamster breeds that are at a higher risk of diabetes, these fruits have a low sugar content and a high water content. This makes them great for hamsters to feast on.
If your hamster is learning to eat strawberries, introduce them slowly and gradually. Moreover, remember that even though they have a low amount of sugar, it is not nonexistent. Hence, do not give your hamster more than one or two strawberries a day.
5. Prevent Tumor
Studies show that strawberries help prevent tumors and oral cancer from developing in a hamster’s body, especially its cheek pouches. This is because fruit lowers cell proliferation and does not allow new blood cells to develop that easily.
According to another study, consuming strawberries moderately can prevent hamsters from developing atherosclerosis. This is a disease in which the arteries get blocked by a fatty substance.
Why Hamsters Should Not Eat Strawberries
As we have mentioned in this article a couple of times, there can be cases in which strawberries are bad for hamsters.
Remember that just like any other food in their diet, you should give hamsters strawberries in limitation and moderation. If your hamster is adjusting to a new diet, you must take particular care of this aspect.
If you give your hamster too many strawberries in one go, it will eat them and look like they are enjoying themselves, but they can get diarrhea. If you find that your hamsters experience diarrhea each time it eats strawberries, you might have to cut it out of their diet and talk to a vet.
Dwarf hamsters should not be given any fruit at all, which means that giving them strawberries can cause them to develop diabetes. Remember, all sugary foods are off-limit for these types of hamsters.
Moreover, it is crucial that each time you give a hamster a strawberry to chew on, you wash it properly to get rid of any chemicals and pesticides that could harm your pet. Since hamsters love storing food, you also need to ensure that it is not eating an old strawberry. Old fruit can quickly catch mold and, if consumed, can cause your hamster to fall severely ill.
Read to know: Can Hamsters Eat Hard Boiled Eggs?
Introducing Strawberries to Your Hamster’s Diet
If you want to give your hamster a strawberry for the first time, make sure to do so bit by bit at a time. This means giving your hamster a quarter teaspoon of strawberries. Remember that you should not give your hamster more than one teaspoon of different fruit pieces more than twice a week.
Once your hamster has consumed the strawberries, make sure that you keep a close eye on it for the next two days to ensure that it does not suffer from any adverse effects.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
If you find that your hamster is not as energetic as usual, especially after it has eaten a strawberry, it could be because its tiny body is having a hard time digesting the fruit.
If your hamster produces soft poop after eating strawberries, you need to take them off the fruit. If you do not treat diarrhea, it can cause severe dehydration and, in some cases, death. If your pet still suffers from diarrhea after 24 to 48 hours, you may need to rush it to the vet as soon as possible.
Pica is a condition when any animal consumes something that does not have much nutritional value. This can be caused when it eats something in their cage that they are not supposed to eat, such as their bedding or poop.
Pica points to the idea that your pet is trying to soothe itself, which means that whatever it ate earlier is causing it an inconvenience.
Lack of Appetite
Another symptom that your hamster is having difficulty digesting the strawberries it eats is rejecting other forms of food. Your hamster might eat a lot in general but if you find that it is not touching its food a day after you gave it strawberry, consider this as a sign.
Have a look: Do Hamsters Stink Up Your Room
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Hamsters Eat Dried Strawberries?
Even though strawberries that have been dried naturally do not contain more than the fruit itself, they are not good for hamsters. This is because dehydrated strawberries have a higher sugar content than fresh strawberries. Moreover, they are loaded with calories.
Since hamsters are greedy creatures, it would not be a good idea to feed them dried strawberries. Dried strawberries can also increase their risk of obesity and diabetes.
Can Hamsters Eat Unwashed Strawberries?
Hamsters have sensitive bodies that do not react well to chemicals. Most store-bought strawberries contain some kind of pesticide that can harm your hamster’s digestion and damage their immune system as well. Hence, we would recommend against giving your hamster unwashed strawberries.
Can Strawberries Treat Cancer?
Strawberries are loaded with powerful antioxidants and contain loads of flavonoids and phenolic acids. This allows them to fall into the functional foods category, foods that are good for the body.
This means that the antioxidants present in strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries can help prevent cancer cells from growing in your hamster’s body. However, no evidence points to the idea that strawberries help treat cancer in already sick hamsters.
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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