As omnivores, hamsters love a mix of plants and animals in their diet, with the latter usually consisting of insects. Therefore, their ideal diet would include fruits, seeds, insects, and plants.
Now you may be wondering, where does celery stand? Or can hamsters have celery? Even the best pet owners can sometimes be on the fence about what to feed their furry baby. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding celery to your hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Celery?
In short, yes, they can. Celery is a wonderful addition to their diet for many reasons. It is safe and healthy to consume as long as you feed it moderately.
However, it doesn’t end here. The rule of thumb is never to introduce new food items abruptly, especially to hamsters. The real question is, how must you feed celery to a hamster?
Even though hamsters are among the most popular pets in the United States, not every owner knows what to do with them.
Read more: Why Is My Hamster Not Eating
How to Feed Celery to a Hamster
Your best bet when introducing a new food item to a hamster’s diet is to introduce it slowly. The rule also applies to celery. You want to start by adding a few pieces to its bowl to see how it goes.
Also, make sure not to place a whole piece without chopping it, as it would elevate the risk of your hamster choking. Here’s another thing that most pet owners need to know.
Items like celery should only be given as treats, not substitutes for normal hamster food. Furthermore, you want to keep a check on their vegetable storage every day and remove anything that isn’t fresh.
Unlike other items, vegetables tend to rot in a flash. The rotten items can further create an unhealthy environment for your pet, making them ill. Hence, it’s time we dig deeper into how good or bad celery can get for your pet hamster.
What Makes Celery Ideal for a Hamster’s Diet?
The fiber content in this vegetable is what makes it a perfect fit for most animals’ diets. Not only is it fat-free, but it also has low carbs.
The protein content is also minimal, but vitamins A and K are relatively higher. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory substances and anti-oxidants that play a role in making their diet well-balanced.
Vitamins are crucial in keeping your pet’s blood clean and healthy. Additionally, anti-inflammatory properties protect your hamster’s digestive tract from inflammation.
Anti-oxidants also keep their organs, blood vessels, and cells healthy. A primary reason why hamsters love chewing on it is because of the fibrous content in it.
Hamsters can’t resist fibrous food items and tough toys when it comes to biting on something. A rather ignored benefit of incorporating celery in their diet is its ability to keep their dental health optimal.
Are There Any Alternatives to Celery?
There’s no end to how many vegetables you can feed your furry buddy. If you find your hamster resisting the idea of eating celery, here are some alternatives to consider.
Sometimes, your hamster may resist eating the veggie-only because you haven’t been creative enough with it. Sure, adding it raw to their diet is healthy. However, hamsters tend to get bored quickly.
And so, you want to keep introducing the same food item differently. Here are some ways to customize this little addition to their diet.
- Incorporate celery inside their complete food
- Purchase dried celery treats
- Cut celery into small chunks
Can All Hamsters Eat Celery?
Syrian and Robo hamsters can eat celery as it has zero carbs and numerous health benefits. However, you might want to wait for a while when it comes to baby hamsters. It isn’t wise to feed them celery right in the beginning.
Since they’re mammals, baby hamsters also thrive on their mother’s milk in the first few days of their life. The good news is they begin eating solid food only about four weeks later.
Even then, you must not incorporate vegetables in their diet abruptly. Introduce them to soft food such as boiled or cooked veggies first. Once you see that they’re eating pellet food properly, you can add celery chunks.
The goal is to make food as soft and easy to digest as possible, at least in the first few weeks of their life. You don’t want to put too much pressure on their delicate organs.
With dwarf hamsters, you want to be even more careful. It’s well-known among pet owners that dwarf hamsters do not thrive on the same diet as other hamsters.
It is mainly because of their small size that you have to be wary of introducing new food items. With celery, you want to ensure you’re giving them a lower quantity than what you would’ve given to a Syrian hamster.
Read more: What Foods Can Kill a Hamster
Is Cooked Celery Equally Nutritious?
While we may like our celery cooked, it isn’t the case with adult hamsters. Cooked celery isn’t harmful or toxic to their health, but it’s certainly not fibrous either. Furthermore, hamsters generally like raw and dry food, so it’s better not to waste time changing it.
What Parts of Celery Can Hamsters Eat?
Stalks are the most fibrous parts of this vegetable. Not only do they keep their overgrowing teeth filed down, but they also keep the digestive system healthy.
Again, it isn’t recommended that they eat the stalk completely because the texture is such that it can choke your furry baby. It’s better to chop it into tiny pieces and remove the strings before you introduce it to your pet.
When it comes to celery leaves, they’re safe for consumption, but most hamsters do not prefer them over stalks, mainly because of the strong taste.
Is Celery Bad for a Hamster’s Health?
Even the healthiest of food items can become unhealthy if fed excessively. The key is to keep their intake moderate. The same goes for celery. By now, we’re well aware of its benefits. It has high potassium and fiber levels and is among the food items that hamsters can easily digest.
Additionally, the intake of vitamins is pretty balanced. However, there are instances where even celery can become harmful to your hamster.
For one, the stalk isn’t the safest part to consume. It can choke your hamster and even kill them in the worst-case scenario. Hence, you want to steer clear of it.
Then, there’s the frequent urination. If fed excessively, celery can make your hamster urinate too much, which can make it dehydrated.
Celery leaves are comparatively healthier, but the strong taste repels hamsters unlike anything else. In short, celery is healthy for your furry baby if fed in moderation and in tiny pieces. Too much of anything can make them prone to obesity, diarrhea, and choking.
What Other Treats Can You Introduce Them too?
There’s no end to how many treats you can introduce to your pet hamster from time to time. These animals are wired to thrive on different diet varieties.
This is why vegetables and fruits are your best bet when deciding on a new treat for them. With some exceptions, most of them add healthy fats and anti-oxidants to their body.
Additionally, cheese and meat are also important sources of protein. However, don’t go overboard with introducing new treats every time. You want to ensure that the treats are a source of health, not a hazard. If you’re unsure about something, consult your veterinarian before feeding it to your hamster.
Here are a few safe treats you can introduce them to in the time being:
The following are also safe but should only be fed moderately:
- Peanut butter
The following are unsafe and should be avoided at all costs:
- Citrus fruits
Most food items we enjoy can be very toxic to a hamster. Not everything you eat can be tolerated by them. While you can find various hamster-friendly food packets at most stores in the United States, you want to do thorough research before purchasing them.
Onions and garlic are also among the toxic food items for your pet, especially because they can cause stomach irritation. You also want to avoid anything and everything that contains caffeine because it makes the hamster’s heart race.
How to Introduce Them to New Treats
More than adding new treats to their diet, the deal is recognizing how to do it correctly. After all, your hamster’s stomach is extremely sensitive to changes and will only appreciate fruitful ones.
So, you want to do it once, and you want to do it right. The best way to incorporate celery or any other treat in their diet is to do it in three steps:
- Wash it to eliminate any pesticides or bacteria
- Give your hamster a little test piece and watch it for a couple of days. If unfavorable symptoms arise, stop right away.
- Add the treat to their diet at regular intervals for a few weeks.
Adding celery to their diet abruptly can have consequences. They may choke on it or reject it completely if you don’t do it right.
So, can hamsters have celery? We can safely conclude, yes. Hamsters can have celery in moderation and benefit from its numerous nutrients. However, you want to steer clear of feeding the stalk to them.
Stalks can cause them to choke and trigger digestion problems. As with everything else, you want to ensure that you’re feeding it moderately.
Nothing affects a hamster’s health more than abrupt dietary changes and lack of planning when introducing them to new treats. All in all, celery will be a wonderful addition to their diet and improve their dental health in the long run.
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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