Isn’t it adorable to watch your hamster gnaw on and eat carrots? Carrots are a highly nutritious root vegetable found in almost every kitchen, so it seems like a no-brainer that feeding your hamster carrots is a good idea. However, how old does a hamster need to be even to be able to eat a carrot?
Hamsters need to be about three weeks old to eat carrots. When hamsters are three weeks old, they stop relying on their mother’s milk. However, it still takes time for your hamster to work its way up to eat hard foods like carrots comfortably.
This article will discuss why only adult hamsters can eat carrots, how often hamsters should eat carrots, and how to best feed your hamster carrots.
Baby hamsters, or pups, cannot eat solid foods until they are about three weeks old. Naturally, they cannot eat carrots until they are about three weeks old at the youngest, either.
However, I would not suggest immediately feeding your hamster carrots when you first wean them off their mother’s milk or formula.
While the pups are ready to slowly wean off their mother’s milk at about three weeks, they are not always fully weaned from their mother’s milk or formula until they are around 4 to 5 weeks old. At this age, pups can entirely fend for themselves.
Carrots are a great treat to feed your pet hamster on occasion. They are packed full of nutrients like Vitamin A and Vitamin C. On the other hand, they also have high sugar content, and hamsters have a propensity for obesity and diabetes. Therefore, feeding your hamster an excessive amount of carrots is not ideal.
Hamsters should eat carrots no more than two or three times a week. Ensure that when you treat your hamsters with carrots, you do not also feed them anything else with high sugar content. The number of carrots you can give them depends on your hamster’s breed and the energy they’ve used.
Syrian hamsters are the largest breed of pet hamsters, so the number of carrots you can serve them is greater than the amount you feed other hamsters.
Give your Syrian hamster up to 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) of a regular carrot or about one and a half baby carrots. This amount will be enough for your hamster to enjoy their treat while not overfeeding them.
If you choose to give your Syrian hamster treats more often than once or twice a week, feed them a smaller portion of carrots so that they do not get sick from overeating.
Dwarf hamsters are the smallest breed of pet hamsters, so you need to feed them fewer carrots than Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are also more prone to diabetes, so be extra careful with the serving sizes.
Give your Dwarf hamster up to 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of a regular carrot or about half of a baby carrot. This amount is an absolute maximum if you treat your hamster with carrots weekly.
While you can feed your Dwarf hamster carrots, many veterinarians suggest that you don’t treat them with carrots. It is too likely for your Dwarf hamster to get diabetes or become obese.
So, I’ve established that you can feed your hamster carrots, as long as it’s in moderation.
Carrots have excellent nutrients that can genuinely help your hamster feel better if they are sick. Still, an abundance of certain nutrients can cause bladder stones or diarrhea. Due to how hard carrots are, they help rim down your hamster’s teeth and offer several other health benefits.
Let’s go into a little more depth about the pros and cons of treating your pet hamster with carrots.
Feeding carrots to your hamster can benefit them in many ways. The most notable is the sheer amount of essential nutrients carrots give your hamster. However, you should always keep track of the number of carrots you feed your hamster. There is such a thing as too many carrots for hamsters.
Carrots, commonly grown in California, Michigan, and Texas, are known for their high levels of antioxidants, like Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Vitamin A is key to the health of your hamster. If your hamster does not get enough Vitamin A, they are more likely to get stomach ulcers or hair loss. Vitamin A also helps your hamster utilize Vitamin C.
Like humans, hamsters do not naturally make Vitamin C, so they have to receive it from an outside source. Hamsters are prone to get scurvy if they do not get enough Vitamin C. If your hamster gets scurvy, they will be sluggish, heal slower, lose weight and appetite, and have diarrhea.
Carrots also contain dietary fibers that aid in your hamster’s digestive system.
Hamster’s teeth never stop growing, so they need to wear them out with regular chewing to prevent dental problems.
The gritty texture of the carrot helps to wear down your hamster’s teeth and keep them from growing too long. Suppose your hamster’s teeth grow too long. In that case, your veterinarian can trim their teeth, but ensuring they eat foods that wear on their teeth is a much easier and likely cheaper option.
Just make sure that the pieces of carrot you feed your hamster are not too large since they have such small mouths.
One of the best things about owning a hamster is how fluffy it is. It can be scary if your hamster starts to lose their hair and develops bald patches or excessive shedding.
Your hamster may be losing its hair due to rubbing against its cage, mites, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The only way to know the definite cause of hair loss is by taking your hamster to the veterinarian.
If your hamster has vitamin and mineral deficiencies, likely Vitamin A deficiency, the best thing you can do is feed them foods rich in Vitamin A, such as carrots. Once your hamster begins eating more Vitamin A-rich food, it should go back to normal.
I’ve discussed some benefits eating carrots can have on hamsters. Unfortunately, some negatives happen from feeding hamsters carrots.
The most significant issues come from overfeeding your hamster carrots, as carrots should be treats rather than typical everyday food.
Depending on how you feed your hamster, there may be the possibility of it choking on the carrots.
Hamsters are small rodents, so you need to feed them small pieces of food so as not to choke. After all, your hamster’s daily diet generally consists of hamster pellets and seed mixes explicitly grown for small animals.
So, make sure you cut carrots into small pieces before feeding them to your hamster to ensure they stay safe and do not have trouble eating.
As I’ve said many times, carrots have a lot of sugar, especially for a hamster. If your hamster overeats sugar, they are more likely to exercise excessively, urinate more, and become constipated.
The excess sugar also increases the likelihood of your hamster getting diabetes or obesity, which they are already predisposed to. This sugar overload is especially problematic if you have a Dwarf hamster due to its small size.
If you still want to feed your hamster carrots, make sure the carrots are a treat and are not given to your hamster more than once or twice a week.
Hamsters tend to hoard their food. That is likely due to their status as prey in the wild. They need to have access to food, and the best way to do that is by hoarding.
Unfortunately, if they hoard fruits and vegetables that you feed them, like carrots, they are likely to go sour and begin to mold. When your hamster has moldy food in its cage, unwanted bacteria get in and may make your hamster sick.
The best way to prevent your hamster from hoarding carrots is to feed them the carrots outside of their cage. If you give them treats outside of their cage and take away the carrots they do not eat, your hamster will not be able to hoard them.
The first thing you need to do when you first want to feed carrots to your hamster is to clean the carrots thoroughly. Many carrots that you buy have pesticides and chemicals, and thoroughly washing them will remove these harmful chemicals from your hamster’s treats.
Once you’ve cleaned the carrots, cut them into small pieces to feed your hamster. Cutting down the chunks will prevent your hamster from choking on the carrot.
Start slowly with one or two pieces when you first start feeding your hamster carrots. That way, you can see if your hamster likes carrots before you give them any more.
As I said before, it’s best to feed your hamster their carrots somewhere other than in their cage. As well as preventing your hamster from hoarding the carrot, you also bond with your hamster more.
There are a lot of parts to a carrot, including the carrot root, carrot tops, and carrot peels. There are also baby carrots, which are different from “regular” carrots. So, there are quite a few carrot-y options to choose from when giving your hamster a treat, and some are better for your furry friend than others.
For several reasons, raw carrots are better for hamsters than cooked carrots. The crunchiness of a raw carrot is an excellent choice for keeping your hamster’s teeth at a reasonable length. Also, the healthy nutrients in the carrot are not as potent in a cooked carrot as a raw carrot.
Carrots are terrific for helping your hamster keep their teeth at a comfortable size, and cooked carrots are too soft to help maintain hamsters’ constantly growing teeth. The raw carrots also improve the health of your hamster’s teeth, working like toothbrushes.
Raw carrots also have a much higher nutritional quality content that is good for both people and hamsters. Along with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, raw carrots have high water content. This high water content helps your hamster get the water it needs uniquely.
Carrot tops are the area of the carrot with the greens still attached. In general, humans don’t usually eat this part of a carrot. There are not many studies on whether or not it is safe for hamsters to eat carrot tops, so I cannot give you a definitive answer from a scientific background.
However, many sites list carrot tops as safe for hamsters, and many long-time hamster owners do not state any problems with feeding carrot tops occasionally, so it may be okay. Do not give your hamster the entire carrot top, though. That’s too much carrot for them.
Start by testing your hamster with a small piece and see if they like it before feeding them more.
Sometimes people will peel a regular carrot before eating or before cooking it. However, when you discard the peel, you lose much of the nutritional qualities of carrots.
Carrot peels are also a great idea to feed your hamster because the peel is easier for a hamster to eat and less likely to choke on.
Otherwise, if you don’t use the carrot peel, feeding it to your hamster will reduce your kitchen waste.
Baby carrots’, commonly grown in Bakersfield, California, nutritional quality is slightly different from regular carrots, so the benefits and downsides to feeding your hamster baby carrots are ideally the same as those of regular carrots.
However, I usually recommend giving your hamster baby carrots since they are smaller and pose less of a choking hazard.
Related Hamster articles:
- How Long Can a Hamster Go Without a Wheel?
- Why Is My Hamster Lying Flat?
- How Much Water Does a Hamster Drink?
- Why Is My Hamster Not Coming Out at Night?
- How To Bond With Your Hamster
Carrots are a common root vegetable that many people feed their hamsters as treats.
Hamsters, at the youngest, need to be three weeks old to be able to eat carrots. They are just being weaned at three weeks old and starting to eat solid foods.
There are both positives and negatives to feeding your hamster carrots. For example, carrots provide some essential nutrients that hamsters don’t naturally make, such as Vitamin C. But, if you overfeed carrots to your hamster, it can get severely sick due to the high sugar content in carrots.
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