Anyone who has had the opportunity to care for a furry little hamster in their lives understands just how wholesome, rewarding, and comforting a relationship with a small rodent can be.
Although caring for a pet hamster is usually much cheaper and easier than caring for a larger animal like a dog or a cat, one should always be mindful of a hamster’s extremely sensitive nature.
Hence, before introducing a new item or food category to the pet hamster’s diet, it is important to know whether the addition will be toxic or dangerous to your little fur baby’s health.
One common question that most pet parents have is whether olive is safe for their pet hamster. Although applying cold compressed organic olive oil to the rodent’s dry skin is alright, feeding it as part of its diet is highly discouraged.
Is Olive Oil Safe for Pet Hamsters?
Although a hamster differs from a cat or a dog, its mammalian roots allow it to form a bond of mutual trust, love, and care with its owners.
A hamster might not leap or pounce at you out of joy; however, it will show you physical affection and adoration in its own unique and gentle way.
Hence, whenever a person gets the opportunity to care for a pet hamster, it is almost impossible not to fall completely in love with the little rodent and its soft nature.
Although this love leads to people wanting to give their pet hamsters all the food and other comforts of life that they can afford, at times, it can also lead to the pet parent making a dangerous mistake by offering their pet something their bodies are not designed to consume.
Over recent years, olive oil has turned out to be a food ingredient that many owners are extremely curious about.
They want to know whether it is safe for their pet hamsters to lick some olive oil or if the olive oil should only be restricted to external use.
However, what caused this curiosity to form in the first place?
When hamster owners watch their pet rodents struggle to move and run on their old and worn-out hamster wheels, they usually try to lubricate the wheel in order to facilitate easier movement.
Since olive oil is almost always available in most households, people want to know whether it is a safe choice for a hamster, as pet hamsters have been found licking off the olive oil from the wheels with great enthusiasm.
However, just because a hamster seems to enjoy the taste and texture of olive oil, it does not make the food items safe for regular consumption.
Just the way cats like chocolates but should not eat them in any amount, a hamster should not be ideally put in a situation where it is allowed to consume olive oil frequently, even if it wants to.
However, what makes the frequent consumption of olive oil unsafe for a pet hamster?
Continue reading the remaining article below to learn more about why vets warn pet parents against allowing their hamsters to consume olive oil frequently.
Moreover, the article also sheds light on other ways pet parents can use olive oil for their pet hamster and some other safer lubricants that pet parents can use otherwise.
Finally, the article highlights some safer ways pet owners can help improve the quality and condition of their pet hamster’s skin.
Let’s get started!
Read: Can Hamsters Eat Sugar Snap Peas? [13 Reasons]
Why Do Most Vets Warn Against the Consumption of Olive Oil for Hamsters?
Usually, the topic of whether olive oil is safe comes up when either the owner wants to know if their hamster can consume it or if they can apply the olive oil to their pet hamster’s dry and scaly skin.
Although external application is not a major problem, most well-experienced veterinarians almost always discourage consumption.
Olive is extracted from the olive fruit and is usually used for cooking, as a natural moisturizer, in pharmaceuticals, and even for massages.
While it may seem like a natural ingredient like olive oil should be safe for a rodent, it actually is not.
Olive oil contains high amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, giving the oil its rich nutritional value and thick consistency.
Hence, just 15 ml of organic olive oil contains a whopping 150 calories, which can be a lot for an animal.
While it is safe for humans to consume an oil so rich in fats, it is quite dangerous for a small rodent’s body.
Since a hamster is quite small, its body is not fit for digesting and consuming food items that are excessively rich in fats.
If a hamster is allowed to occasionally lick off some olive oil from its wheel, it usually does not create a problem.
However, if the owner allows their hamster to consume some amounts of olive oil daily, it can quickly become quite dangerous for the hamster’s health.
Hence, although vets are usually not concerned when pet owners use olive oil to lubricate their hamster’s wheels, they feel quite alarmed when the owner deliberately starts feeding their hamster organic olive oil every other day.
However, what happens when a pet hamster starts consuming olive oil frequently? Keep reading to find out.
What Happens When Pet Hamsters to Consumer Olive Oil Frequently?
As mentioned above, organic olive oil has a high caloric value and is extremely rich in fats.
Hence, when a rodent as small and fragile as a hamster starts consuming it every other day, it begins to gain unhealthy body weight quite quickly.
Although a fat little hamster may seem twice as adorable to its owner, in reality, all of its organs are exposed to dangerous risks.
As the hamster gains excessive body weight, it struggles with being physically active. As a result, the hamster will not run on its wheel and will usually just lounge around in its cage.
Not only will this deprive the hamster of its extremely necessary physical activity, but it may also create pain and stiffness in the hamster’s joints and muscles.
Moreover, apart from the unavoidable weight gain, frequent consumption of olive oil can also cause the rodent to develop diabetes, severe digestive issues, and many other health concerns.
At times, digestive issues can lead to gastrointestinal blockages, severe stomach pain, and even diarrhea, which can cause great physical and emotional distress to the little pet hamster.
Furthermore, oleuropein, a rich natural compound found in olives, is extremely dangerous to multiple species, including hamsters.
According to most vets, this compound can severely damage the muscles in a hamster’s liver, heart, kidney, and all other muscles.
Check out: Can Hamsters Eat Honey Nut Cheerios? [10 Reasons]
What Should You Give Your Hamster Instead?
If your pet hamsters seem to enjoy the taste and texture of olive oil, you can always give it some other healthier food substitute instead.
Some of these healthier food options that have a similar richness and saltiness to olive oil are as follows:
- Organic, unsalted peanuts
- Organic, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Organic pumpkin seeds
However, although these food options contain less sodium and fats than olive oil, they are still too rich to be a part of a hamster’s everyday diet.
Hence, to protect your small rodent from severe health concerns, make sure to only offer it either of these food options as an occasional treat.
Some Other Ways Pet Parents Can Use Olive oil for their Pet Hamster
Apart from offering olive oil as a food item, it is quite common for pet parents to use natural lubricants to improve the condition and quality of a hamster’s skin.
As hamsters age, their skin becomes rough, saggy, and dry. At times, the prevailing drying can cause the hamster’s skin to break apart, leading to an infection.
Hence, it is important that pet owners do everything to treat an old hamster’s dry skin. Usually, using olive oil to moisturize the dry and scaly skin of an old hamster is not an issue, as long as the hamster is not completely lathered in olive oil, which can also be licked off.
Moreover, apart from dryness, the natural healing properties of organic and cold-compressed olive oil can also be used to treat rashes, scratches, bite marks, and allergies on a hamster’s skin.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, olive oil can also be used to lubricate an old and rusty hamster wheel; however, the owner should ensure to wipe all extra oil off.
Other Ways to Improve the Quality and Condition of Your Pet Hamster’s Skin
- Create a sand bath for the pet hamster using clean, sterilized, and cold sand.
- Improve the pet hamster’s diet so that it contains healthier micronutrients and vitamins.
- Regulate the room temperature so the hamster is not triggered to scratch itself excessively and damage its skin.
- Finally, if no other tip seems to work, visit a veterinarian to get professional insight.
Although drops of thick and fragrant olive oil might make your hamster quite happy, it will also negatively affect its body weight and health in many ways. Hence, try to use other, healthier food options to appease your hamster’s cravings, and only restrict olive oil for external uses.
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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