Hamsters are omnivores, just like us humans, meaning that their diet consists of both meat and plants.
However, you can’t throw just anything their way and expect them to be healthy. Hamsters need a specific diet to be in optimal health. So, before we get into the 17 foods you should NEVER feed your hamster, let’s take a quick look at what hamsters CAN eat and what their ideal diet should be.
In this guide
What CAN Hamsters Eat?
Feeding your hamster is easy; you can buy hamster food mix from a pet shop. Hamsters also love fruit and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and cucumbers. However, there are some fruits and veggies to avoid, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Check out our hamster food guide for a full rundown on what to feed your hamster.
One of the main things to remember when feeding your hamster is not to provide them with too much food. Overfeeding and allowing your hamster to get fat is easily done, so be mindful of portion sizes, and how many treats you give them throughout the week.
Now, let’s do a complete 180 and look at the foods that could kill your hamster.
Foods That Could Kill Your Hamster
This list contains the food you should 100% stay away from when it comes to feeding your hamster.
- Raw potato
Raw potatoes contain oxalic acid and arsenic. It sounds horrific and toxic, but that’s because it is. Raw potato is very toxic to hamsters, so keep it far away!
- Raw kidney beans
Just like raw potatoes, kidney beans are toxic to hamsters, so avoid them at all costs.
- Bitter almonds
Again, bitter almonds are highly toxic to hamsters. Sweet almonds are fine, but it can be risky to feed them sweet almonds, too, just in case a bitter almond snook into the bag. But what makes them so toxic? Cyanide!
ANOTHER toxic food to hamsters is aubergine. If you’re reading this from North America – this is an eggplant. Never feed it to your hamster.
Avocado is one more toxic food to hamsters. We may not be able to get enough of avocado on toast, but your hamster certainly doesn’t want to hop on that food trend.
- Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate
Can’t imagine a life without chocolate? Well, your hamster wouldn’t have much of a life if they ate this sugary treat. Chocolate contains theobromine which is, yet again, toxic to hamsters in large amounts.
If you feed onions to your hamster, it could damage their red blood cells. This can result in anaemia, which can kill your hamster.
Like onions, garlic can cause issues with the blood, leading to disorders.
Foods That Are Harmful to Your Hamster
Now that we’ve covered the foods to avoid no matter what, here are some foods that won’t necessarily kill your hamster but could cause severe damage.
- Citrus fruits
Stay away from feeding your hamster citrus fruits. They’re very acidic and can cause an upset stomach and diarrhoea.
Citrus fruits include:
Like citrus fruits, pickles are very acidic and can cause an upset stomach for your hamster. Pickles will also cause tooth degradation, so avoid feeding your hamster these.
Although not a citrus fruit, pineapples are also very acidic and contain too much sugar, which can harm your hamster.
- Spice and seasonings
Anything spicy or seasonings such as salt and pepper can irritate your hamster’s stomach. In addition, they’re very difficult for your hamster to digest, so it’s best to stay away from feeding them seasonings and spices.
Pork is very fatty and unhealthy, even for us humans. So, it’s not a healthy option for your hamster, either. It can also be toxic.
If you love peanuts and eat them like they’re going out of fashion, remember that they’re very high in fat. This is an issue for your hamster, and the salted variety can cause dehydration, too. However, one unsalted peanut per week for your hamster is fine.
- Sugary treats
We all know sugary treats are delicious, but they’re not good for us. Diabetes can occur if a hamster eats too many sugary foods, so be mindful of what you feed them. It’s best to steer clear of sugary things.
- Unwashed veggies
Due to pesticides and other chemicals, unwashed vegetables can be dangerous. Therefore, thoroughly wash any veggies before feeding them to your hamster; if possible, opt for organic.
- Iceberg lettuce
If you want low nutritional value and diarrhoea for your hamster, iceberg lettuce is the way to go. It’s just not worth feeding this to your hamster. However, romaine lettuce and kale are good options.
Now you know 17 foods you should NEVER feed your hamster. Okay, some of them aren’t NEVER, but most aren’t necessary for your hamster to eat, so it’s best to avoid them.
Feeding your hamster the correct diet will lead to a happy, healthy, and long life, so take your hamster’s diet seriously and keep it balanced.