Are pumpkin seeds safe for hamster to eat? Yes they are, just like pumpkins! However, like pumpkins, pumpkin seeds should be fed to your hamster in moderation. Read on to learn more about the nutritional benefits of pumpkins.
What Are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are small, flat, oval shaped seeds that are usually green in color. Pumpkin seeds come from pumpkins.
Pumpkins are a popular vegetable, particularly around Halloween, where the pumpkin will often be carved into a jack-o-lantern.
Pumpkin seeds are usually discarded by humans, so it would make sense to see if they could be eaten by your hamster instead of wasting them!
Pumpkin seeds are often roasted and have a nutty, earthy flavor. They can also be boiled, fried, or salted.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. They also contain a number of important dietary minerals that can benefit your hamster’s health like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese.
Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
So, can hamsters eat pumpkin seeds? Yes, absolutely! Pumpkin seeds are a great treat to add to your hamsters diet. They are extremely nutritious and will be enjoyed by your hamster.
Pumpkin seeds are healthy, fun snacks for your hamster to eat and they even help to keep their teeth strong so that they can chew.
As long as you don’t go overboard it’s perfectly safe to feed your hamster pumpkin seeds on occasion.
Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds For Hamsters
Your hamster will enjoy eating pumpkin seeds because they are small and crunchy – just how hamsters like their food!
Pumpkin is high in vitamins A and C and contains several B vitamins, making it a good source of these nutrients. Vitamins A and B are both required for hamster growth. Vitamin C aids in the prevention scurvy and swollen joints.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and can help prevent constipation in your hamster.
Risks Of Pumpkin Seeds For Hamsters
Whilst pumpkin seeds are generally safe for your hamster to eat, it is not recommended that you feed them seeds that have been roasted.
Roasted pumpkin seeds can often come with salt or other seasonings that may be dangerous for your hamster to eat.
Large doses of Fiber can also lead to stomach upsets in some animals so it is important to make sure your hamster eats the seeds in moderation otherwise they could cause some negative side effects such as diarrhea or vomiting if consumed in large quantities.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any pumpkin seeds are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten pumpkin seeds in their cheek pouches, and it’s not uncommon for hamsters to develop abscesses, which can be sore for your pet.
That’s why it’s advisable to monitor your hamster when giving them pumpkin seeds and immediately remove and discard any uneaten pumpkin seeds from their cage.
How To Feed Pumpkin Seeds To Your Hamster
Before giving your hamster pumpkin seeds, make sure to check for any inedible parts in the seeds.
You might find in some cases that you need to remove inedible portions like the strand which holds the pumpkin seed together.
Pumpkin seeds are small enough for your hamster to eat whole or chewed up, so there’s no need to do anything else but offer them a treat!
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster pumpkin seeds, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Many Pumpkin Seeds Can A Hamster Eat?
It’s important not to go overboard when feeding your Hamsters these treats because too much protein can lead to kidney damage and other problems.
Larger breeds of hamster such as syrian can get away with eating more than smaller breeds like robbos or dwarves, so if you have a larger breed of hamster it is fine to feed them slightly more pumpkin seeds, perhaps 3-4 seeds instead of 1-2 seeds for smaller breeds.
When feeding your hamster new foods, you should always start with a tiny amount to ensure that they like it, and that they don’t encounter an allergic reaction. So if you want to try feeding your hamster pumpkin seeds then we would recommend giving a very small portion size, about the size of a teaspoon.
Another good way to work out what is the right amount of pumpkin seeds to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Pumpkin Seeds What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat pumpkin seeds.
Other than good quality hamster food, what else could you be feeding your hamster?
Grains are a staple food for hamsters. You should give about a tablespoonful each day. Grains can be found in commercially prepared hamster mixes, providing protein and carbohydrates. Avoid overfeeding fatty nuts (peanuts and sunflower seeds), as they can cause obesity.
Fresh, organic vegetables are the best choice for your hamster.
If you’re not using organic produce, be sure to clean it properly to get rid of any pesticides.
Whilst most vegetables are generally safe for hamsters, dark green vegetables are the best choice, so things like;
- Broccoli spears
- Carrot tops
- Dandelion greens
- Romaine lettuce
Avoid iceberg lettuce and other high-water veggies or fruits (such as watermelon) to avoid stomach problems.
Like vegetables, most fruit is OK for hamsters in small portions, as a supplement to the usual diet.
Some good choices are;
- Apples (with pips removed)
Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.
Often overlooked for hamsters, hay is a wonderful gnawing food that can keep your hamster’s teeth clean.
Your hamster should always have access to fresh water, changed daily.
What’s The Best Diet For Hamsters?
If you have a hamster, you need to make sure that you are feeding them the best food possible.
We’ve discussed if hamsters can eat pumpkin seeds, and whilst hamsters can eat a wide variety of things, their primary diet should consist of good quality hamster food.
There are a lot of options available for your hamster, but not all of them are good! If you want to learn more about the best hamster food, you can read our full review of the best hamster foods here.
If you just want to know what we recommend, it’s Kaytee Pro Health Hamster food.
The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Food was created by animal nutritionists to ensure that your hamster gets the correct nutrition within their diet.
To support digestive health, Forti-Diet Pro Health includes probiotics and prebiotics. This food is high in natural antioxidants for general health and immunity protection, as well as some bigger, crunchier pieces to promote dental health through natural chewing action.
- Larger, crunchy pieces supports dental health through natural chewing activity
- Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health
- Naturally preserved for ideal freshness
- A nutritionally complete diet for hamsters and gerbils
- All natural
So, hamsters can eat pumpkin seeds, but again like everything they should be fed in moderation.
Good quality hamster food often contains pumpkin seeds, so it is possible to give a small portion of these as a treat, but you might want to consider something different to add variety such as fresh veggies or fruit.
Remember, hamsters should always have fresh water which should be changed daily.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster pumpkin seeds. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of pumpkin seeds to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating pumpkin seeds, contact your local veterinarian immediately.