Are raisins safe for hamsters to eat? Yes, in moderation depending on the breed. Read on more to learn more about raisins and their nutritional benefits for hamsters.
What Are Raisins?
Raisins are dried grapes. They are also known as “dried grapes” or sultanas.
The word “raisin” comes from the latin word “racemus,” which means a cluster or bunch of grapes.
Raisins are available in seedless and seeded varieties, depending on when they are harvested. Seedless raisins are harvested earlier and have a fresher taste. Raisins harvested later, after the seeds inside them have matured, are called seeded raisins.
Raisins taste like grapes, only sweeter and chewier.
Raisins are a good source of dietary fiber, including both soluble and insoluble fibers. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and potassium. Raisins are low in fat and calories.
Can Hamsters Eat Raisins?
So can hamsters eat raisins? Yes, they sure can! However they should only have a small amount as they are high in sugar and other carbohydrates. Raisins are not a nutritionally complete food for hamsters, and should only serve as a treat, just like other dried fruits such as dates or apricots.
Hamster owners should be careful when feeding their hamsters raisins. Too many raisins could cause an upset stomach and/or diarrhea.
Benefits Of Raisins For Hamsters
Raisins for hamsters can be a fun treat and they come with lots of health benefits.
They provide an easy and convenient way to boost the hamster’s fiber intake and help aid movement and digestion. Raisins also give your hammy an extra boost of vitamin C, which helps keep him healthy and active. This is particularly beneficial as hamsters often need additional vitamin C, as their bodies cannot store it the way humans do.
Although raisins for hamsters aren’t nutritionally complete and can cause stomach issues when given in excess, they definitely make a good occasional treat. Just like with anything else you feed your hammy, make sure to give him only a few raisins at a time and don’t overdo it. You should also always take into account the nutritional needs of your hamster and any special cases (i.e if he has diabetes or kidney disease). Raisins can be a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin C but too many could upset his stomach.
Risks Of Raisins For Hamsters
Raisins for hamsters can come with health risks too. This is especially true if your hammy loves to eat raisins and begs for more and more!
A lot of raisins could upset your hamster’s stomach or cause diarrhea. Hamsters can also choke on whole raisins, which is why you should only offer small bite size pieces to avoid this from happening.
Hamsters should not eat raisins that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. They should also steer clear of raisins that contain preservatives like sulfur dioxide, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate, or potassium metabisulfite.
Additionally, there is some concern over the seed found in many types of raisins.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any raisins are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten raisins 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 raisins and immediately remove and discard any uneaten raisins from their cage.
How To Feed Raisins To Your Hamster
You can give your hamster raisins as a treat, but only in small portions!
It’s best to only use the healthiest, pesticide-free raisins when feeding them to your hamsters.
You always need to watch your hammy when he has raisins so that there are no choking issues or negative side effects from eating too many at once.
Raisins should be given sparingly and not used as anything other than occasional treats. Too many could upset your pet’s stomach, causing diarrhea or vomiting. Plus, you wouldn’t want any rotten raisins left in the cage which could cause problems for both you and your little friend. Think of it this way – would you eat an entire box of raisins in one sitting? Probably not (I know I couldn’t)!
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster raisins, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Many Raisins Can A Hamster Eat?
The amount of raisins that you feed your hamster depends on the breed. Syrian hamsters are the largest breed and can eat more raisins than Robos. Dwarf hamsters probably should not be given any raisins, or a very small amount.
Different breeds have different dietary needs, based on their size. You must be especially careful with Syrian hamsters as they have a tendency to gorge themselves and get obese.
When giving your hamster raisins it is important to pay attention to the feeding recommendations for his breed of hamster. Keep in mind that only a small portion of raisins should be given at any one time, so if you feed more than suggested then you need to make sure he does not eat it all at once.
You should also avoid giving your hamster other sugary treats or fruits the same day you feed them raisins.
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 raisins 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 raisins to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Raisins What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat raisins.
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 raisins, 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
If you want to give your hamster raisins, you should introduce them slowly. Give only about one teaspoon to start with, and monitor carefully for any allergic or other reactions.
Other than raisins, there are lots of things that your hamster can eat to supplement their diet! As long as the food isn’t high in sugar, then it should be fine. This includes nuts (including peanuts), vegetables, fruits and hay. Just be sure not to feed too much fruit as this is very sugary.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster raisins. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of raisins to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating raisins, contact your local veterinarian immediately.