Is seaweed dangerous for hamsters to eat? We don’t recommend feeding seaweed to your hamster, primarily due to the high salt content which can be dangerous to your hamster. Read on to learn more about why we don’t suggest feeding your hamster seaweed and what we recommend instead.
What Is Seaweed?
Seaweed is a type of algae that can grow in both saltwater and freshwater.
There are many different types of seaweed, which are classified depending on their color.
Seaweed is used in many types of cuisine, particularly Japanese food. It’s usually sold dried or cooked.
If you have eaten seaweed, you might have noticed a crispy texture but soft chewiness. This is because the seaweed contains significant amounts of cellulose that are difficult to dissolve in water.
Sea veggies are high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and high-quality protein that can help bolster muscle mass.
Seaweed also contains an impressive assortment of vitamins, including B vitamins.
Can Hamsters Eat Seaweed?
So, can hamsters eat seaweed? Whilst there is limited evidence to suggest seaweed is inherently bad for hamsters to eat, it does appear to be the case that seaweed shouldn’t be part of their diet, primarily due to containing a high amount of salt.
Seaweed can also contain high levels of sodium which could lead to fluid retention and cause electrolyte imbalances.
Green leafy vegetables like kale ( Can Hamsters Eat Kale? ) provide a healthy alternative source of vitamin A to give your hamster all the benefits without any potential downsides.
Benefits Of Seaweed For Hamsters
Again, due to the high salt content we don’t recommend giving your hamster seaweed, but there are some other benefits that they could get from eating it.
Seaweed has been known to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood, decrease high blood pressure and provide relief from arthritis. It is also full of antioxidants, which are chemicals that are thought to be good for maintaining good health. However your hamster could get these benefits from other, safer foods.
There doesn’t appear to be any real benefits of giving your hamster seaweed and it contains a lot of salt which can have adverse affects on their health.
Risks Of Seaweed For Hamsters
The main risk of feeding your hamster seaweed is the high salt content.
Too much salt can interfere with your hamster’s metabolism and lead to a dangerous condition known as hypernatremia. This condition occurs when the sodium level in the blood becomes abnormally high and is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment if it isn’t able to be corrected quickly.
In addition to this risk of hypernatremia, seaweed can also lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation. Although most cases of diarrhea are treatable at home, some cases may require veterinary intervention.
How To Feed Seaweed To Your Hamster
We don’t really recommend feeding your hamster seaweed due to the high salt content.
We’d recommend alternatives such as spinach or kale. These are both healthy vegetables that your hamsters can eat and they provide all the benefits of seaweed without any of the risks!
How Much Seaweed Can A Hamster Eat?
We really don’t recommend feeding your hamster seaweed due to the high salt content.
The amount of salt in even a couple of pieces could be dangerous for your hamster’s health and it is best to avoid giving them any at all, especially as there are much healthier alternatives available!
Other Than Seaweed What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat seaweed.
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 seaweed, 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
It is our opinion that seaweed shouldn’t really be fed to hamsters as it is too salty for them and whilst there are some benefits they could get from eating seaweed, they could also get those from other, safer foods.
There are definitely some foods that you should not be feeding your hamster, seaweed being one of them. We have also highlighted the best hamster food for those interested in learning more about what they should be including as part of their hamster’s diet.
There are loads of other fruits and vegetables that are perfectly fine for hamsters, even though you might not think of them as hamster foods.