Are strawberries safe for hamsters to eat? The answer to that question depends entirely on how much strawberry your hamster eats! Read on to find out more about feeding strawberries to your hamster.
What Are Strawberries?
Strawberries are the edible, often red fruits of plants belonging to the genus Fragaria. The strawberries we eat come from a cultivated species that has small seeds on the outside. Strawberries are technically considered an accessory fruit because they derive their nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates) not from one but multiple tiny seeds.
Strawberries are a sweet fruit that some say taste like a mix of raspberry, blackberry and cranberry!
The Nutritional Value Of Strawberries
For humans, strawberries provide health benefits in two main forms: vitamin C and phytonutrients. They contain more vitamin C than oranges do—a cup of sliced fresh strawberries provides about 32 milligrams (mg), or about 47 percent of the U.S. recommended daily intake for adults—and also contain antioxidants that promote heart health by limiting damage to blood vessels.
Strawberries are very low in calories (16 per cup, sliced), carbs (4 grams per cup, sliced) and sugar (3 grams per cup, sliced). They also provide fiber (1 gram per cup, sliced) and small amounts of potassium (81 milligrams per cup, sliced), calcium (3 mg per cup, sliced), magnesium (5 milligrams per cup, sliced) and iron (.23 mg /cup-sliced). Additionally , strawberries contain trace amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.
Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
So can hamsters eat strawberries? Yes, but only in small amounts. Much like other animals, hamsters have a sweet tooth and can taste the natural sugars in strawberries. Like anything, too many strawberries could be bad for your hamster, but a small amount as part of a healthy balanced diet should be fine.
Hamsters should never be fed large quantities of strawberries. They’re unlikely to hurt your hamster…but too many could cause diarrhea or indigestion because strawberries contain a decent amount of fiber and water, while also being significantly higher in sugar than most fruits. Also keep in mind that there is no nutritional value from the green leaves on the stem so it shouldn’t be given to your hamster.
Benefits Of Strawberries For Hamsters
There are some benefits of strawberries for hamsters! The biggest benefit is that they provide a positive source of vitamin C, which helps with immune system support. They will also love the sweet taste of strawberries, which can help fight boredom when combined with other healthy foods or treats. Strawberries are not very high in calories, so they’re unlikely to cause obesity in your hamster.
In small amounts, a few strawberries as a treat can be beneficial to your hamster’s health. The vitamin C and natural sugars provide a nice energy boost, while also being a nutritious snack.
Risks Of Strawberries For Hamsters
However, there are also risks of strawberries for hamsters. Strawberries can cause intestinal upset if too many are given to your hamster. If your hamster has never had them before, you should start with a very small amount and observe closely for any signs of stomach issues (such as diarrhea).
If you’re unsure about if your hamster can eat strawberries, or have any other concerns, please seek out a veterinarian who can give you personalized advice based on the specific circumstances.
Also keep in mind that there is no nutritional value from the leaves on the strawberry stem so it shouldn’t be given to your hamster. Only feed them the actual fruit part of the strawberry.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any strawberries are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten strawberries 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 strawberries and immediately remove and discard any uneaten strawberry from their cage.
How To Feed Strawberries To Your Hamster
So, how can I serve strawberries to my hamster? The best way is by slicing them length-wise and feeding your hamster the inside – the juicy red flesh! You should always cut back on their normal daily intake of other treats before you give them strawberries though because it’s such a sugary fruit. A few pieces each should be perfectly fine for your pet.
When feeding strawberries to your hamster it’s important to remember that they need to be fresh and washed thoroughly before eaten, as you would with other fruits. Make sure the stems have been removed as well as the green leaves found on the top of a strawberry plant, these aren’t good for your hamster at all!
Hamsters may love strawberries but they’re not very good for them in large quantities. Remember, moderation and that means only one or two slices a few times a week at most.
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster strawberries, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Strawberry Can A Hamster Eat?
A few slices of strawberry each day is fine for your hamster. Too much strawberry could mean illness for your pet, as explained above.
A larger hamster such as a syrian hamster may be able to eat slightly more than a smaller roborovski dwarf hamster for example.
If you’re unsure about the type of hamster you own, or if your hamster is pregnant, please consult with a veterinarian who can give you personalized advice based on the specific circumstances.
The important thing is moderation and cutting back any excess treats before giving them strawberries so they don’t get sick from too many. Feeding your hamster one or two slices each time will cut down on any risk of illness and keep your pet happy!
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 strawberries 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 strawberry to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Strawberries What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat strawberries.
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 strawberries, 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, Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries? The answer is yes, but you should only feed them a small amount.
Strawberries have a high sugar content, so should only be fed occasionally as a treat.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster strawberries. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of strawberries to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating strawberries, contact your local veterinarian immediately.