Is turmeric safe for hamsters to eat? If so how much should they eat and are there any risks associated with feeding your hamster turmeric?
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is typically sourced from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is a member of the ginger family.
The root of the plant, which is called “turmeric,” has orange flesh and can be dried. Turmeric powder is made from grinding up dried turmeric roots. It contains a compound called curcumin, which gives it its bright yellow color. Turmeric powder is mainly used to add color to foods such as mustard and curry dishes, but it also has many health benefits associated with it.
Can Hamsters Eat Turmeric?
Can hamsters eat turmeric? The short answer is that a small amount of turmeric should be OK for your hamster, however consuming too much turmeric could hurt your hamster, so it’s best not to feed this herb to your pet.
There is limited data about the effects of turmeric on hamsters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a small amount of turmeric is unlikely to hurt your hamster, and some say that it may even help improve the health and appearance of its coat.
Benefits Of Turmeric For Hamsters
Some pet owners choose to offer their hamsters certain spices or herbs because they believe that they have beneficial properties that will provide nutritional value or prevent disease in humans and animals alike.
Whilst the same benefits may apply to humans as they do hamsters, there is no particularly strong scientific evidence to indicate this is the case.
Risks Of Turmeric For Hamsters
While there haven’t been any studies done on the nutritional value of turmeric for hamsters, we can assume that it is safe because it comes from a plant and not an animal source. It is also much lower in protein than other root vegetables such as carrots or sweet potatoes, so if your hamster has a protein deficiency then you should consider feeding them this instead. The only real concern with giving your pet turmeric is that they could be allergic to it just like humans can be.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any turmeric is left uneaten in your hamster’s cage, it could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten turmeric 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 turmeric and immediately remove and discard any uneaten turmeric from their cage.
How To Feed Turmeric To Your Hamster
Whilst we don’t recommend feeding large amounts of turmeric to your hamster, if you want to try, there are a few different ways.
Probably the easiest way is to sprinkle some turmeric powder right onto their food before you serve it.
Some owners have had success feeding a small amount of plain yogurt mixed with a good sprinkling of turmeric powder. If you choose this method, just be sure to use plain yogurt without flavors or sweeteners.
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster turmeric, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Turmeric Can A Hamster Eat?
There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Every hamster is different, and its response will depend on several factors.
We’d probably only consider feeding a very small amount.
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 turmeric 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 turmeric to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Turmeric What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat turmeric.
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 turmeric, 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
Hamsters should be OK to eat turmeric in very small amounts, but it is important to understand the benefits and risks of doing so. Turmeric may have potential health benefits for hamsters, including reducing inflammation and helping with digestive issues. However, there is little scientific evidence and too much turmeric can also be harmful to hamsters, so it is important to only give them a small amount.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster turmeric. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of turmeric to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating turmeric, contact your local veterinarian immediately.