In this article we will wind out if wheatgrass is safe to eat for hamsters. TLDR wheatgrass is OK to feed hamsters in small amounts, read on to find out more about the benefits of wheatgrass for hamsters.
What Is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is the young grass of wheat plants, usually harvested before it reaches 6 to 14 inches tall. Wheatgrass is also known as cereal grass and winter grass, and it is a type of annual grass.
Wheatgrass has a mild, sweet taste. Many claim that wheatgrass juice can be used as a treatment for several different ailments or conditions.
Wheatgrass contains high levels of vitamin A and C as well as essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. Because it’s rich in nutrients (especially vitamins), wheatgrass has been praised for its anti-aging properties.
Can Hamsters Eat Wheatgrass?
Let’s answer the question, can hamsters eat wheatgrass? Yes, they can, just make sure it is clean before feeding it to your hamster.
Wheatgrass is healthy and nutritious for hamsters, but it can be dangerous if your pet consumes too much of it. According to the Rodale Institute (a non-profit agricultural institute), wheatgrass should not be given to young hamsters in large quantities because they will consume too much of it. Their small stomachs cannot accommodate such rich food, and their digestive systems might get upset from the high fiber content in wheatgrass.
Benefits Of Wheatgrass For Hamsters
There are many healthy and nutritious benefits that you can get from giving your pet wheatgrass. For instance, here’s a list of benefits:
- Wheatgrass is high in vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, and magnesium (which is why it has been regarded as anti-aging)
- Can boost energy levels
- Can improve skin conditions
- Can reduce inflammation
- Can help wounds heal faster due to the high content of chlorophyll in wheatgrass.
The downside to wheatgrass for hamsters is that because there are very few studies conducted on its effect on the digestive system and other aspects of hamster health, we cannot say exactly how much they can consume safely or what harmful effects arise from excess intake. That being said, since it is safe for humans and other animals to eat wheatgrass, we can assume that hamster-friendly quantities of wheatgrass will not harm your pet and might even provide health benefits.
Risks Of Wheatgrass For Hamsters
As with any food, there are always risks in feeding your pet too much of it. In the case of wheatgrass for hamsters, too much can cause digestive issues such as gas and bloating. These might not kill your pet but they can make them feel uncomfortable or depressed when accompanied by weight loss or lack of appetite.
Don’t Feed Too Much Wheatgrass To Your Hamster
Since we do not have enough information about how much wheatgrass a hamster can safely consume in a day, we cannot say that it’s safe to feed them large quantities of it regularly. However, if you wish to give your beloved pet some wheatgrass from time to time, don’t give more than 4-5 blades at one go.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any wheatgrass are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten wheatgrass 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 wheatgrass and immediately remove and discard any uneaten wheatgrass from their cage.
How To Feed Wheatgrass To Your Hamster
Since wheatgrass is packed with vitamin C, your hammy will benefit greatly from having some of it in its diet. You can consider using wheatgrass as a treat for your pet once or twice a week, making sure you never exceed the suggested amount per serving (4-5 blades). Try to find fresh wheatgrass instead of buying ready-to-use wheatgrass products because the latter might contain preservatives that are not good for your pet’s health.
Here’s a quick and simple way to feed your pet:
- Find some fresh wheatgrass and rinse it under running water. Make sure there are no insects, soil or other debris on the blades before feeding them to your hamster.
- Grasp four to five blades of grass with your fingers, then place them in your hamster’s cage.
- Watch as they eat up all the wheatgrass you gave them! Remember not to give more than 4-5 blades at one go.
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster wheatgrass, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Wheatgrass Can A Hamster Eat?
To sum it up, wheatgrass for hamsters is safe in moderation and might even provide health benefits. So if you want to give your pet something nutritious with a nice flavor, consider wheatgrass as an option. Again, never feed more than 4-5 blades at one serving and monitor them when eating the grass so they do not get harmed.
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 wheatgrass 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 wheatgrass to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Wheatgrass What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat wheatgrass.
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 wheatgrass, 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
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster wheatgrass. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of wheatgrass to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating wheatgrass, contact your local veterinarian immediately.