In this article we will discuss if it is safe for hamsters to eat yogurt, the health benefits of yogurt and how much yogurt you can feed your hamster.
What Is Yogurt?
Yogurt is a fermented milk product that is made from cow, goat, or sheep milk. It is made by adding a bacterial culture to the milk, which causes it to thicken and form curds. The bacteria used to make yogurt is called Lactobacillus bulgaricus. The culture is what gives traditional yogurt its tart flavor.
Yogurt can be found in almost any grocery store. Yogurt comes in many flavors and forms including frozen yogurt, Greek yogurt, tart yogurt and drinkable yogurt.
There are also sugar-sweetened flavored yogurts available on the market today.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, bacteria (lactobacillus), salt, and sometimes fruit or flavoring. It can have a variety of textures depending on how much excess water is drained off after it has thickened.
The Benefits Of Yogurt
Yogurt has many health benefits. This is because it contains healthy probiotics which can help keep your digestive system running smoothly by balancing harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract with good bacteria that are beneficial to you. People who are lactose intolerant can usually eat yogurt without any negative symptoms as it contains little lactose compared to regular milk products do.
Key nutrients in Yogurt
- Vitamin B12
Can Hamsters Eat Yogurt?
So can hamsters eat yogurt? The short answer is yes, hamsters can eat yogurt. The longer answer is that hamsters should only eat certain types of yogurt, specifically plan, natural, unflavoured, or sweetened yogurt.
Hamsters can eat yogurt as a healthy treat but should not have it as part of their daily diet due to its high sugar content.
Hamsters should never be fed sweetened or fruit-flavored varieties of yogurt.
Benefits Of Yogurt For Hamsters
Yogurt can be a healthy and nutritious snack for hamsters. It can also provide them with probiotics which can help keep their digestive system working properly and can aid in digestion, appetite control, and even boost the immune system.
As yogurt is high in calcium, it can help to provide your hamster with stronger bones that can better withstand falls and bumps as they play. It can also lead to a healthier coat by boosting their fur’s luster and shine.
Hamsters can safely eat yogurt but should not have it as part of their daily diet due to its carbohydrate content – this would give them too many calories without supplying them with proper nutrients or dietary fiber.
Risks Of Yogurt For Hamsters
Yogurt can be a nutritious snack for hamsters but can cause health problems if it is fed to them in large amounts or on a daily basis.
Yogurt can lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress because it can upset their stomachs due to its lactose content.
Yogurt can be high in calories and can lead to obesity if fed to them as a large part of their daily diet.
If not properly cared for, yogurt can spoil and can potentially cause your hamster to become ill due to food poisoning or harmful bacteria such as listeria or salmonella.
It is also important to note that many commercial yogurts contain artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes which can be very unhealthy for hamsters.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any yogurt are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten yogurt 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 yogurt and immediately remove and discard any uneaten yogurt from their cage.
How To Feed Yogurt To Your Hamster
To feed your hamster yogurt, you can either use a spoon to place it in their food bowls or place it inside of a toy that can be filled up with the yogurt, providing you clean it afterward!
If using utensils, make sure that you can easily retrieve them without much risk of being bitten or attacked by your hamster.
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster yogurt, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Yogurt Can A Hamster Eat?
Like many foods, the amount of yogurt can hamsters can have can vary due to several factors. These include age, diet, activity levels, health conditions, and many more.
The best piece of advice is to start with very small amounts of yogurt when introducing it to your hamster’s diet so they can get used to it gradually.
If your hamster has never eaten yogurt before but is keen on trying some after seeing you eat some or if they pick up on the smell from outside their cage, then let them try just one lick or spoonful at first.
If you notice that there are no negative effects in the following days such as loose stool or diarrhea – which can be quite common in new foods as the digestive system can take a little time to adapt – then give your hamster about half a teaspoon.
If you can see that your hamster is eager to have more of this new food, then you can increase the amount by an extra half a teaspoon per day until they can have one full serving a day.
You can also help them get used to eating yogurt by dipping some of their regular food into it or mixing it with similar foods such as fruits and vegetables.
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 yogurt 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 yogurt to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Yogurt What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat yogurt.
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 yogurt, 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
In summary, can hamsters eat yogurt? The answer is yes they can, but it shouldn’t be a large part of their diet.
If you want to feed your hamster yogurt then we would recommend giving a very small portion size, about the size of a teaspoon.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster yogurt. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of yogurt to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating yogurt, contact your local veterinarian immediately.