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Can Hamsters Drink Milk? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

pouring buttermilk

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Pet hamsters are fun little creatures to own, and knowing how to care for them is vital for their overall well-being. Hamsters are omnivores, meaning they eat a mixture of both plant and animal foods. Providing a well-balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and crude fiber is crucial for them, but have you ever thought if it’s safe to give your hamster milk? While milk is non-toxic to hamsters, they tend to be lactose intolerant and hamsters will likely have problems digesting milk. Read on to get the scoop on hamsters and milk.

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Can Hamsters Drink a Little Milk?

Since milk is non-toxic to hamsters, it’s not going to be fatal if you give your hamster milk; however, hamsters are generally considered lactose intolerant, and ingesting milk will often cause digestive issues, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating if you give too much. However, some studies suggest that some hamsters may have a higher tolerance for lactose than previously thought.1

It’s best to stick with fresh drinking water for your hamster. Hamsters should have access to water 24/7, ideally from a no-drip water bottle you can attach to the side of the cage to prevent spillage. The bottle should be rinsed and replaced with fresh water daily, and always check for leaks or blockages to ensure the water is coming out as it should.

a bowl with milk
Image Credit: bogdan ionescu, Shutterstock

How Much Milk Can I Give My Hamster?

Your hamster should be getting all the vital nutrients through their food, and there’s really no reason to give your hamster milk.

Are Some Types of Milk Safer Than Others for Hamsters?

If you do decide to give your hamster a little milk from time to time as a special treat, stay away from whole milk because of its high fat and calorie content. Skim milk is the healthiest option because it has much less fat and calories. You should also avoid milk with added hormones and antibiotics.

Always avoid chocolate milk. Chocolate is toxic to them and loaded with sugar. In fact, any type of flavored milk (strawberry, vanilla, etc.) should be avoided due to its high sugar content.

syrian hamster in cage drinking from water bottle
Image Credit: JessicaGirvan, Shutterstock

What About Goat’s Milk or Soy Milk?

Hamsters can have goat’s milk occasionally. Goat’s milk doesn’t have as much fat and lactose compared to regular milk, and your hamster may digest it better. Soy milk has non-animal protein and is safe for hamsters but is high in calories. Still, soy milk is lactose-free and low in saturated fat, making it a better option than skim milk.

Can Hamsters Have Almond Milk?

It’s not recommended to give your hamster almond milk. While it’s also non-toxic, it does contain lots of fat and should be avoided. There are also concerns about bitter almonds being in almond milk, which could be contaminated with cyanide, but there’s no real concrete evidence to support this theory.

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Final Thoughts

While non-toxic, hamsters don’t need milk in their diet. Therefore, while there’s no nutritional need to give your hamster milk, your hamster may sometimes benefit from something besides water to keep the diet interesting.

Utilize your veterinarian for diet suggestions to ensure you’re providing your hamster with all the essential nutrients needed to be healthy. Your vet can steer you in the right direction in terms of the best pellet brand to buy, along with how many safe veggies and fruits you can provide.


Featured Image Credit: NataliaPopova, Shutterstock

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