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Can Hamsters Eat Brussels Sprouts? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

brussels sprouts in white bowl

Vet approved

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

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

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Hamsters are omnivores that can eat a wide range of grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, pulses, and sometimes insects. It’s important to know which types of produce are safe for hamsters to eat because some vegetables may be harmful or even toxic  to them. Fortunately, most hamsters can eat small amounts of Brussels sprouts without experiencing any negative side effects. However, Brussels sprouts should be given to them in moderation, as eating too much can be detrimental to their health.

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Are Brussels Sprouts Safe for Hamsters to Eat?

In general, hamsters can eat a few small pieces (1 x 1 cm is recommended) of Brussels sprouts a week. This should be alongside a high quality pelleted hamster food, and timothy hay.  Brussels sprouts are a good source of fiber and are rich in folate, choline, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. They’re also a low-calorie food, so they’re an excellent snack for most hamsters to munch on.

close up of brussels sprouts
Image Credit: matthiasboeckel, Pixabay

Are There Risks to Feeding Hamsters Brussels Sprouts?

Brussels sprouts and other fresh foods shouldn’t take up a majority of your hamster’s diet.  A well balanced pelleted food is vital in ensuring your hamster is getting the nutrition it needs.  Eating excessive amounts of fresh produce can lead to health issues, and can also fill a hamster’s small stomach up, meaning that they don’t eat their pellets. Brussels sprouts are from the sulfurous cabbage family and in large quantities (remember a large quantity to a hamster looks minute to us!) can lead to bloating, gassiness, and abdominal pain. Therefore moderation is key.

If your hamster tends to get an upset stomach easily or has a history of gastrointestinal issues, start by feeding only the smallest morsel, and assess your hamster’s response before giving them more sprouts more regularly.

As with other Brassicas, Brussel’s sprouts are moderately high in oxalates, which are a naturally occurring compound found in vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains.  The problem with oxalates is that they bind to useful minerals such as calcium, meaning that the animal cannot use the calcium as it needs to.  However, hamsters seem to be very tolerant to moderate levels of oxalates in their diet, and are able to break the compounds down in their intestines.  Therefore, we don’t need to worry too much about the oxalate content of the fresh foods we offer our hamsters.

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How to Feed Hamsters Brussels Sprouts

It’s safe to feed hamsters a thin slice of a Brussels sprout or 1 cm cube in one day. You can give your hamster Brussels sprouts once a week and offer a variety of other veggies every other day.

If it’s your hamster’s first time eating a Brussels sprout, let them start by eating one leaf. Make sure to monitor your hamster’s condition and be on the lookout for diarrhea or signs of abdominal pain such as lack of appetite or lethargy. If your hamster appears unwell after eating a Brussels sprout, it’s not recommended to continue feeding it to them. If your hamster does experience negative effects such as diarrhea, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible, because diarrhea in such small animals can become serious very quickly.

If your hamster enjoys eating Brussels sprouts and you’ve seen no adverse effects, you can give them as an occasional snack or special treat. Make sure your hamster eats the Brussels sprouts right away and throw away any pieces that they try to store. This will prevent food rot and keep your hamster’s habitat clean and sanitary.

It’s also recommended to give your hamster Brussels sprouts separately and not place them in your hamster’s pellet dish. Since Brussels sprouts contain moisture, they can cause the rest of your hamster’s food to spoil if they’re left out for too long. Remove any remaining fresh food daily to stop mold and spoilage.

brussels sprouts
Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay

What Other Vegetables Can Hamsters Eat?

Fortunately, your hamster can enjoy many vegetables that are also easily digestible. So, if your hamster doesn’t do well with Brussels sprouts, you can try feeding them several other kinds of vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Peas
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sweet peppers

Keep in mind that all vegetables should be fed in moderation. Feeding your hamster too many vegetables can cause watery stool or diarrhea. As a general rule of thumb, vegetables shouldn’t make up the main part of your hamster’s diet and should be given a few times a week to keep your hamster interested and entertained.

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Conclusion

Brussels sprouts are safe for most hamsters to eat. However, it can be risky for hamsters with gastrointestinal issues or sensitive stomachs to eat them. In all cases, Brussels sprouts should only be served as a special snack and not become a main part of a hamster’s diet. Feeding your hamster appropriate amounts of Brussels sprouts will give them a boost of healthy vitamins and minerals, and will make mealtimes more interesting for your furry friend.


Featured Image Credit: ulleo, Pixabay

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