Hamsters are inquisitive and tend to want to share food with their humans, including crackers. But can hamsters eat crackers? The short answer is yes, but there’s a lot to keep in mind before giving your hamsters some of your favorite crackers.
Can Hamsters Eat Crackers?
Hamsters thrive on a diet of pellets and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a small amount of treats. This provides all the nutrients they need as omnivorous animals.
Crackers are made of wheat and contain protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can be good for hamsters. There’s an incredible variety of crackers on the market, however, so you must take precautions.
Are Crackers Good for Hamsters?
Commercial crackers can range from plain, health-conscious whole-wheat crackers to enriched flour crackers loaded with fat, sodium, and other flavorings. Feeding a diet high in fat and sugar can lead to obesity in your hamster, which can increase the likelihood of diabetes, blood vessel disease, and kidney problems.
In addition, the ingredients in crackers may be unhealthy or even dangerous for your hamster. For example, savory crackers can have garlic and onions, which contain sulfur compounds that damage red blood cells in dogs and cats and are also considered harmful to hamsters. Sweet crackers may have chocolate, which contains theobromine—the same substance that makes chocolate toxic to cats and dogs and is also considered toxic to hamsters.
Avoid the temptation to share some of your cracker recipes with your hamsters as well, such as cheese and crackers or peanut butter and crackers. Like flavored cracker varieties, these foods are unhealthy and may not be safe for your hamster.
How to Feed Hamster Crackers Safely
If you want to give crackers to your hamster, make sure they’re only plain whole wheat or whole grain crackers that will provide some nutrition and fiber. Offer only a small amount of crumbled plain crackers along with some fresh produce. Always provide enough water to your hamster to promote proper hydration and avoid choking.
Though there’s minimal nutrition that your hamster can gain from a cracker, a treat is exactly that—a treat. You should only offer crackers on rare occasions, instead focusing on giving your hamster a well-balanced diet of pelleted food, seeds, and plenty of fibrous vegetables. Even fruits are only offered in small quantities to avoid health problems due to the sugar content.
Along with the health concerns, keep in mind that hamsters can get picky, just like any other pet. If you offer your hamster something they really like too often, they may become selective about what they eat and reject other foods. Variety is the key to a healthy hamster.
Hamsters eat a wide variety of foods as they are omnivores. If you want to share crackers with your hamster, it’s important to feed only plain whole wheat or whole grain crackers in small quantities. Avoid feeding crackers too often or sharing your flavored crackers with your hamster, as too much fat and sugar isn’t good for them, and some flavors may have toxic ingredients.