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Can Hamsters Eat French Fries? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

one order of french fries

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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Hamsters can’t be expected to know what is and isn’t good food for them, as they rely on being provided healthy food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their life. This is what you’re responsible for as a hamster owner. That said, your hamster might show interest in things like French fries when you’re eating them, even though those are something that they would never eat in the wild.

So, is it okay to share your fries with your hamster? Are these good for these furry little friends? The short answer is that hamsters should not eat French fries, as even occasional treats. Here’s the lowdown.

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Why French Fries Aren’t Good for Hamsters

French fries are tasty to us humans, and they might even be so to your hamster. However, we know that fries aren’t great for us in large amounts. Hamsters are much smaller than us, so it makes sense that French fries wouldn’t be good for them even in small amounts.

Here’s why French fries are far from ideal for hamsters in general:
  • Fat Content: One 5-ounce serving of French fries has 15.1 grams of fat. A hamster’s diet should be made up of no more than about 5% fat, so the fat content in fries is entirely too high. Too much fat in a hamster’s diet can result in problems like the development of obesity and diabetes.
  • Additives: Unless you cut the potatoes and make fries yourself, you never know what ingredients are in the French fries. There could be garlic and other spices that your hamster should not be eating.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: In the wild, hamsters eat various plants and insects to stay healthy throughout their lives. They would not munch on potatoes even if they could find them growing in their desert environments. French fries don’t have all the nutrients that hamsters need to stay healthy. The more fries in their diet, the less room there is for the food that is actually healthy for them, and this can lead to nutrient deficiency as time goes on.
french fries
Image Credit: Matthias Böckel, Pixabay

What Hamsters Should Eat

Hamsters eat plant foods and insects in nature. Specifically, they tend to seek out seeds, cereals, grass, insect larvae, and even bugs like crickets to round out their diets. In captivity, they can eat various fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds and the occasional insect to stay healthy.

Here's what you should be feeding your hamster as a loving owner:
  • Commercial Pellets: These are designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of hamsters.
  • Hay: Hamsters benefit from having access to fresh Timothy hay because it is fiber rich and contains many of the nutrients that they need.
  • Vegetables/Herbs: Small amounts of various veggies and fruits, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweet peppers, cucumber, zucchini, basil, coriander, and parsley, should be offered to round out the diet.
  • Fruit: Hamsters enjoy eating small amounts of fruits, such as pears, peaches, apples, and melons, as part of their diet.
  • Tasty Treats: Occasional snacks, such as mealworms and boiled eggs, can be offered for enjoyment and a boost to nutrition intake.

If you are not confident about exactly what to feed your pet hamster, ask your veterinarian for a detailed outline that you can follow.

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FAQ

Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes Prepared in Other Ways?

Yes, hamsters can eat small pieces of potatoes as part of their diet, but they should be considered nothing more than occasional treats. They are not nearly as nutritious for hamsters as hay, other veggies, herbs, and fruits. However, they do provide a decent source of vitamin C and niacin, which all hamsters need for good health.

Potatoes should never be prepared with additives like oil, butter, salt, pepper, garlic, or other seasonings and should instead be prepared plain. If you’re making mashed potatoes, before dressing them, you can scoop out a quarter of a teaspoon to offer to your hamster. Plain potatoes can be fed to hamsters boiled, steamed, or mashed.

little cute hamster eating potato stick
Image Credit: jin-hyuk huh, Shutterstock

Can Hamsters Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are not as starchy as white potatoes, and they are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin A, and protein that hamsters can benefit from. Therefore, they make great treats and/or snacks for pet hamsters. They can be prepared like regular potatoes: steamed, boiled, or mashed without any added fats or seasonings.

Since sweet potatoes are a bit healthier for hamsters than white potatoes, about half a teaspoon can be offered as a snack, a treat, or part of a meal to your hamster occasionally (two or three times a week).

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A Final Recap

Hamsters should not eat French fries as part of their regular meals or at all. They are low in nutrients and high in things like extra fat and simple carbs that hamsters do not need for a happy and healthy life. A bit of plain boiled, steamed, or mashed white or sweet potato is okay as an occasional snack, but many other foods should be a priority over potatoes of any kind when planning a hamster’s diet.


Featured Image Credit: ha11ok, Pixabay

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