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Can Hamsters Eat Ham? Vet-Reviewed Health Guide & FAQ

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

sliced baked ham on wooden board

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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A healthy diet is one of the key ways to keep hamsters healthy. If you bring home a pet hamster for the first time, you may be uncertain about what to feed them. If ham has been on your list of considerations, cross it out because it is unsuitable for your hamster. We’ll discuss why ham is unhealthy for your hamster and dive into some frequently asked questions.

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Why Ham Is Not Healthy for Your Hamster

One of the main reasons ham is unhealthy for hamsters is due to the high sodium content. Massive amounts of salt are used when curing ham, and the sodium content in the meat is too high for your little pet.

Another issue is the fat content of ham. If your hamster eats too much fatty food, they may experience gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. You will also want to consider that ham is a processed food containing preservatives that are unhealthy for pets.

Pork ham sliced on white background
Image Credit: Gus And, Shutterstock

Can Hamsters Eat Meat?

Processed meats high in sodium and fat are not good for your hamster. That removes lunch meats and many human meals from the hamster’s menu. However, that doesn’t mean that all forms of meat are off the table.

As surprising as it may seem, hamsters are omnivores. In the wild, hamsters typically eat seeds, fruits, nuts, and various invertebrates. Therefore, you can feed mealworms or other small insects to your hamster. However, insects should be fed infrequently and in small portions.

What Should You Do if Your Hamster Eats Ham?

Since ham is not a recommended meat for hamsters, it can be alarming to discover that they have nibbled on something they shouldn’t have. Assuming that your hamster only managed to steal a small bite, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Your hamster may experience some digestive issues, but other than that, they should recover soon enough. Still, if you are concerned for your pet, there is never any harm in contacting your vet for their opinion.

However, if your hamster’s gastrointestinal distress persists or they manage to eat a significant chunk of ham, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. While ham is not toxic to your pet, it contains unhealthy ingredients that, in excess, can cause health complications.

hamster in a pipe or tube
Image Credit: Ackab Photography, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to finding the right food for your hamster, it can be a challenge to construct a proper diet plan. Don’t worry; you aren’t the only hamster owner with questions. In this section, we will go over some frequently asked questions regarding your pet’s diet.

What Should a Hamster’s Diet Look Like?

A commercial hamster pellet diet should make up most of your pet’s meals. Healthy pellet diets contain 35%–40% carbohydrates, 15%–25% protein, 5% crude fiber, and 4%–5% fat. Although they’re safe to consume, seed mixes should never be the primary source of your hamster’s nutrition.

Instead, they should be used to supplement your pet’s pellet diet. If your hamster is fed a seed-only diet, they will likely suffer from nutritional deficiencies, especially with calcium and vitamin E. In addition, seed mixes are high in sugar and fat, so feeding them to your hamster in excess can contribute to obesity.

Fruits and veggies are another great supplement for your hamster’s pellet diet; however, as with seed mixes, they should never be the main source of your hamster’s nutrition.

How Much Should Hamsters Eat?

Generally, hamsters require ⅛–⅓ cups of pellets each day. However, you should consult your vet to determine the right amount for your pet. Factors such as your hamster’s breed, size, health, and age can all determine how much food they need to be healthy.

hamster eating a carrot
Image Credit: Monika_1, Shutterstock

Are There Any Human Foods that Hamsters Can Eat?

While pellet diets should make up most of your hamster’s meals, you can also safely feed them fruits and vegetables. When feeding fruits and veggies to your pet, serve them in moderation and rotate them in and out of your hamster’s diet regularly. This gives your hamster a variety of nutrients and reduces the chances of a nutritional deficiency.

Veggies that are suitable for your hamster include the following:
  • Greens
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
Fruits that you can give to your pet include the following:

When feeding fruit to your hamster, offer it in small portions. Fruits are high in sugar, so only little pieces are suitable for your hamster.

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Final Thoughts

Even though hamsters are omnivores, ham is not an appropriate meal for your pet. It is too high in sodium, fat, and preservatives to be a safe snack. Instead, focus on feeding your hamster a healthy, well-balanced pellet diet that contains a suitable amount of carbs, protein, fiber, and fat. If you need further advice for constructing a proper diet plan for your pet, consult your vet.


Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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