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Can Hamsters Eat Peanut Butter? Vet-Verified Concerns & FAQ

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

peanut butter on wooden table

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

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Hamsters need to eat a healthy diet in order to thrive. Part of that diet should include a variety of vegetables and occasional fruits. These vegetables and fruits are the same ones that you likely already have on hand. Which may lead you to wonder if there are other human foods, like peanut butter, that you can share with your hamster. While you may love peanut butter and it isn’t considered toxic to hamsters, it is also not a go-to food for these little pets. Here’s why:

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What’s the Trouble With Peanut Butter and Hamsters?

Peanut butter is a tasty human food that most of us without peanut allergies love. However, it has no real place in your hamster’s diet. If you’re giving a good quality pellet, a nice Timothy hay, and a variety of vegetables, your hamster’s nutritional bases will be covered.

There are a few concerns to consider when feeding peanut butter to your hamsters. First, this food is high in protein but also high in fat and sugars. If your hamster is sedentary or “chubby,” peanut butter may contribute to weight gain and eventually lead to obesity. Obesity can cause issues like heart problems, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Another thing to consider is that peanut butter can get stuck in a hamster’s cheek pouches, which is where they store food. The peanut butter can stay there and rot, causing dental problems and posing a risk of infection.

Xylitol is another factor to consider. We know that this sugar replacement is toxic to dogs, and it seems as though it might be just as toxic to other pets. Unfortunately, there is not enough research available regarding hamsters. So, until there is, don’t give your hamster any products that contain xylitol.

Is There Ever a Reason to Feed Your Hamster Peanut Butter?

Feeding your hamster a lot of peanut butter may come with its list of potential issues, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a small place for it. Because of its sticky nature, peanut butter makes a great medication hider. If you ever find yourself needing to give your little one medicine for an infection or other illness, slipping the pill or powder in a little peanut butter is a sneaky and easy way of treating your hamster without them even knowing it. Just be sure to only use a tiny dab to prevent excessive sugar and fat intake and to keep the peanut butter from piling up in their cheek pouches.

roborovski dwarf hamster
Photo Credit: Pantherius, Shutterstock

What are Better Treats for Hamsters Than Peanut Butter?

Rather than treating your hamster to peanut butter, you can add a little variety to their diet with leafy greens, bell peppers, peas, cucumbers, carrots, raisins, apples, bananas, and grapes. Speak to your veterinarian about other possible foods that are safe and tasty for your hamster. These should be given on the side of commercial pellets and hay so that your hamster doesn’t overdo it on the fresh foods which don’t provide all of the nutrients they need.

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Frequent Asked Questions

Can Your Hamster Eat Whole Peanuts?

You can feed a peanut to your hamster occasionally as a treat or a snack. Their sharp teeth can easily grind the peanut into a digestible “butter” before being consumed in the digestive system. Like peanut butter, whole peanuts should not become a regular or overwhelming part of your hamster’s diet. However, one peanut every few weeks can be a fun and rewarding treat for your hamster.

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Photo Credit: TanteTati, Pixabay

How Much Peanut Butter Should Your Hamster Eat?

When giving your hamster peanut butter, less is always better. Using it as a tiny treat or a way to hide medication is really the best way to give peanut butter to your hamster. With this in mind, it shouldn’t be on the menu regularly and should only take the smallest amount possible to hide the medication you’re using.

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In Conclusion

A healthy diet is an important part of having a hamster. Even though peanut butter isn’t toxic to hamsters, it’s also not good or necessary for them. The best way to give your hamster peanut butter is to use it to hide medication should your hamster ever become ill. Other than that, try treating your hamster with safe and healthy vegetables or fruits.

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Featured Image Credit: inewsfoto, Shutterstock

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