Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin? Vet-Approved Nutritional Guide

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

pumpkin

Vet approved

Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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

Learn more »

This article has been reviewed for factual accuracy by a qualified veterinarian, using information available at the time of publishing. Hamster owners are urged to consult with their veterinarian when making dietary decisions for their pet. This article is designed to provide general information but it does not take into account your pet’s health status or circumstances.

Pumpkin is typically available all year, but fall is when we are particularly inundated with everything pumpkin! So, while you’re making a pumpkin pie or scooping out a jack-o’-lantern, have you ever wondered if it would be okay to give your hamster a little nibble of the raw pumpkin?

Pumpkin can be a great treat for hamsters, but there are a few things that you should be aware of. Let’s go through pumpkin’s benefits and what you need to watch out for.

Hepper_divider_hamster

The Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin

Most of us are familiar with pumpkins, but you might not be aware of the health benefits and nutritional value that they have.

Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) are a kind of winter squash and are in the same family as melons and cucumbers. They are technically a fruit because they have seeds on the inside, but they can be considered a vegetable in terms of nutrition. Most pumpkins are large, orange, and round, but there are other varieties in different shapes and colors. The flesh, seeds, and even the leaves are all edible.

Most commonly, we buy canned pumpkin for making pumpkin pie, or we use it in soups and ravioli, or we scoop out the insides of a whole pumpkin to make a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween.

100g of boiled pumpkin contains:
  • Calories: 20 kcal
  • Protein: 72 grams
  • Fat: 07 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 grams
  • Vitamin A: 5760 IU
  • Vitamin C: 7mg
  • Potassium: 230mg

As you can see, pumpkins have a huge amount of vitamin A! They are also high in antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Pumpkins have some great health benefits for humans and are healthy for your little hamster friend in moderation.

Fresh organic pumpkin slice and diced on a light blue wooden table
Image Credit: onebit, Shutterstock

Risks of Giving Pumpkin to Hamsters

Pumpkins do offer a range of health benefits, but there are also some risks that you should be aware of. For one thing, they have high water content—about 94% of a pumpkin is water. While this is usually a positive attribute since it can help with hydration, it can be a negative for a hamster as excessive water can cause diarrhea.

Severe diarrhea in such a small pet, can quickly turn into dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Your hamster will need veterinary treatment urgently.

Additionally, pumpkin contains around 2% sugar in the form of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. If your hamster eats too much sugar and calories in general, it can lead to obesity, which can then lead to diabetes and other health issues. No matter how healthy something is, you can always have too much of a good thing!

Preparing Pumpkin for Your Hamster

Remember that pumpkin isn’t a regular part of a hamster’s diet and must only be considered a treat. You shouldn’t give pumpkin to your hamster more than three times a week and only offer it in bite-sized quantities.

Raw

Pumpkin can be eaten in raw or cooked form. If you’re giving raw pumpkin to your hamster, be sure to wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt and pesticides that will make your hammy sick.

Ensure that the pumpkin is at room temperature, so if you’ve stored it in the fridge, allow it to warm up a bit before giving any to your pet.

Cut the pumpkin into small pieces; a 1-inch square should be a good size for your hamster to gnaw on. If you have a smaller dwarf hamster species, aim for 1/2 an inch.

diced pumpkin on wooden board
Image Credit: Helena Zolotuhina, Shutterstock

Cooked/Canned

You can serve the same amount of cooked pumpkin—1/2- to 1-inch square—to your hamster. You can give it to them roasted or boiled. Just don’t add any extra ingredients to it; plain pumpkin is best.

You can also give your hamster 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin, but again, ensure that no other ingredients are added.

Hepper_divider_hamster

FAQ

Can Hamsters Have Pumpkin Pie?

Absolutely not! Pumpkin pie has a large amount of sugar, and the seasonings typically found in pumpkin pie can cause gastrointestinal upset. Always stick with plain pumpkin—no oils or butter, no crusts, and no seasonings.

Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Yes, they can! Pumpkin seeds are also a safe snack for hamsters but they are high in fats and calories, and therefore should not be a regular part of their diet.

Store them in an airtight container, and you can give your hammy one or two seeds at a time as an occasional treat.

hamster with pumpkin seed
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

What Other Fruits and Vegetables Are Safe for Hamsters?

Instead of listing all fruits and vegetables that are safe for hamsters (an extensive list!), here’s what you should avoid:

  • Raw kidney beans
  • Onions
  • Raw potatoes
  • Potato tops
  • Raw rhubarb
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Citrus fruit
  • Garlic
  • Tomato leaves

When you do give fruits and vegetables to your hamster, remove the peels for anything needing peeling (like bananas) and seeds unless they are considered safe for hamsters.

Speak to your vet if you’re at all unsure about what is safe to feed your pet and how much to serve.

Hepper_divider_hamster

Conclusion

As long as you provide your hamster with a healthy diet of high-quality hay and hamster pellets and remember that treats like pumpkin should only be in moderation, you can keep your hamster in good health.

Pumpkin is a safe and healthy snack for hamsters as long as you only give them properly prepared pumpkin in small amounts, no more than three times a week.

The first time that you give your pet anything new to eat, keep an eye on them over the next 24 hours to ensure that they digest it properly. Remember to talk to your vet if you’re ever worried about your hammy’s health.


Featured Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database