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Can Hamsters Eat Radishes? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Annaliese Morgan

By Annaliese Morgan

radish

Vet approved

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

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

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Hamsters are common small pets kept by many families across the world. While there are thought to be at least 19 different species of hamster, only around 5 of these are kept as domestic pets. Whichever kind of hamster you keep, you should know what snacks you can safely give them, and which are not recommended. Not all human foods are safe for our pocket pals, but fortunately, if you are wondering if radishes are, then you’re in the right place.

Yes, you may feed radishes to your hamster, but as with all fresh foods, care needs to be taken with how much you offer.

Hepper_divider_hamster

Can All Hamsters Eat Radish?

Hamsters are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal-based foods. Radish is fine to feed your hamster. However, as with all fresh foods, moderation is key.

Black syrian hamster eating radish isolated on white
Image Credit: murbansky, Shutterstock

Benefits of Feeding Radishes to Your Hamster

In the wild, hamsters search for and gather their food, and usually live on a diet of fruits, seeds, cereals, leaves, plants, and insects (and occasionally the odd frog or lizard!) The latter gives them protein and the variety of other foods they find helps keep their diet nutritionally balanced.

When you choose to keep a hamster as a pet, it is recommended that you feed them a high quality hamster pellet, which will ensure their daily nutritional requirements are met. In addition to this they can have a small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables (such as a slice of radish), and the occasional protein rich treat, like a small piece of boiled egg.  A good rule of thumb when wondering how large a fruit or veggie offering should be is a 1x1cm piece.  This is manageable for all species of hamster, and although the dwarf breeds are smaller, they have a higher calorie need, so they can handle a slightly bigger morsel compared to their size.

Do note, though, that many hamsters do not like radish. Often, they will stay away from it and opt for alternatives. If you do offer them a slice of radish, ensure this pink/red veggie is of the milder variety and not one of the hot, peppery ones. The spicier and stronger-tasting radishes might upset your hamster’s digestive system.

The nutrients that are of particular interest in the radish are some of the vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin Bs (particularly riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate),vitamin K, vitamin C (although dietary vitamin C is not necessary in hamsters as they can make their own), fiber, calcium, potassium and iron. Radishes are also a low-calorie snack, which is helpful for those owners watching their hamster’s waistline or wishing to prevent weight gain from occurring in the first place, as obesity in hamsters is common and can easily occur.

The vitamin B available in radishes helps with maintaining healthy skin and fur. Iron helps oxygen circulate properly around the body. Magnesium is needed for bone maintenance, support, and growth, while vitamin K helps support effective blood clotting.

Here is what can be found in 100 grams of raw radish:
  • 16 kcal
  • 3g water
  • 6 g fiber
  • 8 mg vitamin C
  • 25 µg Folate
  • 25mg Calcium
  • 34mg Iron
  • 10mg Magnesium
  • 20 mg Phosphorus
  • 233 mg Potassium

Hazards of Feeding Radish to Hamsters

As with any treat, moderation is key. It can also be trial and error to find the right fruit and vegetables your hamster likes and can tolerate. Overfeeding any fresh morsel may result in a disrupted gastrointestinal system which is unpleasant for them and for you, so it is best to keep to very small amounts initially. If there are no signs of gastro-intestinal upset, you can feed slightly larger pieces of that vegetable next time.

You may notice the following signs if a tummy upset occurs. If this is the case, it would be advisable to take your hamster to the veterinarian for a check-over, as even a small amount of upset can cause big problems for a little animal.

  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

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Can My Hamster Eat Radish Leaves?

Yes, they can. These are full of nutrition, and you may find your furry pocket friend prefers these to the radish vegetable itself. Be sure to wash them thoroughly to remove debris, bugs, and chemicals used on them.

Golden hamster eating radish
Image Credit: murbansky, Shutterstock

What Veggies Can Hamsters Not Eat?

Here are a few common vegetables hamsters cannot eat, as they are not considered safe. Please note this list is not exhaustive. Any uncertainty over whether food can be offered to your hamster should be checked with your veterinarian.

  • Garlic
  • Raw potato
  • Avocado
  • Raw/uncooked kidney beans
  • Onions
  • Tomato leaves
  • Eggplant (aubergine)

What Fruits Can Hamsters Not Eat?

Here are a few common fruits hamsters cannot eat. Please note this list is not exhaustive. Any uncertainty over whether food can be offered to your hamster should be checked with your veterinarian.

  • All citrus fruits
  • Apple seeds
  • Rhubarb
citrus fruits
Image Credit: Obodai26, Pixabay

What Else Can I Give My Hamster as a Treat?

The following delightful foods can all be offered to hamsters as alternatives to radish:
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Apples (not the seeds)
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Bananas
  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Egg – boiled or scrambled
  • Chicken – boiled and plain
  • Figs

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Conclusion

Hamsters can and do eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which is perfectly acceptable and safe for them, in small amounts. Their main diet should be a pellet-based hamster food (not muesli style), with veggies like radishes offered in small amounts alongside this. Giving a good variety of veggies is important, but remember to keep the quantities moderate.  A useful rule of thumb is a 1x1cm piece of a safe vegetable every few days.  Keep fruit offerings to once a week, as the high sugar in fruit can cause obesity in hamsters.  If your hamster particularly likes radish, it is a safe addition to their diet.


Featured Image Credit: kungfunamhuynhdao, Pixabay

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