Perky and adorable hamsters make charming, easy-to-care-for pets and are among the most popular small exotics. Feeding the right diet is essential to keep a hamster healthy, so knowing which foods are safe for them and in what quantities is important. Although hamsters can eat strawberries, they should be offered only occasionally as treats.
Keep reading to learn how to include strawberries in your hamster’s diet and which fruits they should eat, and what to avoid.
Do Hamsters Need to Eat Strawberries?
If they are fed a balanced diet (more on this later), hamsters don’t need to eat strawberries. However, feeding fresh fruits and vegetables can add variety and interest to your hamster’s diet. They also provide vitamins, minerals, and enrichment for your pet.
What Should Hamsters Eat?
To stay healthy, hamsters should eat primarily a commercial pellet diet specifically designed for rodents. A properly balanced diet will contain a blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber. Ask your vet to suggest a good brand of food if you aren’t sure which to pick and calculate how much your pet should be eating.
As we mentioned, hamsters fed a nutritious pellet diet shouldn’t need to eat anything else. However, you can offer fruits and vegetables for variety or as treats. In addition to strawberries, here are some other fruits and vegetables your hamster can safely eat:
- Leafy greens
What Other Treats Can Hamsters Eat?
For treats, hamsters can enjoy whole-grain bread, pasta, or brown rice. They can also eat cooked eggs, lean meats, seeds, or live insects, such as meal worms. Like many humans, hamsters are prone to eating only the tastiest parts of their diet and skipping the more nutritious portions.
Because of that, it’s essential to serve any foods other than their pellet diet strictly in moderation. Hamsters can become overweight or suffer nutritional deficiencies if they don’t follow a proper diet.
Can Hamsters Eat Dried Strawberries?
No, hamsters shouldn’t eat dried strawberries or other dried fruits. Fruit is already high in sugar, but the dried version contains an even higher dose of sweetness. Avoid feeding your hamster commercial food mixtures that contain dried fruits too.
What Other Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Your Hamster?
Hamsters typically love eating seeds, but they should not account for a significant portion of their diet. Commercial seed mixtures might be tasty, but they’re also higher in fat and sugar. They lack certain key nutrients as well.
If you feed your hamster insects or worms, don’t offer wild-caught ones, which may have absorbed pesticides dangerous for your pet. Here are some additional foods that hamsters shouldn’t eat:
- Citrus fruits
- Apple seeds
- Onion and garlic
- Raw beans
- Raw potatoes
Additional Tips to Keep Your Hamster Healthy
Make sure your hamster always has access to safe chew objects. Hamsters’ teeth grow constantly, and they must chew to keep them from getting too long. Cardboard tubes, commercial chew toys, and dog biscuits are good options.
Choose a spacious habitat with good airflow, and watch to ensure your hamster isn’t chewing their way to freedom. You can provide toys and exercise equipment to keep your hamster busy and fit. Always keep fresh water available in a shallow, heavy bowl or water bottle.
Also, you should use paper bedding rather than cedar shavings since the wood’s oils can irritate the hamster’s skin. Clean the cage regularly and remove uneaten fresh food daily.
It is important to remember that hamsters are tiny, and so are their stomachs. Hamsters can also be greedy, and store extra food in their cheek pouches. This is why you must always be careful when offering sweet treats to your tiny friend – as we mentioned earlier, obesity is a serious health risk for hamsters.
Hamsters need to consume around 26 calories per day, and a single medium-sized strawberry contains approximately 4 calories. As treats should only make up around 10% of your hamster’s diet, we suggest feeding no more than half a strawberry once or twice a week. This allows for other fruits or treats to be offered on other days.
Although hamsters don’t necessarily need to eat strawberries, there’s a pretty good chance that they will enjoy them! So it’s good to know that these bright red fruits are safe to feed as treats. Remember, hamsters get most of their nutrition from their pellet diet, but it is nice to offer them something special as well. If you offer too many strawberries or other human foods, your hamster may neglect their balanced diet in favor of the yummier items.
Eating too much fruit and certain vegetables may also upset your hamster’s stomach and cause diarrhea. Talk to your veterinarian to develop the proper diet for your hamster and mention any concerns about their health.