Walnuts are truly a powerhouse snack. These antioxidant-rich nuts provide plenty of nutritional benefits for humans, but do these benefits translate to our small rodent pals? Can you share your walnut snack with your hamster?
Yes, hamsters can safely eat walnuts as a snack. But there are some things you should know, as there is a right and wrong way to feed these to your little buddy. Read on to learn everything you need to know before giving your hamster a walnut.
Can Hamsters Eat Walnuts?
Yes, hamsters can eat walnuts, and, as it turns out, there are plenty of benefits to offering them to your little buddy.
- Walnuts are nutritional powerhouses. They contain nutrients like potassium and vitamin E and are a great source of B vitamins. Walnuts are also a great source of healthy fats.
- Potassium regulates fluid balance and muscle contractions. It can also support muscle function and promote healthy bones.
- Hamsters not getting enough vitamin E may develop muscle-related disease.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential for your hamster’s growth and development. It assists with heart function and promotes nervous and digestive system health.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) plays a role in energy metabolism and is necessary for fat metabolism. It also promotes vision health.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) may help rid the body of toxins while promoting digestive health.
What Are the Risks of Giving Walnuts to Your Hamster?
Portion size is the biggest thing to consider when providing walnuts to your hamster as a treat.
As with most nuts, walnuts are very high in fat and calories. If your pet eats too many too often, he can become obese quickly and may be at risk of developing diabetes.
The walnuts you offer should be unsalted and natural. No additional salt, sweeteners, or unnecessary ingredients like honey should be added to the nuts you serve your pet.
How to Feed Walnuts to Your Hamster
Moderation is key. One or two walnuts per week will be plenty for your little buddy.
You can offer the nut to your adult hamster in the shell. While he won’t eat the shell, he might enjoy cracking it open, adding some much-needed enrichment into his life.
Depending on your hamster’s size and the size of the walnut, you may need to cut it in half to make it manageable for your pet.
Additionally, we recommend supervising him as he eats his walnuts to ensure he doesn’t have any problems.
What Is the Ideal Hamster Diet?
Captive hamsters do well on commercial diets consisting of pellets. Your veterinarian can help you determine exactly how much your pet needs based on its species and health status.
Though you may see seed-based diets in your local pet store, these aren’t recommended for use as the bulk of your hamster’s diet. They should be used as a supplement only as they don’t provide the nutrients your little buddy needs to thrive. Additionally, seeded diets often cause obesity and can lead to vitamin E deficiency, which can cause paralysis, stiffness, and lameness.
In addition to pellets, your hamster can eat fruits and veggies.
Adding new foods slowly and gradually is best to prevent any gastrointestinal upset. Always ok new foods with your vet, as well.
Walnuts are a fantastic, nutrition-packed treat to offer your hamster in moderation. Giving too many walnuts may cause obesity and its related health conditions, however, so keep serving sizes to one or two walnuts weekly. Ensure the nuts you offer are natural and raw, without added salt or seasoning.