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Can Hamsters Have Honey? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Honey Honeycomb

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.

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Pocket pets like hamsters are fun animals for children and enthusiasts to raise. People form strong bonds with their companions and want to provide the best of everything for them. That includes treats. Many look to things they enjoy so that they can share them with their pets. Honey is a popular sweetener on its own or in numerous food products. It’s even an ingredient in pet treats.

While honey isn’t toxic to hamsters, too much honey can have consequences on hamsters’ health. Let’s consider both sides of the issue to get the true scoop.


Nutritional Value of Honey

Honey has some redeeming value from a human perspective. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Some research suggests it can reduce your risk of heart disease.1 However, that doesn’t necessarily translate to other animals. We can examine the facts to determine what value it may have for your pet.

A 1-tablespoon serving contains 63.8 calories. Honey is mostly sugar, in fact, it’s over 80% sugar which can have some serious downsides. It also has 17.3 grams of carbohydrates and trace amounts of calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. However, it’s not a nutrient powerhouse. The carbs and the energy they provide are too much for this to be a regular dietary inclusion. Hamsters should get between 35 and 40% carbohydrates from their food, but it’s the sweet taste that makes honey a common ingredient in rodent treats.

Honey dipper on the bee honeycomb
Image Credit: Repina Valeriya,Shutterstock


Pros and Cons of Honey for Hamsters

Of course, every food has pros and cons. Even water can be bad if you ingest enough of it. Determining whether honey is a good treat for your pet requires digging a bit deeper and determining how this natural sweetener could affect them.


The pro side of the argument starts with taste. That’s why we like it. Presumably, that’s why manufacturers use it in their products. No pet owner wants to buy something only to have their animal companion ignore it or refuse to eat it. You’re also responsible for providing a complete and healthy diet for your pet. If honey helps with palatability, one could make a good case for it.


The word “sweetener” should also raise a red flag. Sweet things contain a lot of calories that can lead to obesity and its related health issues. It’s the same with your hamster. We can point to the other apparent problem with sweets—dental cavities, for instance, while not a problem for dogs and cats do occur in rats and hamsters. These animals store food in their cheek pouches and the sticky nature of honey could contribute to cheek pouch impaction. That’s saying nothing about their fur and paws.

We must also consider how hamsters eat. They are omnivores, eating a variety of foods, including insects, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and grains. Pet hamsters will pick and choose if you offer them foods high in sugar and fat. This means weight gain and nutritional imbalances. That’s why veterinarians recommend a nutritionally complete pellet diet over mixes, and avoiding fatty, sugary foods.

Too much sugar can lead to diarrhea and potentially dehydration. So, if you want to offer your hamster a little honey, do it in very tiny quantities and mix it with something else to reduce the problem of stickiness.

Pouring aromatic honey into jar
Image Credit: Africa Studio,Shutterstock



Does the Type of Honey Matter?

More than 320 types of honey exist. We don’t think your hamster will care which one you choose. Find one you like for yourself and share a very tiny amount on rare occasions.

How Much Honey Can I Give My Hamster?

You should only offer a scant amount of honey to your pet. We’re talking about letting your hamster lick a bit off your finger or a drop mixed with some other foods to reduce the stickiness. Then, wait and observe how they react to this new food.

What Are the Signs of an Adverse Reaction?

Loss of appetite, diarrhea, and lethargy are common signs of an upset stomach.


Final Thoughts

Honey is a favorite treat for a good reason—it simply tastes good! It’s not harmful to your pet and is even present in some treats. However, honey shouldn’t be a regular part of your pet’s daily intake as it is high in sugar and calories. You should only offer it as a special treat. There are far better things you can give your hamster without the risks.

Featured Image Credit: Billion Photos,Shutterstock

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