One of the biggest challenges you as a hamster owner face is determining which foods are safe for your hamster to eat. Strawberries are one of these foods that a responsible hamster owner needs to take a closer look at.
Can hamsters eat strawberries? Yes, hamsters can eat strawberries in moderation. While strawberries are safe for a hamster to eat, giving your hamster too many in a short period of time can lead to health complications.
The rest of this article will discuss the health benefits of strawberries and how to safely prepare strawberries for your hamster to eat.
Why Do Hamsters Need To Eat Strawberries In Moderation?
Strawberries taste good because of how sweet they are. And they taste so sweet because of their high sugar content.
If your hamster eats a ton of strawberries, the increased sugar intake could put them at risk of developing diabetes.
Some species of hamster are more prone to diabetes than others. If you have a Dwarf or Chinese hamster, you should be extra wary of feeding them strawberries or any other food that is particularly high in sugar.
Syrian and Robo hamsters are less at risk of diabetes, but you should still exercise caution in the amount of high-sugar foods you feed them.
Eating too many fruits (including strawberries) can also cause your hamster to have diarrhea.
If you notice your hamster having problems with this after you start feeding it strawberries, you should stop feeding it fruits, as its digestive system might be unable to handle them.
Are Strawberries Healthy For Hamsters?
The nutrients in strawberries do have some positive health benefits.
- The antioxidants found in strawberries will help your hamster’s digestion and immune system.
- The vitamin C found in strawberries will bolster your hamster’s immune system, helping it fight diseases. It will also keep your hamster’s eyes healthy.
- The manganese found in strawberries will improve your hamster’s bone health.
- The vitamin K found in strawberries will improve your hamster’s bone health and heart health. It’s particularly helpful for proper blood clotting.
- The potassium found in strawberries may reduce the hamster’s risk of early mortality by improving muscle function, water balance, blood pressure, and heart health.
- The fiber found in strawberries will improve your hamster’s digestive health. It will also promote healthy blood sugar levels.
- The folic acid found in strawberries will improve red blood cell production.
There are also multiple studies that suggest strawberries help prevent the development of certain diseases in hamsters. One found that hamsters who consistently ate strawberries were at less risk of oral cancer and tumors in their cheek pouches.
Another study found that berry juices (including strawberry juice) helped prevent atherosclerosis in hamsters.
Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes fatty substances to accumulate inside your hamster’s arteries, which can lead to decreased circulatory system health and possibly early death.
Despite all of these benefits, you shouldn’t rely on fruits to supplement your hamster’s diet. The mixed grains and added nutrients in your hamster’s regular food should be more than enough to keep your hamster perfectly healthy.
If you’re at all unsure about whether your hamster is getting enough nutrients from its diet, I recommend contacting an exotic pet veterinarian and asking them.
Some treats can be harmful for hamsters, it is important to know what treats you should avoid giving your hamster. Mercola from Healthypets has written an helpful article on the common harmful hamster treats and which ones you should avoid. It is worth reading!
How To Prepare Strawberries
While the easiest way to give your hamster strawberries would be to throw it in the cage and let them go to town, it’s not the safest method.
There are a few things you should do to make sure your hamster has a low risk of developing health problems from eating strawberries:
First of all you should thoroughly wash the strawberries in cold water before giving them to your hamster. This will get rid of any pesticides or chemicals lingering on the skin of the strawberry, which could make your hamster sick.
You should also cut the strawberry up into thin strips. The rest of this section will explain why this is a good idea.
For starters, strawberries have a tendency to rot if left unattended in room temperature air.
Your hamster will almost certainly be unable to eat an entire strawberry, so there’s a decent chance throwing a whole strawberry into the cage will result in uneaten pieces being strewn about the cage.
If these pieces are allowed to sit and rot, your hamster could find them at a later date and eat them. Eating rotten food is a serious health risk for your hamster, so you should do everything you can to avoid giving them the opportunity to eat rotten food.
There’s also the matter of hamsters storing food in their cheeks for a prolonged period of time. If your hamster attempts to eat too much of a whole strawberry, it might end up storing some of that food in its cheek pouches for a while.
This can lead to dental problems if some of the food particles stay there for too long and start to spoil in your hamster’s mouth.
It’s also just easier for the hamster to eat thin strips of fruit as opposed to a whole strawberry that may be even larger than it is.
So take the extra minute to chop the strawberry up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Your hamster will thank you.
For other treats you can give to your hamster, check out petmd’s list of foods you can feed your hamster.
What other fruits are safe for hamsters to eat? Cherries, Grapes, Cantaloupes, Mangoes, Peaches, Raspberries, Pears, Plums are all safe for your hamster. Consider checking out our complete fruit guide on more safe fruits your hamster can eat.
Are there any fruits that hamsters can’t eat? Most citrus fruits are too acidic for your hamster’s digestive system to deal with. Avoid oranges, lemons, limes, clementines, grapefruits, and watermelons as they have too high water content.
Are organic strawberries better than regular strawberries? Organic strawberries are free of pesticides, so they might be a bit healthier than non-organic strawberries. Strawberries shouldn’t be a problem as long as you thoroughly wash them beforehand though.