‘An apple a day keeps the doctor at bay ’ we have all heard this age-old saying about apples, but that saying is for humans.
What about hamsters? Can an apple a day keep the vet away from your hamsters?
Or is it recommended to keep your hamster away from apples?
Read along to find out as we answer everything related to feeding apples to hamsters.
Can Hamsters Eat Apples?
The short answer is yes. Hamsters can eat apples provided you follow some basic rules of feeding apples to your hamster.
If your hamster likes the sweet taste of apple, it can even become one of the best hamster treats.
However, as we will discuss further, it’s vital not to get them used to the sweet taste.
The best apple to be fed to your hamster is the seedless apple. If you peel an apple make sure there aren’t any seeds in it, as both Syrian and Dwarf hamsters can choke on the seeds – which is even more true for the small, Roborovski Hamster.
Like many other fruits, apples contain a lot of positive vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium, so they are great for beefing up on vitamins after a turn on the hamster wheel.
A serving of only a quarter teaspoon is enough for your hamster and feeding your hamster this amount of apple once or twice per week is just perfect.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat Apples?
Yes, they can. Don’t be fooled by the smaller size of dwarf hamsters; they can eat anything that their bigger Syrian cousins can due to their high metabolism.
However, as dwarf hamsters are more prone to diabetes and apples have high sugar content, restricting the amount to a minimum is highly advised.
Can Hamsters Eat Apples With Skins?
Yes, skins shouldn’t be a cause of concern if you’re feeding apples to your hamsters. Seeds should be. Make sure to remove the seeds of the fruit before giving them to your hamster.
Also, thoroughly wash the apple before feeding it to your hamster. This will make sure no pesticides creep into its digestive system via the fruit.
4 Benefits of Eating Apples for Hamsters
Supplementing the diet of your hamster with apple is a good idea because it has the following health benefits;
#1 Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Apples contain soluble fiber, which helps prevent cholesterol build-up in the lining of blood vessels walls. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Several studies have shown that apples lower LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels.
#2 Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
If you didn’t know already, your hamster could have diabetes, which is more common in dwarf hamsters. It is therefore advised to feed them food that can lower their risk of diabetes. One such fruit is the apple. Due to the antioxidants found in them, apples protect the body from harmful chemical reactions.
Also, the soluble fiber in apples can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and improve blood sugar levels. This can further lower the odds of developing diabetes in your hamster.
#3 Improves Gut Health
It’s no secret that fiber aids in digestion. The soluble fiber helps slow digestion, allowing you to feel full and insoluble fiber helps move food through your digestive system and aid constipation.
As apple contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, it is an excellent fruit to include in your hamster’s diet. Ensure to feed them the apple skin as well, as it contains much of the insoluble fiber.
#4 Supports a Healthy Immune System
Your hamster needs a more robust immune system to fight off diseases. Vitamin C present in apples helps with just that. Vitamin C strengthens the epithelial barrier against pathogens and also guards against environmental stresses like pollution. Also, the Vitamin C would give glowing, healthy skin to your hamster.
Risks that Make Apples Bad for Hamsters
Despite all the health benefits, apples have risks associated with them, so you should be careful while feeding them to hamsters. Some of the significant risks that you should be aware of before opting to provide them with apples are;
High Sugar Content
Like many other fruits, apples have a high content of natural sugar. This increases the risk of diabetes, and as you are already aware, your hamster is prone to diabetes.
This is the reason why apples should not be made a part of the staple diet of your hamster; it is better off being a supplement. Hence, a small teaspoon full of apples every other week is more than enough for hamsters.
Toxic Apple Seeds
Apple seeds contain a chemical compound called amygdalin. Amygdalin can release cyanide, a potent poison when it comes in contact with digestive enzymes.
Although humans have to eat at least 16 apples to have such a poisonous effect on them, hamsters being smaller doesn’t have to eat such a vast number of apples.
It is, therefore, best to avoid giving seeds to your hamster while feeding them with apples. Apple seeds and chocolates are two of the most toxic food items that should be kept at bay from your hamster.
What Others Treats Can I Give My Hamster?
Hamsters thrive on a high variety diet. Fruit and vegetables are with some exceptions a good and healthy choice that adds antioxidants and healthy fats to a diet. In addition, food like meat and cheese can be important protein sources…
… and watching your hamster feast on its treats is sure to give you a warm and even proud feeling!
If you’re ever unsure about feeding your hamster a particular food, just don’t do it. Likewise, if your hamster ate something you’re not sure about, call your vet.
To answer the most common items given as treats (and some items not to give you hammy) we’ve put together a hamsterific infographic you can get below.ADD_THIS_TEXT
3-Step System for Testing New Hamster Treats
When I introduce new treats for my Hamster, Mr. Bubbles, there is a 3-step system I use every time to ensure it’s good for his little stomach.
- Make sure its fresh, washed and doesn’t contain any pesticide (i.e. purchase organic treats)
- Test if your hamster can eat the treat. This is done by giving a little test piece and waiting a couple of days watching for any symptoms
- Introduce the treat into your hamster’s diet at more regular intervals over the coming weeks
Best Hamster Food
FYI, this section contains affiliate links. We earn a commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you.
Besides giving your hamster treats, it is very important to give it the right kind of hamster food.
There is a lot of food out there with one of the following traits:
- Not enough protein in it
- Becomes dusty
- Your hamster simply don’t like it and leave a lot of food
That’s why, we have done the research and recommend the following three products, which are none of the above, and instead are the backbone of a good hamster diet.
Other Feeding Tips for Your Hamster
- Provide fresh water every day. The water bottle should be frequently checked for any dirt or leaks to avoid contamination of the water. It is also good to monitor your hamster’s water intake because a reduction of water intake can mean you need to visit the vet.
- Remove any remnants of feed to avoid rotting- this is especially for fresh fruits, vegetables, and powdered food which tend to grow mold/bacteria.
- Do not overfeed on vegetables to avoid diarrhea. Overfeeding on sugary fruits and treats is also discouraged because it tends to cause obesity in your pet.
- When introducing a new kind of feed to your hamster, you should first give a small amount and observe for a week for any negative reaction to the food. If there is no negative reaction, then the feed is safe for consumption for your hamster. A sudden change in the diet of your pet may cause stress.
How many apples can I give my hamster?
Considering their high sugar content, only a tiny teaspoon of apple every other week is more than enough for your hamster.
Can apple kill hamsters?
Yes, it can, but you have to feed many apples with the seeds intact for that to happen. However, to reduce the chances of poisoning, it is advised to remove the seeds before feeding the apple to your hamster.
Is it OK for hamsters to eat apples?
Yes, it is OK for hamsters to eat apples but only in small quantities and occasionally.
What fruits can hamsters eat?
Although vegetables are a much healthier option for your hamster, they can be fed fruits as well in fewer quantities. Some of the fruits they can eat are; apples, strawberries, bananas, and watermelons.
Can apples make my hamster sick?
Introducing any new food to your hamster has the potential risk of upsetting their stomach. Apples are no different in that case. That’s why it’s essential to introduce new food items gradually into their diet that too in tiny portions.
Apples can be an excellent treat for your hamster, but it’s essential to keep them just that- an occasional treat. Making apple part of your hamster’s staple diet does more harm than good. Also, make sure to remove any seeds before feeding apples to your hamster. When done in moderation and with proper precautions, your hamster can safely enjoy this delicious sweet treat.
- Barrie, Leslie. 2020. “7 Outstanding Health Benefits of Apples.” EverydayHealth.com. October 2, 2020. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/impressive-health-benefits-of-apples/.
- “Hamster Care Sheet & Guide | PetSmart.” 2021a. Petsmart.com. 2021. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/small-pet-care/hamster-care-guide/A0092.html.
- “Hamster Care Sheet & Guide | PetSmart.” 2021b. Petsmart.com. 2021. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/small-pet-care/hamster-care-guide/A0092.html.
- Koutsos, Athanasios, Samantha Riccadonna, Maria M Ulaszewska, Pietro Franceschi, Kajetan Trošt, Amanda Galvin, Tanya Braune, et al. 2019. “Two Apples a Day Lower Serum Cholesterol and Improve Cardiometabolic Biomarkers in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Adults: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Trial.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 111 (2): 307–18. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz282.
- PetMD Editorial. 2016. “What Can Hamsters Eat? Carrots, Grapes, Tomatoes, and More.” Petmd.com. PetMD. March 2016. https://www.petmd.com/exotic/nutrition/evr_ex_hm_what-can-hamsters-eat.
Can hamsters eat apples? Have you tried giving it to your pets? Please share with us below!
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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