Hamsters are generally easy pets to care for, making them popular among children and adults alike. Their dietary needs are fairly simple, as complete and balanced hamster chow is available at most pet stores. By supplementing this with timothy hay, vegetables, and a small amount of fruit, you can give your hamster everything that they need to live a long and healthy life.
That said, we are often tempted to add variation to our pet’s diet and spoil them with treats now and again. This usually comes in the form of fruit, and avocados are popular fruits that owners are often tempted to treat their pets with. But can hamsters eat avocados? Are avocados safe for hamsters?
Put simply, the flesh of avocados might contain varying amounts of the toxic compound persin, so no, hamsters should not eat avocados. In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about avocados and hamsters. Let’s get started!
Avocados are green fruits that are favorites in salads, smoothies, and on their own. For us humans, they are highly nutritious and versatile, packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Avocados are high in monosaturated fat, which is considered a “good” fat in moderation, and they are also packed with fiber and are high in calories and low in sugar. All these benefits make them a great addition to a healthy diet for humans, but besides the risk of toxicity, the large number of calories and fat make them a less-than-ideal choice for your hamster.
Avocados contain the most amount of fat of any fruit on the planet and have 160 calories per 100-gram serving, with 132 of those calories coming from fat. This is great for humans, but this amount of fat is far too high for a hamster.
Potential Hazards of Feeding Avocado to Your Hamster
Avocados are potentially toxic to hamsters, so we highly recommend leaving them off your pet’s menu entirely.
There are several reasons for this, including:
Contrary to popular belief, hamsters in the wild are not herbivores and are known to feed on insects like crickets and beetles when given the chance. As pets, hamsters should get all their required nutrition from complete and balanced hamster chow, supplemented with timothy hay, vegetables, and a small amount of occasional fruits.
Healthy Avocado Alternatives
Since avocado is off the menu, you may be wondering what treats you can give your hamster instead. Healthy treats include:
An avocado contains different amounts of the toxic compound persin in its skin, leaves, pit, and pulp. The amount of persin in the pulp varies with the plant species and seems to be reduced as the fruit ripens. Still, to err on the side of caution, it’s better to avoid giving it to your hamster altogether. Avocados are calorie dense and high in fat and can swiftly cause obesity in your pet. They can also cause serious digestion and dental issues, even in small amounts.
While avocados are technically non-toxic to hamsters, there are plenty of other treats that are far better to occasionally spoil your pet hamster with!