When it comes to sweet and juicy fruits, nothing beats a blueberry! But while you may adore adding this luscious treat onto your oatmeal or yogurt, can you feed blueberries to your hamster?
While hamsters may love to pig out on different types of fruits and veggies, can they safely consume blueberries? The answer is yes! Your hamster can eat blueberries, but only in moderation.
Benefits of Eating Blueberries
Low in calories and sugar, blueberries make a great addition to any diet. Blueberries contain several benefits for hamsters 1.
Like most berries, blueberries contain many antioxidants, which are beneficial for your pet. They contain other vitamins and minerals which may offer some benefits to your hamster as well. In addition, they are exceptionally low in oxalates and goitrogens – traits welcome in any fruit you wish to offer your pet.
Furthermore, blueberries are also lower in sugar than some other fruits. This is preferred since hamsters should not have a diet that is high in sugar. However, it is important to keep in mind that intrinsically, almost all fruit (including blueberries) contain undesirable levels of sugar.
Do Hamsters Like Blueberries?
In the wild, hamsters are natural omnivores. This means that their diets contain hardy helpings of veggies, fruits, nuts, and meat. Anecdotally, as pets, hamsters can enjoy feasting on blueberries and other such fruits.
Can Blueberries Be Bad for Hamsters?
For people, eating a handful of beautiful blueberries can be quite a treat. However, if you offer your hamster a palm-sized portion, it could lead to adverse effects.
As fruits, blueberries contain naturally occurring sugars. These sugars are part of what contributes to their energy yield. However, excessive amounts of sugars aren’t good for hamsters for several reasons.
One of the concerns with sugar is that high amounts of sugar can also lead to dental issues in hamsters.
There are two forms of natural sugars that have been demonstrated to be problematic for hamsters: lactose and fructose. However, other forms of sugar, which are also found in blueberries – sucrose and glucose, aren’t entirely risk-free either. It is worth noting though that the adverse effects of these sugars was only noticeable when they were offered in high amounts in a hamster’s diet. However, it is also important to note that blueberries naturally contain all of these sugars.
It is impossible to definitively say that these sugars will lead to an animal’s demise – however, experiments have shown that high amounts of sugars are definitely detrimental to hamsters and therefore, this reduces the appeal of blueberries (and other fruits).
Though the amount of water in fresh blueberries might seem appealing, it is important to note that hamsters do not handle a sudden increase in water from their food that well. In fact, most of their diet comprises dry matter, and they seem to do best when fed such foods and left to control their own water intake as necessary.
A sudden influx of water from vegetables or fruit might result in a hamster that’s dealing with an episode of diarrhea. Unfortunately, this is a very serious ailment for hamsters and requires urgent veterinary care.
Hamsters are instinctive hoarders. They like to stuff food in their very large cheeks to transport it back to their favorite hiding places or den to consume later. Wild hamsters instinctively do this because the ability to hoard food lets them eat in peace without disturbances from predators or other threats. Pet hamsters may also demonstrate this habit.
Your hamster may take fresh blueberries to their favorite hoarding spot. It is important to thoroughly check these spots to remove food items that spoil quickly once left outside. Rotting food in your hamster’s cage can lead to health issues for your pet.
Cheek Pouch Issues
Hamster cheek pouches are large, but notably they don’t produce any saliva. Foods high in moisture can sometimes get trapped in their cheek pouches, leading to impaction and disease. This scenario requires prompt medical care.
How to Feed Blueberries to a Hamster
If you’re feeding a blueberry to your hamster for the very first time, there are some things to take into consideration. If your pet isn’t accustomed to eating fresh fruit, try mixing up a tiny piece of blueberry in their regular food. If they seem to enjoy it, gradually increase the amount.
Always be sure to only feed fresh, raw blueberries to your hamster and to thoroughly wash the fruit under warm, running water to remove visible dirt and debris.
Other Fruits for Hamsters
All of these choices are both delicious and nutritious for your pet.
Your hamster can eat fresh, organic blueberries that have been pre-rinsed, but only in moderation. Do not change out your pet’s regular food for blueberries.
While blueberries do have some health benefits for your pet, they should be slowly introduced to his diet and never offered to him in large quantities.
So, the next time you’re enjoying some blueberries with your breakfast, consider giving a small piece to your hamster as a yummy treat!
- Related Read: Can Rats Eat Blueberries? All You Need To Know!