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Home > Hamsters > Can Hamsters Eat Broccoli? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & Feeding Guide

Can Hamsters Eat Broccoli? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & Feeding Guide

Can Hamsters Eat Broccoli

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Broccoli is a staple in most people’s diets. This vegetable is packed with several vitamins and minerals that are necessary for boosting the immune system. But would it be a good idea to give broccoli to your hamster?

Can hamsters eat broccoli? Yes, hamsters can eat broccoli. In fact, they seem to enjoy the taste of this vegetable. These rodents eat a host of other vegetables, meaning that everything should be okay when they consume broccoli. Right?

Well, not so fast. It is best to offer broccoli to hamsters only in moderation. Here is everything you need to know about hamsters and broccoli.


What Is a Hamster Supposed to Eat?

To determine whether it would be a good idea to feed broccoli to your hamster, it is best to understand the kind of foods that wild hamsters eat.

Though there are many species of wild hamsters, they are all considered to be opportunistic omnivores. They tend to forage for seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruit, and meat sources, and are able to carry a large amount of food in their cheek pouches.

In the wild, hamsters usually emerge only at dusk or during the night, however, in some parts of the world, they have adapted to foraging during the day. When out of their dens, they usually hoard their haul in their enormous cheeks to carry back to their hiding spots where they frequently feed in intervals of about every 2 hours or so. This is a survival technique, as hamsters have many predators in the wild. The ability to transport large amounts of food to a safe location helps them avoid capture by having to repeatedly go out in search of food.

Wild hamsters are also remarkably adaptable in terms of what they eat. For instance, European hamsters have been observed eating candle wax.

In experimental circumstances, hamsters are able to adjust their dietary intake depending on their nutritional needs, and therefore, they can pick and choose what to eat at times when they feel like they are lacking a certain nutrient in their diet. Wild hamsters rarely overeat in a single sitting and instead they prefer to store excess food in their favorite den, burrow, or hiding spot to eat later. However, pet hamsters have shown to display preferences for certain foods and therefore, may opt to gorge on their favorite items while hoarding other foods which they may require at other times.

Hamsters have been used in many studies for implications involving human medicine, and in some of these studies, their responses to nutrition have been assessed. However, an optimal rating for many nutrients has not been established in hamsters, though values at which they thrive have been identified.

As pets, hamsters are best kept on a pellet diet that is supplemented with appropriate fruits, hay, vegetables, nuts, seeds, insects, meat and meat by-products, and legumes. The fundamental challenge for hamster owners is to ensure that they remove uneaten food from their hamster’s cage – especially food that easily spoils when left outside. For this reason, food with a high shelf life (such as grains, hay, seeds, and pellets) are preferred over fresh produce (such as fruits and vegetables). Nonetheless, fresh produce does offer some nutritional benefits to hamsters, which is why they should be considered as part of their diet.

Hamster eating broccoli
Image By: tanya_morozz, Shutterstock

Broccoli – Benefits & Drawbacks


Even in small amounts, this vegetable can be incredibly beneficial to your pet, thanks to how nutrient-rich it is 1.

Key nutritional information of raw broccoli, per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
  • Water: 90 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 6.27 g
  • Fat: 0.34 g
  • Protein: 2.57 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Calcium: 46 milligrams (mg)
  • Phosphorus: 67 mg
  • Potassium: 303 mg
  • Magnesium: 21 mg
  • Vitamin C: 91.3 mg

Broccoli also contains very low amounts of sugar, and next to no oxalates. These traits are desirable in foods being offered to hamsters.

Broccoli also contains essential minerals and nutrients, such as calcium, chromium, fiber, and folic acid, which all help boost the health of your little one.

Therefore, whereas this vegetable can be detrimental to a hamster’s health when consumed in excess, it is extremely beneficial to the animal when given in moderation.

Of importance is the fact that though peas contain vitamin C, this fact isn’t a major draw for this vegetable’s appeal. This vitamin is not considered essential for hamsters. Hamsters are able to make their own vitamin C. However, an individual who is stressed, ill, or has an internal disease that impedes the formation of vitamin C normally would benefit from vitamin C inclusion in their diet.

Image Credit: PDPics, Pixabay


Unlike the seeds, grains, and fruits that hamsters consume, broccoli has an extremely high water content. In fact, 90% of broccoli is water.

The body of a hamster is not designed to handle diets that contain a lot of water. Consuming too much water, therefore, can be hazardous to a hamster. This is why you cannot afford to make broccoli a staple inclusion in your hamster’s diet.

Broccoli is naturally high in compounds known as goitrogens. These compounds disrupt the production of thyroid hormones. Prolonged exposure to goitrogens prompts the body to increase the size of the thyroid gland to compensate for the low amounts of thyroid hormones. This can eventually lead to goiter. However, in hamsters, a genetic component might also be involved for the formation of goiter.

Broccoli may also cause gas buildup in the system. This can cause discomfort and gastrointestinal distress. Just make sure that you introduce broccoli slowly and give appropriate amounts to avoid any upset

How Much Broccoli Should You Give Your Hamster?

As mentioned, broccoli is not necessarily bad for your hamster; the issue is the quantity. A hamster should be okay eating a piece of broccoli the size of their head between once to twice per week.

This means that broccoli should be considered a snack for hamsters.

bowl of broccoli
Image Credit: ExplorerBob, Pixabay

Ways to Prepare Broccoli for Your Hamster

As mentioned, most hamsters seem to enjoy the taste and texture of raw broccoli. However, each hamster is an individual, meaning they have preferences. As such, there is always the possibility that your hamster might enjoy broccoli when prepared in a particular way. This is why you should try out different ways of preparing broccoli to identify the one your hamster will enjoy the most. This will also allow you to keep their diet interesting.


Most people, as well as animals, prefer their broccoli raw, making it the easiest way of serving it to your pet hamster. Moreover, broccoli is most nutritious when raw since it has all its nutrients. Cooking usually destroys some nutrients. As mentioned, your hamster should eat a maximum of two small pieces of this vegetable per week.

Little hamster eating a piece of broccoli
Image Credit: Cristina RC, Shutterstock


Steaming broccoli allows you to make it softer. Therefore, consider steaming broccoli occasionally for a texture change. However, as steamed broccoli has a higher water content than raw broccoli does, you should reduce the size of the pieces.


On the other side of the spectrum, we have dehydrated broccoli. This means that it has had almost all of its water extracted. As you can imagine, this is arguably the best way of serving this vegetable to your hamster. What’s more, most hamsters love dry broccoli pieces. To prepare, cut raw broccoli into small pieces and put them inside a food dehydrator.

Image Credit: kirill_makes_pics, Pixabay


Everyone, including your hamster, loves roasted broccoli. Its crispy texture is especially what makes it a hit among hamsters. However, do not use seasonings or any other additives when preparing broccoli in this manner, as they may harm your pet.



As is the case with humans, some hamsters do not like broccoli. If that is your hamster, do not force them to eat it. Instead, substitute it with healthy and nutritious treats.

In a nutshell, broccoli is a wonderful vegetable that has immense health benefits for anyone who consumes it. When it comes to hamsters, however, moderation is key. Serve it as a treat rather than a meal.

If you think your hamster is showing signs of health issues at any time, be sure to contact your vet immediately to make an evaluation appointment.

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