We get why people may consider giving their hamsters Cheerios. We love our pets. Therefore, we want to share things with them, including what we eat. The rationale for including Cheerios among that list is clear. To answer the question, though Cheerios are not considered immediately toxic for hamsters, they are not healthy and can lead to health issues if over consumed, therefore, it is best to not feed Cheerios to your hamster.
To understand why, you need to learn about what they contain.
Ingredients in Cheerios
There are several flavors of Cheerios. We’re going to stick with the original formula as a basis for reviewing the other ones1.
The Problems With Cheerios
At first glance, everything seems safe enough for hamsters — and humans! Hamsters are omnivores, so the oats are okay for them. They are nutritious and add fiber, which benefits both humans and hamsters.
Sugar and salt are considered problematic for hamsters, especially when added in a recipe intended for humans.
The order in which ingredients are listed on a packaging are in terms of their quantity in the recipe. Though we do not know the recipe of Cheerios, it is safe to assume that sugar is the third most common ingredient in the recipe, followed by salt. For these reasons, Cheerios are not considered healthy for hamsters.
When compared to other rodents (such as rats), hamsters are known to not readily accept salt. Therefore, they might not readily accept Cheerios.
Hamsters do best with a commercial hamster diet that contains a mix of dried fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. Fresh foods, in particular fruits, can cause GI distress if given in large quantities. The sugar that Cheerios contain can cause issues with species that are more vulnerable to high levels of sugar because of their tendency of getting diabetes.
Therefore, the problems with Cheerios are the calories and sugar.
The other thing to bear in mind is that animals like hamsters evolved eating foods found in nature. Cheerios isn’t one of them, despite the ingredients.
The other concern is obesity. You may not think about this with an animal like a hamster. However, its effects are real.
You must also consider dental issues. The standard diet of hamsters encourages the regular wear of their teeth. Like all rodents, their teeth grow throughout their lives. Their diet is a vital part of keeping them in check.
Unfortunately, Cheerios don’t make the cut.
Cheerios aren’t a problem when considering whether they are safe for your pet. They can eat them. The main consideration is if there are nutritional benefits if you give Cheerios to your hamster.
We suggest not offering your hamster Cheerios. The sugar content can cause spikes in their blood sugar, which take them off the table as a regular food.
- See Also: 10 Best Hamster Foods (Our Favorites!)