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Can Hamsters Eat Cheerios? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

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, yes, hamsters can safely eat Cheerios, but they probably shouldn’t.

To understand why, you need to learn about what they contain.divider-hamster

Ingredients in Cheerios

guinea-pig-eating_Julia-Mols_shutterstock
Credit: Julia Mols, Shutterstock

There are several flavors of Cheerios. We’re going to stick with the original formula as a basis for reviewing the other ones.

According to the manufacturer, the base ingredients are:
  • Whole grain oats
  • Corn starch
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Tripotassium phosphate
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), added to preserve freshness

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 sometimes problematic. The concern is whether they exceed the daily requirements for hamsters. While the product doesn’t have much of either, feeding your hamster Cheerios as a regular diet isn’t wise.

The Problems With Cheerios

Hamsters do best with a commercial hamster diet that contains a mix of dried fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. Fresh foods like fruits and vegetables 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.

cheerio-pixabay
Credit: ponce_photography, Pixabay

The other concern is obesity. You may not think about this with an animal like a hamster. However, it’s 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.divider-food2

Final Thoughts About Giving Hamsters Cheerios

Cheerios aren’t a problem when considering whether they are safe for your pet. They can eat them. The question is how many you should give your hamster.

We suggest limiting Cheerios as a treat. The sugar content can cause spikes in their blood sugar, which take them off the table as a regular food.

Share them occasionally, but don’t make them your pet’s regular diet.


Featured image credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.