Hamsters are fun little creatures that love to play and interact with their human family members. If handled from a young age, they will happily sit in your pocket or hang out on your shoulder while you are lounging around the house. They also love to eat whatever they can get their little hands on, which could be anything from the food that you offer them to the cracker crumb that they find in the couch cushions.
However, just because your hamster will eat anything that they happen to find does not mean that they should. Can hamsters safely eat crackers? The short answer to this question is that it depends on the cracker’s recipe and ingredients. We have laid out all the information that you need to know about feeding crackers to your hamster right here.
Can Hamsters Eat Crackers?
Hamsters are omnivores just like humans. They can eat fruits, vegetables, grains, grasses, and even meat. One would think that this means they can also enjoy a piece of cracker at snack time! However, this depends on the cracker itself.
Most crackers are made of wheat, which is something that hamsters can readily digest. However, crackers may also contain additives, preservatives, and ingredients which are either not beneficial or harmful to hamsters. This is because crackers are made for human consumption, and therefore, any precautions with regards to their safety for consumption only factor in human dietary requirements, not those of hamsters.
If a cracker only contains ingredients that are safe for a hamster, your pet could indulge in a very small piece of the snack – measuring about 1 x 1 cm (or ⅖ of an inch on each side) about once a week. Crackers should not be the main source of food for any hamster, but they can be offered as a treat.
While it won’t hurt to feed your hamster crackers as a snack sometimes, a few guidelines should be followed to ensure that their snacking does not result in health problems like obesity and diabetes. First and foremost, hamsters should get no more than about a 0.4 x 0.4 inch (1 x 1 cm) piece of cracker at any one time. Most store-bought crackers are full of sodium and ingredients that hamsters would not typically eat, like artificial flavors and colors.
They should not be fed crackers more than a couple of times a week, to leave room for the truly healthy stuff, like grains, nuts, hay, and seeds. It is also important that hamsters are fed only whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers, not soda crackers filled with simple carbohydrates. Also, plenty of fresh water should be available while crackers are being served, to promote proper hydration.
If you’re ever unsure about certain ingredients in crackers, do not feed them to your hamster. Hamsters do not suffer nutritionally if they are deprived of snacks made for humans.
Make Homemade Hamster Crackers
Instead of feeding your hamster crackers from the store, consider making a special batch just for them right in your own kitchen. All you have to do is use a blender or food processor to blend the following ingredients:
Once everything is well combined and smooth, spread the mixture out on a greased baking sheet so it is about an inch thick. Then, bake the mixture in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (around 177 °C) for about 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to get crispy. Let the mixture cool, then break it apart into small pieces and store the pieces in a sealable container. You can pull a piece of cracker out for a guilt-free snack that your hamster can enjoy regularly. These crackers are free of additives and full of nutrition, so they can be offered to hamsters more often than store-bought crackers.
Hamsters enjoy crackers as much as we humans do. However, they can’t handle as much salt as we can. They are better off eating a whole-food diet with crackers being an occasional treat at most. Have you shared crackers with your hamster before? If so, which kind seems to be their favorite? Let us know by leaving a comment.