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Can Hamsters Eat Cranberries? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Cranberries are a popular snack that we traditionally eat at Thanksgiving but have also become popular in a dried form like raisins. If you have been snacking on these tasty treats and wondering if it’s ok to feed them to your pet hamster, the short answer is no. It would be best if you didn’t let them have cranberries, but we’re going to look at why not and see if there are any exceptions, so you can feel comfortable about the foods you are feeding your hamster.

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Are cranberries bad for my hamster?

If your hamster snuck out and started eating cranberries, you don’t need to worry. It’s not going to kill them. However, there are some good reasons to prevent your hamster from eating cranberries.

Sugar

Sugar is the primary ingredient in cranberries that you need to avoid. A single cup of fresh cranberries can contain more than four grams of sugar. Sugar can lead to obesity and several health problems in any animal. They should be strictly limited and only provided as an occasional treat.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Chinese, Russian Campbell’s, and Winter Whites

The Chinese, Russian Campbell’s, and Winter White breeds of hamsters are especially susceptible to diabetes and should not eat cranberries even in small amounts.

Dried Cranberries

Most packaged dried cranberries are extremely high in sugar, and a single serving (1/3 cup) can have more than twenty grams compared to the 4.5 found grams in a full cup of fresh cranberries.

Fat

The seeds in fresh cranberries are high in fat, building up in your pet’s liver and leading to a fatty liver condition. High-fat foods can also lead to obesity.

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Are cranberries good for my hamster?

Despite the several reasons you shouldn’t feed your hamster cranberries, they provide a few health benefits when fed in small amounts to Syrian and Roborovski’s hamsters.

Antioxidants

Cranberries are high in antioxidants that will help your pet recover from disease quicker and prevent the occurrence of urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary walls.

Cranberries Maintain Blood Pressure

Cranberries help maintain systolic blood pressure, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Cranberries are high in polyphenols, which can help reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and help manage blood sugar levels.

hands holding cranberries
Image Credit: Pixabay

Fight Cancer

The powerful antioxidants in cranberries can help prevent the onset of cancer. Cranberries have phytonutrients that decrease the activity in inflammatory pathways leading to a healthier pet.

Vitamin C

Cranberries are high in Vitamin C, which is another powerful antioxidant and preservative. Vitamin C will help boost the immune system and prevent the onset of disease.

Fiber

Cranberries are high in fiber, which can help balance the digestive system of your pet hamster.  It prevents constipation and diarrhea by regulating water in the intestines and reduces the risk of colon cancer by expelling harmful ingredients from the body faster than normal, so it doesn’t have time to rest against the colon walls.

Antifungal and Antiviral

Cranberries are antifungal and antiviral, making them a great tool for cleaning out the liver and removing toxin build-up that occurs over time from a bad diet or improper eating.

cranberries
Image Credit: Pixabay

How do I feed my hamster cranberries?

We recommend feeding cranberries to your pet in extremely limited amounts and only if they are the Syrian and Roborovski’s breeds. The other species like Chinese, Russian Campbell’s, and Winter White should avoid cranberries completely.

Hamsters can only eat the berry and cannot eat the leaves or stem of the cranberry plant. They can eat the seeds, but it’s better to remove them to reduce the fat intake. Your hamster can also eat the skin, but you must wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticides or other chemicals that might be present.

  • Choose an organic cranberry to help reduce the risk of pesticides and other chemicals being present. Your hamster’s tiny body cannot handle much of these chemicals, so it’s important to eliminate them from their diet.
  • Wash the berry thoroughly, even if it’s organic.
  • Cut the berry in half and remove the seed.
  • Place one or two cranberries in a bowl and serve it to our hamster.
  • Remove the bowl after an hour or two to prevent overeating and attracting flies.
  • Feed cranberries to your hamster no more than once a week.

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Summary

If your hamster has eaten some cranberries, it will likely be fine, but you should only provide them to your pet in tiny amounts on special occasions, maybe Thanksgiving. If your hamster is a Chinese, Russian Campbell’s, or Winter White, we recommend avoiding the cranberries altogether because the risk of diabetes is too high. Avoid dried cranberries and cranberry sauce because these items will contain too much sugar.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our guide to feeding your pet this American fruit. If you have learned something new, please share this guide to the dangers of providing your hamster cranberries on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: 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.