Garden peas make for a wonderful addition to any meal, whether as a vegetable side or an ingredient within a dish. They add freshness, nutrition, and a bright pop of color.
But can your hamster enjoy them as well?
Yes! Most hamsters can eat peas. However, several breeds cannot.
Peas are a very healthy addition to a hamster’s diet—provided that you take some choice precautions when feeding them. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of feeding your hamster peas and how many they can eat.
The 5 Health Benefits of Giving Your Hamster Peas
Hamsters are naturally omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat (specifically small insects) and vegetation. Peas are an excellent way to help your hamster get in some good veg. In fact, there are a few health benefits for hamsters who indulge in them.
1. Peas are full of dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is extremely important for hamsters. This nutrient helps them to maintain regular bowel movements, relieve constipation, and promote a healthy digestive system. Between 6%-15% of your hamster’s diet should be fiber, and garden peas can definitely help them reach that goal.
2. Peas contain bone-strengthening manganese
Manganese is a mineral that we don’t think too much about, but it’s extremely important for all living creatures—especially hamsters. Manganese helps to strengthen bones and fend off conditions such as osteoporosis and other debilitating bone/joint conditions. Since hamsters (and their bones) are so small, their bones must be kept as strong as possible. Manganese is also an antioxidant that helps to fight off free radicals in your hamster’s body to prevent them from forming sickness and disease.
3. Peas are a good source of folate and iron
Folate and iron go hand-in-hand when it comes to helping regulate and maintain your hamster’s blood health. Folate is a crucial component of producing red and white blood cells within your hamster’s bone marrow, and iron assists with hemoglobin production—along with the creation of red blood cells.
4. Peas have essential vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is another crucial vitamin as it helps to maintain your hamster’s nervous system, skin, and coat. It can help to ensure your hamster stays spry and looks good while doing so.
5. Peas are a good source of protein for hamsters
Protein is very important for your hamster as it helps them develop muscles and grow.
The 3 Risks of Your Hamster Eating Peas
While peas are great for your hamster and we do recommend them, there are some precautions you need to take.
1. Be careful with portion control and limit their intake
Your hamster doesn’t need to be on an all-pea diet. There can be too much of a good thing. If you feed your hamster nothing but peas, they will miss out on many other vital components of a balanced diet. So, while peas are a great supplement, they won’t provide everything your hamster needs to thrive. Also, limit how many you give them in a single sitting. While peas seem very small to humans, they can be a huge meal for your hamster.
2. Peas contain a higher than usual sugar content for hamsters
When peas are broken down by our bodies, they contain sugar. And while that sugar isn’t a big deal for humans, it can be a little high for hamsters. This is another reason peas should only be fed sparingly to hamsters. Regular pea feeding can result in your hamster developing diabetes.
3. They can be a choking hazard
Choking on a single pea may seem a bit far fetched to us; however, a single pea may be entirely too big for some hamsters. If you have a Roborovski variety, you may want to cut peas in half before giving them to your hammy.
Hamster Feeding Guide for Peas
While peas are generally beneficial to hamsters, some hamster varieties shouldn’t eat peas at all. Let’s break down which hamsters can eat peas and how often.
Depending on your hamster’s variety, garden peas can be a great source of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. Just be sure that you practice moderation when giving them. Peas can make for a very large snack and a sugary one at that. However, if you follow our feeding guide, you won’t have any issues.
If you do decide to give your hamster peas, be sure that they’re only eating peas made specifically for them. Don’t feed them leftovers from your meal as they’ll probably contain extra salt, butter, or other seasonings. Hamsters should be fed peas with nothing added to them.
Featured Image Credit: Mikołaj Idziak, Unsplash