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Home > Hamsters > Can Hamsters Eat Peas? Risks & Potential Health Benefits

Can Hamsters Eat Peas? Risks & Potential Health Benefits

Can Hamsters Eat Peas

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.

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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.

Syrian hamster peeking
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

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.

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The 3 Risks of Your Hamster Eating Peas

green peas
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

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.

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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.

  • Syrian Hamsters — These are the largest variety of hamster and can eat the most peas. We recommend that you don’t feed them more than 6 peas per week or more than two every other day.
  • Roborovski Hamsters — Robo hamsters are smaller than Syrians, thus they can eat considerably less. We recommend that you don’t feed them more than 3 peas per week or more than one every other day.
  • Winter White Hamsters — We do not recommend feeding peas to Winter White hamsters. They are a dwarf hamster breed with a very sensitive diet and constitution.
  • Campbell’s Hamsters — These hamsters are very similar to the Winter White variety. Therefore, we don’t recommend feeding peas to your Campbell’s hamster.
  • Other Dwarf Hamsters — Dwarf hamsters have very tricky diets to balance due to their diminutive size. We don’t recommend feeding peas to them as it can be difficult to balance nutrition. Instead, feed them specially designed food for dwarf hamsters.

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Summary

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.

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Featured Image Credit: Mikołaj Idziak, Unsplash

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