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Home > General > Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many cultures have tons of dishes featuring the humble potato as the centerpiece, which means that you likely eat potatoes in some form every now and then. Have you noticed your hamster watching you eat some potato or sniffing the air while you cook potatoes and wondered if your hamster could have a little bit?

Wonder no more! We’re here to help answer your questions about hamsters and whether they can safely have potatoes. The important thing to know is that hamsters can only eat a small amount of cooked, unseasoned potatoes!


Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes?

Hamsters can have small amounts of cooked potatoes! However, you should not give your hamster fried, seasoned, or raw potatoes.

Your hamster is able to eat and properly digest a whole slew of fresh foods, potatoes included! There are better options available for your hamster to eat, though, including fresh foods, commercial treats, and even mealworms or crickets from the pet store.

potatoes on wooden table
Image Credit: Val_R, Shutterstock

Are Potatoes Safe for Hamsters?

In small servings, yes! Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C (though this vitamin isn’t considered essential for hamsters), phosphorus, and niacin. Potatoes are also lower in calories than we tend to think, although they are very high in starchy carbohydrates. This type of carbohydrate can be used quickly by the body for energy, but if it is not used, then the body stores it, converting it to fat. Potatoes with the skin still on are a great source of fiber as well.

Boiled or steamed potatoes can be tasty treats on occasion for your hamster. However, potatoes with seasonings, fried potatoes, or raw potatoes are not safe for hamsters. These can all lead to obesity, stomach upset, and other health complications. Raw potatoes contain a toxin called solanine, which is considered toxic for hamsters (and other pets).

Raw potatoes may be infected with an organism known as Fusarium solani. This is a naturally-occurring fungus found in soil all over the world. It’s been known to cause respiratory issues in several animals, including rodents. Although a “normal” looking potato is likely risk free, it may contain trace amounts of the fungus, so it’s best to avoid feeding it to your pet.

How Much Potato Can I Give My Hamster?

Ideally, your hamster should only get around ¼ of a teaspoon of cooked potato and not on a regular basis. Your hamster should only have potatoes every couple of weeks or so as a treat. It should not be a staple of your hamster’s diet. Babies, hamsters with medical conditions, and senior hamsters should not be given potatoes.

brown wooden spoon scooping mashed potato
Image Credit: Sergii Gnatiuk, Shutterstock

What Else Should I Consider Before Giving Potato To My Hamster?

If your hamster has ever been diagnosed with a medical issue, it’s best to check with your vet before giving your hamster potatoes. Hamsters with diabetes and obesity should not be given potatoes.

Introduce new foods slowly to your hamster, so you should only give a small bite of potato to start until you know how your hamster’s stomach will respond to the addition of potato to the diet. Your hamster may have some stomach upset with any new food, so monitor them while they’re trying potato for the first time.

Watch your hamster closely when you give a little bit of potato as a treat! Fresh foods should not be left in your hamster’s enclosure, as foods that are hidden in bedding or under items may begin to rot and soil the enclosure, causing mold and bacteria to grow.

hamster eating inside his cage
Image Credit: Raquel Vizcaino, Shutterstock



Your hamster will likely love to have a little bit of potato as a special treat! Remember not to let potatoes become routine treats for your hamster. There are lots of better fresh food options for your hamster, including many vegetables and fruits.

As long as the potato you give your hamster is not fried or seasoned with anything, including salt, butter, or oil, it will likely be safe for your hamster to try. Remember to check with your hamster’s vet before starting any new food if your hamster has any history of medical conditions, though.

Featured Image Credit: RitaE, Pixabay

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