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Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes? What You Need to Know!
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 if they can safely have potatoes!
Can Hamsters Eat Potatoes?
Hamsters can have small amounts of cooked potatoes! However, you should not give your hamster fried, seasoned, or raw potato.
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.
Are Potatoes Safe for Hamsters?
In small servings, yes!
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, 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, baked, or roasted potatoes can be a tasty treat 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 possibly death. Raw potatoes contain a toxin called solanine. Solanine can be deadly to most mammals, including hamsters and humans.
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 potato 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 potato.
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 potato. Hamsters with diabetes and obesity should not be given potato.
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 in the diet. Your hamster may have some stomach upset with any new food, so monitor closely while 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, so foods that are hidden in bedding or under items may begin to rot and soil the enclosure, causing mold and bacteria to grow.
Your hamster will likely love to have a little bit of potato as a special treat! Remember to not let potatoes become a routine treat 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
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.