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Home > Hamsters > Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin? Our Vet Explains

Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin? Our Vet Explains

Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin

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Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

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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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As a member of the squash family, pumpkin is considered a healthy and somewhat nutritious snack for humans. Hamsters, too, can enjoy pumpkin. They can eat it with or without the skin and enjoy it raw or cooked, although raw is the preferred option for feeding it to pet hamsters.

Not only is pumpkin considered safe for hamsters, but it offers some health benefits. The seeds are also a popular addition to a hamster’s diet and may become a favorite with your little rodent, potentially even rivaling the sunflower seed.


Is Pumpkin Safe for Hamsters?

Pumpkin does offer some nutritional benefits to hamsters, whether served raw or cooked1.

Key Nutritional Information of Raw Pumpkin, per 100 Grams (3.5 oz)
  • Water: 91.6 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 6.5 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0.5 g
  • Calcium: 21 milligrams (mg)
  • Phosphorus: 44 mg
  • Potassium: 340 mg
Key Nutritional Information of Cooked, Drained Pumpkin (without salt), per 100 Grams (3.5 oz)
  • Water:7 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 4.9 g
  • Fat: 0.07 g
  • Protein: 0.72 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Calcium: 15 milligrams (mg)
  • Phosphorus: 30 mg
  • Potassium: 230 mg

Aside from its water content2, pumpkin doesn’t have much going for it in terms of nutritional value. Though it does offer some fiber, the amount available is quite low, especially considering how the data above is for a relatively large serving. It’s unrealistic to expect your hamster to get their fiber from eating pumpkin.

Image by: Marius Ciocirlan, Unsplash


Nutritional Risks of Pumpkin

The biggest risk of pumpkin is in fact its water content. Though pumpkins are high in water content, eating too much pumpkin can result in digestive problems, particularly diarrhea. Diarrhea should be considered serious for hamsters, and unlike many other species kept as pets, diarrhea should be treated as an emergency for hamsters.

This is due to the fact that during a diarrhea episode, hamsters quickly lose large amounts of valuable electrolytes, which can quickly snowball into other health issues.


If your hamster has diarrhea, you should not attempt to rehydrate them with plain water, as this will make things worse. You should seek a product made specifically for rehydrating hamsters, available from your pet store or veterinarian.

Diarrhea in hamsters should not be taken lightly, and if you notice diarrhea in your hamster, you should seek prompt professional care for them.

Pumpkins contain carbohydrates in the form of sugars. In hamsters, excess forms of certain sugars (such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose) have been associated with health issues, including mortality. Therefore, moderation is essential when feeding pumpkin to your hamster.

hamster behind the pumpkin
Image by: tanya_morozz, Shutterstock

How to Prepare Pumpkin

Hamsters can eat pumpkin in a variety of forms. Preparing pumpkin for your hamster is relatively simple:

  • Before you give your hamster pumpkin, make sure you wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticide residue since this can make your pet very ill.
  • Make sure the pumpkin is room-temperature. It’s best not to feed your pet pumpkin right out of the fridge. Let the temperature drop to around room temperature level before you serve them the pumpkin.
  • Cut the pumpkin into small pieces, removing the stem.
  • Offer it the same way as other food. Use tongs or put the small pumpkin pieces in their food dish or cage.
  • Discard. Ensure you discard any uneaten fresh food after a period of about 4-6 hours (at most).

Can I Put a Pumpkin In My Hamster Cage?

It is possible to simply put a pumpkin in your hamster’s cage, but it must be removed before it goes bad. Typically this means that it can only be left in their cage for about a period of 4 hours.

Please be mindful that hamsters are natural hoarders, and will attempt to store extra food in their favorite den or hiding spots. They do not discriminate between food with a long shelf life and food that can spoil quickly, such as pumpkin. Therefore, ensure you check your hamster’s favorite food hoarding spots to ensure you remove all uneaten pumpkin from their cage.


Final Thoughts

Although your hamster’s diet should primarily consist of high-quality hamster food pellets, you can also feed them a good selection of seeds, fruit, and vegetables.

Pumpkin is considered safe for your hamster. It can be fed raw and you can feed the flesh of the fruit as well as the seeds.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your hamster’s dietary welfare, you should consult your exotic animal veterinarian for more information.

Featured Image by: stevepb, Pixabay

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